Making the Most of Your Virtual Assistant: A 5 Step Guide!

Just today, I had a client schedule a consultation with me. Now, usually my consultations focus around how to improve a social media strategy, ideas for getting your SEO up to snuff, or goal-setting for the growth of a small business. Today’s call had elements of that, but her biggest question, right out of the gate, was…

“How do I manage my VA? What can I do to be sure I’m making the most of my virtual assistant?”

Excellent question! In fact, I loved it so much, I had to share my answer here asap. If you already have an amazing virtual assistant on your team, here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting the best return on your money (and the best team relationship).

1. Understand your VA’s skill set

Most virtual assistants will take you through their background knowledge and skill set in their “onboarding” call, which is the very first meeting you schedule to see if it’ll be a good fit. Pay attention to what they specialize in, and what they don’t! Your best bet is to find a VA who specializes in several areas you can make use of. Be careful of chronic “jack of all trades” virtual assistants - they may be selling skills they have little experience in.

Once you understand your virtual assistant’s skill set, you’ll be able to apply her experience to more projects, knowing where she’ll be the strongest fit. If there’s a unique task on the table, find out if the VA is willing to take time to self-educate for that task using online resources (or offer training).

2. Set KPIs and tasks in advance

A KPI (key performance indicator) is a way to track a virtual assistant’s progress, as well as to clear up any misunderstandings about the project scope before it becomes a roadblock. KPIs are simply what tasks and outcomes the virtual assistant will be responsible for. Set these up front and make life easier for everyone involved. If you’re not being specific about what you need done, it’s easy to create miscommunication. We aren’t mind-readers!

Some examples of KPIs and tasks I’ve been responsible for in the past:

  • Posting twice a day to the Travel Blog category

  • 5 posts a week to Instagram

  • Engagement of 18,000+ per week on a blog

  • Increasing ad conversions by 15%

  • Increasing new Twitter followers by 30+ weekly

Tip: assign and discuss tasks through a team management tasks such as Trello or Asana. Talk about having a meeting (or at least an in-depth email checkup) with your team at least once a month. Take a look at my post on must-have tools for more tips.

3. Check in often!

Responsiveness is everything. Again, it’s hard for your virtual assistant to do their best job without… YOU! Now, the best VAs will be largely self-managing and great solo problem solvers, but regular input from the client allows us to stay on track with exact needs and the direction of the brand. Keep us updated on what’s going on behind the scenes with your business and don’t wait until the last minute to let us know about an upcoming task need. This is also your chance to stay up to date on what your VA offers and re-evaluate what you could be outsourcing. Communication is key to building the ultimate team.

4. Don’t be afraid to outsource

Now, I assume if you’re reading this, you’re already well on your way to outsourcing, if not there already. Still, many of the clients I on-board are still gripping tightly on the reins and aren’t comfortable handing over some of the tasks they probably should. If you want to make the most of your VA, be ready to give up some control! Trust me, you won’t regret it when you have oodles of free time later to spend on the projects that actually inspire you. For now, take advantage of all your virtual assistant has to offer, simply by giving yourself permission to outsource the lot.

5. Invest in talent & experience - don’t be a cheapskate

Last but not least… you get what you pay for! If your virtual assistant is hard to manage, doesn’t seem to be able to problem-solve alone, emails you constantly for your input on simple tasks, or is acting unprofessionally, DROP THEM. After you finish dropping them, check your budget. There’s a pretty good chance you were paying them $13 an hour or less. Unless the tasks at hand take very little skill, you should be paying real money for their completion. If you’re spending more time managing your VA than you would on just doing the tasks, it’s time to rethink this.

An awesome VA is worth the investment - she’ll be amazing at time-management, have experience and connections, be seeking out the clients she’s passionate about, and truly rock at her skill set. She will have put in serious hours (and probably years) into becoming the best in her corner. And honestly? You’ll probably get a better ROI than you would with a cheap VA, simply because skilled VAs can usually do twice the work, at higher quality, in half the time - without hounding you for help.

Alright, all! Those are my top 5 tips for managing your virtual assistant like a pro and getting the best bang for your buck. Be serious about your VA, and your VA will have a much easier time being serious about taking your business to the next level.

Have questions? Let me know what you’d like to see on the blog next!

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