You’ve made the decision to hire a Virtual Assistant…you’re excited. You are finally going to be able to free up that precious time and really get your business going. But you still have some questions that are burning in the back of your mind, like:
- What is the best form of communication for a quick response?
- How do I know what my VA is working on?
- How do I know how much time is spent on each project or task?
- What if I need an update and can’t reach my VA?
Well, there’s apps for all that! And if you’re not the most tech savvy person out there, you can always use a more traditional plan. The key to a successful virtual relationship is to have a plan in place allowing for some flexibility, and be sure that it’s communicated well.
The digital age we’re in today lends many options for a successful and productive virtual relationship. When looking into sharing apps to keep a steady workflow, be sure to discuss all options with your virtual assistant or team first, and decide which applications will work best for both sides (taking into consideration the MAC/PC compatibility issues).
Successful virtual teams need to be transparent…you need to be able to check on things at any given time without having to wait for an update or response. Having a daily or weekly check-up call is a great way to stay on task and in touch, but sometimes you need information in-between those times. Try these sharing apps to stay productive and in-the-know:
- Progress Tracking. I put this one at #1 because I feel it’s the most important. This is one that is instrumental in the beginning to building a healthy virtual relationship. It helps both sides understand how much time is being spent on a task or project. This not only allows you to see where the most time is spent, but can help you plan better in the coming months. You can try Process Street to manage recurring checklists and procedures, or a time & project tracking system like My Hours.
- Instant Messaging. This is a big plus when you’re working with a virtual assistant or team. If you’re waiting on a text or email response, which can easily get buried throughout the day, having an instant messaging system that is used solely for your virtual team is a great way to be able to get a quick message out or response back. You can try Slack or HipChat, which can both be used on mobile devices, and for free international messaging you can use Whatsapp or FB Messenger.
- Document Sharing with Google Docs. This is a great way to share, edit and collaborate with your virtual assistant or team. By sharing the files, you have access at all times.
Whether you’re working with a Virtual Assistant or an entire Virtual Team, planning, communication and organization are keys to a successful relationship. If you have a hard time with any of these areas in general, utilizing one or all of these systems will help you stay at the top of your game.
If you’re currently working with a Virtual Assistant or Team, what types of systems and apps are working for you?
The secret of highly productive people can be summed up in one word: delegation. As hard as it can be to let go of the work you’ve always done yourself, it’s the best way to give your business the boost it needs to get to the next level. It’s easy to get burned out during the first couple years of any new business or startup. You are not only the decision maker, sales department and marketing team, but you’re also an administrative assistant.
In order to be successful you need to focus on what matters most and decide what tasks you can delegate to someone else. Doing this will not only increase your productivity but will save you time and money in the end, and will offer you an affordable way to hire an experienced right hand. A virtual assistant is an important investment in a company’s growth.
What a virtual assistant can do for you
When your company is in the startup phase, time is something you can’t seem to get enough of. You’re busy trying to find clients, organize your schedule and manage your social media and email campaigns. Many times these tasks run over to evening and weekend hours, and there seems to be no end in sight.
The key to delegating is knowing when to start, and what to let go of. You need to hire a VA before you find yourself buried, but not so soon that you don’t know what you need them to do. You need to be comfortable with the tasks that you hand over initially. For some people this is easy; for others it requires some time. Once you have started to build a trust in your relationship with your virtual assistant, you can start turning over bigger assignments.
What you can expect
Virtual assistants are not just for personal tasks or calendar & email management. VA’s are becoming a staple for entrepreneurs and startups to not only help get their business off the ground, but keep the workflow organized. Once you get comfortable and in a routine with your virtual assistant, you can expect:
- Increased productivity
- An organized workflow
- A work-life balance
When you’re not ready for a full time employee, but you are ready to start delegating some of your workload, it’s time to hire a virtual assistant to help YOU become a highly productive person!
Have you ever worked with someone who just doesn’t seem to understand communication? Or better yet, how important communication is to be successful? In my 18+ years of working virtually, I have come across this barrier more times than not. Open communication is essential when you’re working with a virtual assistant or virtual team. With the technology available to us today, there really isn’t an excuse for lack of communication; however it does leave the door open for miscommunication…misread or mistyped text messages … sound familiar? I personally have had success and failure as a virtual assistant. But I can tell you my successes are with people who communicated well…the failures were with those who didn’t.
Communication is a commitment you have to make in order to have successful relationships. Anyone who’s been through marriage counseling knows that lack of communication is typically the #1 problem couples face…and business is no different. Communication is key to make any relationship work.
Over the years, I’ve found 8 things you “need to be” to keep the communication lines open:
- Be Clear. I had a teacher in high school who repeated the same phrase at the beginning of each class…”don’t be vague, vague is unclear and unclear is wrong”. Always be clear with your expectations, your capabilities and with the results you’re looking to achieve.
- Be Available. Understanding there are times everyone gets tied up, make sure you’re available at a certain time of day or week to discuss progress or go over questions that arise either via phone or skype. If you have a certain messaging process in place for people to reach you, make sure you’re checking that on a regular basis.
- Be Organized. Once you discuss your expectations and goals and how you will reach them, organize them in a manner so both you and your virtual assistant or virtual team have access at all times to track progress and make adjustments accordingly.
- Be Consistent. Now that you have your time set aside for a daily or weekly meeting, make sure you’re consistent with it.
- Be Responsive. There are times when you need an answer or response…yesterday. When someone is not physically in front of you it’s easy to push things out until you feel you have time to respond. This typically delays a task or project far beyond what it should, instead of taking a few minutes to make a timely response.
- Be Technical. And by that I mean utilize technology. You don’t have to be a guru to understand the basics. If you’re out of the office more than not, make sure your sharing apps are mobile and come with you. If an important email is going unanswered, be sure someone has a way to reach you in a crunch, whether it’s via text message or even a calendar notification. You can also create alerts through your various social media channels.
- Be Heard. If you have a question…ask. If you don’t understand something…ask. The worst thing you can do is “assume” someone knows what you want or what you’re thinking. You know what the word assume stands for…
- Be Committed. Being committed to communication is what will make it work.
Communication isn’t only about talking…an even bigger part is listening. Be a good listener and hear what someone is saying. Communication is a two-way street; to make your virtual relationship successful, be sure to utilize both sides!
Everyone wants to make more money, and some people have figured out a way to be more productive in the hours they work. Many people wonder – how do they do it? It’s simple…successful people look at what their time is worth and figure out how to maximize that time.
For example, roughly figure out what you’re making at an hourly rate. To simplify, let’s say you make $60 per hour. Now look at everything you do on a daily or weekly basis. Are there tasks you are doing that you could pay someone less to do for you? Can you outsource your social media postings, email campaigns, newsletters, client on boarding, administrative paperwork, invoicing, scheduling or your online research and analytics? If so, are you willing to pay someone to do those tasks?
Let’s say the work you can outsource takes you 10 hours each week to do. If you pay an assistant $300 per week to handle those tasks, you have now freed up 10 hours weekly to spend doing what makes you money. Once you pay your assistant, you’re now making an additional $300 per week which is increasing your income by $1200 per month. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, more sales means more money. But sometimes even more importantly, it takes your workload down to a more manageable pace.
One of my favorite things I hear from our clients after working with us is how much of a relief it is to not have to worry about that part of their business on a daily or weekly basis. Many people find that once they hire a virtual assistant they are able to do more in that extra time than they thought possible. A VA removes the fog and allows you to work more efficiently and productively. Our assistants often become a motivational force that not only help brainstorm new and fresh ideas and creative ways to grow the business, but also brings organization to the workflow.
At Elite Virtual Assistants we take pride in our assistants and our clients. If this is an area you’re looking to explore, give us a call. We take time to learn about you and your business, and what is the best way our virtual assistants can help you.