When the time comes to grow your business, partnering with a virtual assistant can be one of the most beneficial, life changing steps that you can take on the path to your entrepreneurial success. A well-matched virtual assistant should be like a business partner who is invested in the success of your business. Investing in the proper systems and making time for the on-boarding process can be the key to accomplishing your business goals. When you prepare and invest in the partnership with your virtual assistant, it can be like joining forces, increasing your productivity by more than 50%. When done properly, this can quickly launch your business to the next level. To get started leveling up in your business, read on for my 5 steps to preparing for a successful virtual assistant partnership.
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1. Create a List of Tasks to Delegate
During your initial consultation, you’ve probably already discussed your needs with your virtual assistant but it’s important to keep the task list up-to-date for easy reference for both of you as you begin to assign tasks. Even if you’re only beginning with one or two tasks, it’s helpful to provide your virtual assistant with an idea of what else may be coming down the pipeline later. A good virtual assistant will keep this list of tasks organized in a project management system so nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Organize your Systems and Workflow
Before kicking off work with your first virtual assistant, make note of your repetitious tasks, or the projects where you know you’re falling short, and document the “how to” steps so that your virtual assistant can take over those tasks for you. When making your list, ask yourself these questions. Can most of the tasks be assigned on a recurring daily, weekly, or monthly basis? How often will you require reporting and updates on these tasks? What other tasks can you take off your to-do list immediately?
3. Create Clear Instructions
When you plan to walk through the assignments, whether by telephone, Skype or email, setting out clear instructions will ensure that your virtual assistant knows exactly what you are looking for. The less that your virtual assistant has to read between the lines, the more that they’ll be able to hit the ground running. The more detail that you can provide, the less room there will be for error and confusion. Once my clients have explained a task or project to me, I like to follow up with an email outline of our call to verify that I understood exactly what they were looking for.
4. Set Expectations
Clarify deadlines, urgency, and priorities so that your virtual assistant can start to see the big picture and learn to share your vision for your business. If you require quick turn around time, or expect your assistant to be able to return emails or take phone calls on short notice, verbalize those expectations so that everyone is on the same page. A good virtual assistant wants to be available to meet your needs when you need them the most. Establish your preferred form of communication; email is a critical tool when it comes to virtual work, but if you have other communication preferences, particularly for urgent matters, your virtual assistant will want to know the best way to reach you and vice versa. Some clients like the phone, some like to use apps like Slack, and some people prefer text message or emails. Every person is different, as a virtual assistant I find it essential to communicate with my clients in whatever mode works best for them.
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5. Provide Feedback
At the beginning of your partnership, it will be important to check-in with your virtual assistant to give them feedback about the work that they’ve produced. Constructive feedback of what you’d like adjusted and confirmation of what’s exactly on track is extremely helpful to your virtual assistant as they start to learn the ropes of your business practices and culture.
Delegating projects to a virtual assistant you can trust is a key step in freeing up your time and growing your business. Preparation is the key to kicking of that relationship; it will take a bit of time for your virtual assistant to acquire the knowledge that you hold in your head and in your habits. When you and your virtual assistant follow this partnership structure, you’re sure to have a smooth on-boarding process and a successful partnership that will take you and your business to the next level of success.
In this workbook, I will tell you exactly what you want to look for from a virtual assistant to make sure you pick the best to work at your small business!