Four Ways to Get the Most from Your VA

So you just hired a Virtual Assistant. (Or maybe you’re considering hiring a VA. Still, read on for some helpful tips.)
Now what? Where do you start, exactly? Let’s look at four ways to get the most from your VA from the beginning of your working relationship.

1) Treat the VA as part of your core team.

Just because your new VA is working with you remotely from any potential location around the globe doesn’t mean she is no less a part of your business and your team. Select the VA as though you were hiring a face-to-face assistant, and she will ensure that you are a good fit for her skill set as well.
Bring the VA in with the mindset that she is vital to your team and train/coach her as so. Your VA can only do as much as is allowed and instructed, so be sure to spend equivalent time training the VA that you want her to put into the job.
Once you invest the time training the VA and let her get to work, you will see that she can produce results for you and be a great asset to your team.

2) Establish a plan with expectations and goals before you start working together.

If you were to hire a face-to-face assistant, what tasks would you give that person to do to help you run your business more smoothly and efficiently?
Make a list of those tasks and go over them with your new or prospective VA. Set up a phone or Skype chat to go over details, goals, and priorities, and let your VA know your expectations and ask for feedback on them.
If you’re still in the selection process, your VA will let you know what she does or doesn’t do, and if you’ve already hired a VA, she can help you brainstorm ways to achieve your goals.
If you’re still in the process of formulating your plan, your VA may be able to help you with that as well. Most VAs have some experience and can give you tips as to what works and what may not.
She can also give you suggestions to improve your business operations and help her help you.

Never underestimate the power of communication—and don’t assume that the VA is going to do something for you that you never asked her to. Setting up a clear list of tasks and expectations will prevent confusion and miscommunication. Also, allow the VA to ask as many questions as necessary in order for her to do her job. Be available as much as you can for communication, especially in the beginning. As the VA does more and more work, she will not only get to know your business better but will be able to do more things on her own.

3) Start small and work up.

Regardless of your VA’s awesome skills, it will take a bit of time for her to get used to your business, tasks, and expectations.
Nobody does perfect work their first day on a new job!
Give her time to get used to what you want, and start out with smaller tasks and work up to more complicated ones.
Giving your VA some tasks that don’t require too much communication or clarification will ease her into the process, and it’s always better to work your way up than to overload the VA from the start with impossible deadlines and workloads. (Besides, you want her to keep working for you, not run away screaming!) You wouldn’t expect a face-to-face team member to jump right into a new job without some training and learning curve, so keep that mindset when working with your VA.
Even if she is doing tasks she’s done many times before, she wants to do them to your specifications and in a way that will help you out the most.

4) Don’t neglect positive reinforcement.

Everyone likes to hear that they’re doing a job well, right? It never hurts.
In the corporate world, most medium to large companies probably have an incentive or reward system set up to help keep employees happy and motivated. Why not implement this mindset with your VA? While you may not be able to reward a remote VA in the same way you would reward someone face-to-face, there are small bonuses and “gold stars” you can send her way in one form or another.
Keep in mind that if you’d like your VA to be proactive and help you out with tasks she knows you need to be done even before you’ve asked, a small reward system is a good way to facilitate that.
Let the VA know you appreciate her hard work and effectiveness. The more positive you are, the more positivity you’ll receive in return. Show your appreciation!

Follow these steps, and before you know it, you’ll have an efficient VA as a productive member of your team—and your VA will be just as happy to be working with you as you are with her!