So, you’ve made the decision to use the services of a virtual assistant (VA) to provide some support to your business. In order to get your working relationship off to a good start you should consider the following:
Allow for a settling-in period
In the business world when an executive employs a new personal assistant there will inevitably be a learning and settling in period. The same is true of the working relationship you have with your VA. You need to get a feel for how the services offered by your VA can best support you and your business as you become better acquainted with the way they work and also with their individual skills and abilities.
Not an employee
True VAs are self-employed business owners who are providing business to business services and support. You will not be able to set priorities for them in terms of their working week and expect things to be turned around immediately as you can when working with an employed personal assistant. Your VA will have more than one client to consider and once you understand that a VA is a business service then the relationship will work much better.
Once you have got the working relationship with your VA underway make sure that you have realistic expectations about the way you work together and bear in mind the following:
- Plan ahead. Everyone has occasional last minute emergencies however this shouldn’t be the norm. Your VA has other clients to consider and needs to be able to plan their working week. If you are a ‘last minute’ person, the fact that you have to plan ahead in terms of the tasks you give your VA and the deadlines you set could have a positive effect on your own time management skills.
- Realistic deadlines. Related to the point above, deadlines are essential for you both to work efficiently together however the deadlines need to be realistic. Agree a timeframe and, if the task in hand is a large project, consider setting several stage deadlines.
- Communication. Don’t expect your VA to be able to read your mind. Communicate what you expect and also be open to what they need from you to enable them to carry out the work on your behalf. Make it easy for your VA to reach you to ask questions.
- Flexibility. Be open to adjusting how you work. Your VA is a fellow business professional and will have a wealth of experience of working with other business owners. Being receptive to your VA’s input and creativity can benefit you and your business.
So there you have it – working with a virtual assistant is an on-going process of communication and trust which can be an invaluable source of support, after all they have a vested interest in the success of your business.