Ensuring success with your virtual assistant is not a piece of cake, much like hoping for a successful marriage, or any relationship, for that matter.
All relationships need work, and good people skills are a vital necessity for a successful virtual assistant. We need to understand our clients and their needs.
You, the client, can also do a lot to help guarantee success with your virtual assistant. So what can you do? Let’s have a look at some ways you can improve your relationship with your VA, and avoid personality and professional clashes (we will leave the Titans out of it for now.)
#1 Appreciate that they are also business owners
The words FREELANCER and CONTRACTOR get thrown around as if they all mean the same thing.
There are important differences between them and most Virtual Assistants don’t fall into either category.
For example, I am not a freelancer, I am not a contractor. I am a business owner, just like you. I have been for 12 years, possibly a lot longer than you.
This provides massive advantages for both of us.
What you do NOT need to do:
- Manage your VA
- Monitor your VA
- Manipulate your VA
Manage your VA
Your VA manages themselves and their own professional affairs. They also manage their work and will report to you as per your agreed terms outlined in your contract.
Monitor your VA
You have already agreed a course of action (among many other things) with your VA.
They will report back to you as per your agreed milestones / deadlines outlined in your contract.
Manipulate your VA
You don’t need to coerce your VA to do the work that they agreed to do as per your agreed terms outlined in your contract.
If your VA does not do the work in a professional manner, within the timescale agreed, and on budget; that will also cost them time, reputation, and trust.
So now perhaps you understand better WHY we work so hard to deliver the best work we can, beyond your expectations.
#2 They are experts in their chosen field
Most of us (VAs) do our chosen type of work for three main reasons:
- We love what we do
- We are very good at it
- We are experienced and/or qualified and/or possess the aptitude required for certain skills.
A virtual assistant, a business owner, knows their areas of expertise as well as their limitations.
When it comes to specialty (i.e. real estate, law, accountancy), we will have the capacity to work within that industry.
I work with Coaches, Trainers and Speakers because I am trained, qualified, and experienced in that industry. I also have a tech background and realise that many creative business owners lack certain technical skills and knowledge.
My goal is to bridge that gap and provide the missing link so they can push their business to the required level.
When and how to communicate with your virtual assistant. Not everyone is a talker. You may not enjoy typing. Perhaps video is the best way for you to communicate.
Whatever your preferred style of communication is, you need to communicate this with your VA and set up a system to use for feedback, clarity, reporting, strategising, or whatever needs to be communicated.
Some considerations to ensure success with your virtual assistant:
- Each team member needs to be available. Agree a time, schedule that time, and honour it.
- Agree on the platform or comms type – whether you prefer Skype, email, or Facebook PM.
- Consider a project or team management platform to communicate and share files, tasks, and messages in one place.
- How often will you connect/meet? Weekly, monthly, bi-weekly?
- Make an agreement on how best to deal with errors, mistakes, or miscommunications.
- Agree how often your VA will report on progress, and using what method.
- You could provide screenshots, screencasts to communicate certain tasks.
- Consider how often you meet, is it too much, could you do it less and still achieve your goals?
- Be open to discussions on streamlining certain operations or procedures.
#4 SOPs and SOWs – Standard Operating Procedures and Scheme of Works
Yes, the boring stuff!! I touched this in point #3 above with providing screenshots, screencasts of certain operations and procedures you carry out in your business. Certain tasks will be repetitive, with just the content changing.
Having a record of how you do this will not only ensure success with your virtual assistant and reduce the learning curve, but will help you if you need to work with another virtual assistant, or indeed, a team of VAs.
Working with a virtual assistant to get the support your business needs to thrive, you need to consider how you approach, manage, and execute your tasks.
Either create documented procedures to help educate your VA (or anyone else who may work within your business) OR commission your VA to create them.
OR even better, commission your VA to review and improve or streamline those processes.
It’s a true win-win!
#5 Know when it’s not the right relationship
To ensure success with your virtual assistant also means knowing when it’s not the right fit.
Signs you have entered into a toxic relationship with your VA:
- You are having to manage your VA
- you are experiencing more work than if you did it yourself
- it didn’t feel right from the beginning, and you simply ignored the signs
- they require a lot more hand-holding than you envisaged
- they are continuously asking and repeating questions
- you have developed a friendship that curtails your professional relationship
Also, consider the following:
The relationship doesn’t feel right and you feel it is the fault of the VA. Perhaps they are not available when they should be, or have all but disappeared from the relationship.
What can you do to improve your relationship with your VA?
Have you supported them in the way that was agreed?
Do you show up?
Are you open to communication as agreed?
Have you the right type of contract in place? For example, are you on retainer that should give you guaranteed hours per month and communication time with your VA. Or are you using their services ad-hoc and only paying for time for tasks to be done?
Success with your Virtual Assistant
To get the best from your relationship and ensure success with your virtual assistant, you need to decide what kind of business owner you WANT to work with and what kind of business owner you DO NOT WANT to work with.
Know and be aware of your own preferred communication style.
Know what kind of business owner YOU want to be.
Know your own limitations.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Use your relationship with your VA to work to your strengths and build up your weak areas.
Are you ready to work with a Virtual Assistant?
Are you ready to build your business further, while relying on a professional and knowledgeable business owner to have your back?
Are you ready for that important conversation about the areas of your business you need support with?
Great, hop over to the contact page to set up a call with me.
Perhaps read this post to help you understand further how a virtual assistant can really support you in your business.