One of the many things I have been meaning to do since starting my virtual assistance business is to put together a manual for clients, to give them as much information they may need when working with a virtual assistant. I don’t mean to suggest that everyone needs step by step instructions on how to delegate tasks to a VA, but I have found that many past and present clients could do with some guidance when working with a VA for the first time.
I have put together my list of the 5 top tips I think every Virtual Assistant would love their clients to take note of:
1. Use Project Management software
I have lost count of the number of times I have mentioned the PM software that I use with some of my clients. Asana is great, and it keeps both myself and my clients on track with tasks. I also use Asana with my own freelancers who I delegate work to. What I love about Asana is how I can have a conversation with my client (or team member) on a particular task and not receive a single email.
I wish that all my clients would use Asana, it would make my work day a lot easier to schedule. I would highly recommend anyone who works with a virtual assistant to stop sending emails and use project management software instead – it not only keeps your inbox from being bombarded with emails, but it also keeps everything nice and organised which makes it extremely easy to go back and search through older tasks.
2. Ensure tasks are clear, concise and with deadlines
If you’re already using PM software, then this may not be a problem. If you are still assigning tasks by sending an email, then ensure these three things are included. Make sure the task you have set is clearly and concisely written so minimum questions need to be asked about how the task should be handled. What I find most people do not include when assigning me tasks is a deadline… do they need it today, tomorrow or in a month’s time? This is really not helpful when I am trying to schedule my working hours. If I have clear deadlines for work then I am able to set out my day each morning (or evening) and make sure that all tasks are completed on time.
This is another reason I love Asana, my clients can quickly assign a task to me and give it a due date – simple!
3. Send 1 email instead of 5
I don’t know whether this is just something I prefer, but rather than sending a different email for each different task or query, I would rather 1 email with all tasks/queries in one. That means I only get 1 email in my inbox, and only have to reply to 1 email rather than 5 (or sometimes more…).
It’s very easy to separate 1 email so that it’s still clear, you can use numbers or bullet points to distinguish between tasks/queries or even use a horizontal line or similar so it’s clear tasks are not related.
This tip (and in fact all of these tips) not only benefit the virtual assistant, but they also benefit you as the client… who wouldn’t prefer less emails to respond to?
4. Appreciate you may not be their only client
Virtual assistants don’t necessarily work for just one person (or business), although I am sure many do. Most VA’s also own their own business, they are business owners and not employees. That means that they will most likely have more than just 1 client, in fact I can be working with up to 10 different clients at one time.
When delegating tasks to your VA be aware that they may not be able to drop everything to complete your urgent task. In my terms and conditions I have a clause explaining that work needed to be done within 24 hours may come with an extra charge. I have never yet had to charge anyone, but if your VA is working for multiple clients, you are not going to know how big their workload is for that day, like you would if you employed someone who worked in your office.
5. Micro managing is not needed
As I said above, most VA’s own their own businesses, they multi-task clients and manage their workload themselves. We don’t need micro managing in the way that full-time employees may need. If we are given clear, concise tasks with deadlines, we will come back with any questions and then go away and carry out the task. Any problems along the way we will keep you informed and updated.
I have been very lucky and not experienced micro managing from my clients, but I do know some that have – many of us start our own businesses to get away from this sort of thing and become our own boss.
Do you work with a virtual assistant, what tips would you give to people and businesses who are looking at working with a VA for the first time?