How To Use A Virtual Assistant

During the last ten years we've worked with many thousands of Virtual Assistants - and now we've poured everything we've learned into this extensive guide. We cover everything from how to choose a Virtual Assistant to how to delegate - and it's all 100% free for everyone.

Where To Find Virtual Assistant Reviews

When you're on the look out for a new Virtual Assistant service, finding Virtual Assistant reviews can be difficult - especially if you don't know where to look!   Here, I've outlined three decent sources of Virtual Assistant reviews and I'll add more when I find them. 

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How To Compare Virtual Assistant Services

Full disclosure: I am CEO and founder of Time etc a Virtual Assistant service - however I have written this guide impartially - staying away from specific service provider recommendations.

When you're looking for a Virtual Assistant service you'll find that there are lots (thousands) of Virtual Assistant services out there. Even more confusingly they all look different and have different selling points, advantages and disadvantages.  

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Recurring tasks

One of the areas that tends to eat up the most time from our day is through daily and weekly tasks that you now do. Imagine how much time you could save by turning those over to someone else! These tasks also allow your Virtual Assistant to become familiar with your process and procedures for completing tasks.

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Expectations and Deadlines

If you want to be successful at delegating, you’re going to need to set realistic expectations and deadlines for both yourself and the people you work with. We all tend to procrastinate but it does no one any favors to procrastinate. You might have written your best papers the night before they were due but now that there’s other people waiting and counting on you to do your part – that won’t work! 

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Answers Before Questions

One of the things we usually ask when we start working with someone is – “Do you have any questions for me?” Most often they do not because you really need to have more answers before you before you can have questions. When you begin delegating – provide answers first so your assistant can ask the right questions later. 

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Communication Dos and Don’ts

Proper communication is vital to success with any business relationship but especially true when you’ll be delegating work to a remote assistant. There a right and wrong way to do it and we’re here to help guide you. These is are the communication Do’s and Don’ts when working with a Virtual Assistant.

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Building a long-term relationship with your Virtual Assistant

Once you’ve found a good Virtual Assistant, you’re going to want to keep them. That means building a long-term relationship with them and allowing them to feel as if they are truly part of your team – wherever they happen to be stationed. There’s nothing as frustrating as finally finding a great employee only to lose them to someone else. 

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Sharing Confidential Information

One of the areas that can make people wary when using a virtual assistant is sharing personal and confidential information. It’s understandable with all the news regarding security breaches, identity theft and fraud. Your risk of having such a situation arise isn’t more significant when using a Virtual Assistant. The sad reality is that the wrong individual can be hired whether they work within your office or virtually.

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Feedback Is Important

While you might feel like you know what works well for your organization, it’s always good to have an outside perspective on things that might improve your systems and processes. Your Virtual Assistant can do just that as long as they feel comfortable enough with you to do that. In order to make that happen, you need to be open minded and empower them to have the autonomy to do that. Here’s ways to generate feedback without needing to ask for it.

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Dealing With Problems

We’d all love to hire someone and never have a single issue arise afterwards. The truth is that problems arise, conflicts may occur and your Virtual Assistant is indeed just human after all. We all make mistakes but it’s all in how we deal with those mistakes. When working with a Virtual Assistant any times the problems come from miscommunication on both ends. Here’s some advice on dealing with problems and ways to prevent certain mistakes from ever occurring. 

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It’s All About The Relationship

Communication is the backstory to any successful or unsuccessful relationship. For your Virtual Assistant relationship to be successful communication is critical. In order to build a good relationship with your virtual assistant keep these points in mind:

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Scheduling and Reservations

One of the biggest obstacles to time management for any busy businessperson is scheduling. It seems like more time is spent on coordinating schedules, rescheduling appointments, sending invites and even making contact then on actually meeting with the very same people and talking business. If this sounds familiar to you then the first place you’ll want to delegate is with scheduling! When a virtual assistant is handling your scheduling you have more time for meetings, phone calls and even follow up because you aren’t bogged down by the administrative side of things.

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The Six Steps to Delegating Effectively

Working with a Virtual Assistant relies upon being able to delegate in the most productive way possible. There’s six steps that will allow you to do that and create a successful relationship for everyone involved.

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What Else Can Your Virtual Assistant Do?

You probably won’t want to hire a Virtual Assistant just so they can handle your scheduling and reservation bookings. While those might take up precious time, they aren’t the only things that bog you down. So what are some of the other ways a virtual assistant can help you?

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How To Be Successful at Delegating

Before you dive in to the world of delegating at the deep end you should know – there are tricks and tips involved on how to be successful at delegating. The most important is your mindset.

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You’re The Director!

If you’ve ever watched the credits roll at the end of a movie you’re aware of the number of people it takes to make a film happen. If you’re the director of your company than much like a movie director – you need to farm out the non-essential jobs to others. You are responsible for the success of the big picture, but you don’t need to be responsible for answering the fan mail.

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The Definition of Delegating

Delegating can be defined as assigning a task or responsibility to another person while maintaining the authority and accountability yourself. We struggle the most with trusting others to do a task while knowing that ultimately the responsibility for the task still falls on our shoulders. The great thing though is that you have the power to choose what you are comfortable delegating – it can be as simple as maintaining your schedule or organizing email or decidedly more complex like a business plan or website rebuild. The decision lies in what jobs you determine can be completed by someone else to your liking. 

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The Freedom of Delegation

Life comes with an enormous amount of obligations. The demands are constant in both our personal and professional lives. It’s near impossible to have enough time in the day to accomplish everything – especially not to a degree that will leave everyone happy. When you attempt to do too much without delegating you end up shortchanging yourself and those around you by not delivering the results anyone was hoping for. Time is the one thing you can’t borrow, get back or put aside for later. It’s our most valuable resource and that’s why you must embrace the freedom of delegation.

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Setting Goals - What Do You Want?

Setting goals is paramount when it comes to delegating. You need to know what you want and why you’re ready to delegate and distribute the workload. You need to go beyond – I’m overwhelmed or overworked and dig deeper into what your days and your life would look like if you were no longer singlehandedly managing everything.

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Make A List And Check It Twice

By now you should have a pretty good handle on how to delegate and what you need in a virtual assistant. What you don’t have yet is a priority list of the tasks you’d like them to do. A virtual assistant can only help you if you use them! It’s time to put pen to paper and decide what’s most important for you to do and what’s most important for them to do.

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What's Your Superpower and What's Your Kryptonite?

Every superhero has their superpowers and their kryptonite. You are no different. The key to optimal delegating is knowing your strengths along with your weaknesses. You’ll want to spend your time on the tasks you’re good at and you enjoy doing. It’s the best use of your time. What is harder is admitting our weaknesses and handing those tasks off to someone else.

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5 Signs You Need to Start Delegating

For most business people the biggest challenge is letting go. You might be afraid that the assistant is going to steal your ideas or take them to someone else. Understandable concerns but with Time Etc, our assistants sign non-compete and confidentiality agreements to protect you. You’re also worried someone else won’t do the job as well as you do or even possibly make some errors.  You’re right that tasks won’t  necessarily be completed the same way you would do them and that there might be mistakes made during the learning process but if we’re being honest – you’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way too. The writing is on the wall. There’s 5 signs you need to start delegating. 

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