Best Practices for Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Best Practices for Managing Your Virtual Assistant

January 24, 2013

Even if you’re a solopreneur, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. That’s why most of us work with virtual assistants. Your VA takes over the tasks you don’t want to do so that you can get to the things that add the most value to your business. Managing your VA can take up a lot of your time if not done well, so here are a few best practices for efficient management.

Do It Yourself First

Whatever tasks you’re going to assign to your VA, do them yourself first. If it’s something you’re incapable of doing like web design or content creation, don’t worry about it. But if it’s a routine task that’s not complicated, make sure you know the drill. If you do it first, you’ll know how difficult it is, how long it takes, and how much you should pay to have it done. You’ll also know whether or not your VA is doing it right.

Don’t Overload Your VA

You may be lucky enough to come across a VA who’s skilled at all the things you need done, but don’t dump all of your work on them at once. Instead, give them tasks to do gradually. Some VA’s who are looking for work may take on an unrealistic amount. When you first start working with a VA, there will be problems to iron out and it’s much easier to recognize them when you’re dealing with a smaller workload.

Produce Your Own Tutorials

Take every routine task that you might outsource and make a video using Camtasia or another screen capture software. Even if it’s simple and fairly self-explanatory, show them all of the steps as if they don’t know anything at all, just so there’s no confusion.

You should also create text lists or flowcharts to show them all the steps they have to take for each task. They can refer to these if there’s any confusion later or if they just need to remind themselves of the steps.

Know Their Limitations

It’s very rare to find one person who can perform all the tasks you need to have done. Chances are that your VA will be better at some things than others. As their manager, it’s essential that you understand their strengths and weaknesses and work with these.

For example, your VA may be great at getting backlinks to your website, but they can’t write content for you. They may handle social media tasks quickly and efficiently but have trouble with site maintenance. If this is the case, hire multiple VA’s to handle various tasks, making use of the natural strengths of each. They don’t have to be full-time employees. Just hire them for the amount of time needed for each tasks.

The Lines of Communication

Keep the lines of communication open and make sure that you can reach your VAs quickly and easily when you need them. Build good rapport by being friendly and getting to know them on the personal level. The more you communicate with them, the more likely it is that you’ll understand each other when you discuss some new project.

Along with maintaining good communication, always give your VA immediate feedback and encouragement. When they’re not doing a task the right way, let them know in a friendly and professional manner so that they can do it correctly. When they’re doing things perfectly well with no problems, tell them periodically how much you appreciate their hard work. And it doesn’t hurt at all to give a bonus at the end of the year. Everyone appreciates that!