Getting Started with Your Virtual Assistant
For many business owners, C-suite executives, freelancers, and others, the initial hire is not a full-time employee. And because of this, hiring something as simple as a virtual assistant might seem frightening. After all, aren’t VAs tasked with handling all of this? Shouldn’t employing them be low-cost, low-commitment, and simple? In fact, a VA may be all of these wonderful things. But it does not imply that hiring your first virtual assistant will feel familiar. Fortunately, we’ve compiled some crucial guidelines and tools to help you evaluate, choose, and eventually join a VA without feeling like you’re making it up as you go. Here is the information you’ll need.
Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant
You are either working on your business or in it. It’s a frequent difficulty connected with development for many entrepreneurs and executives: you’re no longer in the “bootstrap” stage and are now producing enough steady revenue that time, not money, becomes your primary worry. You must employ a virtual assistant because you need an additional set of hands.
However, employing a virtual assistant does not always imply that you are replacing yourself. You will continue to have executive authority to handle things your way. You’ll still get final approval. You will still be able to plan the workday and give tasks to your virtual assistant.
How can you choose when to engage a virtual assistant?
- When you discover that there are insufficient hours in the day. Even if many entrepreneurs glorify the traditional practice of working 10-hour days and expect maximal success based only on work ethic, you will reach a point when working harder than necessary is no longer rational. A VA may assist with this aspect of the procedure.
- When you realize you are lacking in some talents. What if you are willing to do data input but are unfamiliar with Excel spreadsheets? Is it really more efficient to do everything yourself when an expert in data entry can do the task in half the time?
Therefore, it is essential to engage a virtual assistant (VA) if you have a large number of minor, repetitive, or tedious activities to which you can no longer devote your whole focus productively. If you value your time at $100 per hour, outsourcing some fundamental office activities to a virtual assistant who earns far less is a lucrative decision. and it’s the correct decision.
How to Gauge the Right VA Hire for You
The first step may seem extraneous, but as the process continues, you’ll see that it’s crucial. At this point, you should narrow down your goals so you don’t have to question if the VAs you see later are the correct ones for you. If you execute this step correctly, the remainder of the procedure will develop organically.
It begins with gaining a vital grasp of the kinds of jobs for which you will frequently want assistance. You may already be aware of this, but you may also discover that the concept of “having more time in your day” is far more vague than you ever imagined. However, you are likely not being clear enough.
Let’s narrow down some of the most popular “categories” of virtual assistants. Try to determine your major requirements here:
- Administrative: administrative assistants who manage office administration, scheduling responsibilities, email management, travel reservations, and other company issues.
- Marketing virtual assistants are capable of handling content management, content calendars, marketing software and sales funnel management, as well as customer relationship management.
- Social media virtual assistants have expertise on one or more platforms. Typically, these virtual assistants have extensive expertise with marketing on these platforms, maintaining postings, contacting others, and reacting to consumers.
- Industry-specific virtual assistants have expertise in real estate, for example, or working with consultants or life coaches who must maintain constant communication with each client.
- Writer VAs may be crucial to the process; they can do the required research to complete the writing. And since VAs are adept at eliminating frequent business-related distractions, authors will have more time to concentrate on the creative work that drives their company.
- eCommerce VAs that are familiar with platforms such as Shopify or Amazon and can assist you with operating an online business on these platforms.
- Technical VAs who excel in tasks such as data entry, data management, IT, and IT security. Rather than depending only on the activities you presently do, a technical VA will provide you with a fresh perspective on how you might achieve your company’s objectives. Engage a technical VA to see whether there are more efficient methods to do business at your company.
- Small company virtual assistants may have a broad variety of expertise in assisting small companies in growing, and may use this knowledge to help you identify some of your most crucial areas for future development.
As you can expect, this is just a general overview of the normal VA duties. Some talents may overlap; for instance, a social media VA with experience may also have marketing knowledge and be able to do administrative chores in the office.
The trick, though, is to examine these talents and determine which ones will be required most often. Which abilities will be repeated? What will be their recurring responsibilities?
This requires examining your existing routine and determining what activities consume the majority of your time, as well as how to detach yourself from these activities.
What You Should Know Before Vetting Potential Virtual Assistants
How can you determine if a virtual assistant is qualified? There are many important factors to consider:
- Training. A virtual assistant should have training in the majority of the essential tasks you want them to do. For instance, suppose you want to employ someone to assist you with your Pinterest store. Can they provide evidence of this experience and training, or is this their first time dealing with it?
- Accreditations/qualifications. It never hurts to check at a person’s schooling and credentials; this demonstrates that not only do they have a background in what you’re looking for, but they’ve also made it a priority for their future job.
- Their experience. When recruiting a candidate, direct, relevant experience is the most accurate indicator of future success. Obviously, this is not the only method of vetting a candidate, as anybody who has employed a large number of employees knows. However, if a virtual assistant can show that they have performed comparable responsibilities in a previous role, you will know that they will have a good foundation from which to work.
- Your experience. It will ultimately depend on your interaction with the VA. Keep this in mind: if you check out a VA for one month and discover that they have a “knack” for something you didn’t expect, there’s no need to disregard their talents only because this expertise wasn’t featured on their résumé.
Evaluation of a virtual assistant may be a very individual process. There is no “proper” or “wrong” method to do the task. Ultimately, you will be in command of what occurs after the VA begins working for you. You are the only one who is aware of your expectations. However, it is essential that you understand these expectations and match them with your hiring.
Creating Your Onboarding Document
One of the most effective ways to onboard a virtual assistant is to produce a document titled “onboarding” that covers the most crucial facts you’ll need to convey. This document is not only an excellent method to keep oneself organized, but it will also guarantee that the VA can go to a single page when they need to know the next steps. Effective onboarding means that you provide clear expectations for the next tasks of the individual. It also minimizes the learning curve and expedites the employee’s convergence on the same page. The majority of workers should assume that 80 percent of their duties may be outlined in an onboarding form and delegated to a virtual assistant. In other words, the onboarding paper might be the deciding factor between a VA who wants to resign and one who sees a future with the organization. Here are some items that should be included in your onboarding document:
- A list of the accounts they will use. While it’s OK to provide a virtual assistant with the access they need to do their duties, one of the most effective methods to guarantee that your VA can be “plugged in” to your system is to establish new user accounts with the applications you use most often. This is particularly helpful if you are onboarding a virtual assistant to help administrate something, such as a Slack team.
- Instructions for repeatable tasks. Each day, will the VA be responsible for a certain activity, such as emptying your email inbox? Then, develop a dedicated section for this to outline what the assignment entails, what they’ll need to know to execute it, and what must be done once the task has been finished to guarantee that everything ends up where it should.
- List all of the relevant contact information necessary to do their job. Your email address, phone number, website address, and the contact information of anybody else who may need to be contacted as part of this VA’s responsibilities are all essential. Ensure that they are not always relying on you to answer their inquiries. Answer as many of the following questions as possible in the onboarding paper.
- Expectations. Some individuals become unsatisfied with their employment because they were not given fair expectations from the beginning. It is your job to inform an employee of the expectations they will face while working for your company. Mention any prospects for advancement within the role, how you intend to provide feedback, and what you anticipate within the first several weeks.
Suggestions for Getting Started with Your VA
Still uncertain about what to assign your virtual assistant on the first day? Not to worry; you are not alone. It might be an unexpectedly aggravating aspect of the experience. Since you’ve been handling all of this additional work for so long, you should be delighted to pass it over to a VA, right?
But you’d be astonished. Many individuals who employ a VA for the first time must overcome initial reservations, such as:
- Delegating something that you think you’re good at. Suppose you are a freelancer who has managed your own sales funnel for years. You’ve amassed a solid customer base, so you must know what you’re doing, right? And a VA will never address the details that make you so skilled. Well, if you employ a virtual assistant with expertise in sales, cold emails, and CRM, you may discover that you weren’t all that good at it to begin with. Be open to delegating these duties.
- Letting someone do something without supervision Initially, it may be tempting to “look over their virtual shoulder” after hiring a virtual assistant. Counter the temptation. Try to assess your virtual assistant based on the outcomes they provide. When this occurs, it is time to offer input..
With these two guidelines in mind, let’s examine a comprehensive list of the jobs you may delegate to a virtual assistant:
- Scheduling and calendar maintenance
- Email inbox management and communication follow-ups
- Handling phones
- Making appointments
- Managing traveling logistics; making travel arrangements
- Handling food logistics for meetings
- Managing a remote team
- Managing contact lists
- Data entry
- Office minutes
Marketing and Social Media.
- Handling a social media calendar
- Managing social media replies
- Handling outreach via social media
- Creating a content calendar
- Managing Social Media Advertisements
- Responding to customer queries
- Interacting and networking with industry professionals
- Handling cold email outreach
- Managing CRM software
- Search engine optimization
- Keyword research
- Updating CRM software
- Writing/drafting new blog posts
- Handling graphic design for projects
- Graphic design for marketing materials
- Creating press kits, etc.
- Editing blog posts and business content
- Assembling slide presentations
- Assisting in the creation of information products
- Creative feedback on projects
- Interviewing and research for writing projects
- Data entry and data management
- IT security
- Password updates
- Security compliance
- Repairing/fixing software bug issues
- Dealing with customer support externally
- Web analytics
- Online eCommerce reporting
- Online eCommerce analytics
Picking Your Initial Tasks
Whew. That was a lot. Still with us?
You are not required to assign any of these jobs immediately. Ensure that you work your virtual assistant gently initially, beginning with a few crucial tasks. Here’s how to choose your own:
- Start with your routine tasks. You may not always need someone to run analytics or prepare a speech, but you may need someone to constantly answer the phone. If this is the case, begin their assignments with the usual duties they must master immediately.
- Create a trial period for feedback. Certainly, you may instruct a VA to review the above list and start to work. However, they will have more questions than answers. It is essential that you establish a “onboarding” phase during which you interact with your virtual assistant, answer their queries, and assess their performance.
Regarding this last issue, it is helpful to understand the proper approach to feedback. Once you’ve chosen a few chores for the initial period, it’s important to learn how to engage with your virtual assistant as they begin their work.
Giving Your Virtual Assistant Feedback
Obviously, any comprehensive onboarding paper is an excellent way to get started. However, it is impossible to foresee every question a VA may ask.
Therefore, we propose beginning with a trial period. For instance, suppose you wanted to employ a VA for one month. During this month, you should allow the VA to determine how you would like to do business.
What’s important here is your willingness to receive feedback. Be receptive to the VA’s recommendations on how they can maximize their performance, or how you may optimize your own strategy. The benefit of employing someone with specialized knowledge in your area of need is that they might provide suggestions you may not have considered.
For instance, you may have a sales funnel that is quite loose. A virtual assistant who has used a particular kind of CRM software may not only recommend a better structured technique for tracking customer contacts but also aid you in implementing a new system that streamlines your whole sales process.
We appreciate the comments. It is a component of any business’s development process to abandon outdated practices. Inviting someone to take on administrative responsibilities is a terrific approach to delegating the jobs you dislike the most. Utilize this chance to delegate the to-do list to a virtual assistant. They may very well surprise you.
Ensure that you offer your virtual assistant with feedback. They need to know whether they are doing their duties correctly. Do not offer them a one-month trial period and then terminate them if you are not satisfied with their job. Instead, provide feedback on how they can improve. Test their adaptability.
Building a Business Relationship with Your Virtual Assistant for the Long Term
In this resource, we have walked you through a number of steps. If we were to compare it to a flight, we have discussed the pre-flight checklist and how to get the aircraft airborne. But what about the actual flight? How can you and your virtual assistant establish a successful, long-term business relationship?
- Set clear expectations from the outset. This is one of the reasons why we believe an onboarding document is important and why we included a section on defining expectations. It might be upsetting if the VA’s responsibilities were changed often. It is preferable to be transparent about what may change, what is unlikely to change, and what you anticipate.
- Get into a routine. There’s nothing wrong with having a little regularity for your VA. They work from home and often value a consistent revenue stream. They benefit much from the opportunity to schedule their days, and as they practice this pattern with your company, they may become more efficient at it.
- Provide an outlet for long-term feedback. It is usual for full-time workers to get performance assessments; why not for VAs? The method makes sense for all parties involved and allows for longer-term “course corrections.”
- Once you get comfortable with your initial tasks, look for what else you can delegate to continue to unlock your own time. As your connection with your VA develops, your confidence in their skills will rise. This requires detaching yourself from your own company, frequently to the point where you no longer feel the need to visit your own workplace. You may also have their VA assist with managerial tasks so that they can learn how to build your firm without your presence. As is the case with any commercial relationship, the potential outcomes are limitless.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant with VA FLIX
Suppose you have an onboarding document, a clear notion of who you want to recruit, and a basic list of activities for which you want assistance from virtual assistants. What will you do next? Your next step is to choose a location that is as committed to finding you your ideal VA as you are.
VA FLIX assists C-level executives, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and corporations in outsourcing more chores by pairing them with the ideal virtual assistant for their company model. We use a network of virtual assistants and designate a staffing manager at the onset in order to eliminate some of the hurdles you may have encountered when using this resource.
Rather than relying on guesswork, we will assist you in finding the ideal virtual assistant.
You shouldn’t feel like you’re playing a guessing game when hiring your first virtual assistant. Instead, you should follow a step-by-step approach for quick success with your first hire. This can help remove guessing, foster clear communication, and guarantee that you choose a virtual assistant who can contribute to the growth of your organization.