Updated: Oct 13, 2020
So you’ve decided to start working with a virtual assistant. Great! But how does that work? Where do you even start? What will that look like?
A virtual assistant can change the game, but only if you play your cards right and know how to take full advantage of your virtual assistant’s services. Choosing the right virtual assistant can take your business to the next level and let you focus on the bigger picture or the things you love most.
Here are some key things to focus on as you find and start working with your first VA.
Find the Right Virtual Assistant for Your Business
In order to find the right Virtual Assistant for your business, you need to know what areas or tasks you’d like your Virtual Assistant to help with. Are you looking for someone to handle administrative tasks like calendar management, scheduling, and data entry? Or website and blog management? Or maybe social media management - creating a content calendar, managing your groups, creating graphics or visual content, and scheduling your posts across all platforms? Or maybe some sort of unique combination of all three?
Once you know what tasks you’d like your virtual assistant to perform, you can narrow your search to virtual assistants who specialize in those areas. Then, you can find the right one for you that helps you better manage your time and take care of tedious or time consuming tasks.
Prioritize and Think About Budget
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. Not having "enough time" is a common issue among all of my clients. This might be because you have too many items on your "to do" list. Now that you know which general areas you'd like help with, what are the top three tasks you'd love to outsource (to your VA, of course)? What are the things you'd like to say you've taken off your plate? Assign an amount of time it typically takes to complete each of those tasks. Then, think about your budget. How much do you have to invest in a VA each month? Keep this in the back of your mind, but have an understanding of where you need support and what tasks you'll likely hand over prior to scheduling a discovery call. I lost track of calls that were spent trying to sort this out rather than talking about the tasks in more detail. I'm here to help any overwhelmed business owner sort this out, but this tip will allow you to make the most of your 20-30 minute conversation.
Schedule a Discovery Call
I offer a complimentary discovery call to anyone considering my services. This allows us to have a brief conversation about what a business owner is seeking in a Virtual Assistant, what tasks they'd like to delegate, what's working with their existing processes (and what isn't), and what goals they're working toward, both short term and long term.
This call isn't just an interview for the potential client. It's an interview for the VA as well. It's so critical that the relationship is the right fit on both sides, and this gives you a chance to decide whether it's worth pursuing further.
Review the Proposal
Following the discovery call, your Virtual Assistant will send over a proposal. It should include all of the tasks you discussed during your call and some pricing options. Typically, I include a few packages to choose from, so the client has the flexibility to select the one that fits their budget the best. If the most expensive choice works for you and you feel ready to hand over multiple tasks at once, by all means, jump in! However, it's also okay to start with one of the more economical options and work up to the more expensive package. Not only will this help with your comfort level, but it will allow you and your VA to grow together.
When bringing on a new team member, it's sometimes difficult to feel comfortable handing over some of your tasks and responsibilities. Rather than delegating everything at once, start small. Begin with one or two tasks or two to three hours of work per week. Then, increase the workload and billable time after a couple of months. Starting small like this will make for a more seamless transition and a solid relationship to be formed between you and your new virtual assistant.
Sign All Onboarding Documents
If everything looks great, you'll need to sign a contract with your new VA. Sometimes, there is a Policies and Procedures document to review or other materials your assistant will share with you, prior to starting work. Make sure you've signed on the dotted line in all of the necessary places. (Oh, and I think it goes without saying that your new relationship should always have a contract in place. This legal document will protect you and the VA if things ever go unexpectedly.)
Share All the Details
Congratulations! You have a new Virtual Assistant! Now, it's time to share the details! What passwords will your new Virtual Assistant need to access your accounts? Are there any details you didn't discuss during your call? Sometimes, it's necessary to schedule one more onboarding call to share all of those logistics, but it could also be a matter of sending a follow up e-mail or setting up an account on LastPass, Passcamp, or another similar site to share any login information that might be needed. Simply be sure your new team member has everything they need to get started, prior to your contract start date.
Use a Project Management Tool
You have your new virtual assistant taking over tasks bit by bit, but that won’t solve everything - you need to get organized! Have you ever lost your productivity and shut down, simply because you got overwhelmed? It's happened to me. I absolutely understand. There are so many things on your "to do" list and you're wearing so many hats that you have no idea where to begin. Never mind the fact that you’ve started delegating tasks and you suddenly can’t keep track of who’s doing what. Take a little nugget of advice from me: start using a project management tool.
If you're not already using one, it will at least get you started with a sense of structure and organization. There are a number of choices: Asana, Slack, Trello, Monday, etc. If you're overwhelmed by the choices, give one a try to see how you like it. If it's not your thing, try one more. Chances are, you'll find one that gets you back in the task completion groove in no time, and you’ll always know who’s in charge of what.
Watch Your Business Grow
With a new Virtual Assistant on board, you'll likely have more time for other tasks, whether it's spending time with your clients and customers, putting other pieces in place to help your business grow, or spending time on things outside of the office that may not have received appropriate attention before. The biggest noticeable change clients have mentioned is a dramatic decrease in the amount of stress in their lives.
So, let's get started!