Updated: May 27, 2019
Part 2 of Dissecting the equation to successfully working with a VA
As you grow as a professional, you’ll hear that the key to success is to delegate; to stop being the perfectionist that did all the work in group projects, just to make sure it was done right. Take the advice. Delegate the busy work you hate doing (but still has to be done) and the work that is continuously time consuming. Time is money and you have bigger things to focus on. Delegating seems simple, but in reality, there is quite an art to successfully delegating tasks without adding more to your plate.
Let’s start with the basics:
Organize the nitty gritty details of what you want to delegate to your VA.
Organizing details can make or break the task you are trying to delegate. It’s better to have too many details than not enough, but if you don’t have the time to write an instruction manual (which most of us do not) - just bullet point the most important aspects of the task (what it is and what the expectations are) and the necessary information needed in order to complete the task efficiently. Not providing all the necessary information can inadvertently cause road blocks, which slows down task turnaround time. If you can think of these needed elements when initially delegating the task, you can save yourself a lot of back and forth.
No matter how good your intentions are, your VA doesn’t need you to be virtually looking over
their shoulder. This will actually hinder their workflow and be a catalyst for frustration (on both sides). Set your expectations and discuss your preferences in the beginning (when you’re onboarding your VA or Admin) and you won’t have to wonder if your VA knows how you like things handled. Trusting the person you are delegating to builds confidence, confidence in each other creates a happy working relationship, and a happy working relationship will eventually lead you to the point where you ping your VA - I need an emergency hair appointment this afternoon - and your VA knows your favorite salon, your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choice for hair stylist (in order of preference), what time “this afternoon” means so you can still make 3:00 pickup and the PTA meeting (even if you forgot to forward that email and it’s not on your calendar), and what type of blowout you want. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s what happens when you delegate properly, and from the get go.
This seems like a given, right? It’s actually one of the easiest things to overlook. Your VA is human, not a bot, so communicating is going to be key. Try thinking about it like this - even when you’re in an office with 20+ people, communication can be broken. Working virtually, you don’t have an office, you can’t read facial expressions or body language, you can’t throw a hand gesture to let someone know you want (or don’t want) to chat with them. You have to be over-communicative when working with someone virtually, and vice versa. It’s the only way for this type of relationship to be successful. I can’t stress that enough. Plan a weekly call, set up a chat space, find what works for you - but have a plan to force communication until it becomes a habit. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where your VA will become an extension of you more than anything else. They won’t feel like an assistant, they’ll feel like a second brain, working just as hard and caring just as much as you do.
Did you miss Part 1 to Dissecting the equation to successfully working with a VA? Check out Do Ask. Don’t Tell. here.