I don’t know about you, but my ears instantly prick up when I hear about small changes leading to big rewards.
No, not because I am sceptical, but because I’m interested. Most of us are time poor and looking for ways to maximise the time we do have, so if you can make efficiency improvements with little to no financial investment, it would be silly not to!
After spending some time thinking about the small tweaks we have implemented at Strictly Savvy to deliver quality VA support and improve communication with our clients, I realised that I have much to share when it comes to revolutionary, streamlining tips in this department!
So whether you’ve recently taken the plunge and hired a Virtual Assistant, or you’ve been successfully using one for years, we can bet you will find these six little tweaks very helpful.
1. Get A Joint To-Do List
A ‘to-do’ list is a must, but it’s much more effective when you AND your VA can see it and make edits in real time!
Get a joint to-do list happening and instantly increase the visibility over your tasks and deadlines. ‘Teamwork’ is the tool we use and recommend as an excellent paid option; however, ‘Trello’ is a fantastic free choice if you’re looking for bang with no bucks.
Once you get this new system going, you’ll wonder how on earth you got through your working week without it.
2. Share Your Passwords Using Lastpass
I’ve said it countless times before, and I’ll continue to say it because it is just such a great tip! Share your passwords with your VA using LastPass!
This way, as a client, you can give access to your accounts using your top secret passwords, without actually needing to tell your VA what the password is (all your VA will see is a series of dots). LastPass installs as a little icon at the top of the internet browser, and all you need is one master password (Your VA will have their own LastPass login with their own master password).
Once logged in, your Virtual Assistant can go to any website you have shared the details for (e.g. LinkedIn, Office 365, MailChimp), and the password and login details will auto-populate.
That means no more writing your password down on scraps of paper, no more risky emailing of private info, no more being bugged by a VA requesting your password because they forgot it.
LastPass is an ingenious free tool that instantly increases your security and saves loads of time and stress.
3. Delegate Effectively
Another 100% free tip, but one that I understand is easier said than done, is learning how to delegate effectively. I know, I know you probably think it’s just easier to do specific tasks yourself, but it’s time to rid yourself of this limiting belief.
You’re likely wasting precious time doing tasks that a VA could very quickly do for you, and if you don’t hand it over now, you might find you’ll be stuck doing it forever!
To solve this problem, I suggest taking some time to create a Loom video, or if you prefer, you can write out a step-by-step process guide and send it to your VA so they can take over said task/s.
There are many delegation models out there that always have the first step as showing the person how to do something - it just sets the whole system of using a Virtual Assistant up for success. With technology such as Loom this becomes super easy even though your VA is remote.
You’ll be so relieved once it’s done as you will free up valuable time each week, which will allow you to focus on higher yield activities and business growth. An investment of time now screen recording or documenting the process will result in a huge pay off longterm by not having to do that task EVER again!
4. Communicate More
The fourth little tweak sounds simple, but it tends to be one that is overlooked when things get hectic. You need to communicate.
The more you communicate with your VA, the more valuable they will become.
Despite Virtual Assistants (good Virtual Assistants) being proactive when it comes to anticipating your next move, they can't read your mind so you must keep them in the loop with tasks, schedule changes, and your ideas so they can continue to deliver quality support.
If that means you talk to them in a ‘thinking out loud’ format, just to bounce ideas off them, so be it! As long as you’re communicating, it’s all good!
If you’re wondering how often you should you be in contact with your VA, I would say this depends on what your VA has been hired to do, but as a general guide, you need to be communicating daily, or at the very least, every few days.
It's wise to set up a regular time to catch up each day/week; just remember to prioritise this time to ensure these vital catch ups are happening! And if you want a really easy way to communicate – then use the voice recording feature on WhatsApp.
5. Provide Feedback
Following on the last tip, is some invaluable advice that can genuinely transform the way you work with your Virtual Assistant. Provide your VA feedback!
Part of excellent communication is giving feedback after your VA has done a task. Whether you decide to provide them with feedback instantly or save it for your daily/weekly catch-ups, it can be such a game-changer for your professional relationship when you pass on your thoughts.
Tell them how they went, what you liked, and what you didn't like. How can you expect your VA to deliver what you want if you don't pass on information that will help them work more effectively for you?
If your Virtual Assistant misses the mark with a task the first time around (understandable if you’ve just started working together) be prepared for this outcome and provide direct and honest feedback.
There is almost nothing worse than wondering if you did a good job or not, so don’t leave them in the dark; they’ll be grateful for it!
6. Give Them All The Detail
As a professional looking to get the most out of your Virtual Assistant, the last little tweak I would like to share with you is that you need to trust them and hand over all the details required for them to get stuck in without needing to come back to you and ask 25 questions.
Sure, 'creative license' can be fun from time to time. You give out a vague task, hope for the best and are potentially pleasantly surprised when you see the results.
However, if you want assurance that a task will be done correctly, it pays to spend some extra time at the get-go communicating your requirements and handing over all necessary details.
If you give your Virtual Assistant everything they need up front (I’m talking the login details, the task information with context, the budget, your deadline etc.), you will save yourself time, stress, and of course, dramatically mitigate the risk of misinterpretation and mistakes.
I hope you will find these six little tweaks as game-changing as we have over the years. We would love to hear how you go implementing them with your own Virtual Assistant.
I have plenty more tidbits stored away, so if you liked these, please feel free to ask for more! I’m always happy to share my experience and advice if it helps build knowledge, improve communication, and serve to maintain excellent relationships between Virtual Assistants and the busy people they support.
If you'd like to find out more about how you can hire a virtual assistant, call us on +64 4 934 5668.