What Projects and How to Delegate Them to Virtual Assistant
Every entrepreneur faces a time in his life where the business tasks become too impossible to be handled by a single hand. The success of every entrepreneur depends on his/her ability to prioritize and therefore at some point it becomes a compulsion to hire a helping hand, which will take care of low priority tasks so that the entrepreneur can handle the high priority work and take the business ahead.
Businessmen who try to tackle everything on their own from responding to emails, attending meetings, updating social media profiles to handling clients end up working poorly on all these tasks. Therefore, to enable each task (no matter how small) to be performed well, an entrepreneur must acquaint him/herself with the art of delegation. In such a situation, it is important to know the tasks that need to be delegated to a virtual assistant.
In this article, we explore 1) what to delegate and 2) how to delegate the projects to virtual assistant.
WHAT PROJECTS TO DELEGATE TO VIRTIAL ASSISTANT
Hiring a virtual assistant to help with business tasks is probably the best decision an entrepreneur or business owner can make. However, after this process is done, most businesses struggle to find out the tasks they should delegate. In such a situation, an entrepreneur should ask himself,
“What can I possibly delegate to a virtual assistant?”
Virtual assistant services have become very diverse and, therefore, a VA could assist a business with basic clerical tasks to becoming a direct contributor in the number of sales a business makes. It all depends on the requirements and nature of the business. You can practically find a virtual assistant for any service, no matter how complex it may be in nature.
An entrepreneur should know which tasks need to be delegated initially, which tasks to let go of and the systems that need to be put in place for effective delegation. The initial period of delegation can be difficult and can acquire most of an entrepreneur’s time.
Here are some basic tasks / projects that an entrepreneur can delegate to the virtual assistant:
Majority of the entrepreneurs hire VAs to perform basic administrative tasks such as:
- Managing Emails: Managing emails is time-consuming and does not involve any monetary gains. Therefore, it mostly stands in the way of high priority tasks. Let your VA manage the admin email account along with your personal email account and ask him to you updated on any important news.
- Handling Contacts: Collecting and maintaining records of contact information is an important business task, which is easy to perform and, therefore, should be delegated to a virtual assistant. Provide your virtual assistant with your shared address book to add up contacts from business cards or sync them digitally over different channels such as phone contact book, Facebook, Skype, etc. Also, ask for at least two backups of all the contacts.
- Invoicing: This task involves a lot of repetition and hence must be delegated. Let your virtual assistant track, receive and send your business invoices.
- Travel: Booking tickets and managing travel-related tasks are quite simple but very time-consuming. Let your virtual assistant deal with your ticketing and ask for your itinerary to be synced directly in your mobile phone.
- Scheduling: Setting up a shared calendar is important so that you can delegate the arrangement, scheduling and management of the calendar. Delegate handling of appointments to your virtual assistant. Have the calendar directly synced to your phone so that whenever your VA confirms a meeting, you can check it instantly.
- Track Projects: Administrating project deadlines and operations can be a difficult task for busy entrepreneurs. Use a shared project platform to receive status updates in real-time.
- Travel management: A virtual assistant who is already familiar with your business work environment and your method of running core tasks can take over your complete business administration while you are away on a vacation.
- Expense management: Organizing receipts and expenses is probably the most hated task of entrepreneurs. Ask your virtual assistant to manage your expenses and save their documents and images via Dropbox.
From a simple project related online searches to complex competitor analysis, you can delegate research to your virtual assistant to save a lot of time. Let you virtual assistant conduct research for a new idea, presentation, or meeting. For complex searches, set up white board-sharing online calls for effective two-way communication and collaboration.
Proofreading and Preparation
Virtual assistants can greatly take up the role of another set of eyes for your business and help you in proofreading of all sorts. Let it be documents or presentations, enable your VA to go through them and correct them for any grammatical errors. Moreover, a virtual assistant can also help you in preparing for any presentations or meetings you have.
IT & Design
Rather than hiring IT & Design freelancers to get the business logo developed, entrepreneurs should focus on hiring virtual assistants that deal with design for in-house development. This is both cost effective and efficient for businesses. Let your VA develop logos, graphic spreadsheets, illustrations for your social media profiles, e-book covers, website design and more. A virtual assistant having these capabilities can also be delegated the work of video creation for your YouTube, Google Hangouts, or Vimeo channels. You can always collaborate with your VA throughout the design development process so that you get exactly what you want minus the time wastage.
After administrative work, marketing is the second most famous field that gets delegated to virtual assistants. It is creative in nature because it includes work such as community or social media management, marketing research and report development, internet marketing, maintenance and building of email marketing and management of blogs.
Entrepreneurs can delegate everything in this field that belongs to marketing let it be management of pay per click ads or responding to users’ comments and feedback to increase user engagement. This is extremely time-consuming and requires a lot of dedication, which is why it is highly recommended to be delegated.
HOW TO DELEGATE THE PROJECTS TO VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Prior to task delegation, entrepreneurs need to understand which tasks need to be delegated and why. There are many reasons why a task could be delegated to a virtual assistant, for instance:
- If the task is repetitive, boring and easy to do
- If an entrepreneur has other high priority tasks to focus on
- If the task requires a particular skill set to be performed
- If the entrepreneur is planning to travel and needs someone to take care of the administration
- If there are too many tasks to be performed
Before an entrepreneur sets out to develop a list of tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant, he/she must track their routine activities for at least a week and then breakdown the activities in the following categories:
- Critical tasks (business management and planning)
- Important but routine tasks (bookkeeping, writing reports, attending phone calls and responding to emails)
- Important but non-critical tasks (file management, data backup)
Critical tasks contribute directly to the aims and goals of an entrepreneur, and, therefore, these tasks require the maximum attention and time.
There are numerous tasks from the second category that can be effectively delegated to a virtual assistant. These routine tasks are very easy to conduct so you will not need a VA with specific expertise to perform them at their optimal. Moreover, you will not even be stressed about how they are being performed. The tasks belonging to the third category do not require daily attention and hence can even be postponed until all the important work is done.
It is not a good idea to delegate all the tasks at once. Building a pace is important, so start by delegating tasks that you are finding difficult to deal with, the ones you find boring and those that drain your time or energy to perform critical tasks. For each task that you are about to delegate, you must ask yourself, “What will be my stress level and how much free time will I have if I delegate this task to my VA?
Bringing a virtual assistant into practice
The on-boarding period of a virtual assistant depends on the type of work a va should do, from one to three weeks. During this time, you should familiarize them with your business, tell them about your work ethic and give them any related or important training.
The first thing every entrepreneur should do is to welcome the virtual assistant and make him/her feel like an important part of the team. Write your VA a welcome message or have your initial video call with them on the first day. This will just ensure that positivity is exchanged before you start delegating important tasks.
You need to also clarify all the technology that you use for communication and project management. Some businesses have paid project management systems while majority of the businesses make use of free online project management and communication tools such as Microsoft One Drive, DropBox, Google Drive, Google Hangouts and Skype. Virtual assistants need to be guided by all the technology and how each task should be performed so that they do not keep on asking questions later on.
Here are some vital steps and tips that should be followed to ensure that tasks are well delegated:
Create lists and provide step by step instructions
Prepare lists for all the tasks that a VA need to perform. You should break them down into daily, weekly, and assorted tasks so that your VA knows when and how often a task needs to be performed. You should also make sure that your list tells the VA about the priority of each task so that high priority tasks are completed before as compared to the middle or low priority tasks.
This information will help the VA to set time for each activity and become more efficient at performing tasks. Similarly, an entrepreneur can use screen-recording software to create videos for the virtual assistant on how tasks need to be performed so that they can use them as reference in the future.
Create Shared Records
Entrepreneurs must create shared records using Google Drive to share information with their VA and to guide them in the tasks that need to be handled. You can incorporate numerous tracking videos and spreadsheets to help your VA in the workflow. Moreover, you can indicate the status of tasks and their priority in these records only. This will keep you updated on when a certain task gets completed or any query that your VA might have. This will enable an entrepreneur to later on assess the work done by the VA. Entrepreneurs should have the link to these records bookmarked on their mobile phone’s browser so that they can easily check the status with ease.
Keeping all your payment and password details in some type of a free or paid shared record is also advantageous. Most businesses use Dropbox for this purpose. This should comprise of all the information that you want your virtual assistant to access like your credit card numbers, important login data, addresses, contact information, etc. Similarly, you can ask your VA to back up your contacts from your online accounts and phonebook and save them in the shared folder. Your VA can also save new passwords to this shared folder. This system will provide you with peace of mind, ease, and clarity that will only make your workflow a lot better.
Communication is important
Majority of the entrepreneurs fall into the habit of keeping the phone calls or emails with their virtual assistants to minimum, but it should be understood that communication is important in increasing the effectiveness of the workflow and in training the virtual assistant. Technology has made it very easy to maintain communication.
If you are working via Skype, you can stay logged in via your smart phone so that you can easily receive calls from your virtual assistant. Similarly, you can enable to receive notifications on your phone anytime you receive an email in your inbox. If you have delegated the task of checking emails to your VA, make sure that you create an email address only meant to stay connected with your VA so that you do not get disturbed by the notifications of other emails. Communication should be particularly maintained in the first month of hiring so that your VA can effectively understand the work and get trained in all different aspects.
In the first month, make sure that you ask for daily work updates and recaps to ensure that everything is going fine. This will help you in reviewing the amount of time on different tasks. You should provide feedback to them so that they can improve on the work ethic. For instance, if you think they are spending too much time on one thing or too little time or another, you can guide them and tell them how much time they are supposed to spend on a given task. Constant feedback from your end is required at all times to increase the efficiency of the work and VA training.
Encourage and foster good working relations
Keep your VA thoroughly involved in different things that you are working on so that they truly feel like an important part of your business. If the VA respects you and your business, he/she will ensure high-quality work. Moreover, keep on praising them for their good efforts and keep them encouraged for better future work. Also, ask for their suggestions where required.
Share Your Vision
Communicate your vision with your VA and help each other to perform tasks optimally. For instance, you can tell your VA about your free timings and ask him/her to notify you about any urgent tasks at those timings. If you have particular goals set for a certain work type such as finance managements or social media, make sure that you communicate those goals with your VA. This will ensure that your VA understands your purpose of hiring them and will also provide them with a goal to reach, which will increase their motivation to work.
Build a Rapport
A good friendly work environment is worth the effort and time when it comes to a virtual assistant. Therefore, if possible, an entrepreneur should take out time to meet the VA in person before getting the work started. For this reason, it is recommended that you hire a VA that belongs to the same city as you, unless you want business operations of a different city to be tackled.
Make your communications with the VA very personalized so that they know what kind of a person you are and can respect your business idea. This will foster two-way respect and friendship that will only be beneficial for your work. When you make your VA your friend, they will go out of the way to promote your business or brand and will make sure to do everything they can do for you advantage.
Analyze the strengths of your virtual assistant
You should know the abilities and skills of your VA. Numerous virtual assistants provide general services such as providing customer support, setting reminder and booking flights. However, there are specialized tasks that need certain expertise to be performed. Therefore, if you know the skills of your VA, you will know which tasks you can assign to them without wasting your time and energy in trial and error.
“Effective leaders need to be flexible, and must adapt themselves according to the situation.” Paul …