Don't Do It Yourself

4 Tips for Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Cat on desk helping entrepreneurOne of the great things about technology is that you can hire someone to work for you as an assistant, and he or she doesn't have to be in the same office as you.

A virtual assistant can help you with mundane tasks, freeing you up for more important items that can help you grow your business more efficiently. However, even though it can be great to have a virtual assistant, there's also an element of concern. Can you trust your virtual assistant? How do you manage your virtual assistant day-to-day?

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Best Practices for Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Since your virtual assistant could be anywhere — including halfway around the world — you need to adopt best practices when managing your virtual assistant. Here are 4 things to keep in mind as you monitor your assistant's activities:

  1. Know How Long it Should Take: How long should a task take? You should have a solid idea of how much time your assistant is likely to spend on certain tasks. Before I started outsourcing my social media submissions, I did it myself. I have a pretty good idea of how long it takes to make these submissions, so I can verify my assistant's work hours. You will have to allow time for the learning curve during the first two to four weeks, but things should settle into a routine after that.
  2. Be Open in Your Communication: Your virtual assistant should be able to reach you with questions at anytime. Be open in your communication, and provide lines of communication that are appropriate for what you want your assistant to do. If you are having an assistant do tasks like create memos and manage social media, access via email and/or Skype is usually sufficient. However, if your assistant is scheduling appointments or working on sensitive projects, he or she might need your phone number.
  3. Avoid Micro-Management: The point of hiring a virtual assistant is so that you have more free time. You lose this advantage if you micro-manage. While you want to keep tabs on certain projects, and make sure your assistant is fulfilling the terms of your agreement, you can't be constantly checking in and managing everything that is done. I have my assistant email me a list of social media submissions at the end of each day. A quick list of links is all I need. It's fast, it's easy, and she doesn't have me breathing down her neck.
  4. Be Aware of Limitations: Don't overload your virtual assistant, and make sure you stay open to his or her limitations. Be aware of what your assistant can handle, and what might be too much. With a little thought and creativity, and by checking in with your assistant on occasion to make sure he or she is handling things appropriately, you can keep your assistant from burning out and dropping the ball.

Your virtual assistant is a valuable part of your business. Make sure that you use best practices to avoid burning out your assistant, and causing him or her extra stress. With best practices, you can build a good professional relationship that lasts.

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