5 Simple Yet Effective Tips for Managing Your First Virtual Assistant | Hire Bros

5 Simple Yet Effective Tips for Managing Your First Virtual Assistant

As a solopreneur, time is your most valuable asset. Unlike money, you can’t get it back!

So why does a great deal of solopreneurs spend a lot of time with low-value tasks?

They try to keep track of every little part of the business. Sure, it’s fine when you’re just starting out. But eventually, it becomes very limiting.

If you want to grow fast, you need to free up your time for high-value tasks – like, you know…

Making. More. Sales.

You’re smart. You know hiring a virtual assistant is a good start. It will buy you more time to focus on tasks that are truly worth your attention (AKA selling and scaling).

In this article, I’m going to teach you 5 basic but crucial tips to successfully train and manage your first virtual assistant.

Let’s get started!

1. Set Crystal-Clear Expectations

Don’t you hate it when you delegate work, but it ends up different from what you expected?

In the past, I’ve experienced this scenario. A LOT.

And it’s not because my VA was bad. Rather, it’s because I didn’t tell her EXACTLY what I wanted in the first place.

The funny thing is, your VA is not a fortune teller.

They don’t know what you’re thinking. And it’s not enough to hand out a job description and let them assume what to do.

If you want to be happy with your VA, you need to tell them exactly what you want in the beginning of your relationship.

Clearing up expectations between you and your team may take some time, but it’s totally worth it!

To learn more about training and managing your VA, you can get our VA Training Cheat Sheet here.

2. Use SMART Goals

Yes, setting goals is basic advice.

It’s simple. It’s obvious. And everybody knows how to do it. Thing is, not everyone does it right.

To be good at setting goals, it needs to be S.M.A.R.T. No, it’s not about being clever. Instead, it’s:

S – Specific 

M – Measurable

A – Attainable 

R – Realistic 

T – Time-bound

For example:

For a goal to be SMART, it’s not enough to say “I want traffic on my site.” The right one would be something like “I want to gain 1,000 visitors to my site in two weeks with Facebook marketing.”

You’ve clearly identified a target number and set a time-frame to achieve the goal. Awesome, that’s a good start!

But keep this in mind:

One common mistake with setting goals is sticking to the original plan no matter what. Don’t make the same mistake. Set SMART goals, execute, validate, and adjust.

3. Identify Repeatable Tasks

When managing your first virtual assistant, it’s easy to fall into the “task inventor” trap.

At first, you’ll feel the pleasure of getting tasks off your plate. But later on, you’ll begin to feel frustrated because you spend too much time thinking about the next task.

And then you’ll feel trapped because instead of freeing up time, you’re now working as a full-time manager. Yikes!

Remember: Inventing tasks on a daily basis just for the sake of keeping your VA busy is counterproductive.

You’re just giving yourself more work that’s stealing your focus away from high-value and more profitable activities.

To avoid this, you should be thinking about tasks that can be repeated weekly. You need to create a system that could occupy 40 hours a week BUT still produce valuable results for your business.

Emphasis on valuable! It’s easy to fall back into inventing tasks that have no real impact on your business. For a task to be “valuable”, it should produce a significant result that gets you closer to your business goals.

Here are some examples you can use:

  • Researching and publishing 5-10 posts on Twitter per day (1-2 hours)
  • Monitoring and engaging with 5-10 followers on Instagram per day (30-60 minutes)
  • Writing 2 blog posts per week, 1000 words each (6-12 hours)
  • Check and handle customer emails daily (1-3 hours)

Want to know an even better way? Download our free VA management cheat sheet now!

4. Provide Samples That They Can Emulate

Before, I’ve made a very serious but basic mistake:

When I was outsourcing web development work, I’ve spent a lot of time explaining without sending any sample mockups to my developer. Can you guess what happened next? Yes, the output was way different from what I expected.

This is exactly why you need to provide samples.

With a mock-up*, he was able to easily visualize everything that I wanted. The discussion was much simpler, even with a language barrier. (If you’ve ever worked with a remote developer, you know what I’m talking about!)

*Sidenote: Mockups are simply models or images of what you want to appear on a web page.

An explanation without samples leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. It could potentially result in unmet expectations.

That’s why it’s so important for your VA to have sources of inspiration, not just specific instructions. They need samples of what the end result should look like. 

This means:

If you want them to post content on your Twitter account, show good profiles such as HootSuite and Buffer. Better yet, show them your competitors’ Twitter accounts!

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel – just learn what works in the market and use it as inspiration (but don’t copy!).

5. Let Go (And Don’t Micromanage)

Because it’s your first time working with a VA, chances are you’ll feel a strong urge to monitor everything they’re doing — very, very closely.

They haven’t earned your trust yet, so you can’t help but feel worried.

Yes, supervising your VA is part of your duties as their employer. But you also have to ensure a healthy and productive working relationship!

Here are some things you should avoid:

  • Spying on every little thing they’re working on, all the time.
  • Being too rigid with instructions and disregarding their suggestions.
  • Taking a project back and doing it yourself because they didn’t meet your expectations – on their first try.

First off, micromanaging is simply counterproductive. Every minute you spend on it can be used somewhere else that’s more profitable.

Second, it conditions them to work dependently which could affect their confidence at work. They’ll probably get used to asking about every little thing out of their fear of committing mistakes.

So keep in mind:

It’s important to give your VA some breathing room when they’re just starting out.

They need to feel comfortable enough to experiment and find the most efficient way to do their work. They’re gonna make mistakes. It’s just part of the learning experience.

Just make sure you clarify that mistakes are okay – as long as they don’t repeat it.

Conclusion

Think of your VA as an asset to your company. But before they become a real asset, you have to give them a chance to learn and get situated.

You can give them at least 30 days to adjust and learn. Within this period, you need to spend extra time in guiding your VA. You may need to show them how to do it first (this is where systems and recorded videos become handy.)

This may take a lot of time (and mistakes) along the way, but let me assure you: it’s just part of the process.

After the training period, you can let go and focus on better opportunities – things only YOU can do. And this is when growth starts to happen.

Want to be more effective in training and managing your team? Download our free cheat sheet now!

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