Training is the most important stage in your working relationship with your virtual assistant (VA). As an employer, it’s your responsibility to train your VA on the scope of her work and the nature of your business. The way she performs is also largely influenced by the way you equip her. Your VA has a specific skill set which she can use to accomplish the tasks you delegate to her. The great thing about working with someone online is that you can use a variety of tools that can make training easy for you. Let’s look at some techniques and the tools you can use along with it.
Create a written job description. This will help your VA know at a glance the tasks you’ll be asking her to do. It will also serve as a guide for you on the specific assignments you will pass on to her. If you’ll be requiring her to do something other than what is written there, you might need to talk to your VA firm or freelancer first before delegating the new tasks. This is because the new project may entail more hours or certain programs that your VA needs to master. As much as possible delegate based on your VA’s job description and discuss further if you will require more from her.
Set communication and timeline expectations clearly. You’ve heard it said many times that good communication is key to successfully working with a VA. What’s actually more important is setting communication expectations early such as how soon do you need a reply to your emails. Do you expect a reply within 24-48 hours? If your VA is going on leave, how early do you want to be notified? A week before? The day before? When it comes to deadlines, ask your VA if the deadline you gave is doable and encourage her to speak up so that the quality of work is not compromised due to a tight deadline.
Record your instructions. Sometimes verbal or email instructions can be vague. You can record your training so your VA can watch it at her most convenient time and even repeatedly, removing the awkwardness of having to ask you to repeat it. You can use platforms like Camtasia, Jing, and ScreenFlow (for Mac). Those apps can record screenshots, videos, and other media. Even if you use these tools, you still need to encourage questions if anything is unclear with your training or instructions. Having it recorded though will filter a lot of questions and will serve as a good reference.
Make file sharing a habit. Instead of clogging your emails with big attachments, use file sharing instead. Dropbox is a great tool for file sharing. You can also keep all your old files there as well as revisions. It’s for free but if you want more storage, you only need to pay a minimal fee! Use project management apps such as Basecamp to help you track the progress of your projects. It even records all your correspondences on a certain task. You have the option to include other team members in the loop so they can give input as the project goes along.
If you’re working with a VA for the first time, don’t worry it’s pretty much similar to working with your employees except that she’s located remotely. You delegate tasks, communicate regularly, give feedback/constructive criticism, and collaborate on projects—the same way you would with your in-house team. Since your VA’s working online, you need to leverage technology more in order to have a more effective working relationship with her. Excellent communication and clear cut expectations coupled with efficient web tools will result in a successful and thriving partnership with you VA.
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.