How to Work Effectively with Virtual Assistants

Here is a recording and article made from my recent webinar, “How to Work With a Virtual Assistant.” Let me know if you have any questions.

The Problem When Working with Virtual Assistants #

Working with a virtual assistant (VA) sounds like a great idea, but many people struggle to make the process work like they had hoped. Why do people struggle so much with delegating to virtual assistants?

  • Poorly thought out task assignments
  • Poor communication
  • Too busy to properly plan what to give the VA
  • Not sufficiently supervising the VA
  • Poor task management systems in place
  • No process documentation in place
  • Wrong VA

Identify Tasks for Virtual Assistants #

To overcome these problems, you first need to find tasks suitable for delegating to a VA.

One of the best ways to do this is to be more aware as you work through your tasks. As you come to EACH task on your list, analyze it BEFORE working on it to see if you can automate it or delegate it to a VA.

“Tag” the task with the phrase “Virtual Assistant” to designate this task as one that could eventually be delegated. Most good quality task management systems allow for tagging, but may be called other things like “labels” or “categories.”

Then you can call up all the Virtual Assistant-tagged tasks to find ones you can delegate.

Create a Virtual Assistant Delegation System #

Use a good quality task management system to delegate to your VA’s. Most task management systems let you assign tasks to others.

When assigning tasks, make sure you use proper delegation practices like due date, priority level, detailed instructions, etc.

When proving instructions, provide a link to process documentation, if any is in place. There are lots of task management systems out there. Here are a few to consider:

Managing Passwords with VAs #

When you work with a virtual assistant, you need to give them access to some of your systems like your website, list management, and other programs.

Wherever possible, try to give them a lower access level by creating a new user just for them rather than handing over your full administrator access. This way, you can change the password or delete the user if the VA is no longer working for you or if the project is complete.

Test New Virtual Assistants #

When I hire new virtual assistants, I often hire 2-4 at a time and give them each a similar small test task that would take 1-2 hours. I pay them for the test task. After they are done, I look at factors such as:

  • How fast did they complete the task? Were they faster or slower than the other VAs in the test?
  • How responsive were they during the test project?
  • What is the quality of the output they provided?

Then I assign additional tasks and hours to the virtual assistants who were fast, responsive with great output.

Supervision and Followup for Virtual Assistants #

Just because someone does well at a few test tasks, doesn’t mean they will continue working at the same level. You need to regularly follow-up with your virtual assistants and check their work. Review the progress within your task management system on a minimum of a weekly basis.

Fire Quickly #

You must quickly drop virtual assistants when it becomes apparent they aren’t the right ones.

The nice thing about this is that firing a virtual assistant is much easier than firing an on-site staff member. You can just let the VA know you don’t have any more hours for them and then you are done.

Multiple Virtual Assistants vs a Single VA #

When you find a great virtual assistant, you tend to make them your “go-to” person and give them everything to do. The problem with this is that people sometimes leave, many times without warning. So suddenly your go-to VA you have been relying on is gone.

Instead of working with a single 30-hour per week VA, consider hiring 2 @ 15 hours per week or 3@ 10 hours per week. The benefits of multiple VAs are:

  • tap skills of additional people
  • backup in case one VA is ill takes a holiday or leaves
  • you don’t lose all the knowledge if someone leaves

Looking for Help With a Virtual Assistant? #

Here are several ways we can help.

  1. Hiring a VA
  2. Training for Your Virtual Assistant
  3. Learning How to Work With Your VA

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