So you have decided to hire a Virtual Assistant to join your team, congratulations!! I am sure you are looking forward to shifting some of the work to your new assistant and reducing your to-do list. Feels good, doesn’t it?? I have been a VA for over 2 years and luckily have had some fantastic clients to work with.
However, there are some clients who are less than ideal to work with. I have heard terrible stories over the years. It’s not that the clients are bad or virtual assistants are bad. It is usually a case of mismatched expectations from both sides. So let me share my 8 tips for success when working with a Virtual Assistant.
1. Look for a responsive Virtual Assistant.
Someone that returns emails promptly, gives status calls and shares advice. I worked with one client who had a VA on the other side of the world. She would never respond to his requests or provide status. If that’s your case, give fair time to respond due to time differences, but be clear about your expectations!
2. Be very specific.
Be clear about your expectations. Discussing expectations up front will help avoid confusion and save you money.
If there is a multi-step task or a task that needs to be done in a specific way, record a video walking them through the steps. This is good for your VA to refer back to if necessary and great for you to give clear direction. You can use it as training for your next VA. (This is one of my many suggestions from this blog post on working with a new VA.)
3. Treat your Virtual Assistant with respect and ask advice.
They have experience and knowledge they can share which could be useful to you. They can help you brainstorm ideas and you can then use what works for you and your business.
A word of caution = what a VA is NOT. A VA or any freelancer is a taskmaster and will do tasks that you assign to get your business running smoothly. They are freeing up your TIME.
You are the business owner/leader who needs to have a CLEAR VISION of your business. Have a PLAN and know what tasks you need to be done. A VA is not going to fix what is fundamentally wrong with your business.
If you don’t have a plan, perhaps you need to hire a business coach/consultant to help you create a plan FIRST.
Also, a VA is not an employee. She or he is a business owner just like you!
4. Pay a good, fair rate. Praise their work and give feedback.
If your Virtual Assistant is happy and treated well, they will do a good job for you. Everyone likes to hear they’re doing well so when they do a great job, let them know it.
Feedback is so important because if you don’t speak up, the assumption is that the task is done correctly and to your expectations.
5. Start small and slow.
DON’T dump your entire task list on your VA on day one. Start with giving the most pressing or most important few tasks first. This helps you out by immediately and gives the Virtual Assistant an idea of how you work.
Initially, there will be questions and work style differences. Those need to be worked on before giving a full list of things to do as well as testing to see how your VA takes direction, initiative, and follows through.
6. Realize mistakes will be made and be forgiving.
It is your business and it’s hard to bring someone in to help. They may not do it your way, but is it wrong? Again, this is just getting used to one another’s work style.
Use mistakes as a learning opportunity – perhaps you will learn that your VA knows a more efficient way to complete a task, or perhaps you need to discuss your specific expectations with your Virtual Assistant. Personality and how you work together is more important than nitpicking on a task. Tasks can be taught.
7. Invest in them.
When you find a great team member, invest in their strengths. If they are in social media and you want help with a platform they’re not so familiar with but are willing to learn, pay for training. The value your VA will provide once trained will quickly outweigh the cost of training them in the first place.
8. Use their strengths and hire accordingly.
Don’t force them to do something they don’t like to do or are uncomfortable doing. A Virtual Assistant is not a jack of all trades. They will have a variety of tasks, software, skill sets that they are good at and what you hired them for. As your business grows and changes, you may have more needs.
Offer to train your existing Virtual Assistant (going back to #7) or recognize that this is not one of their strengths and hire another team member to do the other tasks. An example would be hiring for specific tech tasks that your admin VA may not know or have a desire to learn.
Be understanding, but also do what’s best for your business needs. Ask yourself what is important for that particular role. For example, if you’re in real estate, you might want them to manage your Facebook real estate ads, it depends on the type of business you run.
Some Virtual Assistants will try anything and say anything for fear of losing a client. I personally like to be upfront if when asked to do something I don’t know how to do. I am certainly willing to learn and try new things, but I know my limitations and will be upfront if I can’t do something or haven’t tried something before. Again this goes back to setting expectations.
I would rather be honest and then WOW a client than to say I can do something and then not deliver.
Do you have any tips you would like to add to this list? I would love to hear about your experience with your VA, good or bad! 🙂
Are you in the beginning stages of thinking about hiring a VA but not quite sure how to use one? You might find What Can I Outsource to a VA or How to Boost Your Biz by Hiring a VA helpful and a good place to start.
To set up a time with me to talk and learn if we would be a great fit for working together, you can contact me HERE.