How to Use A Virtual Assistant
Understanding What a Virtual Assistant is.
A virtual assistant (also known as a VA) is an independent remote worker. They typically handle administrative duties like scheduling and email and the likes, almost like a freelance admin. However, more recently, VA's also have been managing social media postings and management, bookkeeping, and more.
Virtual assistants can be independent freelancers (Think Fivver) or an entire company (Like Off/Source, Belay solutions, and Prialto). Each company or independent VA offers different services, pricing and experiences - find the one that fits you best.
How do Virtual Assistants work?
As we previously mentioned, different VA's and companies offer different experiences and therefore work in different manners:
Using your software and login directly
Access via adding an additional user
Only doing no access work
Each of the experiences has a different workflow process (Off/Source uses a combination of all the methods) and offers its unique advantages. We will identify how each process works when working with a virtual assistant.
Using Your software and login directly - This is exactly how it sounds. You provide your VA with the login and password to the needed software to do the work. Your VA now can complete work just like you, directly into your tech stack (the software/programs you use). Using direct login access provides you with employee-level connection, communication, and workflow results.
Access Via adding an additional User - This method can be costly if you are using per-user software however give you a barrier of privacy and more control over what your VA has access to. It is excellent when you have security clearance levels or just different admin privileges within your company in general. This method also provides you with employee-level connection, communication, and workflow results.
Only doing no access work - This method means you will only be giving your virtual assistant tasks without any login information. Think of sharing documents and presentations, creating notes, research reports, etc. It also doesn't provide the same level of assistance and communication as the other two options.
A lot of VA's communicate via email, Slack, or text message. Some companies (like Off/Source) have apps or platforms to communicate with your VA. Depending on your choice of a virtual assistant, some VA's will also have different time zones, which can affect the flow of communication.
At Off/Source, we provide you with a dedicated platform for audio/text/video communication, document upload, and task tracking; however, we can communicate on whatever channel our client feels best. Email, Text, Slack, and all other messaging platforms are acceptable.
Common platforms for communication:
Doing the work (and managing it)
Work Management & execution is where your experience with a VA (freelancer or company) can significantly differ. Like Off/Source, some companies (and even freelancers) use some form of project management system with tracking features to make completing and reporting tasks easy. Some even offer client portals; this allows you to see and add tasks clearly, see what stage the task is in (ex: not started or completed).
Other times, it is a manual process, meaning you could be receiving a daily/weekly/monthly update regarding the completion of work and the hours used or whatever other reporting data they track.
It is virtually impossible to know the exact time your VA is putting it in (fudging hours and inaccurate timesheets are sometimes a big concern to owners). Still, it's impossible to know on all fronts: in-office employees, remote employees, and freelancers. The average person working an 8-hour shift is only doing roughly 4 hours of work, meaning owners pay for the idle time no matter what. However, this cost is minimized when using a virtual outsourced freelancer or company. So do your due diligence and trust that you picked the right virtual assistant.
What Work Can You Give Your Virtual Assistant?
As we previously mentioned, different VA's offer various services, pricing, and experiences. So the first thing is to identify the areas you need help. Typical areas of support are:
Graphic Design and Content Creation
Social Media Management
Bookkeeping & More.
The best way to identify what work to give your virtual assistant is to list all of the issues, hurdles, and obstacles hindering your business. Ask yourself the following the questions
What am I procrastinating the most on?
What do I always wish somebody else can take care of?
When doing a task, is there something more important or worth more money to take care of?
How long will this take me personally to do by myself?
The answers to these questions tell you what work can best be delegated/outsourced to your virtual assistant.
How To Give Your Virtual Assistant Work and Optimize Your Interactions & Results
The best way to optimize your virtual assistant is to start by reaching an understanding of the scope of work, the time frame, deadlines, and other essentials (like logins or admin access). When laying out your instruction on how you want a task to be completed, include key execution details like:
Due Date & Time Frames
Software Specifications (EX: specify you need a document made in word vs. google docs)
Try to have SOPs (Standard operating procedure)or at least a workflow outline when giving the details of a task (See below for an example:)
When setting expectations, make sure they are realistic and written down. You don't want to have any confusion or miscommunications regarding the tasks that need completing. Ask your VA if they can bring on more work or have operating knowledge and experience executing the job (s) you will assign. These questions help manage expectations and can clear the air of any potential hiccups lurking around.
Ready To Go
You are now adequately prepared for searching and onboarding your virtual assistant (we hope so). We know that onboarding a virtual assistant is will be one of the best decisions you've made for your business ... EVER! You get all the benefits of an employee or staff without the cost, headache, paperwork, and responsibility is the scalable support you need.
Still don't know where to start? Check out our website, www.Offsource.Tech and we will provide you with a dedicated virtual office team that can handle all of the work you need to be done.