Communication is key to any relationship: from personal to work! When you are ready to outsource work, it is important to know some key tips to keep communication flowing. While how you communicate with your VA will vary depending on their work structure, these are some key tips you should follow! When you first hire a virtual assistant, you will most likely need to communicate a lot more. Since you are getting to learn each others systems and projects, you might need to have more calls or emails. After a few months, as things automate, communication can slow down.
Communicate With Your Virtual Assistant
Communication with your virtual assistant will vary depending on how they have their business structured. Some will be mostly via Email, or phone calls, while others might have a management system like Asana or Monday. If you are looking for an Online business manager, or maybe more of an overhead figure for your business, they will probably want to organize it in something like Asana.
Whatever your virtual assistant uses will be something they are professional in, so try and use the service they recommend. Sometimes you might have another outlet of communication, like Slack or CRM system, but keep in mind that not all virtual assistants will want to work in those. We are professionals, who run our own business, so like you, we will have our own preferences.
They will also have their own office hours, I know mine are 9AM-5PM Monday – Friday. That is when I am in the office and working. I let myself have my weekends off to enjoy family time and rest! But this works perfectly for my clients since they are wedding professionals. This means that they are busy at weddings all weekend – they are not thinking about my tasks or assignments. They are focused on work!
Also, make sure you give them ample time on a project. For most VA’s a turnaround of 24-48 hours is going to have a rush fee, since that means we have to stop all current projects to help you. A rush fee will vary from assistant to assistant, so always keep this in mind when hiring someone.
As much as we want to help you right away, sometimes we do have a backlog of work we need to tackle first. This doesn’t mean we don’t care about you, just that we have some other projects ahead of yours! At Ava And The Bee, our turnaround is typically 2-3 business days after the assignment for smaller tasks, and 3-5 business days for larger tasks. Ongoing projects, like Pinterest or blogging, are handled weekly.
For example, if we are working on an album, the timeline might look like this: We will get the first round of the alum done within 3-4 business days. Each revision after will be 2-4 business days after receiving the revisions from the client.
I also recommend answering promptly to requests and emails from your virtual assistant. While we know you also have office hours, if you have an urgent request, it is important to also respond to us promptly on that project, or it might not get done in time.
Be clear what you need from your virtual assistant
The most important tip on communication with a virtual assistant is to be very clear with what you need to be done. We are not a mind reader! Just because we have knowledge of your industry or task, doesn’t mean we don’t need direction. Each client is so different, so we really need you to be clear in communication. If you are assigning us a task, don’t be surprised if we come back with a lot of questions! We want to make sure we are doing that task correctly.
Ex. You can’t just tell us – set up my newsletter.
We need to know a lot more. What is the template, and what is the content? What are you promoting or sharing? When does it go out and when is the completion date? Is it part of a series, or a single email promoting something?
If your project requires knowledge about a specific field, aside from giving tips to the assistant, keep in mind we might need some time to research this or learn the new skill. This will often be a small hourly charge, but think about it – would you rather pay someone to learn a skill in 2 hours or an employee who you have to onboard, and might need 6 hours to learn the same thing?
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
Also, keep in mind to prioritize. While there might be 50 things that need to get done, it is best to really just tackle the top two or three items. By taking time to focus on a few tasks at a time with your VA, you are going to not only be a lot less stressed, but you are going to get such a better service.
Our job is to help you with your work, but we are not magic. (As much as I wish we were, but we are human, just like you!) I tell all my clients that we will start and focus on the top three things. Even if they have a huge list! We will tackle those three things perfectly, then move on. This has been so much easier for my clients!
Unsuccessful Ways to Communicate With Your Virtual Assistant
While there are many ways that communication with your virtual assistant can de-rail, there are a few common ones that you can easily avoid.
- Missing important calls or planned sessions. Like any working relationship, if you miss an important call, or are late, communication can waver. While we are remote and work virtually, our time is also important to us.
- Giving incomplete or incorrect information. While mistakes do happen, it is important to try and make sure all of the information you send over is accurate. If you send over incorrect login, passwords, or instructions, we can’t do our work. This means more emails or calls back and forth to get the correct information, which can be frustrating for both parties!
- Sending multiple emails on the same topic. One of the most frustrating communications we often see is when clients send several emails all at once, instead of bundling these items into one email. We will sometimes get 3 emails in a row, all relating to one topic. This can make it hard for us to track information and is much more time consuming to get the items we need. Keep email communication concise, and try to not send multiple emails on a similar topic. Instead, bunch everything into one email.
- Assigning a task, then do it yourself. This is a big one. If you are assigning us a task, do not go in and do it yourself. This not only wastes our time (and your money!) but it can mess up a system we may have in place. For example, if we assign 10 Instagram posts, but you go in and add more, delete them, or edit everything, it will mess up our system. Plus, you will not see the results you want. If you are hiring an Instagram expert, that means that you need to let them run things. Remember that YOU decided to outsource, so let us do the work!
- Being rude and demeaning. Unfortunately, as a virtual assistant, we can encounter some rude clients. While we are not in your office, that does not give you the right to make rude comments. We appreciate all feedback in our work, but please be courteous when giving feedback. As a contracted worker, I have the right to terminate a contract with a mean or unprofessional client.
Looking to hire a virtual assistant for your wedding photography, planning or design business, but are not sure where to start? Set up a free 30-minute Discovery Call! We can go over what your tasks are, and how we can help!