If you’re like me, you have a virtual assistant that is pretty exciting and beneficial to your business success by saving a business around 60%. Plus, you can imagine all the extra time that will free up for you to focus on more important things! But even if you’ve never hired one before, there are still some realities about managing your own VAs (virtual assistants) that might not be so obvious at first—and those realities can get in the way of getting everything done on your agenda. So, here are some life hacks I’ve learned through trial and error over the years to get the most out of your virtual assistant!
Set a schedule
Setting a schedule is the first step in getting more out of your virtual assistant. A schedule is essential because it helps you stay organized and finish things on time. Your virtual assistant can help by sending reminders when they are due, but only if you’ve already laid the groundwork by setting a regular schedule.
Setting a schedule involves creating the actual schedule, sticking to it, and communicating with your virtual assistant about it. As for making the exact schedule, there are many different ways: some people prefer using software like Google Calendar; others use pen-and-paper, and others prefer using their smartphones’ built-in calendar apps (like those found on Android phones). Whatever method works best for you should be used when setting up your weekly/monthly plans with your remote assistant, as well as any other tasks that need frequent attention from those who employ their services regularly (e.g., doctor’s appointments).
Now, stick to them!
Once these plans have been made – digitally or physically – stick with them! Don’t let anyone else interfere with what has been agreed upon previously unless necessary; otherwise, chaos may ensue as everyone tries to work around these changes instead of having them occur naturally over time according to what has already been decided upon during planning sessions before anything ever hit paper or screen…or whatever mediums exist today!
Track your time
Use a time-tracking tool to track your time on tasks and the time spent on emails, meetings, and phone calls. But also record other activities (e.g., social media and administrative work).
Create a task list.
Creating a task or a “to-do” list is a good idea. This will help you stay on top of things and ensure your virtual assistant works efficiently.
- Put the task list where everyone can get to it quickly—not just in your email inbox.
- In addition to listing tasks, including deadlines and any required notes about the project or deliverables.
- You can use a spreadsheet, such as Excel or Google Sheets, or an app that tracks projects for this purpose (e.g., Todoist). If you prefer pen and paper over technology, go ahead!
Give your assistant more responsibility.
Consider giving them more responsibility as your virtual assistant becomes more proficient in their tasks. As time progresses and you begin to trust your remote assistant more, you can give them additional charges or projects beyond what they initially agreed to perform.
- For example, if the virtual assistant is responsible for entering data from invoices into a spreadsheet and has accounting work experience, consider asking them to do that.
- This approach is good because it will help develop trust between employer and employee while allowing the VA to gain new skills without risk.
Review things regularly
It’s a good idea to set up a schedule for your reviews. Suppose you can try to do them at least once a week. You should review things in person or over the phone. It’s best to do them on the same day of the week and at the same time (usually after lunch).
Reviewing with your virtual assistant is essential because it allows you to communicate with her and ensure that she understands everything that needs to be done. It also allows her to ask questions about anything unclear or confusing before moving forward.
Chart a growth plan.
Your virtual assistant is more of an employee than a freelancer. This means you should treat them like any other team member and provide them with growth opportunities to increase their value to the company. You can do this by regularly meeting with them to discuss ways they can expand their skill set and take on new responsibilities. It’s also essential that you set clear expectations around their job description. Hence, they know what’s expected at every level of their career trajectory at your company (which includes knowing what it takes to get promoted). Additionally, providing access to training resources will allow them to continue learning once they’ve mastered all the tasks currently on their plate or have reached whatever milestone is appropriate for someone entering that role positionally within the organization.
Give them support
If you want your virtual assistant to succeed, it’s essential to support them.
- Make sure you have a good working relationship with them. If you don’t trust or like your remote assistant, the partnership won’t work.
- Please ensure both parties are on the same page about expectations and how they expect the relationship to go. Everyone must know what types of work will be done, how quickly it needs to happen, and when deadlines are expected.
- Don’t under-communicate—it’s easy for miscommunication between team members when working remotely, but try your best not to!
Be clear about your expectations.
First and foremost, be clear about what you want. It would be best if you were specific about the details of your project so there are no misunderstandings. Give examples of what you need so they understand what you’re looking for and can provide options that fit your project’s scope. Ensure they know their role in this situation: if it’s something they’ve never done, ask them to explain their current knowledge level on the subject matter or task.
Be specific with details and instructions.
The first step to getting the most out of your virtual assistant is giving clear instructions. When working with a remote assistant, assuming they will know what you want done without explaining yourself is easy. However, it might be time for intervention if you doubt whether your tasks are being completed correctly.
“Make sure all my notes from yesterday are included in the report.”
“Please ensure all my yesterday’s notes are included in the report by 1 pm today.”
Create training documents and a knowledge base for processes and information they need.
A big part of the value of virtual assistants is that they can take on tasks that you don’t have time to do or aren’t an expert at.
So, it’s essential to ensure they’re getting the most out of it, too! You’ll want to create training documents and a knowledge base so they know how your business works and what needs doing. These documents should cover the following:
- How to use specific software (for example, Mailchimp)
- Also, how to use a particular process (for example, how we handle onboarding clients)
- How to find information (for example, where we store specific files on our network)
There is much more than this, but these are just some examples!
Show your appreciation for work well done!
The most important thing you can do for your virtual assistant is to show them that you value their work. A simple “thank you” can go a long way, but it’s also important to recognize their contributions publicly when appropriate.
One way to do this is by including their name in press releases or other media coverage of any projects they helped with if they were responsible for completing a piece of content, including their name in the byline, so others know who wrote it (and so they feel appreciated).
Another way to show your appreciation is with public recognition via social media: retweeting an article written by one of your virtual assistants or sharing one of their tweets about something interesting that’s going on in the world will not only boost their confidence but also allow others within your network to see what an asset your virtual assistant has become!
Keeping track of your tasks and training your assistant can get you much better results than assigning them to-dos willy-nilly.
Tracking your tasks lets you focus on what is essential and helps you prioritize where your time is best spent. It also helps keep track of what has already been done so that nothing falls through the cracks or gets forgotten, which can be a real problem when you have many different projects simultaneously.
Training an assistant will help them be more efficient in their work, as well as allow them to take on more responsibilities so that they can do more for you without having them bogged down with mundane tasks like data entry or filing paperwork that takes hours just because no one knows how else it should be done.
You can see many ways to get the most out of your virtual assistant. It’s important to remember that they aren’t just there to take care of all the small stuff in your business—they’re also there to help you grow and learn how to run things more efficiently.