First, we will need to clarify who a Virtual Assistant is.
A virtual assistant is generally self-employed and provides remote professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients from a home office.
This has become a highly utilized sector as the ability to work virtually due to technology improvements, such as high-speed Internet, document sharing, and other advancements, made working remotely a reality. Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and businesses that need help, but don’t want to bring on staff in their location.
What do Virtual Assistants do?
We work with our clients through diverse administration processes with transparency, instilling confidence, surpassing office expectations, and adding value to their businesses. I am personable, approachable, and easy to work with A VA can do anything any other support staff does, except you lunch. (Although a VA can call you one!). However, virtual support duties are not limited to administrative work. Many VAs provide marketing, social media, web design and other services. A basic list of services include:
• Calendar management
• Email management
• Social media management
• Appointment setting
• Marketing and PR
• Graphic creation
• Website management
• Customer support
• Project management
• Travel booking
• Customer service
Note: You should get your basic VA Service List on contact.
1. Establish your workflow from the onset.
Do you expect your VA to be available at certain hours of the day, everyday? Or can they mostly work on longer tasks and just give weekly updates? Set expectations for when you want to be online and available to reduce the frustration from not being able to reach your VA when you need them the most.
Discuss your potential task list with your VA. By giving your VA an idea of your workload, they can better prepare for it. Ask them to send you a weekly (or daily or monthly) breakdown of tasks they’ve done and how long it took each task.
State your preferred communication, whether by phone or IM or email. Tell them how you prefer to be reached, at what times and for which problems. You don’t want to have your VA sending you an email when they should have called about a question on a time-sensitive project, and conversely, you don’t want them calling you at all hours of the night for trivial questions.
2. Give very detailed instructions.
When writing instructions, be as specific as possible. Make it as thorough as possible for a good kick-off. Show an example of a previously finished task if possible. Or give them an example to follow.
3. Communicate using the appropriate tools.
A good VA will be able to use your preferred communications medium, whether it’s voice calls, instant messaging, video conference or email.
Remember that a speaking medium is faster than writing and typing. So once you are confident they understand your needs so you can have less detailed instructions, try to integrate faster communication methods into your workflow. However, for longer project-like tasks, written instructions are better so your VA can reference it.
Email is great as a primary medium as you get to send out instructions or tasks and get delivery through same. IM or SMS is especially good for asking quick questions while doing the task.
4. Always ask VA to confirm understanding of task when assigning one.
For example, you can add one or more of the following into your instructions:
• Do you have any question about the task?
• Is there anything you are not clear about?
5. A check in midway, if you can spare the time.
If you have the time to, you can ask for a draft of ongoing task from VA midway through the task to know if task is going according to expectation and if you need to add instructions.
These basic steps will aid as you make the move to outsource daily or routine tasks – clearing up your table (so to say) so you can focus on making money.