5 Steps To Optimize Performance with a Virtual Assistant

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So you want to work with a virtual assistant, but aren’t sure where to start?

Hiring a virtual team or even just starting out with one remote assistant can do wonders for your project management, productivity, or different task you can’t get by without a little help from a (virtual) friend. Well, an assistant – but we’re friendly, too!

Learn the five key components to optimizing your partnership with a virtual assistant, as well as some essential dos and don’ts of working with virtual staff in general. In this article, we’ll walk you through the right steps to make a virtual assistant work optimally for your unique needs. Let’s get started.

Step 1

Write It Down: Using Delegation

In our previous article, we wrote about how to successfully delegate tasks and determine your delegation style as a boss, and how using a virtual assistant service can help.

As a business owner, it’s important to know what you need, and how to ask for (and get!) the help required to make your life easier and grow your impact. Think of your virtual assistant as an equal team member, not just someone to manage your calendar (even though we do that, too). When you’re in the first stage of talks with the virtual assistant’s company or the virtual assistant themself, it’s key to come to the table with a ready-made list of essentials.

Are you looking for someone to handle all of your email marketing needs and social media management?

Are you more focused on lead generation and client retention, and need customer service-based admin?

Do you need to offset your personal deliverables and everyday tasks like scheduling appointments and travel bookings?

Once you’ve outlined the general administrative tasks you’re hoping to delegate out to a virtual assistant, it’s time to hone in on the specific task, or tasks, that fall into each category you’ve outlined. The early-on work with a virtual assistant is just another type of project management meeting where the big strategies are set: outlining the terms of your partnership before you get into the thick of working together is absolutely essential for the level of integral service that a virtual assistant provides.

This brings us to the second step, communication.

Step Two

Communication, Communication, Communication: Why Being A Silent Partner Won't Cut It

With so many companies maintaining their remote work policy, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of communication. And if you’re working with a virtual assistant for the first time, it’s even more essential to stay connected. Remember the Golden Rule that we learned at school when we were young? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – but how does that ancient adage apply when we’re talking about setting clear expectations with a virtual assistant? It’s simple: if you expect your virtual assistant to report to you on a set schedule, the effort should be reciprocated. If there are ambiguities with tasks, or snags that need your attention (or worse, missing login info!) and you’re unreachable for long periods of time, it can create a domino effect of undone task after task. So, how can you stay on the right foot? Along with your agreed-upon daily and weekly deliverables delegated out to your virtual assistant, a clear expectation should be set about “working hours.” If you need them on call from 9-5 and Monday through Friday, then you should also be relatively reachable within those hours. Productivity and communication apps like MatterMost, Slack, and Google Hangout are great for desktop and mobile communication, saving the trouble and storage of constant emails back and forth while still allowing for file sharing or video meetings if necessary. These productivity apps are built for seamless and easy communication between colleagues, and are mostly free (upgrades can and should be factored into your budget). Another important part of communication is regular feedback. This ensures the success of the partnership and provides your virtual assistant with an understanding of what is working well or what needs improvement. Providing regular feedback also demonstrates that you value their work and care about their growth and development. This can foster a more positive working relationship, increase motivation, and improve the overall quality of work delivered. Regular feedback should be timely, specific, constructive, and given in a way that is clear and easy to understand. Whether it’s through regular check-ins, performance evaluations, or simple verbal feedback, taking the time to provide regular feedback can help to ensure a productive and successful virtual assistant relationship.

Step Three

You Get What You Pay For, So Don't Short-Change Yourself

Let’s get the elephant out of the room by addressing administrative assistants or personal secretaries stationed outside your office. Just because we work remotely, that doesn’t mean the job description somehow changes.

A virtual assistant is like an employee, just the same as your immediate staff. We help organize your social media, can manage a marketing campaign, coordinate influencer marketing, and be a vital asset to your company’s productivity. So when it comes time to discuss your remote assistant’s fees, it’s important to keep two things in mind: their experience and skills, and your budget.

If you cut corners at step one and step two, step three will be quite a headache: no virtual assistant services will ever be free; you are paying an individual for their time, diligence, and expertise. After all, if you could optimize your work performance on your own, you never would have sought out a virtual assistant service.

But now that you have, you should budget for it: subscriptions to social media scheduling platforms and productivity apps, apps and programs that identify a target audience, and website-building packages should all be factored into your budget before you start working with a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistance is a concierge service when done correctly, so effective communication and a budget that reflects your confidence in their work is what you should aim for.

Step Four

Manage Your Expectations: Virtual Assistants Are Magic, But We're Not Magicians

Being a business owner isn’t a walk in the park: important tasks are always popping up, and your virtual assistant, just like any other valued employee, is here to help. If you’ve followed steps one through three, then step four should be a breeze for a master delegator like yourself! 

But many first-time users of a virtual assistant service can fall prey to a common misconception: we’re great at what we do, but we are not automated miracle workers. Hiring a virtual assistant isn’t the same thing as asking Alexa to set your dentist appointment; remember that there are real people on the other side of your screen, and manage your expectations accordingly. You wouldn’t ask the same single employee to be in five places at once, would you? No one’s time management skills are that good. 

Virtual assistants excel at what they do: organize, optimize, streamline, and increase productivity in any areas we’re asked to. What virtual assistants can’t do, however, is read minds. By providing clear expectations for daily, weekly, or monthly assigned tasks, you are providing your virtual assistants with a key tool for their success, and yours. 

And if you find that having just one virtual assistant isn’t enough, then try building out a remote team of people each with a skill that you need to get your work done right. By effectively delegating to your virtual team, you may end up saving more money, increasing productivity, and streamlining overall time management. 

Who doesn’t love extra free time?

Step Five

Be A Student: Learning Doesn't Stop At The Top

Our final piece of advice is to never think you’re done learning: there are new technologies, new apps, and new platforms being rolled out every single day, and the productivity and marketing industries don’t show any sign of slowing down!

Just like younger generations took to social media and learned to use platforms like TikTok and Instagram to launch their own small businesses during the height of the pandemic, exploding the then-young industry of influencer marketing, new skills and methods were born.

To continue growing your business at the same pace as the technology that enables us, it’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything (after all, who can?) and outsource to a virtual assistant or skilled team of virtual assistants.

We’re at your service and ready to help you achieve your goals whether you’re a medium or small business owner.

Wrapping Up

Hiring a virtual assistant, or even a team of virtual assistants, as part of your workflow optimization and project management strategy can be not only a cost-saving but a time-saving delegation tool for any business owner. We’ve gone through five key steps to walk through with your prospective virtual assistance team to ensure smooth sailing, and keep productivity on the rise.

Whether you want to call us remote workers, virtual assistants, or executive assistant, it’s a two-way street to ensure you receive a C-Suite level of concierge service from your virtual team.

Ready to get started?

Book a quick chat with us to discover if the experienced virtual assistants at BOSS Assistants are the right fit for your business.

Picture of Katherine Perrotta

Katherine Perrotta

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