How to Get Started with a Virtual Assistant

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Most of my clients come to me without a clue as to how to get started with a Virtual Assistant. They simply know one fact; they are overwhelmed and they can’t keep working the way they are.

Struggle Nov 20When I am speaking with my clients on our consultation I take them through five steps every time. For those of you struggling to even know where to start today I am going to share with you the first five steps to take you from overwhelmed to comfortably in charge.

Step 1 – Get into the right mindset

There are many misconceptions when it comes to delegation and getting past these misconceptions (should you have any of them) will be the first step in getting a Virtual Assistant. You need to be in the right mindset to accept that your business can grow and prosper but only when you learn to let go. Here are just a few of the mindsets you need to accept before you can move forward:

  • A Virtual Assistant is an investment not a cost
  • Virtual Assistant do not work for “peanuts” so you should be willing to invest more than $5-$10 per hour (you’d be surprised how many RFPs come through offering this amount of money)
  • How long a Virtual Assistant takes to complete a task and how long you take to complete that same task are two completely different things
  • A Virtual Assistant is more than a “secretary” they are a partner in your business
  • Someone can do things as good as you can (and sometimes even better)
  • Having a Virtual Assistant will free your time to focus on where you should be focusing (ie the money generating activities)
  • The hardest part of delegating is delegating that first task

Step 2 – Determine What to Delegate

Once you have overcome the mindset and start to see the value of what a Virtual Assistant can do for your business it’s time to determine what to delegate. Here’s my best tip in that regard:

For the next two weeks put a piece of paper beside your computer and every time you do a new task write it onto the paper. At the end of the two weeks cross off all the things you know only you should do (ie sales calls, networking, client fulfillment). Now with the rest of the list use the following system to categorize them:

A – Absolutely need to delegate these tasks. These are those tasks that fall into one of these statements: I hate them, they consume too much time, I lack the skills, or they’ve been on my “To Do” list for so long without ever moving anywhere.

B – These are the tasks that once the absolutely tasks were done if my budget allowed for it I would delegate these next. So you understand it might not happen right now, but they are what you are moving towards in the near future.

C – These are the tasks that can wait. They are the ones you don’t mind doing, you are getting a return on investment or you know need your personal attention for the interim.

This is a really good start to your delegation list (and best of all it is not only your immediate delegation list, but a longer term list as well.

Step 3 – Document how you like to do the task

Each and every entrepreneur has a way they like things done so although you may say to a Virtual Assistant “can you take care of my blog posts” this could mean several things. So the next step is to take all those tasks in our A (Absolutely) list from Step 2 and start writing out how you like it done. For example with our blog post example above ask yourself:

  • Where do you find images
  • Where do you like the images put in the blog post
  • Do you have a specific day and/or time you like your posts to go live
  • Do you do any kind of search engine optimization
  • Where do you like to promote your blog posts and are there others on your team that need to know when a blog post goes live?

As much as your Virtual Assistant will understand the main task you need to start documenting how you like things done so your Virtual Assistant can bring consistency to your business and brand.

Step 4 – Who should you delegate to

Finding the right person to delegate to and join your team as a Virtual Assistant takes a lot more than just skills. Don’t get me wrong skills are very important, but I wholeheartedly believe in the statement “hire for personality and train for skills.” What I mean by this statement is you want to look past just the skills and get down to the person because you need to have a good connection with your Virtual Assistant for the greatest success.

So you may have your list of skills you are looking for based on Steps 2 and 3, but now it’s time to create your personality list. To do that, ask yourself these questions:

  • What personality traits do you work best with?
  • What are your expectations of a new team member?
  • What working style have you worked best with in the past (even in your corporate days if this is your first hire)?
  • What pet peeves have you had from people you have worked with in the past?
  • What values should they have that would work well with your own values?

Once you really, truly know the person you are looking for the search will be much easier. Above all else you want to know you can feel comfortable with this person and genuinely like them as a person. I am not saying you need to be friends, but being friendly goes a long way to creating a lasting relationship.

Step 5 – Begin your search

There are a number of ways to find your ideal Virtual Assistant. In this video I share with you the best place to look for a Virtual Assistant.

The funniest thing I find in working with my clients is they all seem to come to me with the same response months after starting with their Virtual Assistant; “I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.”

So what are you waiting for?

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