How to work with a Virtual Assistant to improve efficiency
Working with a Virtual Assistant (VA) is a great way to improve your productivity in your business. If you haven’t worked with a VA before, the onboarding process might feel a little daunting.
Whether you are looking to work with a VA now or in the future, here are 5 tips on how to prepare for working with a Virtual Assistant.
Identify the specific tasks you want to delegate
Identifying specific tasks will help you understand exactly what level of support you need and how often. These should then be discussed during the consultation and also included in the terms, that way, both you and your VA are clear on what is expected.
If you’re not sure on the specifics, why not take five minutes at the end of your day to think of all the admin tasks you worked on, and ask the following questions:
- Did the tasks help you achieve your core business objectives?
- Were they the best use of your time?
- Were they tasks you enjoyed?
If the answer is no to any of them, can they be the tasks you outsource?
Set clear instructions
Make sure you have clear instructions for each task you wish to delegate. The more detail you provide, the quicker the onboarding process will be. These must include any deadlines or KPI’s that need to be met. Step by step instructions can eliminate any potential mistakes. It also helps your VA to carry out the tasks the way you prefer.
Having said that a lot of clients I’ve worked with haven’t any instructions written down, they’ve all been in their heads. If this is the case, I have previously helped clients create documented processes at the beginning of our contract. Not only was this useful for me, it also provided the client with written documentation for the future. If this is the case for you, many Virtual Assistants will be only too happy to help you.
Do your research
The term Virtual Assistant is very broad and we all offer different areas of expertise. Having identified the specific tasks you want to delegate, take a little time to research into who offers the ideal support for you. Look into their work history. Are they experienced in their field? Do they have good reviews? You could even ask recommendations from other businesses who have worked, or are working, with a Virtual Assistant.
Make sure you also get a feel for their personality. Yes experience and ability is very important, but so is rapport. Chances are you are going to be working quite closely with your Virtual Assistant, and like any other new member to the team, you need to be able to work with them and trust them.
As a side note, do not put on social media that you are looking for Virtual Assistant – you will be inundated with messages!
Communication is King
Think about how often you will want to communicate with your Virtual Assistant. In the beginning it’s best practice to have regular catch-ups to give feedback on the work produced. I find these really useful to make sure I’m on the right track.
Discuss your preferred method of communication, especially for times when the matter is urgent. Some people prefer emails, some text messages or even WhatsApp. My clients have a variety of preferences and it’s important to be able to communicate in whatever way is easy for them.
Think about security
Make sure a Virtual Assistant can access your systems remotely. If you have secure logins, will they be able to externally access your CRMs, accounts or emails?
Do you have any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements you will need them to sign? Will they need a DBS check before working for you?
It’s worth asking what security measures the VA has in place. For example, I always work in my home office on a secure network (never in a cafe on an open network). I have BitLocker installed on my computer. I work in the Cloud as much as possible to avoid data being saved on my computer. If any documents are saved to my computer, I use Eraser to delete it. These are specific to my set up, but you should think about your requirements from your Virtual Assistant.
On-boarding anyone new into your business might seem daunting. You might be concerned about how long the process will take. This might be the reason why you keep putting it off. But trust me, by investing a little time and effort at the beginning, your VA will soon be up to speed and you will very quickly see the benefits from hiring a Virtual Assistant.