What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person who works remotely – she can sit in an office down the street or across the world. Working with a VA is very different from having an employee sitting in your office. Most Virtual Assistants work for more than one person, splitting their day up between their different clients. Virtual Assistants can assist with anything from general admin, marketing, diary management to virtually anything. The concept of working with a VA is a relatively new idea and so there are things that people are not always aware of.
Communication is key
Communication in this working relationship is key, use emails, WhatsApp, voice notes or weekly meetings. Be mindful that the Virtual Assistant is not in your office and is unable to come into your office and speak to you face to face, should the need arise. When giving instructions to your VA, be sure to provide all the resources that might be needed for the task at hand, together with all the relevant timelines and goals that you as an employer will expect. There should always be an open line of communication.
Work out the process
Working with a Virtual Assistant takes time to perfect. It is suggestible that especially in the beginning, all the assignments that are given to your Virtual Assistant are reviewed and that constructive feedback is given to the VA. This process will allow her to grow in her position and for her to ensure that over time she consistently provides what you are looking for. Never under estimate the power of a few kind words or praise for a job well done. It will do wonders for her self-esteem and will make your VA strive harder to ensure her work exceeds your expectations.
Stay in touch
It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that your VA knows what is expected of her. Regular communication to make sure she is coping and on point, will eliminate unwanted surprises. Having said this, there is no need to micromanage her. This could lead to serious problems down the line and could very well disrupt the relationship between the client and the Virtual Assistant and blur the boundaries as to what exactly is expected of her.
Remember the human touch
Remember that your Virtual Assistant is a person, who also has feelings and emotions. Given that that many clients have never had a face to face meeting with their VA, they forget that she too is a person. When problems arise as they normally do, it is easy get upset and vent their frustrations at their faceless Virtual Assistant.
All in a day’s work
Having a well-balanced working relationship between client and Virtual Assistant is one of the best things a client can do for his business. By the general day to day tasks been taken over by someone else, the client is left free to focus on growing his business without the everyday mundane tasks to contend with.
Can We Help You with That?
Many entrepreneurs experience anxiety over delegating tasks. Yes, you’re buried in work and know that you need help, but you can’t possibly see yourself handing over your precious work to anybody else.
Is this you?
Understand that delegation benefits your entire company. By delegating, your processes move faster, you have more time to focus on income-producing tasks and you are better positioned for growth.
Yet, delegation remains as one of the most underutilised management capabilities. Countless studies have found that most people say they are too busy to delegate. They simply don’t have the time to train somebody else to do it and they find it more efficient to just do it themselves.
If you’re having trouble delegating tasks or relinquishing control, can we help you with that?
How VA Connect Can Help You!
VA Connect simplifies your life by helping you delegate without the anxiety attached to it. We upskill and allocate a suitable person according to your needs.
With a virtual assistant, you grow your business without growing your staff. We handle all the nitty-gritty while you focus on income-producing activities.
Here are nine reasons to hire a virtual assistant:
- It takes a long time to find the right person.
- Employee costs are on the rise. With a VA, you pay only for what you need.
- Hiring permanent staff means setting them up with an office and equipment too.
- You need to keep the permanent staff you have busy.
- Availability isn’t the same as competency.
- Permanent employees don’t really work eight hours per day.
- The recruitment process is a hassle.
- Your staff budget is suffocating your margin for growth.
- You hate admin work.
Here’s a personal experience from one of our clients who said yes to hiring their first virtual assistant:
When they came to us, Maxiware needed help with the workload in their business. They chose VA Connect and were allocated a VA with the right skills for their needs. We asked the Managing Director what he thought of VA Connect, here’s what he had to say;
- What do you love about VA Connect? / What would be the one thing you mention to a friend about VA Connect?
I love that VA Connect handles the billing of the relationship as well as provides a pretty cool solution for handling the phone calls side of things. That simplifies things greatly. It’s an easy way to get tasks off your own plate.
- What do you think about your Virtual Assistant?
Annie is great at hounding people. She’s super friendly while doing it but also super persistent. And she’s so friendly with me, as well. I love working with her.
- What has your experience been with the onboarding process of your Virtual Assistant?
Onboarding has been easy.
What are some of the tasks you can delegate?
- Filtering Emails / Handling Spam
- Database Building / Updating Contacts or CRM
- Answering Customer Service Emails /Support Tickets / Chat Support
- Sending of Greetings Cards / Birthday Messages / Event Invitations etc.
- Calendar Management
- Email marketing
- Appointment Scheduling
- Travel Arrangement and Planning
- Reminder Services
- Audio / Video Editor
- Content Writer
- SEO / Web Marketer
- Graphic / Web Designer / Web Developer
- Dropbox / Google Drive Organization
- Creating / Managing Spreadsheets
- Preparing PowerPoint / Keynote Presentations
- PDF Conversion, Splitting and Merging
- Transcription of Video and Audio Files
- Simple eBook Layout / Formatting
- Preparing Online Meeting Minutes
- Report Creation
- Forms Creation
- Document Template Creation
- Online Research
- Data Mining & Development / Lead Generation
- Blog Publishing Management
- Moderating Blog or Social Media Comments
- Adding Tags & Images to Blog Posts
- Receptionist Duties
- Voicemail Checking
- Invoicing Clients
- Basic Bookkeeping
- Personal Errands (Purchasing Online Gifts, Reminders, Planning Family Holidays etc.)
- Project Management Between You and Team members
- Training Employees or Delegates
- Preparation of Training Materials
- Onboarding of New Virtual Staff
- Deadline / Deliverables Tracking
- Social Media Management Tasks
- Creating Social Media Fan Pages / Groups
If time is your most precious commodity and you can’t afford to waste it, give us a call!
Tips to Get More from Your Virtual Assistant
Whether you have hired your first Virtual Assistant or have had one for years, there’s still more you can do to make sure she’s functioning at her fullest potential. In this blog, we will discuss what you can do to get more out of your VA!
Train Your VA
One thing you should never let go of is training your Virtual Assistant on your processes and systems. This is even if she’s been working with you for years. Sometimes assistants have their own way of doing things which may affect their productivity. It’s important to teach her tips and tricks to get her work done quicker.
Besides your personal training, you should also enroll her for some online courses. These courses can help your VA bring a new idea to your business.
Also, request your VA to document her process. This will not only help you to identify where the productivity inefficiencies are, but it will also help you to transition to a new VA quickly when your VA is sick or when you hire a new one.
Offer Coaching Sessions
Training and coaching are two different things. When coaching, you want to focus on building up your VA’s confidence in her abilities. This will help her to do her work more efficiently.
Coaching can take the form of one-on-one sessions, courses or even advising her to listen to a motivational CD for 30 minutes daily. Include this as part of her job and soon enough you will have an excellent assistant.
Give Constructive Feedback
If no feedback is given, your VA cannot grow. Similarly, if you give destructive criticism, it won’t help either one of you.
Focus on giving constructive criticism. This is when you point out both the good and the bad, and recommend ways for improvement.
Here are tips for giving feedback:
- Make sure you give written and verbal feedback.
- Use the feedback sandwich method (Positive-Improvement-Positive) often used at Toastmasters and the corporate world. This is when you begin by laying out the positives, then you criticise, and finally, end off with another positive.
- Criticise the work, not the individual.
- Be very specific. Instead of saying; “You need to pay attention to detail”, say; “You made grammar mistakes in your recent article. I pointed them out in red. Just make sure you focus on grammar and punctuation.”
- Only criticise things that can be changed. There is no point in telling someone they need to improve their voice for example.
Show Some Appreciation
Human beings love recognition. It pushes them to work harder to get even more recognition. Recognise any hard work or improvements made by your VA by giving something of value. Gift cards, days off and verbal appreciation work well for a VA.
Throw Her in the Deep End
They say when someone is thrown into the deep end it’s either they sink or swim. Hopefully, your VA will swim when given a difficult task. Push her to take on projects that she hasn’t before. This will not only help her grow but keep her challenged in her role.
Make Room for Growth
If you want your VA to stay with you for a long time you must make room for growth in her role. Challenge her to take on more responsibility and speak to her about where you see her in the future.
That’s all the tips for teaming up and getting more from your Virtual Assistant. If you are yet to hire your first one, there are reasons to hire a VA:
- They are often highly skilled individuals who left the corporate world for work-life balance
- You can pay them per hour or per project
- There are no company costs involved
- They can work during off-peak hours and high seasonal periods
- They often give their all because they’re responsible for their own income
Ready to hire a VA? Give us a call!
My Journey as a Virtual Assistant by Jenni Plaistowe
There was a time in my life where I loved the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. I have always been in admin positions, but in various roles from being the receptionist to managing the boxes at the rugby and cricket stadiums. Then the company got taken over, then that company got taken over and so on and so forth. Eventually, I became a number….literally….any queries within the company had to be followed by BUILDING NUMBER, FLOOR NUMBER, DESK NUMBER. Never a name.
It was time. I then had the wonderful privilege of being a stay-at-home mom and that came with a whole new set of challenges. During this time, I did a few work-from-home admin jobs for people I knew and got involved in charity work. But, children aren’t at school forever and things changed again.
I started the search of work-from-home ideas and the internet threw reams and reams of information at me. Sadly, a lot had to be filtered out thanks to the unscrupulous folk out there, but I came across virtual assistant work. The first thing I did was an in-depth course on Medical Transcription. This course took me from “how to open your laptop” to “learning the English language” to “The Anatomy” to “Pharmacology” and everything in between. So, I started doing some work for a couple of companies on and off. In a technology advanced world that we all live in I realised I had far more potential. It is at this point that I “started” again. I found VA Connect!!!! Now let‘s get down to serious business.
I know my strengths and I need to utilise them to the fullest. I want to be able to have that feeling of satisfaction for a job well done and I want my clients and potential clients to have the same, knowledge and comfort that their work is in very capable hands. Working in harmony with VA Connect can give me that. Let’s not kid ourselves though, working from home is fantastic and the only traffic I want to deal with is the cat and dog down the passage. I can do this, I will be disciplined, I will be accurate, I will be professional (slippers and all) and I will deliver to each client’s expectation. My new journey has begun and I am excited, nervous, anxious, confident all at the same time.
I look forward to new challenges, learning new businesses and new courses on how to better myself in the world of being a Virtual Assistant.
My Journey as a Virtual Assistant by Michelle Wilbraham
I recently joined the team at VA Connect as a Virtual Assistant and in the short time I have been with them, I have really enjoyed the experience thus far.
I started my career as a Medical Secretary and gained 10 years of experience and knowledge in the government sector. After the birth of my son, I resigned as we decided that the early stages of a child’s development are crucial and I was privileged to stay at home with him for 4 years until he started day-care.
After this I returned to work and had been working as a personal assistant/office manageress for the past 17 years, basically ending up running the office for the company that I was last with.
I was working in a half day job which suited me at the time as I had a school going son. They decided to make the position full day so I had no other alternative but to resign, so that I could be there for him. He has since left home and I now found myself having so much more time on my hands and suffering a bad case of empty nest syndrome.
I was searching for something that I could do from home and by chance came across Tammy Nortier on a facebook page and she mentioned VA Connect to me.
I have been working for VA Connect for a week now and am absolutely loving it. I have gained so much valuable knowledge and skills during this short time and been exposed to many new software packages and applications.
Working as a VA gives me exposure to new clients and and I am currently working for a USA based company which despite the time difference is easily manageable and a great opportunity.
I love working from home and don’t miss the daily commute to work like everyone else.
I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with both the client and VA Connect.