It’s very important to create a process whereby you provide your virtual assistant with clear instructions and limits. You want your VA to know when it’s okay to contact you, what method you want them to use, and what deliverables you’re expecting. But, at the same time, you also want to empower them to help you improve your systems.
Hire More Than One VA
Don’t expect that one VA can realistically do every task and project you have from A to Z. In fact, your business will run more smoothly if you have different VAs to do different portions of any one project. Then have a project manager, which can be you or someone else, who puts it all together. Now more than ever, VAs specialize in a certain specialty such as customer service, client care, or tech/admin. If you post something on Facebook such as “I need a VA, any recommendations?” this isn’t going to garner any quality leads, so be specific in exactly what type of VA you are looking for or what you need help with right now.
Create VA FAQS
Within your project management system, every time you have to answer a question from a VA you can add it to a frequently asked questions file. That way VAs can get answers on their own without calling you about things that are asked often. You can even let your VAs add to the FAQ when they ask you a question that you’ve answered that wasn’t listed.
Use Recorded Videos
When you teach any VA how to do something using a video, record it, then put it in your training program so that if you need to hire someone else to do that same task you don’t have to train them live again. You can even ask a VA to record training for you. Jing is a free online tool that lets you record videos up to five minutes – great for quick how-to’s.
Meet “Live” Periodically
It’s always a good idea to meet your team live on a periodic basis. You can do this through webinar software such as Google Hangouts, or GoToWebinar.com or something else entirely. It doesn’t need to be a long session. Just 30 minutes or so once a month can really pay off in terms of making your team feel part of a group. Team members who feel included are more likely to enjoy their position.
Provide Clear Instructions
The less clear you are when you give any instructions to your VAs, the more time it might take them to do it because they will have no choice but to ask questions. A phone call, or a string of emails asking questions is a waste of time. Just give clear instructions first that give the why, what, and how of your request. Be as specific as possible and you’ll not only get better results, but you will also have a happier team. VAs really dislike playing the back and forth email game just as much as business owners do, so having clear-cut instructions from the outset is key.
Empower Your VA
The other key to ensuring that you get good results from your VA is to empower your VA to make suggestions. If you’ve told them why you want something, what you want (the deliverable expected), and how to do it but they know a better way to do it, they should be free to make suggestions. Often a VA has more expertise in a topic than you do and can save you an enormous amount of wasted effort if you open your mind to listening. Another good time-saving tip is to empower your VA to make decisions on your behalf – say for example your deliverable is to get a banner made, empower the VA to contact the graphic designer and approve anything that is up to x amount of dollars. This way it’s one less thing she has to go back to you about.
Finally, create standard operating procedures that work throughout your team and business. Each VA should know who to go to for questions, how to get additional help, when it’s okay to contact you, and how to handle various things that come up on their own.