For many people, working with a virtual assistant, or VA for short, comes with a steep learning curve. Most people don’t know what to expect from their VAs, and are never quite sure how to work with them.
We’re not surprised by this, because just a few short years ago, the concept of a VA wasn’t even in most people’s minds. Even today, many people think of computer programs (like the iPhone’s Siri, for example) when they think of virtual assistants.
We hope you know better, and the fact that you’re reading this is a good sign. Put simply, we’re real people, and if you let us, we can do some real work for you and your business. Of course, you’re probably wondering how.
We’ll get to that very soon – with this post (plus another one to follow soon), we’ll give you a little primer on virtual assistants, and answer some questions you may have on your mind. What, for example, can you expect from your VA? More importantly, how can you make the most of our VA services?
Be clear on why you want a VA
What is it you need help with? Are you struggling to keep pace with the dual demands of your day job and your own business? Maybe you need to do a lot of research, and it’s eating up a lot of your time. Perhaps there are some aspects of your work that you simply don’t enjoy, like sifting through all the emails you receive every day, or managing your business’ different social media accounts.
If you want an idea of things we can do, you can check out this list of 11 tasks you can assign to a VA. That’s not all we do, of course, but if you’re new to dealing with VAs, this list is a good place to start. When you’re clear on what work you need help with, you make our job (which is to help you) that much easier. This brings us to our next point…
Don’t expect a jack (or jill) of all trades
It would be great to have a VA that can do anything and everything you ask, but you’d be hard pressed to find one person who can do that. We’re always looking for people like that, but until we do, we can offer the next best thing: a team of people with various skills.
Once you define the scope of the work you need (see how important the first point is?), we can assign you a VA with a set of skills best suited to your requirements. If necessary, we can provide training for some skills, like basic HTML, WordPress, or use of email marketing or CRM software. If you have custom or proprietary tools you’d like your VA to use, prepare to invest some time for training too.
The point is this: we want to do the best job possible for you, but that means that we have to equip ourselves with the right tools and skills first.
Expect an adjustment period
We covered training already, and this next point is related to that. Even after spending time training our VAs and equipping them with the right tools and skills, we still have to account for the different business requirements, work styles, quirks (yes, quirks) and other variables our clients bring to the table.
This means your VA needs to take a bit of time to learn about you, your business, and your projects – and more likely than not, you have to take some time to adjust to your VA. If you’re new to this whole sort of thing, you probably have to get used to simply having a VA in the first place. Our main point is that you should prepare yourself for a brief adjustment period. As your VA gets to know your business, your work style, and other things, you’ll find that she becomes more efficient. This leads to our next tip…
Make sure your VA understands your business
This is key to having her assist you better. If your VA understands your business’ goals as well as her current project’s objectives, she can deliver what you need, and maybe even make suggestions.
Don’t worry, unless your business is really that complicated, there’s no need for a lengthy presentation or a two-hour conversation. If you have brochures, a website, or any materials, you can send them over for your VA to review.
That covers the first part of our two-part primer on working with a virtual assistant. Our main point here, as the title suggests, is that your VA, despite everybody else raving about her efficiency and excellence, doesn’t have superpowers. She just works hard at her job, and calls on a fantastic support team when necessary. We can’t offer you superhuman VAs, but we think we have the next best thing.
Now that we’ve wrapped up here, we suggest you head over to the second part of our primer: Communicate! Before you do that though, please drop us a comment below, and tell us what you expect from your VAs.