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5 things you need to do/know before hiring a VA.
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Well developed processes

You need to know exactly what you want your virtual assistant to do for you, this may sound obvious, but “do my social media marketing” isn’t going to cut it. You need to be able to tell your virtual assistant every step of the step by step process of each task. The best tasks to delegate are those you are currently doing, because you know each step in the process and can easily show your virtual assistant what to do. 

If possible, always develop the process of each task before giving it to your virtual assistant, doing this will increase your success rate dramatically. It is best to avoid statements like, “go ahead and do this if you want,” “do whatever you think here,” “use your judgment,” and “if you feel it needs it.” Statements requiring your virtual assistant to think and make decisions will cause problems. Try and take as much thinking and decisions making out of each process. A little time spent developing each task will be time well spent in the long run.     

Screencast Video

The best way to delegate a task to a virtual assistant is a screencast video. A screencast video is when you record your computer screen while you perform the task yourself. With a screencast video, you not only record your screen, but you also explain what you’re doing; it is as close to having the person there sitting next to you as you can get without actually having them there. One of the added benefits to having a screencast video is you now have a recording of the process that your virtual assistant can refer back to if they have questions. Another advantage is if your virtual assistant quits, you can give the video to the replacement, that way you don’t have to re-explain it a second time.  There are several free web-based options out there; I like Screencast-o-Matic.

How long the task will take to perform.

Knowing how long the task will take to preform is vital because it sets the benchmark for you and your virtual assistant. If the task takes you 30 minutes and it takes your virtual assistant 2 hours, you know something is wrong. Either they aren’t working, or they are doing something wrong in the process. The solution to this is to have your virtual assistant record a screencast video of the process they’re doing, and you can watch it and give further instruction at that point to speed things up. Keep in mind there are learning curves associated with new tasks, so your virtual assistant is likely to need some time to match your speed and efficiency.

The Check Back

The Check Back is critical to the efficiency and success of a task; it’s where your virtual assistant does the beginning part of the task and checks back with you to review their work so far. I see things go wrong mostly with research tasks; they go something like this; the client gives their virtual assistant a set of instructions to follow in researching and filling out a spreadsheet, and the virtual assistant goes to work. There was some miscommunication, and the virtual assistant didn’t add the correct information in one of the columns; as a result, they need to go back through all the research and get the correct info and add it to the right column. This mistake took the task from a 3-hour task to a 6-hour task, and everything could have been avoided if the virtual assistant would have done five lines in the spreadsheet and “Checked Back” with the client. The client could have seen the error and corrected it before 3 hours were spent doing it wrong.

Due Date

ASAP is not a due date; it lacks specificity. You need to know that a virtual assistant likely has multiple clients they work with to fill an 8 hour day, and if one of those clients has a due date of today at 5 pm and yours is ASAP, which one do you think will be finished first?

 

There are a couple of things to consider when setting due dates; you need to set the due date far enough out in the future to allow enough time for your virtual assistant to get the task done. Also, there are internet issues, revisions, and other unforeseen problems that can cause delays, so plan on things happening because life is unpredictable.

Conclusion 

There are many things to know and do when delegating to a virtual assistant, at TaskBullet, we have standard operating procedures in place to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If you forget to set a due date we will ask you for one, we will reach out to you for the Check Back, we will record a screencast video if you don’t have one, and we will ask you how long the task should take to complete. We have these SOPs and more in place to ensure effective communication, the meeting of due dates, and the delivery of high-quality work.

Click the link below to see what a virtual assistant from TaskBullet can do for you.

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