This article was last updated on June 12, 2019
Making big, critical decisions is part of running and growing a business. There are times when you have to take the more uncomfortable and difficult route for you to see progress. One of these times is when you start delegating work to other people.
Let’s face it, entrusting tasks to virtual assistants, for example, isn’t the easiest thing to do. Taking a step back and giving up ownership and responsibility means having to trust other people to perform certain functions to your standards. But you must if you’re looking to hire virtual assistants to help you out. You’ve got to learn to put your faith on them if you want to see your business go to new heights.
The following steps should help you begin delegating work to virtual assistants in a way that does not place additional strain on you or your business.
The primary purpose of hiring virtual assistants is to have someone take some of the load off your shoulders so you can focus on running the business as CEOs do. With that being said, the first thing you need to do is to identify which tasks you’ll delegate and which ones you will continue doing yourself.
Make a list of all your daily tasks and carefully review each of them. Start with the ones that take a huge bulk of your time to complete. Clerical tasks that require a lot of paperwork should be a primary consideration.
Another factor in determining which tasks to delegate is their importance. How crucial is this task for your daily operations? Does it require critical decision-making? What will be the impact if the task is not performed correctly?
Simple tasks like email management, order fulfillment, and schedule management usually fall under this category. If you’ve hired a competent virtual assistant with experience and the right skill set, you can trust that they will accomplish the tasks to your standards, or even better than you can.
When it comes to hiring people, we always want the best, and though nobody’s perfect, there’s someone out there whom you would consider the ideal VA.
With the array of skills you can find in the freelance market, it’s important to not only know exactly what you want but also to be very specific about it. You can’t just go for someone who’s hardworking and dedicated because pre-vetted virtual assistants will already possess those traits. Instead, be very specific about the skill set you’re looking for, as well as other soft skills that you prefer them to have.
Does the ideal VA have to know how to use Asana? Do they need to be experienced in handling graphics? Do they have to be an expert in Photoshop? Should they be familiar with platforms like MailChimp and WordPress?
Try to be as detailed as possible especially when it comes to the apps and tools you’re using within the business. This will make the delegation process faster and easier.
Attitude is another important aspect you need to consider. While there’s an abundance of skills you can choose from, a good work ethic and attitude don’t often come along with skill sets. This is critical considering the distance and time difference you and the virtual assistant may be challenged with. You’re going to need someone you can trust to get things done while getting your money’s worth at the same time.
Once you have established which tasks you will delegate and who the perfect VA for you is, it’s time to find and hire one.
The good news is there are marketplaces like FreeeUp that can help you get the right person in the fastest time possible. You don’t even have to spend a lot of time conducting interviews or waiting for the right candidate. FreeeUp already has pre-vetted freelancers in their pool that is ready to be part of your project. You don’t even have to worry about checking their qualifications because FreeeUp has already done that for you.
With FreeeUp, all you have to do is tell them what skill set you need and what you’re looking for in a VA and they’ll have one or two candidates ready for you to interview – usually within a day. Once you find the right match, just click “Hire” on your account and you can begin working with that virtual assistant.
Using a service or site like FreeeUp saves you a lot of time. Instead of interviewing candidates left and right (who may not even be qualified), all you have to do is wait for the candidates to be introduced, have a quick chat to see if they’re the right fit, and move forward.
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Working with freelance virtual assistants and delegating work isn’t as complicated as it seems. As long as you set clear expectations from the very beginning, everything should be just fine.
The first thing you need to do after hiring a virtual assistant is to set up a meeting to kick things off. Make sure to clearly specify all of your expectations in terms of work hours, communication methods, reports, and deliverables, among others.
Confirm that they can work the hours that you discussed during the interview. Let them know about any reports you require and how frequently they should be sent. Do you want them to call you if they need something, or will a simple chat message or email suffice? Make sure they understand how best to communicate with you and what kind of deliverables you expect them to produce.
Letting virtual assistants know about these things will help them plan out their days and keep their priorities in check. They will also then understand how your systems and processes work, which helps them adapt to your company culture easily and quickly.
The fact that you’re thousands of miles apart makes this step all the more crucial. In some cases, they’ll be working on their own while you sleep. You need to be on the same page at all times, whether or not you work the same hours.
If you don’t make these things clear from the very beginning, there’ll be a lot of miscommunication that’s going to happen and the relationship may not work. You can’t totally let go of everything without letting them know what output and quality you’re expecting from them.
Be clear and precise. Document everything so you can easily revisit if something’s not going well or if certain requirements are not being met.
It’s been said that communication is key in every business and relationship. This is especially true when it comes to any remote setup.
Being in different time zones presents a lot of challenges, and communication is definitely one of the main ones. Modern technology has made things easier, though, with apps and programs that let you talk or send chat messages without additional cost.
Holding regular meetings helps keep everyone up to speed while one-on-one coaching sessions help virtual assistants keep track of their performance. While these things may not have been possible in the past, technology has made it a reality.
Apps like Skype and Zoom allow you to hold remote meetings. You even have the option to do video calls so you can see everyone’s faces. For quick reminders, a program like Slack helps you send short chat messages on the fly and even share files in the same chat window. For the more formal and detailed announcements, you have your regular emails to rely on.
What’s great about these programs is that they all come with mobile versions so you and the virtual assistants you hired can still communicate on the go even when you’re out at the grocery or at the park playing with your kids.
Constant communication is a huge factor in growing a business. It gives virtual assistants the impression that they are important and that they play a crucial role in helping the business grow. Lack of communication, on the other hand, can affect their motivation. They’ll feel as if you’ve left everything up to them and that you couldn’t care less whether they perform their functions well or not.
If there’s one thing that can take your business to the next level, it’s effective communication, so make sure to stay in touch with virtual assistants and “walk the floor” just like any CEO would do.
Delegating work may be difficult for some, especially those who are used to working on their own. While it can be challenging to take a step back and let virtual assistants take over some of your tasks, you have to realize that this is a risk you need to take if you want to see your business grow and become more profitable.
The steps mentioned above should help you start on the right foot. As with any process, delegation will only work if it’s done the right way. Start with identifying the tasks you need to delegate, hire the best virtual assistant for them, then manage effectively. You should begin seeing good results if you follow each step to the letter.
Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, CO.