Working with a Virtual Assistant

January 26, 2010 | by Verna Austria

Working with a Virtual Assistant Virtual Assistants Philippines

It is true that you can explore more activities you’ve been craving to do if you have a Virtual Assistant (VA) working at your back. From filtering your mails, updating your twitter, writing your blogs, editing your manuscripts, drafting letters to your clients, fast tracking your marketing strategies,  filing your documents, conducting product research, arranging your vacation, ordering your camera phone at Amazon, scheduling a coffee date with a friend, and so on!

Here are a few things worth noting in order to maximize her time for you.

Know your needs. Did you hire an assistant for marketing aid? For customer service? Administrative work? For time-consuming and routine tasks? Understanding your own purpose of hiring a VA ultimately improves your expectations and eases up your manner of delegating a project.

Platform for instructions. We do not recommend giving instructions over the phone or via chat is as a lot of the information may easily be lost there. Email or the project management system that we use, Basecamp, are still the best options. Phone calls and chat are great for clarifications though. However, if you prefer to do it over the phone, your virtual assistant will be taking down notes and will email back the minutes of the conversation to make sure she got everything right and didn’t miss out on anything.

Make it clear. Provide detailed instructions on the primary information that your virtual assistant must know in order to work on the tasks at hand. If you want her to send emails to your selected contacts about a particular subject matter, be sure to provide your email access; inform her of the complete lists of people you intend to send it to, then give her the full details and sample pegs of what she needs to write for you. Unclear instructions eat up the time of your VA and your help can assist her to spend it more efficiently. If instructions are not clear, expect some back-and-forth as your assistant will need to clarify things to make sure she understood it properly and efforts are not wasted.

Learn her background. The VA will be giving you her background and what she specializes in so that you know how you can gain more from her expertise. If you need other skill sets, ask your virtual assistant and see if she can work or get trained on it. We have a backup team in Pepper that may provide training for a VA so she can acquire the skills needed.

Share your objectives. Or simply give her a heads-up regarding the tasks given. Knowing the goal of an activity stimulates her thinking and she may even render relevant inputs. Remember that your virtual assistant is  highly-educated and she can probably aid you with more than just the basic assignments.

Itemize your tasks. Delegating a project in long paragraphs to discuss what she needs to accomplish for the day (or for the week) may be good but can be better if you can bullet or arrange in numbers the specific items that need to be done.

Set the priorities. You can always give your assistant a series of activities but it helps if you identify which task you would like her to work on first. Is it the research on quantum physics for the school project of your son? Or  bookmarking your webpage in various social media sites? Setting a deadline will also help her manage her time well.

Define work schedules. Most likely, your virtual assistant is working in a different time zone and if this is the case, your morning is her wee hours and vice versa. It is okay if you give her a certain time plan indicating your preferred hours of working for you. Or at least identify a specific schedule to send your instructions so she can work on it promptly rather than on the next shift. If you have something urgent after the shift, you can call or send her an SMS so that she can attend to it right away.

Give her feedback. Or at least acknowledge the receipt of the accomplished tasks. If there is a need to revise the copy of your brochure, tell her. If you like the way it was written, commend her. She will surely appreciate the comment and will be happy if you make some suggestions on how she can further improve the service.

Keep in touch. If you have a scheduled seminar and will be out of the internet the whole week, let her know. If you plan to skip some days and then use most of your hours for your next big project next week, inform her. Leaving her in the dark of your schedule is inappropriate considering that she too has other activities; she will continue to reserve a time for you unless you tell her otherwise.

Spend time wisely. Following your subscription, hours allotted for the given month cannot be carried over to the next so make full use of it. If you got a virtual assistant for part-time services, that means your VA is also handling other clients and will need to spend some time for them as well. She blocks off a chunk of time specifically for you so it’s better if you can help her make use of it properly.

Option for training. For some tasks that are also new to the VA (like the CRM program that your company uses), providing her your actual training may be needed. Gotomeeting, Dimdim, and Skype are good ways to teach her online as they have screensharing programs so you can chat while training her.

Remember, your virtual assistant is your ally. She will be happy to assist you in any way she can so you can enjoy the extra time that comes in availing her service!

About Pepper Virtual Assistants

Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.

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6 thoughts on “Working with a Virtual Assistant

  1. Domar

    This is really a great topic for people who are busy and dont have time to give for their family and most specially to their self. They should get a VA…it helps…oh…should I really helps, big time! :-)

  2. Karen Mae Dumag

    It is important that clients should treat their virtual assistants in a nice and good manner. They should value their virtual assistants as much as they value their businesses. It’s because, when you outsource to a virtual assistant, you are partnering with a business owner whose primary objective is to make you a success.

    1. Joe

      Karen, this goes both ways. My firm has counted on your services, you asked to give you a two week break during the Holidays and you will perform your work. When these two weeks were up, you gave an excuse that you had other work you need to attend to when you had already committed to doing work for my firm. You started you work with us, we paid you well, gave you a bonus and then you left us hanging. This not appreciated, further you shouldn’t be posting things like this when you personally cannot treat others as you expect them to treat you.

  3. Ar Jay

    This article is very informative and comprehensible. For a first-timer, this could really help a lot as it serves as a quick guide when one decides to work with a VA.


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