9th September 2022

How to get the best from your virtual assistant: a roadmap for success

I’m sometimes asked “Does having a virtual assistant really work?” The answer is, of course, yes! Having a virtual assistant can be a tremendously effective means to save time, assert order, feel more in control and achieve the work / life balance of your dreams.  But to get things running smoothly with your virtual assistant, you need to put a bit of thought into things. Here’s your failsafe roadmap to success when hiring and working with a virtual assistant.

Make sure a virtual assistant is the right role choice for you

I’ve written previously about what a virtual assistant is and the differences between a personal assistant, a virtual assistant and a project manager. Before taking someone on, dedicate some time to thinking about what kind of role is right for your requirements.  There’s no point in hiring a virtual assistant if you want someone who can meet and greet your clients in person!

Plan what you need help with

Write a list of all the things you want help with, and if you need a bit of inspiration, you can read previous blogs I’ve written about the kind of business tasks a virtual assistant can offer as well as the huge number of personal tasks a lifestyle virtual assistant can take on.

From this you can work out your VA role description, and again I’ve written some hints and tips for how to write a virtual assistant role description previously.

Provide decent onboarding

To get the best from your virtual assistant, you have to do a bit of planning. Your virtual assistant onboarding process plays a key role in their success. If you put yourself in their shoes – having little or no guidance on what they’re supposed to be doing greatly impairs their ability to get work done. Here are some things to consider in getting them up to speed:

Set up permissions on any online tools you use (this might be Slack, Trello, Asana, Facebook pages etc.) including creating an email address if necessary

Give tech training to ensure your virtual assistant is familiar with any tools you use

Introduce the new team member to the team

Brief your virtual assistant on your business, its background, structure, objectives, values and so on. The more detail the better. Providing a good overview of the company helps to give the new virtual assistant some vital context for their work.

Explain your virtual assistant’s tasks in detail; vague directions like “create a contact list” don’t help to provide the context the virtual assistant needs. A good description might include the goal behind the task, for example; “create a contact list of all prospects who signed up via webinar, so that we can send them targeted webinar offers.”

Set clear expectations around things like how deadlines are set, how you communicate as a leader, how progress is tracked, how payment occurs, understanding about when they’re contracted to work and so on.

Get acquainted

Working with virtual assistant requires trust, so try to get to know your virtual assistant on a personal level and establish a positive relationship. The better you get to know your virtual assistant, the better your results will be (within reason!)

Good communication yields good results

Make sure you’re communicating regularly, and clearly. Take advantage of the plethora online communication tools which are available (many for free), including Skype,  Zoom, Facebook MessengerWhatsApp and more.

Give feedback

Giving constructive feedback is essential, and this can happen on a task or project basis, as well as on a general regular review basis to check in on how things are going. The clearer your feedback, the better the service you receive will become over time.

Working with a virtual assistant allows you to do more with your time. But, the success story doesn’t just happen like that. There are factors to consider from hiring and onboarding up to monitoring performance and giving feedback.

If you’d like to discover the benefits a virtual assistant can have, freeing you up to increase productivity, get in touch at martha@mnvirtualassistant.co.uk.  I’d love to be part of your own roadmap to success.