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2 Tips for Working With an Off-site Assistant

hover2Having faith in someone or something is defined as having confidence and trust without proof. But how does this translate to an employee/employer relationship? With many organizations and businesses taking advantage of Independent Contractors and Virtual Assistants, it is worth considering how you will measure the success of someone working for you…when they aren’t in front of you. Gone are the days of the mighty boss hovering over their employees as they work. Frankly, that’s just a waste of time!


Set up a system to track progress, but don’t rely on it completely. Your Assistant shouldn’t spend too much time documenting activities, but they should keep records. There are numerous reasons why this information can come in handy. Not only is it a way for you to track projects without speaking with your Assistant on a daily basis, but it is also a great way for them to keep themselves accountable. That is something everyone needs, not just a Virtual Assistant. Our team uses MyHours. It’s an online program that easily tracks time, projects and clients, PLUS the information can easily be exported for regular evaluation.

Having a comprehensive plan for how to communicate can also help things run smoothly. Many people need a steady stream of communication in order to build trust, and there is nothing wrong with that. Clients vary from requesting monthly meetings with their VA, to weekly, to a quick overview email at the end of the day. If a VA is required to reply within 24 hours, this needs to be a clear expectation.

Like any employee, there will likely be a transition when starting to work with a VA or offsite Assistant. Systems will be put into place, adjusted, and evaluated. But in no time, your VA will be getting more done for you than you ever imagined! You’ll wonder how you survived without them, and what took you so long to hire your VA! Just remember, you hired them so you could get more work done. Don’t waste your time checking in constantly, unless you have concerns that need to be addressed. You have just given yourself the gift of time, now what are you going to go do with it?

Move This To The Top Of Your TO DO List!

Whether you own a business or are an employee of a organization, having processes documented is an absolute receptionsistmust! Administrative professionals often hold the passwords, contact information and knowledge of procedures. These are things you don't know you need until your Administrator is out sick, injured, etc. Please take this advice and set up your procedures now, before you need them. We understand it can be overwhelming to document every task you are responsible for, here are some tips to get you or your team started!

Before you begin your documentation, take a couple days to record tasks as you do them. For example: -Update Event/Meeting Calendar on website, send reminders to staff -Payroll -Schedule social media posts, link to blog articles -Edit e-newsletter and send on the 1st of the month -Create agenda for monthly board meeting, send -Membership due reminder calls, 15th of the month

Categorize these tasks and label them by level of importance. For each task, start by summarizing the task description. Include any important information in the beginning in case the reader doesn't go through the entire document before they begin.
For example:
Board President, John Smith, does not receive the mass email containing upcoming meeting dates. Send a personal email with dates, agenda, and notes from previous meeting.
Include all usernames, passwords and verification codes at the beginning of your procedures. Use screen shots for longer processes such as e-newsletters. Any visuals, helpful hints and a clear, simple voice is always helpful. This is not the time to impress your reader with your extensive vocabulary, you never know who will be following these instructions, it's possible they could be from a different department. Don't assume they know who Nancy is, use full names, departments and contact information.
Test out your manual. Ask a teammate to read through it or better yet, try it out! It's easy to miss small but important details when you are so familiar with the task. Decide where to store this information. If you use online document sharing, make sure you share with someone right away. If you are out of the office, you may not have access to be able to share.
Your boss, team, new hire, whoever it may be, will be incredible grateful for your procedures when they need them--it will happen! Your tasks should still get done even if you can't complete them, that is the goal! It's the first thing our Virtual Assistants create for clients when they on-board and train. It's an immediate added value for our clients. Resist the urge to move this to the bottom of your To Do List and get it done, today!

5 Tasks a VA Can Do To Help Your Business

Think of a Virtual Assistant (VA) like any assistant, but with lower costs, no overhead, and more capabilities.  Anything you could wish for an assistant to handle for you, a VA can handle too.  Here are some great items that you can easily hand off to a VA.

Think of a Virtual Assistant (VA) like any assistant, but with lower costs, no overhead, and more capabilities. Anything you could wish for an assistant to handle for you, a VA can handle too. Here are some great items that you can easily hand off to a VA.

  • Repetitive/Daily Tasks - We all have them. Each business and individual is different, but there are certain tasks each of you do every day for yourself and your business. Think about your day and write down tasks you find yourself doing day in and day out. These tasks are IDEAL for a VA to do for you. With a little direction, you could be saving a few hours each day and maximizing the time you have to work on other tasks.
  • Correspondence – All of us correspond with our clients/customers and potential clients/customers daily. Much of this correspondence is basic, template, and very repetitive. We also have many questions to ask our clients/customers each day. This correspondence takes time and can be a process. Both of these types of correspondence can be easily outsourced to a VA. Let the VA know what information you need, who you need to contact, and send them on their way. Some good examples of correspondence are:
    • Follow up on billing related issues
    • New project start questionnaires
    • New client information
    • Project or task related questions with clients
    • Calendar coordination and planning
    • Drafting and formatting letters and emails
    • And much more!
  • Website Maintenance & Monitoring – Do you have changes to your website pages? Want to post new content and/or images? Need to promote an upcoming event? If you can update your website, so can your VA. Giving your VA insight into your business and interests can help them craft content for you, investigate content areas your audience wants to hear, and ensure content is kept up to date, so you don’t have to! Do you have a contact form on your website? Your VA can monitor that too.
  • Social Media – It is hard to find time every day to send out tweets, update your Facebook page, respond to messages and discussion threads, accept or reject LinkedIn invitations, create and post blog articles, and generally interact with your clients/customers online. Keeping all the social media outlets up to date takes time. If this is something you don’t have, or you find yourself falling behind, having a VA control your social media can be key for you. Don’t lose the opportunity to connect, but instead trust someone to manage those connections and keep you informed with what is going on.
  • Finances/Billing – Often I hear people complaining that their receipts are in a pile waiting to be sorted, they need to file an expense report, or need to follow up on outstanding payments from customers/clients. These are simple tasks that a VA can do for you.

All of this doesn’t mean you may not be involved in these activities, but often it takes a few simple questions from your VA, some training on what you and your business are all about, and the desire to want assistance. In the end, you’ll save time and make more money by focusing on what you do best, and not focusing on the nominal day to day activities that bog you down.

Read more about the benefits of a Virtual Assistants.

...and how VAs can save you money!