How to work successfully with your Virtual Assistant

Often when a Virtual Assistant / Client relationship breaks down, some are quick to assume that it must be the VA’s fault. Truth be told often it is due to a misunderstanding that leads to the relationship failure and fingers should not be pointed at either party.

In this article, we’ll take a look at tips that will help you work successfully with your VA but first let’s lay the foundation for understanding what a Virtual Assistant is.

* A Virtual Assistant is a person with their own business who provides a service or set of services to a business owner

* They are not employed by the business owner but hired as an independent contractor

* They work virtually which means that they will not be next to you and communication is online or by phone

* They work globally which means that they might be in a different town, city, country and time zone to you

* Most VA’s tend to be generalists as opposed to specialists. Having said this, there are VA’s who specialise in certain services and will state this on their websites

Now that we have established an understanding of what a Virtual Assistant is, let’s take a closer look at tips to make your working relationship successful.

  1. Make communication a priority.  There is nothing as important as clear, concise communication.  Be sure to establish a good rapport with your VA from the beginning. Write clear emails with clear instructions/questions/notes on what you want your VA to do and when.   If your VA doesn’t know what you want her to do or unclear about what your needs she will clarify this with you until she knows what you require her to do.  This will cause time delays and frustrations on both parts so list things by bullet points or numbers and make it clear where you need her feedback, input or action.
  2. Create shared systems.  From the start create documents or info sharing systems that work for both of you. This means sharing information on Dropbox or Google Drive and passwords or other sensitive information on LastPass.
  3. Gratitude goes a long way.  Reward good work with praise and encouragement.  The more you put into this relationship, the more you will get out of it.
  4. Provide feedback to your VA. Feedback acts like guidance. If you never provide feedback your VA will not know if she is doing a good job or where she needs to improve.  Check the task 10% – 20% in to see if your VA is on the right track.
  5. Share your expectations from the start.  Be clear what you expect from your VA.  How many hours you want her to spend on various projects, what your goals and objectives are and what output you expect.  By sharing your expectations the VA will understand what is expected of her and will work according to that.
  6. Establish a workflow.  From the start establish at what time you need your VA to be online and available to work on your projects.  Be clear about how often you require a report, daily, weekly or monthly.
  7. Embrace this new relationship. Understand that at first, it will be a new experience for the both of you. It will take time to get to know each other and there will be trials and errors along the way. If you embrace this you are half way there!

Written by Janine Henwood of VA Celebrity