How to work with a Virtual Assistant




A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a Personal and/or Executive Assistant working from a remote location who can help you be more productive. A VA usually works for multiple clients so it's best to work closely and give as much instruction in the beginning so that your VA can be more intuitive to your needs over time. A VA can become an invaluable resource and contribution to your ministry/church/organisation as you delegate tasks and responsibility to free yourself up for other tasks. 


Here are 5 tips to start your working relationship well:



1. Come up with a clear idea about what you want your VA to do


Have a good look at the roles, areas and tasks that make up your job. Brainstorm what you might like to delegate someone else to do. 

Create two lists: 

  • What I can delegate to my VA?

  • What I would like to do when I have more time (thanks to my VA taking on existing work)?



2. Be upfront about your personality and the way you work


It is helpful to recognise for yourself, as well as be able to articulate, how you work. This might include personal quirks, how important you believe your role and what you do is, how you like to structure your day, how you like things organised, what areas you feel are important (and what's not so much) and  the nature of the way you work (are you quite casual in the way you work? Or more of a systematic or corporate vibe?).



3. Be clear with instructions and deadlines


Being as clear as possible with instructions eliminates the chance of error and miscommunication. Much of what you do will be known only by you and so you can not assume someone else will think/do the same as you would. When handing over a task be sure to provide explicit instructions and a deadline. 



4. Be willing to let go


It will take some time to be able to fully trust your VA to get the job done and get it done properly. The key is to be willing to let go. Start with smaller tasks if necessary and build up to allow your VA to take on bigger projects. If you would like to be regularly updated on progress, ask your VA to do that and help set up a process to make that happen e.g. weekly phone call or progress update. 



5. Communicate! 


I can not stress this point enough! 

Communication is the key to success. Particularly in the first 4-6 weeks, it's important you are guiding, teaching and explaining to your VA as much as possible. Being clear with instructions, connecting along the way and providing feedback as you go are the best ways to ensure a good working relationship.



Ideas of what to ask for:

  • Scheduling meetings

  • Creating documents 

  • Formatting and editing documents 

  • Email management (every day or while on holidays) 

  • Calendar management 

  • Event Coordinating and bookings

  • Conduct research

  • Invoicing 

  • Organising/filing of online data and documents 

  • Data entry 

  • Database management 

  • Placing orders on your behalf 

  • Travel arrangements 

  • Basic website updating

  • Communication on your behalf

  • Basic project management


Further reading: 

Here are some great articles that will help. Particularly this first one! 

Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make with [Virtual] Assistants

13 Tips for Working Productively with Virtual Assistants

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