Time management can be difficult for small business owners especially at the early stages of their company when most owners are trying their best to keep costs low. Often, this results in owners doing too much on their own. This is when a virtual assistant or “VA,” an independent contractor who works outside of your office on administrative tasks, can be a great value-add for your business – when done right. Here are a few tips and best practices on how to work effectively with a VA.
Consider Your Greatest Needs
Think about what you actually need a virtual assistant for? Is it for support with scheduling, research, or data entry? All of the above. One you understand what your critical needs are, it will make it much easier to find the VA with the right skill set to match your needs.
Communication is Key
When you do bring on some, keep in mind that communication is important, especially when someone is working remote. You will need to set expectations on your preferred modes of communication whether that is by email, phone call, text or online work community platform like Slack or Asana. The more you can set parameters on preferred forms of information exchange, the better for both you and your VA.
Unlike a fulltime, in-house assistant, VAs only work the hours you need. Figure out ahead of time how many will you need on a weekly basis to get everything done.
Setting priorities is key. As independent contractor, VAs typically have multiple clients and can have many task assignments occurring the week. You can help to focus their time by making sure your priorities and due dates are clear so they can plan accordingly.
Here’s a few rapidfire tips to maintaining a positive and effective VA relationship
- Maintain a regular check-in schedule. At minimum, this should include a check-in at the start of the week to plot out your priority items.
- Strategize together on how to address tasks such as calendar management and travel.
- Establish a regular report schedule with your VA. At minimum, this should include a weekly or monthly breakout of hours and tasks completed.
Diversity in Contracting
Finally, consider diversity when it comes bringing on a virtual assistant. Just like any position, contracting with a VA is an opportunity to work with someone with different experiences and point of view from yours. A unique perspective can help to point out blind spots and a fresh approach to your business.
We’re interested in hearing what issues concern you. Share with us your thoughts utilizing virtual assistants by emailing us.