Has anyone found a good virtual assistant
Find and train the right virtual assistant.
How to find and train your virtual assistant
You are convinced: it is time to start delegating tasks. There are enough reasons for this. You also have an idea of which tasks you want to hand over or even have already prepared a specific assignment. But how do you find the right virtual assistant for you and how do you convey your tasks in such a way that you are both satisfied with the result and the cooperation?
The first part of this article is about how to find the right assistant for you and the second part gives some tips for familiarization and collaboration.
Let's start with step 1:
Find a virtual assistant
Before you start looking for your assistant, there are a few tasks that you should do beforehand. First, make it clear to yourself which tasks or areas you would like to hand over. Perhaps you also have a small project such as specific research or a specific text that you would like to have done right now. If you don't have any ideas yet, here are some suggestions.
If you are not yet sure whether and what you can outsource at all, a good method is to simply write down all the tasks that you do during the day for a week or a month. From this list you then pick out tasks that you do not like to do, that cost you a lot of time and that someone else could do simply because they do not require presence in the office or no special knowledge, for example.
Now define what you expect from your virtual assistant:
- What qualifications and experience should he have?
- Should he be available at certain times of the day?
- Does he need certain language skills?
- Which programs should he master?
- How many hours a month will you need it?
- And what's your budget
So try to define as clearly as possible what your ideal candidate should be and formulate these requirements and wishes for a profile. Also weight what is particularly important to you.
Formulate the job description
Now write as detailed an application as possible, in which you describe the tasks you want to hand over, your business and your expectations as clearly as possible. The more detailed and clear your advertisement is, the more likely it is that you will find the right candidate.
It is frustrating for you and the VA when you might have a nice interview, but only at the end do you mention that you need someone who is available every day in the late evening hours, but your VA lives in a time zone where this is possible so does not go together at all. So be as clear as possible about all conditions and requirements in the tender.
Finding a virtual assistant is not that different from finding a permanent employee. The application and familiarization process is also time-consuming for you at first. The more carefully you prepare and operate this process, the more it will pay off for you later.
When your job description is there, you can publish it. Use your social and professional networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing) and special job boards and portals for freelancers and virtual assistants. Here at Fernarbeit.net you can easily submit your request for free.
Alternatively, you can also ask friends and entrepreneurs for recommendations. Perhaps you are already working with a VA who still has free capacity. Use your network and ask for recommendations. Many assistants receive almost all of their assignments purely through recommendations from their clients.
Which questions you should ask in the interview
If you have now received some applications and have selected some suitable candidates, you should arrange a phone call with them. With Skype, Zoom or Slack, this is also no problem virtually.
This step may seem like a lot of work, but it is very important. Your goal is to find a virtual assistant that suits you. Who you can trust, who will work for you in the long term and who will do your tasks more and more independently over time. For this it is important that you fit together. And that goes for both sides. You too have to be the right client for the assistant. If he enjoys working with you, understands your project and ideally has fun with your topics, the quality and reliability of the work will definitely be better.
Of course, if you only have a one-time job to do, the effort is too great. But we assume here that the many advantages of working with a VA have convinced you and that you are looking for a long-term employment relationship.
Therefore: make an appointment and ask questions:
- Ask about experiences and other current customers.
- Ask whether the requirements for time availability and the tools used are suitable for the VA.
- Tell about your business and ask what impression the VA has of it. Does he seem interested? Does he have any comments or ideas?
- Ask them what their favorite tasks are and why. And of course, which tasks the VA does not want to take on.
- Ask what exactly is the VA interested in your business / offer. Why does he want to take on these tasks?
- Do some small talk. See if the chemistry between you fits. Maybe you have something in common?
You should keep a personal conversation later in the collaboration, but more on that later.
Once you have decided on a candidate, you can start working together. But don't forget to cancel the other candidates either. You may need more support in the future. Or your current candidate may at some point no longer be able to work for you for various reasons. So it is good if you still have the contacts from this application round and have been positively remembered there.
Incorporate the virtual assistant
So you've decided on an assistant and you can start working together. Clarify everything organizational in advance: there are contracts, terms and conditions and confidentiality agreements for working with virtual assistants. You can find a separate article on this topic here: Legal issues when working with virtual assistants.
Also clarify the billing and payment. When does the VA submit its invoices, what is the payment term. Don't forget: your VA is a self-employed entrepreneur. Your punctual and reliable payment of the bills will ensure, among other things, that your VA will want to work with you over the long term.
At the beginning, take a lot of time to familiarize yourself with it. The more you prepare in advance, the easier it will be for you and your assistant. Of course, the preparation depends on the nature of the tasks. When it comes to a one-time text creation or research, it is sufficient if you prepare this briefing with all the necessary information including a deadline.
But if you want to work with your new VA in the long term, consider the training period as an investment. The more carefully you train your assistant and the more time you take to answer questions and provide feedback, the more profitable and enjoyable it will be for both of you to work together later.
Welcome your new VA. Introduce him to the rest of the team. Explain to him who has which tasks and how he can reach whom from the team. Perhaps some questions can also be clarified by your team members among themselves. Or one of your employees or freelancers can take over part of the induction. In any case, your new VA will feel more welcome when they know right away who is a member of the team and who is responsible for what.
Before the start of the VA, set up all the necessary accesses and make them available to the VA. If he is to add articles to your website, he needs access here. To plan posts on Facebook, you should make him the editor of your company page. Does he need an email address from your domain? Do you have a content management system that he needs access to? There are also various tools and methods for exchanging access data.
Prepare a list of tasks and related explanations. Maybe you already use a tool like Asana or Trello? If so, set up the appropriate accesses for the VA here too. And if not, talk to him about your workflow to assign tasks and provide feedback.
It is ideal if you have prepared a folder in Drive or Dropbox that contains instructions and explanatory videos for more complex tasks. You can use this folder and the documents together and add and complete over time. This also makes it easier to get new employees on board.
You can use QuickTime, Screencast or simply the camera of your smartphone to record such videos.
Availability and training
Even if it is more work for you at first: be available for your new assistant in the first few weeks and take time for his questions and for feedback. Perhaps you will arrange a weekly call to discuss tasks and clarify questions. In virtual teams, a regular (video) call is ideal to strengthen the team spirit and to address possible problems directly.
Encourage your virtual assistant to ask questions if they are unsure about tasks. The more time you take for training at the beginning, the more you will benefit later from the fact that your VA carries out tasks independently and on your behalf. Communicate time slots and how the assistant can reach you (email, Skype, phone call).
Remember: your assistant cannot read your mind (at least not at the beginning 😉). So if your briefing consists of just one sentence and you expect the VA to know what you mean by now, neither of you will enjoy working together very much. Your goal is to have an employee who understands you, your business and your way of working. So explain tasks in detail and also give some background. Why is this task important? The great thing about the job as a virtual assistant is that you are constantly learning something new. So having more information and background knowledge is helpful for any assistant.
You hand over tasks to the VA that you may have carried out yourself for years and no longer think about the details. For your virtual assistant, however, the task is new. Keep this in mind before you get impatient because you have to answer questions about the task or not everything is going 100 percent as you imagined.
You should give each other feedback regularly, especially at the beginning, but also during the course of the collaboration. Also, be sure to provide feedback when everything is going well, not just when you have improvements. Every employee is happy to receive positive feedback and a small "Thank you that I can rely on you".
When you have corrections and improvements to make to the completed tasks, take the time to communicate them constructively. If you don't have time for a phone call, you can also record a video here, for example, in which you explain what you would change. Don't just revise an email, text, or article. Only if you explain what you are changing and how can your virtual assistant do better for the next job.
But also be open to getting feedback yourself. Perhaps you can still improve something in your briefings or the tools you use. Benefit from the experience of your assistant and use the collaboration to improve your own skills.
Once you have found the right assistant and the collaboration is working well, all you have to do is consider what you want to use the time you have gained.
And don't get discouraged: Finding and familiarizing yourself with the virtual assistant that is ideal for you can take some time. Perhaps the first candidate you have chosen will not fit either. It is best to start with the first small tasks, so you get used to outsourcing tasks. If your team continues to grow, your virtual assistant can also take over the control of the other VAs and freelancers for you.
It's best to start today and
find the right assistant for your project.
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