Location: Home Office – Reading Time: 8mins
Pictured with me above is my Personal Assistant, Stephanie (she’ll kill me for posting this photo, but – too late!). Steph helps me with my day-to-day business tasks, and definitely plays a big part in me achieving what I achieve every day – whether I’m working from the company’s HQ, or home (like today), or anywhere else for that matter!
Judging by the amount of visitors I get each day to the blog, which is growing every single day – and the 700+ people that have downloaded my free eBook on working with Virtual Assistants, I figure a lot of you, for whatever reason, haven’t gotten around to grabbing your copy yet. So, this post is actually a sneak peek at part of a chapter from the eBook, along with some new material (labeled clearly for the VBL devotee’s out there that have already read it).
This stuff is NEW: Most companies and individuals who have been working with virtual assistants with great success have one thing in common: they are pleased to have somebody else handle their time-consuming, repetitive, mundane, administrative tasks that get in the way of spending quality time with their family, or focusing on more important business issues, such as planning and growth.
I’ve put this post together as a quick-fire resource to those of you who have either recently started working with an outsourced virtual assistant, or who might be thinking about doing so in the near future.
Equipped with exemplary credentials, good levels of experience and a wide array of skill-sets to handle pretty much any task imaginable, virtual assistants are becoming a force to reckon with. What makes them special is that they work for you as a virtual ‘unknown’ and you may never even get to see them face-to-face at all. Yet they perform the tasks you have set out for them, as competently as any of your physical office personnel would.
As I mentioned in my recent post on outsourcing and what it is actually all about, you can either hire an independent virtual assistant from a site like VirtualStaffFinder.com, or if you prefer to have someone do all the interview, reference checking and hiring for you, you can work directly with an outsourcing provider that deals in virtual assistants. Once you’ve selected a virtual assistant that has the background and experience that you require, you can then get to business.
Here’s some of the stuff that’s INSIDE the eBook: Finding your right virtual assistant is one thing. Getting them to do the job the way you want them to do is another matter. Working remotely, the way you interact with your new best friend is by utilizing the wonders of technology, such as email, the telephone, via Skype or if you prefer, instant messaging and web conferencing. Here are some tips to be able to work well with your virtual assistant to achieve tons more time and become more productive overall, as a professional:
Set Clear Guidelines – You have the responsibility of establishing a clear set of guidelines on how you want the job to be done. To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, you have to clearly define the tasks that you want your virtual assistant to accomplish. Especially when you have complex tasks. Do your best to provide instructions in great detail.
Don’t Assume Anything – Do not make the mistake of assuming the virtual assistant knows exactly what to do to on any given task, regardless of experience. Perfect example, one of my clients likes all of his emails, letters, reports, you name it, written in Arial font size nine. If he hadn’t of told his VA that right at the beginning, she probably would have made a mistake on this subject matter straight away!
Invest a Little Time – Obviously when you first start out together you’ll have to spend a little more time going over things together, but that investment of time will make things easier in the long run, for sure.
Set Solid, but Reasonable Time-lines for Tasks – You should also set reasonable time lines for your tasks. Since you are fundamentally paying your virtual assistant by the hour, you should have a fairly good idea of how long your tasks should take to finish. Communicate these instructions clearly and the terms should be understood by the virtual assistant before he or she starts working. For big or lengthy projects, it is advisable for you to set milestones to ensure that the project is right on schedule.
Build Trust – This kind of remote, virtual business set-up between you and your virtual assistant requires a good working relationship that is based on trust. You may still have some doubts about outsourcing the administrative tasks of your business to a virtual stranger, but if you want virtual assistants to deliver according to your expectations, you have to give them your full trust. As time goes on, your virtual assistant will devote their full attention to provide the support that you need. In the process, they will get to know you better and understand how your business works, allowing them to put more value in the relationship. This is very much the same kind of set-up, as if you were in the same office together.
You can also perform one simple act that makes a lot of difference in your working relationship with your virtual assistant. Give them the credit they deserve. Give positive feedback as a way for you to ‘virtually’ pat them in the back for a job well done. Human beings have this need to be recognized for their worth and your encouragement will spur them on to continue to give their very best.
Follow these tips and you will get a lot more than your money’s worth, I can assure you!
And, back to the NEW STUFF again!:
Getting good support in place, regardless of what you are doing business wise, is the difference between failure and huge success. I don’t believe I am a huge success. Although I know I have achieved a certain amount of it, and I will become a massive success in the future. My GUT tells me so – as well as an online Entrepreneur IQ Test I did at TrumpUniversity.com a couple of years ago, too! 🙂
I’d love to hear about your experiences with PAs, VAs, whatever kind of support systems you’ve all had in place before, or the ideas you have for putting them in place for the future. Bottom line is we can ALL learn from each other on a subject like this. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas!
Over to you… and the Comments Section!