It’s hard to think about delegating your work, let alone actually do it. But a Virtual Assistant or VA, can assist you both in being efficient and increase your productivity. So, what can you expect?
What is a Virtual Assistant or VA?
A Virtual Assistant, or VA is a person who has chosen to work virtually, or remotely on assignments and tasks that you have allocated to them. This is quite different to being employed and working in-house too. Let me explain in a little more detail:
• VAs do work their own agendas – A VA does sometimes like to work evenings or late-night hours on occasion. Or sometimes he/she just likes to split the schedule up throughout the day. Instead of putting in a solid 8 hours work day and then going home, VA’s work on their own timetable.
• Less training – When you are working with a VA, you often do not need to “train” a VA on a particular process. In fact, that’s part of the benefit of using a VA. All you need to do is express your required outcome and your VA will deliver the end result with some guidance according to your brief.
• Specific Expertise – Most VAs tend to specialise into their niche or skills that they excel at and focus on using those skills. As VAs work with multiple clients they will advance into being quite knowledgeable and gain skills into many programs and be continuously learning.
But are there limits?
It can be most advantageous to work with your well-qualified VA but there are a few things to bear in mind, of course:
• You aren’t their only client – Your VA will have other clients. That means they may not always be able to get your job done straight away when you need it done. You do not get to pick your priority as their priorities for them, like you would be able to do as if they were your employee.
• Hiring a VA is like hiring a good employee – It can sometimes take time to nurture your right fit. Whether it’s communication or natural skills, you both need to work at it with each other and that doesn’t always happen easily. Don’t give up. Communication is key.
• This isn’t Trial and Error – While you may not have to do as much training with a virtual assistant as you do with an employee, they aren’t able to jump right in and take over your detailed work without some set up on your part either. Get your lists and systems together so you can help them help you.
• Don’t expect everything – As mentioned above, many VAs do have an area of specialism or a niche. However, they may not cover an aspect of work that you may want to cover. You can expect them to undertake training, if they wish to do so. You may want another VA to undertake that piece of work – that’s also fine. Work with multiple virtual assistants so that you can get the job done by the best person for the job.
• Your VA – Your Business Administration – Some VAs do not have experience in business and may not be able to advise you how to manage your business. Your VA will deal with your instruction and for your administrative or specialty work only based on your booking form/contract only.
How Do I make it Work with My VA?
These are some important points that you can undertake to enhance the working process with your VA:
• Communicate Well – If your written word isn’t your best way to communicate, send verbal messages instead and then have them written down so they can be referred to at a later date. Or, better yet, schedule a weekly call to share new tasks and projects. Bear in mind that your calls and emails may be time-tracked.
• Provide as much detail as possible – Usernames and passwords should all be securely verified before they are shared (or use a system like LastPass that allows you to share without full access). Ensure you provide the appropriate deadline for example. Is there anything specific that you or your VA needs?
• Review and provide feedback – Working with a new VA takes a little time to get to know one another and needs some adjustment. With each project, ensure that you review the work and provide your VA with your feedback. What worked? What didn’t? Are there any little changes you’d like to see for the next project?
• Delegate don’t abandon – Ensure that you agree with your VA what level of communication is appropriate between you. You may want to touch base weekly or perhaps fortnightly depending on the task in hand with a simple email.
• No need to micro-manage – On the other extreme, don’t manage every aspect of the process. Your VA is an independent business owner in their own right. Allow them to do what you are paying them to do.
A Mutually Profitable Future…
As long as you have thought about your process, what you need to delegate, discussed it in your discovery call and provided your brief with your VA, then you have taken the necessary steps to liaise appropriately with your VA to have a mutually profitable future.
You are more than able to feasibly save up to 5 to 30 hours a week that will open you up to develop on expanding your business or even spending more leisure time or family time perhaps…
If you are looking to hire a virtual assistant and would like help with the entire process, consider checking out NottmVA. I would be delighted to hear from you and talk you through your social media and/or business administration. If you would like to receive a copy of the Top Ten Tips for Freelancers – please select it here: Top Ten Tips