Small business owners are proverbially the wearers of many hats. You’re the CEO, the marketer, the salesperson, the head of HR, the customer service representative, and more. It can be tough to keep up with everything, and it’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day administrative tasks, which takes time away from more important revenue-generating activities.
That’s where a virtual assistant (VA) can help. A VA is a remote worker who can provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance to your business. They can handle tasks like scheduling appointments, managing your email, creating presentations, and more.
Benefits of hiring a virtual assistant
Hiring a VA has several benefits:
As noted above, a VA can help you get more done by working on administrative and other tasks. So instead of juggling creating marketing strategies with sifting through hundreds of emails or scheduling sales calls, you can get the jobs done simultaneously—by you and your VA.
A VA can help you improve your efficiency by streamlining your processes and automating tasks. This also frees up your time and lets you look at the bigger picture.
Saves you money
The cost of hiring a VA is often lower than the cost of hiring a full-time employee. This can save you money, especially if you’re a small business owner with limited resources.
Finding and hiring a virtual assistant
When looking for a virtual assistant, consider the following factors:
Once you know what you need, there are several places you can find potential VAs. Here are a few options:
After you’ve found a few potential VAs, interview them to see how well they communicate well and if they’re a good fit for your company.
How to successfully work with a virtual assistant
The key to a successful relationship with a VA is being able to delegate. Delegation, however, is one of the hardest things for many small business owners to do. They often think no one can do as good a job as they can. This is wrong; it’s time-consuming to do everything that needs to be done, and silly to think a business owner's expertise is needed to do administrative tasks.
Here’s how to delegate and work with a virtual assistant:
Choose the right tasks to delegate
Not all jobs are created equal—some are better suited for delegation than others. When choosing which tasks to delegate, consider the following:
Set clear expectations
When you delegate a job, setting clear expectations with your VA is important to avoid misunderstandings. Outline what tasks are to be done, be clear about your communication preferences (e.g., do you want to be contacted via email?), how often you want to receive updates, and deadline dates.
Provide the necessary training and resources
Your VA needs to be trained on your company’s policies, procedures, and software. You may also want to provide them access to resources like your CRM system, social media accounts, or email.
Depending on the specific jobs and projects you assign your VA to do, look for tech tools that enhance collaboration; improve communication beyond emailing, such as texting, instant messaging, or a chat app; and assist with project management. Check out tech comparison sites to review your options, such as GetApp, Capterra, and G2.
Offer regular feedback
It’s critical to provide your VA with regular constructive feedback so they can pivot and improve their performance if they’re not meeting your expectations. Make sure to tell them what they’re doing right and when they exceed your expectations—praise matters.
And just as you should provide feedback to your VA, you should also be open to receiving feedback from them. This feedback can help you to improve your delegation skills and better understand the needs of your VA.
Source: Rieva Lesonsky
Image Credit: Pixabay
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