• Matty Panagopoulos

How to work well with your Virtual Assistant

Running your own business isn’t easy. When you think about all the tasks that you have to carry out on a day-to-day basis, as well as some of the more intricate aspects of making sure that your business is running as efficiently as possible can be somewhat overwhelming. Hiring a virtual assistant could help with all of these tasks, but how can you work well with your virtual assistant?

With admin, finances and marketing, all critical tasks that need completing, you can sometimes feel that you simply do not have enough hours in the day. So, apart from adding more hours into the day, which let's face it, is not possible, what can you do?

Virtual assistants (VA) provide an outsourced, remote service that covers a wide variety of business support and tasks. This includes bookkeeping and finance as well as admin jobs too.

Working with someone who is helping you virtually can be perceived as not always the easiest thing in the world to do. This is not the case, after all, there are so many ways to stay connected in today's world as well as benefits to hiring a VA - a person who has the skills you need.

A key benefit, for example, is a VA would save you money as they have their own office, use their equipment, and pay their own tax. They don’t require holiday, sick pay or pension contributions.

A VA would also save you time taking on tasks that can be outsourced. This means you will spend less time doing administrative work and freeing up more time working on your business.  Most VA’s do take a sincere interest in helping you grow your work and business. It could even free up some personal time - time spent with family, a break, or simply getting some balance and time back for relaxing.

So, what can you do to make sure that you get the most out of working with a VA?

Be patient at the start

Settling into any job can take a little while to find your feet. It doesn’t matter if you work directly within a company or work remotely for someone, and this is exactly the same for a VA and starting to work with you-you need to be patient. Understand that it is going to take a little time for you both to learn how best to work with one another, understand the business and find that perfect fit.

Set up a suitable working process

The more organised you are in setting up the processes with your VA at the start, the easier it will be to communicate with one another and the quicker it will be to do so effectively. Make sure your work processes are simple, whether you work using Google Drive, Office 365, Skype or Slack to name a few, being organised, staying connected and communicating is the key. That way you can see each other’s work easily, collaborate, communicate which eliminates time wasting and back & forth emails or phone calls.

Set Expectations and Deliverables

Once you have set up work processes that work for you, both parties will be more aware of what is expected. Both you and your VA have a responsibility to stick to agree workload, tasks, deadlines and then deliver what is required. If your VA needs information to complete a task, it is up to you to ensure that they have that information. Likewise, it is the VA’s job to then deliver the completed task in a timely manner. When setting work, agree on a deadline, and ensure clear communication to prevent delays from happening.

Always be clear with your instructions

Following on from setting expectations and deliverables, it is essential to remember it isn’t always easy to work remotely with someone, especially since they might not be on the end of the phone or at the other side of the office, should you have a query for them. One key aspect of working with a VA is to provide clear instructions. Make sure that they know what you want and what you expect them to do. That way, there can be no confusion or mistakes later on in the process.

Don’t be concerned about sending too much information

When working with a VA you may sometimes worry that you are providing too much information and that there will be too many documents for them to read through.  However, the more information that you can share, the better. More information means that they have more to work with, and if any questions pop up then they may find the answer they need in the documentation that you send.

Regular Communication and Contact

Whilst it is important to set up effective work processes to prevent unnecessary time wasting calls or emails. It is still essential to remain in regular contact with your VA, so that they can be kept up to date of any information that they may need. With a wide variety of communication tools available the options are endless - so find the right one for you and your VA.

Debrief on projects and provide feedback

Debriefing on projects is an important aspect of working with your VA. This way, when working on future projects or tasks, your VA has a better understanding of the way that you like work to be presented, your tone of voice or anything else that will improve and make their work more efficient in the future.   

Whether it is a little help with admin, keeping track of your receipts or perhaps just someone to help you claim back some of your precious time, there are a number of reasons to hire a VA for your business. So, why not hire one today? You never know how much of a helping hand that it could be.