For the purposes of this exercise (let’s call this exercise your ‘Quick Start Guide to VA Success’) we are going to assume you’ve hired a Virtual Assistant for the first time and you're ready to get things moving. Oh and, we’re also going to need to assume that the VA you’ve chosen is relativity new at providing business support to clients because if you were to select a Strictly Savvy VA, you wouldn’t need to do much at all! Your Savvy VA would take you through the entire setup process to ensure all necessary systems and procedures were in place.
So, let’s get to it! The following five simple steps are designed to help both you and your Virtual Assistant hit the ground running and quickly master your new business support relationship.
1. Prepare for your new Virtual Assistant’s start.
First, you’ll need to set up a Google Site. This platform will serve as your home base business hub. This jointly accessible place is where you’ll build and host your business operations manual; think of it as your business intranet. You will use it to store all your business information, and how-to guides for each of your systems and processes. Once you have granted your VA (and anyone else on your team) permission to access the Google Site, they can easily search and navigate to find what they are looking for without needing to come to you and ask where a template is stored or how to do something. Yes, it can be a bit of work initially, but once it’s set up, it’s a very efficient way to share and manage information.
When the Google Site is up and running, you can set about getting the rest of your tools organised. Some of the essentials you’ll need include a joint to-do list/task management programme (‘Teamwork’ or ‘Trello’ are great options). This software enables both you and your VA to see, edit, and keep track of how your tasks are progressing. Another vital tool is Loom. This intelligent tool allows you to record your computer screen as you are doing a task. You can then save these recordings in your Google Sites operations manual as visual, step-by-step ‘how-to’ guides.
The last few things you need to have in place before your VA gets started include setting them up with a company email address, organising a Google Chrome profile, and organising a LastPass account. The company email address is important, as your clients will want to see that the emails are coming from within your company, not externally from a virtual assistant company. The Google Chrome profile will allow you to maintain all of your unique company browser details as one distinct unit (apps, extensions, settings, browsing history, bookmarks, and open tabs). And last but certainly not least, the LastPass account will allow you to load and save all your passwords ensuring your VA has access to all relevant online accounts/sites without actually needing to know your passwords.
2. Enter in all your business info your Google Sites Operations Manual
Step one was about getting all these accounts set up, so naturally, step two needs to be about filling your operations manual with everything your VA will need to know. In addition to your Loom ‘how-to’ process videos, you need to include a few other things. Contact details are a must (addresses, phone numbers, alternate contacts if you will be away), as is background information about your company (how it was started, your company ‘why’, what your business goals are, what success looks like). Another thing to include in your operations manual are all the details regarding the tools you prefer to use/will be using with your VA. Once your VA has looked over your Google Sites Operations Manual, they should have almost no questions about what they’re doing or how they need to be doing it!
3. Create task lists.
Step three is where the outsourcing part of using a Virtual Assistant really comes into play. (Our clients tend to breathe a sigh of relief when they come to this stage in the process!) It is so freeing to be able to offload this task and that task; so much extra time is suddenly unlocked in their working week.
Using your task management software (Teamwork, Trello or similar) you need to start creating task lists. (I say ‘lists’, plural because one list is not going to cut it). You will benefit more from setting up your lists with headings such as: ‘Things To Do Now’, ‘Things To Do Later’, ‘Things To Do When You Have Nothing To Do’, as well as lists titled ‘Daily Tasks’, ‘Weekly Tasks’, ‘Monthly Tasks’. You may also have special projects you need assistance with, which will have a series of tasks associated with them.
How do you work out what to delegate? My suggestion is to start with thinking about what makes you the most money in your business. It makes sense that this is where you should be focussing your time, right? So, delegate everything else! Start listing your entire daily, weekly, and monthly tasks into the abovementioned categories and for each job you list, check that your VA will know how to complete it. If it’s something unique to your company, it may be beneficial to create a Loom ‘how-to’ video. (Once the video is complete, clearly label it with something that corresponds to the listed task, save it to your operations manual, then copy and paste the link back into your task management tool. Your VA can then simply follow the link direct to the video to complete the task, no questions asked).
4. Set up a handover session with your VA.
You now have everything in place, and you’re ready to get your VA on task. Hooray; it’s time for the all-important handover! The handover needs to be at least one hour (but two hours is better if you can make it happen).
What is the best way to carry out a handover with your Virtual Assistant? Share your screen with them using Loom! (Record the handover session for your VA to refer back to if they need to go through the handover again). In this remote control session, you'll walk them through your operations manual, their Chrome profile, and all the tools they'll need to complete tasks. When taking them through their task lists, you can go through each task and explain it in more detail, as well as showing them where to find answers if they get stuck. When showing the Google Site and the operations manual, you can also show them how you want them to keep it up to date.
5. Let’s get started…
It’s time! Have your VA make a start with their first few tasks. As they get through each job, be sure to give them feedback on how well they’re doing so your VA can make changes as they go. From here, you should both be away laughing! Just remember to keep in regular contact and to keep assigning tasks to the joint to-do lists as you think of them.
Following these five steps is industry best practice, so ensuring you get them right is vital to the success of the working relationship with your VA. Time and time again I’ve heard stories from clients about their previous client/VA relationships breaking down due to ineffective systems and processes leading to poor communication and a host of other issues. A Virtual Assistant is a significant investment in the success of your business, so you MUST ensure you get things right from the start.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about this five-step setup and prep for whatever reason (unsure about the tech side of things, don’t have the time, or simply don’t want to), please get in touch with us at Strictly Savvy. We are masters of this setup process and can take this job off your hands entirely or help you get your head around it.