As a small business / entrepreneur making the decision to contract certain aspects of your business to a Virtual Assistant is a huge step. It has taken you a long time of deliberation; yes you can, no you can’t – hasn’t it? There are many intricate things to your business that you do or like doing a specific way, there is a certain flow that needs to be followed so how do you get this information to your new Virtual Assistant so that they can seamlessly continue on freeing you up to work on your business strategically.
You may find it difficult at first to ‘let go’, you have gone to the trouble of finding and contracting a Virtual Assistant to help you move to the next level so you need to trust in that person and they can only help you if you help them to understand what it is your need their help with.
The crystal ball is actually cloudy
The Virtual Assistant you have contracted to work with you was chosen because he / she has the capabilities to support you with your business. Never assume that he / she knows what you think because they don’t, contrary to popular belief, the crystal ball is more often than not, anything but crystal and losing your cool because they can’t read your mind is not the smartest move. Your relationship needs to be based on trust and faith that they will have your back.
Like any contractor, you need to make sure your instructions are very clear, and if they are not, your Virtual Assistant will come back and ask for clarification. So laying down rules like ‘only contact me once a day’ or I only want to talk to you during our regular catch ups, is a really silly way to do business. They have been contracted to play a specific role and dictating when they can communicate will only suffocate your business and your working relationship will be doomed to fail.
How it works for me
The majority of my clients are long-term clients, in the beginning we went through the same processes, learning about each others likes and dislikes, how they liked specific tasks to be carried out and how they wanted their business represented in the public eye. Today we still continue to communicate via SMS, email, phone, Skype, in person. I ask questions when needed and I am often sought for my own opinions and troubleshooting abilities. Such is the value that I add to my client’s businesses.
How to convey your instructions
1. The Paper Document You can always take the time that you don’t have to write out very specific procedures. I have a template that can help you with that and you can download it here.
2. Video Create a series of short videos to not only tell your new Virtual Assistant but also show them how you like a specific task completed. A picture says 1000 words, and if your new Virtual Assistant can see the process it is much easier. There are many video tools on the market, my preference is Snagit by TechSmith. Click here to view details for a free trial. Snagit is a great screen capture program, allowing you to talk your way through what is on the screen, allowing you to articulate exactly how something is to be done.
3. Audio Recording I love using the audio recording and so do several of my clients. This is a quick way of communication with your Virtual Assistant. As an example when I am reviewing something a member of my team has been working on, I simply reply to the email and attach a quick voice recording. eXtra Voice Recorder is not free, it comes with a small cost and is purchased via iTunes.
4. The telephone, it’s not hard to pick up the phone but then again it is. You know what I mean. Unless you can be very disciplined and can stick to the exact reason you are calling, it’s not the most productive way to convey your instructions, things will creep onto the agenda that will take time away from both of you. Your Virtual Assistant is the utmost professional and would prefer to keep phone conversations to designated times agreed between the both of you.
Find a way that works for both of you, and stick to it. Remember, never presume that your VA or your client knows exactly what you are thinking.
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