When you hire a Virtual Assistant, your goal as a business owner is
to be able to get the work done in substantially less time it would take
you to do it. However you will need to invest some extra time in the
beginning in order to get this relationship off to a good start. You
must delegate effectively from the beginning. Many
a budding relationship of this kind has been spoiled due to poor
preparation, poor feedback and bad team selection in the early stages of
You need to decide early on how you are going to communicate with your Virtual Assistant? Are you planning to communicate with them on a daily/weekly basis, by email/phone/IM? Remember there will be more communication involved early in the relationship until you both learn how to work well together.
What responsibilities will your VA take on? I think it’s very important that you already know what responsibilities you want your VA to take on when you partner with them. Prior to bringing them on board, make a list of exactly what they will be doing for you. This is easily achieved by keeping a notepad on your desk and write down each task that
- You hate performing
- Could be easily done by someone else
- Doesn’t make good business sense for you to continue to perform
Be very specific in this area, if you send your VA work and you need it done by the end of the day, include a time, and remember your VA may not be in your time zone. If you need it done by 5pm EST, that’s what you need to tell them.
If you are unsure how many hours you will need your VA, make sure that you work with a VA that doesn’t have a set period/ package. Some VA’s offer retainers only- others won’t allow you to roll over unused hours, so make sure you discuss your needs clearly in the interview stage so that you hire the VA that best suits your needs.
When you delegate specific tasks to your VA, be very clear and specific about how you want them to be carried out. For instance, if they are submitting articles on your behalf, provide them with a list of where you would like them to be submitted, do you want your VA to keep a spreadsheet of all submissions (highly recommended), what do you want on the spreadsheet? If they are updating your blog, what days do you want this done on, what time – early morning or afternoon. When you assign a task to a VA, you should have some idea of how long that task should take, give them that timeline also (assuming it is realistic) so that you both are aware of this. You certainly don’t want your VA to bill you 6 hours for a task that should have taken 2 at the most!
As you begin working with your VA, start off with small, simple administrative tasks and build your way up to the more difficult ones as you get to know each other and understand how you work together and if this will work for you. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to save a lot of time by skipping on the process of establishing a relationship with your team. You have to know that the team you have lined up is aligned with your needs and you simply have to do the groundwork in advance. Look at this as leveraging your time for the future.