11 Hacks for Getting the Most out of a Virtual Assistant

By Young Entrepreneur Council

Your talented virtual assistant can do much more than schedule meetings. Taking the following actions can not only save hours in your day, but create a meaningful relationship with the person who makes your life that much easier.

A. Create Systems and Document All Tasks for Them to Follow

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Virtual assistants work best when there is a repeatable, documented system that they can follow. Don’t even think about hiring one until you have a few of these systems created and instructions specifically laid out. This way, the virtual assistant can get started immediately, need very little one-on-one training with you, and can do that one task with perfection. – Joshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets

A. Establish a Sense of Ownership

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Your virtual assistant should be a lot more than just your assistant. They are someone you rely on to help you perform your best and make your business run. They need to know how important that role is. By making them feel empowered in that position, and allowing them to grow and share in any business success, they’ll not only get more done, but they’ll be more loyal as well. – Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

A. Encourage and Reward Proactive Behavior

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If you’d like your VA to add more value to your business than just doing the tasks you ask them to, encourage (and/or reward) them to be proactive and create even more work for themselves. At the Rescue Desk, we ask our VAs to be constantly on the lookout for improvements they could make to a client’s business and suggest these to clients. – Lea Woodward, Inspiring Ventures

A. Make Them Part of The Team and Coach Them

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It’s easy to think that because someone is working virtually that they’re separated from your business, but if you’re inclusive in all your communications and you are willing to invest in your relationship with your virtual assistant, you’ll see massive results. I also think that understanding how someone’s work style jives with your own is key. – Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

A. Brainstorm With Your VA

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Making your VA feel like part of your team is key to getting the most out of their time. I brainstorm with my VA all the time and constantly ask her for suggestions. She keeps bringing me interesting suggestions for the goals I want to achieve because she feels that she is part of my team. – Ashu Dubey, 12 Labs

A. Be Clear About Priorities

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VAs are often deluged with a bunch of requests in rapid succession that stack on top of previous requests. Delegators often aren’t keeping track of what they’ve delegated and when those deliverables are due. As priorities shift, proactively communicate with your VA about those changes and build re-prioritization practices. There are only so many things that can be due by the end of the week. – Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing

A. Pair Them With In-Office Employees

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Assign your VA tasks that they must collaborate on with team members who work physically in your office. This will not only make them feel like part of the team but will also ensure that your team’s values and in-office culture is communicated well to the VA. This kind of team work will open up the lines of communication between the assistant and your team, heightening overall VA effectiveness. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com

A. Suss Out the Details Upfront

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Communicate effectively, let your assistant know your expectations, and assign deadlines and establish the ground rules. If you’re clear with your preferences and invest time in the beginning, it will pay off and allow you to concentrate on the core activities of your business. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

A. Set Priorities and Expectations

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The goal of any virtual assistant is to help you become more productive and take some of the administrative tasks off your plate. In order to do so, first decide what it is that you want to outsource to your assistant. Provide specific goals and tasks to the assistant and outline a checklist for them to follow with specific instructions. Try to make it clear to them what is most important to you. – Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

A. Hire Them as if They Were in Your Office

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Treat the virtual assistant hiring process as if it were for an in-office hire — being selective will pay off. Language skills and technical capabilities are only a minimum; make sure you conduct Skype interviews to assess their communication skills and follow up on references as well. Setting up your organization and priorities should be easy later if you’ve put effort into your choice. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

A. Start With the Easier Tasks

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It doesn’t matter how tempted you are to squeeze the juice out every minute of a VA’s time and get the most “bang for your buck” — keep in mind that being remote can lead to a lot of back and forth communication regarding clarification. So start with the easier, self-explanatory tasks, let the VA warm up to your business and working policy, and then gradually build up the task complexity level. – Sohin Shah, SohinShah.com

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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The Virtual Assistant: Today’s Choice for a New Framework

by Maria Grazia Pozzi

Efficient, reliable, multitasking, versatile, strong computer skills, excellent communicator and internet savvy. Remotely. Just an ordinary job ad? Not really, these are some key qualities of an effective Virtual Assistant (VA), but the skill-set is much broader and requires an in-depth understanding of business dynamics and specificities as well as a good dose of entrepreneurship.

There is no doubt that traditional work patterns have, in the last decade, undergone deep changes across Europe; the challenges arising from the global economic crisis have inevitably led to a reorganization of work and to a new way of thinking, leading to innovative approaches and a fundamental shift in the nature of work itself. A new working culture has emerged as a direct result of people’s needs and desire to better match their life-work style. Today the market system is questioning itself as to how integrating such workforce by wiping out the top down, hierarchical and rigid schemes used so far.

Although the concept of a VA is mostly known in the English speaking countries, it is also becoming much more common in Europe where, however, some structural and psychological barriers to changes still persist. Nonetheless, even the most reluctant will have to surrender to this continuing and relentless trend; numbers speak for themselves, the Office of National Statistics reports 4.6 million people self-employed in 2014 in the UK, which is the highest percentage in the past four decades, while the American independent worker population is estimated to reach 24 million by 2018 according to MBO Partners’ study.

“There is a paradigm shift in the mindset of Europeans today in regards to the labour market, which is inherent to the Zeitgeist we are currently living in”, says Danielle Molenaar a full-time VA living in the outskirts of Amsterdam. Born in the Netherlands and raised in Australia, married to a Mexican theologian and philosopher, with four children that she says are “a beautiful mix of European eloquence and Latin temperament”. After twelve years of extensive experience working as an all-round secretary in a small firm, she quitted her job when the company she worked for was sold and so was the staff.

“After a little online research, I discovered that what I had been doing over the last decade actually had a name. Virtual Assistance. I took the plunge and started my own virtual assistant service, Virtual Efficiency five years ago, and acquired a good client base — and income — virtually instantly. My team consists of four dedicated professionals. Most of our time is devoted to website development and maintenance, copywriting (Dutch and English) as well as providing Virtual PA services to clients in the Netherlands, other European countries, the United States and Australia. I truly love what I do and I feel very much a part of a global community.”

“Running a business presents its own unique challenges, but is very rewarding. There is no best business background as it depends on the type of services you wish to offer and there are so many. From Virtual PA services, copywriting, translation, blog management and social media, to web development and maintenance, graphic design. The list goes on. The only things you really need to start a successful business are the correct skills, a lot of experience and a positive mindset. You need to be independent and willing to work long hours. It is very easy to start a business nowadays, and people seem to be doing it on the fly, but it is difficult if you don’t have the correct background or skills.”

As is often the case when personal and professional life get intertwined and sometime merge, there is an event or a story that you will always remember. “That would be when I was in pre-labour with son No. 2 and a client called with the wish to pick up flags he decided he did need for a national convention that was to be held the following day. In the Netherlands we usually have our babies at home, so I said, sure no problem, looked for the flags and placed them by the front door for an easy pick-up. The client arrived when I was in full labour. He rang the doorbell, my husband raced downstairs, handed the flags over to him and raced back upstairs again to me and the midwife. Our son was born about ten minutes later.”

But commitment pays off. “A successful European VA can earn anywhere between €5.000-€8.000 per month on average, working for an hourly rate,” and for those who are thinking of starting a VA career, here are some first-hand tips from Danielle:

“Take a moment and ask yourself: what do I absolutely love doing? Can I develop this skill into a viable business? Am I or is this service a solution to my clients problem? Be sure to write a business plan before you start. And keep in mind that networking and maintaining good contacts is very important as well as establishing a positive online presence and good name. Are you willing to start-up and get in there? Are you excited? Then go for it and follow your dream!”

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Hiring a Virtual Assistant Allows Founders to Focus on Business

by Ritesh Sanghani

Venturing into the world of business, which is brutally competitive, may seem to be cakewalk; but then sustaining oneself is for sure not a cakewalk! If you’re just getting started, learning scenarios and trends becomes the utmost priority. In fact, you need to have enough time on your hands to get hold of market trends. Now, the question is how to get that “adequate time” to explore and understand the ever-changing business sphere.

If you have just started or are in the process of taking your business to the next level, new and unforeseen challenges tend to pop up. You constantly have to be on your toes to handle these challenges and carry on with the routine operations effortlessly. Hiring a virtual assistant will create windows of time to allow you to get back to the business at hand.

In such a situation; you certainly need a “helping hand” who can take care of the trivial-sounding, yet important activities and share your responsibilities. A virtual assistant is that helping hand: the one who effectively handles administrative and other operational activities on your behalf. This will certainly help you to focus more on your core competencies, especially when you are trying really hard to make your startup a big time success, in brutally competitive market.

Consider some of these pointers while you hire a virtual assistant in order to optimize cost and time:

Ascertain if a virtual assistant suits all the needs of your new startup

First and the foremost thing that you need to do is to figure out the tasks that you would want to assign to a virtual assistant and determine whether it will be cost-effective or not. Make a proper analysis of the business and operational activities that you perform the entire a day and are actually time consuming. Analyzing it for an entire week may be a bit tedious, but in that case you can note down minor or less important tasks that sometimes take up more time. It is always advisable to not rule out anything as a task that a virtual assistant cannot do. And then pass on the proper listing to the intended candidate so that you are both clear as to what are your expectations. This will make it easy for both parties and you can avoid any tangles in the future. Also consider that a US based virtual assistant may earn about $15 an hour and an offshore virtual assistant can be hired for as little as $3 to $6 an hour.

Hiring a freelance virtual assistant or from an agency: pros and cons

It will be costlier to hire a virtual assistant who’s working for an agency, but an agency might arrange for an entrepreneur to use multiple assistants to smooth over gaps in availability or in skill sets. A freelance virtual assistant who is not on contract with an agency can result in more personalized attention, however, not to forget that he/she is the only person on the gig. In such cases if it’s an agency they might rotate in multiple virtual assistants for one assignment or pull one away at a whim. Also clearly understand the geographical location of the virtual assistant you are planning to hire, as you would certainly want him to be awake while you are working.

Do your homework properly before creating a job listing

When preparing a detailed job listing for a virtual assistant, always keep a call to action since it merits a response to determine if the applicant has read and understood the description. For example, you can ask the virtual assistant to provide you some sample or example of their latest assignments. This will help to gauge their capabilities and hence prepare the task accordingly to ensure the assigned job is done without any issues.

Keep your eyes and mind open while hiring the assistant

Go through the applications and work profiles of the virtual assistants; get reviews from any references of their previous clients. Thorough interviews needs to be conducted. If you are hiring remotely; having a video conference interview becomes a must and will serve a few purposes. Interviews will reveal the person’s command over English and you should identify the setting that they will possibly be working from. This will help you to determine whether the person is suitable for the job or not.

Last, but not the least, it is all about effective management of assistant

While hiring a virtual personal assistant you can definitely spare your time and share your responsibilities by allocating tasks (it needs to be done smartly and effectively to make it happen.)

Generally speaking, the more lucid and eloquent you are explaining the tasks, the better!

Ideally, good management results in virtual assistants getting enough time to learn and grasp your working style; making them take initiatives leading to an outstanding performance.

Ask your assistants to come up with their feedback; this will give more cordiality to the remote-work arrangement. This is in fact the first step towards flawless management.

Now, when we talk about building good and warm relationships with the client; the decision to trust your assistant with sensitive information like passwords lies solely with you. And in case you are entrusting these details, be cautious and start out with small things, like granting access to social-media accounts.

Lastly, if it is possible to meet your virtual assistant at least once in person; go for it; and if not possible; try to have a video conference at least once in four months.

Startups are like infants; they need constant care and you have to give your blood and sweat to nurture it. In order to pay more attention on the areas of core competencies, passing on the responsibility of non-core, yet crucial task to virtual assistants is the best way.

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Virtual Assistant

by AJ Agrawal

When you’re just starting your company, you never have enough time on your hands. If used correctly, virtual assistants may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

When I started trying to move my company from the founding stages to the growth stage, I noticed my schedule became slammed. New challenges popped up, and I had even less time to do the old tasks I was responsible to handle. Also, the other members of my team had become overloaded with new work as well, so I couldn’t delegate to them. After much research and deliberation, I turned to virtual assistants.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned working with a virtual assistant and some advice on the best way to use them to help your business:

VA1. Interview before hiring.

You should treat hiring a virtual assistant the same as bringing on another member of your team. There are plenty of virtual assistants out there, but the quality differs greatly. For starters, make sure the company you are working with only gives you assistants who know your language. Too many headaches will arise and too much time will be wasted working with someone who does not speak your native tongue.

Second, make sure you ask for a resume before the interview. Look for experience that shows they are motivated and pay attention to details.

Third, when you interview the potential hire, make sure you ask them to let you know why they want to work for your company. To get the best work from them, they need to understand and believe in your company’s mission. A great exercise you can do is ask them to send you at least 20 reasons why they want to work for your company in 24 hours after you interview them. This assignment is great, because it will tell you so much about the candidate. Did they stick to 20 or did they go above and beyond? Did they just make the deadline or was it turned in before time? Were the answers formatted properly? Once you find a virtual assistant who goes above and beyond on the assignment, you’re ready to bring them on board.

2. Organization and instruction are key.

One of the common mistakes with working virtual assistants is that they misinterpret the task. To mitigate the chances of that happening, layout exactly what needs to be done.

For instance, we use virtual assistants to generate leads for our company. If we’re asking them to go on social media, we’ll go through step-by-step how we want them to reach out to clients. This starts with what time they should login, complete the task and log out. One thing to check is how much time it’s taking for your virtual assistant to complete assignments. When you make sure you over communicate, you greatly improve their productivity.

3. Allow them to learn new skills.

As with any member of your team, you want your virtual assistant to grow with your company. You’ll find that virtual assistants love working on tasks that teach them new skills and allows them to grow. To promote this, try assigning more creative tasks to your virtual assistants once you get to know them.

An interesting move I’ve made with our virtual assistants is asking them their opinion on decisions. What I’ve noticed is that when I do this, they feel special because I am asking their advice on something. This causes them to go above and beyond, doing research and analysis before getting back to me with an answer. With some of our virtual assistants, I’ll even ask them what they are most interested in learning. Once I know that, I will try assigning tasks that correlate with what they want to learn. Over time, the closer you get to your virtual assistant, the more you’ll see them as a member and asset to your team.

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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Working With a Virtual Assistant

by Dorie Clark

Like many entrepreneurs, I was introduced to the concept of working with a virtual assistant, or VA, by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. He extolled the benefits of outsourcing repetitive work (or tasks you aren’t good at or don’t enjoy) so you can focus on your most valuable tasks. Lured by the idea of following the 80/20 rule (i.e., spending my time on the 20 percent of activities that generate 80 percent of my returns), for the past six years, I’ve worked off and on with VAs locally and around the world. They’ve handled a variety of tasks for me, including transcription, sharing articles on social media, uploading and formatting blog posts, audio and video editing, writing interview questions, and more.

If you’re considering hiring one — or would like to improve your working relationship with the ones you’re currently contracting with — here are three mistakes to avoid.

1. Failing to scope out your tasks. Well before you hire a VA, it’s useful to make a list of tasks that you’d like them to perform for you. In my case, it includes things like booking travel arrangements, uploading blog posts and sharing articles on social media. Creating an accurate task list can help you select a VA with the right experience and aptitude. Once you hire your VA — either through personal networking, placing an ad or perhaps by using a service such as Zirtual — you’ll also want to put the same level of advance thought into describing each individual task you’d like accomplished. This is especially critical if you’re dealing with an overseas VA whose cultural reference points may be different than yours; they may not understand that booking a Boston to Atlanta flight with a layover in Los Angeles is a very, very bad idea. You can save yourself a great deal of trouble later by being very precise in your instructions and trying to anticipate questions your VA might have or ways things might go wrong.

2. Not making time to review their work. It’s tempting to think that once you hire a VA, you can delegate the task and then forget it. But, at least at first, that’s definitely not how it works. You need to build time into your calendar to review everything they do, so you can catch problems early and offer suggestions and feedback. Some VAs may be hesitant to alert you if they’ve hit a roadblock or don’t understand your instructions. So checking in frequently and monitoring their progress in the early days can ensure they’re not going down blind alleyways trying to follow instructions they’ve misconstrued. It’s easy to get busy and ignore your VA temporarily; they’re not demanding your time the way a client would. But if you want them to be effective, plan at least 30 minutes per day to review their work early on. That gives them timely and actionable feedback, and will save you money because they’re less likely to have to go back and redo tons of work.

3. Not creating a system. One of the best things I did with my most recent VA was developing an “assistant’s manual” prior to her starting the job. I wrote down step-by-step procedures for the most common tasks I’d be asking her to do and put all the relevant information, such as website passwords or frequent flier numbers, into one easy-to-search document. (Depending on the task, you could also consider making online videos to demonstrate procedures to your VA.) That ensured she wasn’t constantly barraging me with basic questions and she could quickly become self-reliant. When she took on a new task, I also instructed her to write up the procedure and include it in the manual, so that it could become an ongoing reference tool for the future. The goal is to enable an easy transition and avoid having to reinvent the wheel when there’s been a long gap in between performing a particular task (such as uploading a blog post to a particular website with its own layout quirks).

Working with a VA can exponentially increase your productivity – but that’s only if you fully leverage their time and talents. You’ll never harness the real benefit if you’re constantly having to clean up mistakes and do things over again. The only way to avoid that is by planning in advance and setting up the systems that will enable them to succeed.

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How a Virtual Assistant Can Improve Your Business

by Kelly Robbins

Whether you are a solopreneur or already have several employees under you, you can benefit from a virtual assistant. Remote workers are becoming more socially accepted within any business framework, especially if they help you to increase your bottom line, while defraying the costs of expanding or running a business. They can be used for secretarial work, although a large number of them can also be called in to help with high level tasks like web programming, blog writing, graphic design, and even translation work. To figure out how a virtual assistant can improve your business take a look at how others use them to enhance their business models.

Top 5 Ways Your Company Can Benefit from a Virtual Assistant

The logistics of running a business are complex, but even more so with every new hire. There are a variety of details that go with adding a new person on board that include training, equipping, and housing the employee. Hiring a new employee is expensive, but most of those issues are not even factors when you hire a virtual assistant. You can benefit by:

1. Hiring Talent without Training – Have an urgent project that demands you get started now? If you hire a virtual assistant with the needed experience, you won’t have to train them to do things they already know. You can even hire virtual assistants that specialize in specific industries from real estate to green industries. While you can’t demand they drop everything and do your project first, you can set deadlines to provide guidelines for when you expect the work to be completed.

2. Saving Money on Equipment – You won’t have to spend money on computers, workstations, key cards, or anything else necessary to do the job. If the project requires graphic design, virtual assistants that specialize in that usually have the software they prefer already at hand. These workers are technically savvy and don’t require a lot of additional support to get started working right away.

3. Expanding Services Remotely – If you want to gain a foothold in a remote market, you virtual assistant can help you do that. They can field sales inquiries, make appointments, and do the legwork in the area that you can’t do yourself. You’ll also have an expert familiar with local customs that can help you market yourself better. If you can’t find the expertise you need in your geographical area, then expand your search remotely by hiring a virtual assistant. According to popular virtual assistant company UAssit.ME, being able to call on a virtual assistant at any time of the day, anytime of the year is one of the biggest benefits according to small business owners.

4. Creating a Flexible Workforce – A virtual assistant is not an employee. They are an independent contractor. As such, you do not require the same level of tax documentation as other types of workers. They aren’t on your payroll 40 hours a week and can be called on only on an “as needed” basis.

5. Leveraging Currency Rates – Many foreign countries offer virtual assistants that are paid based on the prevailing wages in those countries. You can use a currency converter to pay them in their local currency while gaining an advantage based on currency exchange rates and the difference in minimum wages.

These are a few of the many reasons why virtual assistants are becoming more and more popular every day. Businesses trying to stay flexible and reduce costs have learned that hiring independent contractors is the easiest way to achieve this goal. At the same time, companies gain the needed expertise they seek without having to pay top dollar for it. A virtual assistant can take the routine tasks off your hand, as well as the more complex ones you don’t have time for, so that you have time to build up your business more, instead of just maintaining the status quo.

References:

Bankrate (2002) Let a cyber assistant lend a virtual hand. Retrieved from: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/biz/tcb/20020814b.asp

Tabaka, M. Inc (n.d.) Why Fly Solo? Delegate Work to a Virtual Assistant. Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/2008/12/why_fly_solo_delegate_work_to.html

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11 Steps to Successfully Select and Manage a Virtual Assistant

by Ryan Jenkins

The demands on our time have never been more plentiful than in today’s info overload and connected culture. Learning curves are steep and getting steeper and there just isn’t enough time in the day…or is there?

11 Steps to Successfully Select and Manage A Virtual AssistantIn our last post, Finding Freedom: 5 Need-To-Know Answers When Considering A Virtual Assistant, we answered the top questions surrounding virtual assistants and reviewed why I am finally considering hiring a virtual assistant (VA). In today’s post, I describe the necessary steps I plan to follow to secure and manage my future virtual assistant by following the advice in Chris Ducker’s book, Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business.

I hope this post can serve as your next generation catalyst if you find yourself (like me) wanting to work on your business more and in your business less.

1) Identify VA Tasks

  • List tasks you don’t like doing.
    • My List: Updating social media / Editing podcast episodes / Promoting blog posts / Researching and scheduling podcast guests
  • List tasks you don’t know how to do.
    • My List: Logo designs / Website design / Coding / Transcribing blog posts
  • List tasks you feel you shouldn’t be doing.
    • My List: Designing blog post images / Editing, uploading, formatting, and promoting blog and podcast posts / Scheduling podcast interviews / Formatting blog posts

2) Identify VA Responsibilities and Qualities
Identify the core responsibilities and qualities of the virtual assistant. I have listed mine below.

  • Core Responsibilities: Editing, uploading, formatting, and promoting podcast episodes.
  • Skills: WordPress, audio editing, social media, strong communication skills, coach-ability, innovative, accessible, and responsive.
  • Growth Potential: I’m interested in a virtual assistant that is coach-able and continuously developing their skills.
  • Personality: The virtual assistant needs to fit the vibe of our team and have a pulse on culture.

3) Identify VA Success Metrics
Create clear goals, metrics, and timelines so that your virtual assistant knows exactly what is expected of them.
My expectation: Every month 1-2 fully edited podcast episodes are uploaded to iTunes, formatted into a blog post with a captivating image of the podcast guest, and promoted via social media.

4) Identify Cost Structure and Payment Method.
Virtual assistants can be paid weekly, biweekly, monthly, or when a project is completed. Most virtual assistants prefer to be paid via PayPal. Chris recommends paying biweekly as your virtual assistant will appreciate it and will be eager to keep working with you. I plan to pay my virtual assistant biweekly or monthly. (See Part 1 for a list of VA pay ranges.)

5) Search For A VA
Now that you have an idea of how you will utilize a virtual assistant, it’s time to find one. At first, I plan to use oDesk.com to find a part-time podcast editor. Eventually, I’d like to use VirtualStaffFinder.com to hire a general virtual assistant.

To find a virtual assistant using Virtual Staff Finder, you sign up for the recruiting service, submit a job description, and then sit back and relax. You can focus on running your company while the recruiting team does the interviewing, background checks, testing, and additional screening needed to create a finalized list of candidates.

6) Evaluate Your VA
It’s not uncommon to interview your virtual assistant prior to making a selection via phone or Skype. I plan to evaluate my virtual assistant in the following areas:

  • Quality of work.
  • Previous work history.
  • Previous employer testimonies.
  • Response time.

7) Select Your VA
You may want to consider a contract or NDA. If possible, I plan to have my virtual assistant on a trial basis for the first 1-2 projects. Then I will consider creating a contract to secure the virtual assistant for a longer period of time.

8) Train Your VA
Chris stresses that the first person you’ll need to train when working with a virtual assistant is yourself. So true. I anticipate there to be a lot of work on the front end setting expectations, training, and managing. However, I am confident the investment on the front end will pay off on the back-end. I plan to use Screenflow to create video tutorials of the exact work I need my virtual assistant to complete.

9) Manage Your VA
Chris provides a number of tips to manage your virtual assistant that I anticipate following:

  • Tell your VA to come to you with any questions at any time. Let the VA know that if you don’t hear from him or her, you will expect that everything is okay and that the next benchmark will be hit as scheduled.
  • If your VA misses a benchmark, make sure to ask what prevented him or her from meeting the deadline. Find out if your VA will need more time to hit the next benchmark.
  • If your VA does not deliver work on the set benchmark date and did not inform you of the delay, do not contact him or her. Wait for the VA to contact you and immediately address the missed date. Let him or her know that you expect the next benchmark to be different.
  • Create a shared Google Drive document to track hours and activities.
  • Check in with your VA consistently. Chris recommends twice per week.
  • When you e-mail a new task to your VA, write “NEW TASK: (Enter Task Title)” in the subject line. Then have your VA enter this task into the shared document for tracking.
  • Have the VA summarize their work at the end of each day in an email addressing the following:
    • What did you accomplish today?
    • Is there anything you need help with or do you have questions?
    • Do you have any suggestions?

10) Reward Your VA
It’s important to treat your virtual assistant as a valued member of the team. Consider rewarding their hard work with gift cards, handwritten notes, more responsibility (with a pay bump of course), etc.

11) Secure The Right Tools

  • Evernote: document sharing.
  • Asana: to assign and track VA tasks.
  • Dropbox: to share files.
  • Gmail: email communication.
  • Skype: for any live communication.
  • Google Docs: live document collaboration and sharing.
  • WordPress: grant the VA access to your blogging platform so they can post and edit projects.
  • Screenflow: capture sreenshots and video tutorials of the requested workflow for training purposes.
  • Lastpass: grants VA specific access to accounts while protecting your passwords.

Question: How would you use a virtual assistant? What would you outsource if you could?

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