Entrepreneurs Guide on How to Work with a Virtual Assistant

If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner and you are hiring a virtual assistant to help you reduce your business tasks, this guide will show you how to work with a virtual assistant to gain the most benefits and maximise productivity. 

    Entrepreneurs Guide on How to Work with a Virtual Assistant<br />

    Entrepreneurs everywhere have been saving time and making money by hiring virtual assistants to complete their business tasks. 

    If you are new to the whole idea of having a virtual assistant and you have been wondering what the process of hiring and having a V.A is, by the end of this guide you will have a clear understanding of how entrepreneurs work with a virtual assistant. 


    We will discuss the following aspects of working with a virtual assistant:  


    • Finding a virtual assistant
    • Delegating work to your virtual assistant
    • Progress reports / Client meetings
    • Receiving your work 
    • Reviewing your work
    • Feedback   

    Below is the full process of working with a virtual assistant from start to finish


    1. Find a virtual assistant 

    The first thing you need to do is find a virtual assistant if you haven’t done so already. Begin by determining what tasks you need a virtual assistant to do. This will help you decide what skills your virtual assistant must have. 

    Different virtual assistants operate their businesses differently. For example virtual assistant freelancers operate differently from professional virtual assistants. Choose which type of virtual assistant you need. To help you make the right decision, make sure you’re aware of the benefits of hiring a professional virtual assistant vs hiring a freelancer here

    2. Delegate work to your virtual assistant 

    If you are hiring a professional virtual assistant usually you will begin by having a consultation with your virtual assistant. During the consultation, you can delegate your first set of tasks. You can also decide how you will delegate future tasks. There are different ways you can delegate tasks to a virtual assistant. Depending on the virtual assistant company they may specify how tasks need to be delegated to them. We offer clients the option to schedule tasks over the phone alternatively they can send us tasks using a delegation sheet. To download a free virtual assistant delegation sheet click here.


    3. Progress reports / Client meetings 

    Your virtual assistant may offer you client meetings to give you updates on the progress of your task. The amount and frequency of the meetings will depend on the size of the project or the number of tasks. At Prime PA during the consultation stage, we agree on set points to report progress, so you can stay up to date and be aware of how far along we are with your tasks. We also send our clients a time-tracking report for each project or task, so you can see how long we spend on each task. Most virtual assistants especially those who charge by the hour will usually always provide you with time-tracking data. 


    virtual assistant how does it work

    4. Receive your completed work from your virtual assistant

    Your virtual assistant will send you your completed work before the agreed due date. Your work will be sent to you via your agreed method usually email, or Dropbox. Your work can also be delivered in other ways, for example, if you gave your V.A the task of writing a blog post, in this situation your virtual assistant would save the blog post to your drafts on your website and send you a notification to let you know it is available for you to approve. 


    5. Review the work 

    Once your virtual assistant has sent you your work, we recommend at this stage for you to complete a review. 

    Once you have reviewed the work if you discover it needs to be edited you will then need to send the instructions to your virtual assistant to make the necessary edits. 

    Once your virtual assistant has made the changes you requested they will then send your edited work back to you. 


    Normally there won’t be a need for any more edits, however, if there is anything else you would like to change after your work has already been edited. You will need to update your virtual assistant again with the information. 

    This is why it’s really important to ensure you include all the necessary information in the first place to avoid wasting time by having to get work edited later. You should also check with your virtual assistant what their specific policy on editing is. 


    6. Feedback 

    You have the option to provide your virtual assistant with feedback. This can be positive or negative feedback depending on the outcome of the task.

    Your virtual assistant may ask you for feedback or you may feel the need to just email or call your virtual assistant to provide them with feedback. This is all optional, feedback can be good for you and your virtual assistant. 

    When we receive feedback from clients we use the information to provide a better service and experience. 

    If you will be providing negative feedback it is always best to stay professional and try to come to a resolution with your virtual assistant. 


    Outsourcing to a virtual assistant

    This is the full process of how to work with a virtual assistant. To get the most out of having a VA follow these tips, they show you how to effectively work with a virtual assistant.  


    Tips for working with a virtual assistant 

    • Dont delegate tasks to your virtual assistant that require your expertise 

    If the task you are thinking about delegating requires your personal expertise and will require the V.A to constantly ask you questions, then unless this is something you plan on delegating frequently and therefore don’t mind putting in the time to train your VA we suggest that you don’t delegate these types of tasks. 


    Even though there are many different virtual assistants with different skills if there is certain knowledge that is needed to complete a task, unless your virtual assistant already has that knowledge or you are prepared to invest the time and money for them to train and learn that knowledge, then you should only delegate tasks that your virtual assistant can complete confidently by themselves. 


    The benefit of having a virtual assistant is that they can complete work instead of you or at the same time as you. Therefore if your virtual assistant constantly needs you to complete tasks, then this defeats the purpose of hiring a virtual assistant, and you might as well complete the task yourself. 

    • Set your due date before you need the work. 

    Requesting the due date for your work before you need it gives you time to review the work and also gives your virtual assistant time to make any changes. 

    This is an example – If you have told your V.A you need a presentation completed on the 14th of the month because you need to present it on the 15th. This will not leave a lot of time for you to review your work or for your virtual assistant to edit it either. 


    In this scenario you should set the due date to give yourself ample time to review your work so it can be edited before the actual date you will be presenting it. 


    Obviously, there are going to be times when this is not possible because you may request work on a Monday that you need to use on a Tuesday. But for all other tasks you request allow extra time before you actually need it. This will ensure your work is reviewed, edited and ready for when you plan to use it. 


    Outsourcing to a virtual assistant
    • Let your VA know any information that can help with the task upfront

    As well as giving your clients instructions for the task, the delegation sheet also includes a space for you to attach any resources or web pages that can help your VA complete your task. 

    Giving your virtual assistant all the information they could need at the beginning of the task saves you time going back and forth. As an entrepreneur, you are hiring a virtual assistant to save time, so save yourself even more time by making sure your virtual assistant knows all they need to know upfront so they can complete your task to a high standard. 

    Virtual assistants work with multiple clients and as you can appreciate they have to manage their time between all of their clients. If you have given your virtual assistant tasks to complete and your VA begins your tasks and gets halfway through only for you to come with information they should have included from the start can end up delaying the completion date.  


    • Make the most of your retainer hours

    Some virtual assistants offer retainer deals. A retainer pack allows you to buy a certain amount of V.A hours at a reduced rate. 

    If you hire a virtual assistant to do work for a set amount of hours each week or month make sure you take advantage of retainer pricing deals. 


    We offer clients retainer packages of 5 hours, 10 hours and 15 hours. 

    This is an example of one of our retainer packages showing the reduced rate clients receive compared to paying as you go. It may not seem much but over time it adds up and you make great savings. 

    Sometimes clients are reluctant to purchase a retainer package and would rather simply pay as you go. However, a lot of these same clients end up using the same amount of hours in the retainer pack anyway but don’t receive the benefit of a reduced rate. 


    Sometimes the reason for this is that they cannot think of tasks to delegate and are afraid they won’t use all of the hours included in the retainer package. 

    This is why we always encourage clients that even if you cannot think of anything new that needs doing immediately, you can always edit or improve existing work that you have in place.


    Follow the steps of how to work with a virtual assistant and use the tips to get the best start with your virtual assistant. Since you’re interested in learning more about how to work with a virtual assistant why not attend our next VA LIVE Introduction + Q&A Event where you can meet virtual assistants and find out how specifically a virtual assistant can work with you to complete your business tasks. Click here to register.

    The Virtual Assistant Startup & Management Pack Includes: Templates, Checklists & Forms Download FREE