Hi guys! It’s Sophie here. I’m actually going to do a couple of different extended videos with some slides over the next six months. The focus of the videos is going to be around different topics, but one of them is going to be really specific. I just wanted to give a quick overview of that today, as it is something that happens a lot with our clients and other entrepreneurs that I know. They start looking at outsourcing and building a team of virtual assistants or bringing a virtual assistant on board because they are really excited about the opportunity of freeing up their time. 

This will, in turn, allow them to grow their business, generate more revenue, spend their time how they want to. They get their virtual assistant. They are ready to go but then they find that they have to spend the first month or so actually spoon-feeding the virtual assistant. It is frustrating because they are trying to free up their time, and now they have just transferred that time to teaching someone else. In a way, that person is waiting for a lot of instruction and direction. 

It sometimes can leave you feeling like you have brought this VA on to work with you and to support you and help you build your business, free your time, and actually, you’d probably just be quicker off doing these tasks yourself. So you’re not getting the outcome that you want. A lot of that comes down to the first four weeks and how you spend that first four weeks with your VA. 

If you integrate them, get the onboarding, and get the person right, it makes a huge difference. When you are working with a virtual assistant or a team of virtual assistants, the idea is that they take these tasks away from you, and allow you to be able to focus on other areas. It is not meant to add another weight onto your shoulders. It is not meant to be a drain. It is supposed to be there to give you some freedom. 

So I just wanted to give you a quick introduction to my eight top points of how to ensure success with the correct integration of your VA into your business in the first four weeks. Again, this is based on experience. I have helped over 200 businesses now, in working with virtual assistants, bringing them into their businesses, and integrating them successfully. We have teams of virtual assistants in both our businesses as well. When I started working with virtual assistants just over two years ago, I definitely made some bad choices. I did not do what I am about to suggest that you do. As a result, it took me about six months of frustrations, lots of spoon-feeding, hiring the wrong people, and then having to stop working with them before I finally systemised and learned how to work properly with VAs. 

I am going to try and save you some of that pain, whether you are hiring a virtual assistant yourself, you are thinking about it, or you are looking at teaming up with some companies such as ourselves to help you find a virtual assistant. These are definitely some key things to do in the first four weeks and also to look out for. So how do you get the right person? 

  1. Make sure that you hire the right person. Like I said, whether it is you hiring, or it is the agency hiring for you, one of the things I strongly recommend that you focus on is key attributes, skills, and experience. To get the most out of working with a virtual assistant and to get the most value in your business, you are looking for someone that is going to be a long-term partner. 

So when you are looking at attributes, you want to look at “Has this person got some integrity? Has this person got the ability to work independently? Are they going to bring suggestions to me? Are they going to set systems up for me within my business? Or am I going to have to tell them everything to do every step of the way?” It is really important that you bring that right person who is going to be able to work independently and who is going to add value to your company. The way we do that is we do a whole range of tests. You can ask questions. You could ask situational questions. You could set some tests up yourself, but find a way to measure this person’s key attributes. 

  1. Make sure that the onboarding process is professional. Make sure that you have got any documents you may need ready, like welcome emails. Make sure your expectations are laid out. Make sure you have got all the log-ins and any software downloads for your virtual assistant that they are going to need so they are not waiting for you to give them this information to be able to get started looking at the work that they need to do. Also, make sure you are clear on the form of communication and the hours that you are going to want them to work, and the times that you are going to want reports sent to you. 

Just be very clear and specific on absolutely every aspect. I would recommend running a face-to-face meeting, followed up with an email to cover all of this on the onboarding process. The more clear that you are, the more specific that you are, and the more formal this onboarding process is, the more professional it will set the VA up. It will also manage their expectations. They will know what level they need to be at when they are conducting themselves around you. 

  1. Conduct training. When training your VA, again, you don’t want to add too much into what you are doing as you are already busy. You have not got much time. For training, I always recommend just as you are doing what you would normally be doing when you are doing the tasks you are wanting to delegate. Use software such as Loom. It will film you. It will film the screen. You can just talk through what you are doing, and you can start to put a manual of videos together for your virtual assistant. You can then drop that into a management training platform such as Asana or Trello, and then they can refer back to those training videos as they are doing the tasks. Again, they are not having to keep asking you because you have already filmed it. You filmed it once as you were doing it anyway. That means no extra time. They can just watch and refer back to that. 
  2. Daily check-ins. Always make sure that they are clear as to what time those daily check-ins need to be and what you are expecting, whether you are expecting a task list to be ticked off or you’re expecting a report, and what time you’re expecting it. We do that for about the first four weeks. Sometimes we extend it depending on the VA. It’s not something that I want to do ultimately over the long term, because I really want this virtual assistant to be independent, but daily check-ins for at least the first four weeks means that you are clear on what your VA has been doing. They are clear as to whether or not they have been doing the right thing for you. 
  3. A weekly development call. The weekly development call is looking at the previous week and giving recommendations as to how things could be done more effectively, listening to recommendations that your VA may have as to how they think things could be done more effectively, and then just setting some goals for the following week.
  4. Start small and then add responsibility. It may be that when you are working with your VA, you suddenly think, “Oh! They can do this and this and this!” Start adding all of these extra things on, make a note of that, and then just start adding those tasks in as the weeks go by. So I would want my virtual assistant to be really competent in one area and really competent in the tasks that they are doing, and then I would start adding more responsibility as time goes on. 
  5. Goal-setting. I have just touched on that briefly. We will do weekly goal-setting, and then we will also do monthly goal-setting. The goal-setting is about adding on responsibility, adding in additional tasks, but letting the VA know that there is the opportunity for ongoing growth and progression. If you have recruited someone that is looking for that, and you have recruited someone with those attributes that you want to work independently. You want to make sure that they know the goals and opportunities, and that they are working towards something, as opposed to just kind of sitting back and not really working towards anything. 

You want them to contribute as much as possible. So we openly would talk about goals in that first four weeks. 

8.Finally, share your vision. Share your goals. Share your company values. Let your team members know that they are part of that. It is really exciting for them to know where your company is heading, and that they are part of that. I find also that it makes my team work even harder or more diligently. It makes them bring more suggestions to me. They know our vision as a company, and they are so excited to be part of that. 

They want to make sure that we all work together to achieve that vision- to achieve our mission and goals. It is because we talk about it all of the time. That was me talking super quick going over those eight steps. I am going to be extending this into a full video with slides. I am going to go into a lot more detail on each of those points. 

So look out for that! I will let you know when it gets released in the next couple of weeks. I hope you guys have a fantastic rest of your week and have found that very short and quick version of How To Set Your VA Up For Success In The First Month helpful.

Sophie Dearden
Resource Worldwide