Nearly all the VAs in our network have come across a new Client who hopes that once they’ve signed on the dotted line with a VA they can go on their merry way and the work they’ve discussed will magically happen behind the scenes.  Now as much as it would be incredibly helpful, we Virtual Assistants are unfortunately not psychic.  Depending on the work delegated to us sometimes we can indeed work our magic without input from the Client but for the majority, we still need some direction, input or approval from our Clients to successfully complete delegated tasks.  So what are these common issues and how can you as a Client avoid them when you make the decision to work with a VA?

Not communicating with your VA

We totally get that life is busy, things get in the way and suddenly there is no time to reply to messages (one of the reasons you want a VA, right?!).  But not replying to communications from your VA doesn’t help you or your business.

Not making the time to reply to your VA is going to hold you back, and in the grand scheme of things, what’s the point of paying out for the support if they don’t have the tools and resources to actually do the job?!

We have a few suggestions to get around this common problem…

  1. Arrange regular catch up calls with your VA to set priorities.  We suggest at least once a month, at the beginning of the month, or when your hours renew for a fresh month.
  2. Depending on your business, email might not be your main source of communication so why not see if your VA is happy using the likes of Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or a business related program such as Slack to communicate quick and short messages?  Be mindful your VA may not be comfortable in using these platforms if they also use them for personal use so be respectful if they decline and look at alternative options to help with your communication.
  3. Put trust in your VA to ‘sign-off’ on things.  Instead of reviewing everything your VA produces before it goes out, put your trust in your VA and give them the autonomy to do it for you.  They are business owners themselves and if you’ve done your homework when choosing your VA, you’ll know they are more than capable of giving things a final check over before publishing or scheduling something in.

Not delegating work

Here at TWVA, we work with Clients on a retainer basis which means Clients purchase our time in advance each month, which has to be used within that month.  Any time not used is lost.  For the Clients who don’t send work our way, we could happily sit back and cash in on the hours they are paying for and be done with it.  But that goes against our core values and just doesn’t sit right with us.  We encourage our Clients to schedule in regular calls to set a list of tasks to be completed, to put their trust in us to proactively look at their business and make suggestions of work we could be getting on with.  Why not do the same with your VA?  You could also look at what you want to outsource.  Are there any regular tasks you can hand over to your VA that they can get on with without your input?

Not completing your actions

After you’ve had a catch-up with your VA, it’s easy to become distracted and not do the things you said you would do or action any items you said you would send over.  Why not ask your VA to follow-up your call with a list of things you need to do and ask them to set a deadline and hold you accountable?  It’s easy to say I want to move ‘x’ forward, but unless you’re willing to put some time into ‘x’, it’s never going to happen.

Not giving them the right tools or enough access

During your onboarding call with your VA, they should ask you for access to or login details for anything they need to do the work required.  However, if you are in a position where you might need them to help with something different or urgent, would they have the resources to get the job done?  Why not create a shared folder or give them access to all folders they could need.  This way they can also save all your work into the folder which means you don’t need to be searching through your emails for the documents they sent over.

Not giving clear instructions

This leads us back to us not being psychic!  When briefing your VA, ensure your instructions are detailed and clear.  This way they can get on with the work without having to ask you lots of questions.  Yes, you need to invest the time into preparing something to give them, but if they can then get on with the job without any further input, it’s much better for everyone.

Document your processes

You may know each and every step of your sales funnel and the things that need completing at each stage, but if it’s just in your head, it’s no good to anyone but you.  Spend some time either documenting the processes yourself or better yet, during your onboarding and training with your VA, detail everything they need to know and ask them to create an operations manual for you.  Having a document like this will also give you the opportunity to review processes in the future and make improvements.

Remember, your VA isn’t you!

When you’re working with a VA, especially in the early days, it’s important to be patient.  No matter how good they are at what they do, they aren’t you, they don’t know everything about you, your business, your clients, your processes, and everyone works differently.  Invest time to build the relationship with your VA and give them what they need to start understanding what you do, the formality you use, the tone, who you work with etc to give them the chance to piece together and learn your business.

Be realistic

Your VA may be a very highly skilled individual and amazing at what they do, but be realistic with workload and timeframes.  Expecting them to produce something that would take you 2 days to complete but wanting them to do it in 2 hours is unfair. 

Also, be mindful that they have other Clients and commitments booked out in advance so asking them to do something last minute might not be possible.  Have a chat to them and see if they’re able to help out, and if not immediately, when the earliest opportunity would be. 

Equally, if you hire a VA who specialises in EA type support, don’t expect them to know how to create a landing page or update your website.  If they’re happy to give it a go, great, but don’t expect them to do everything if it’s not within their skill set.

Don’t just set the work and forget about it…

Your VA will complete the work required, in the timeframe agreed, but remember ultimately the responsibility of running and managing your business is down to you.

If you want to find out more about working with a Virtual Assistant and how the team at TWVA could help, why not arrange a call with Tiffany on 07760 222906 or email to find out more.

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