Working with a virtual assistant typically involves a lot of back and forth communication, as well as transferring of images, files, and other information. How you handle this will be largely based on you and your VA’s personal preferences. Some people like to work informally with just email and phone calls, while others love the structure of a full-blown project management system.
One of the most common ways to send projects to a virtual assistant is through email. Email may be the preferred method of communication for both of you. After all, it’s an easy option and it also gives you (and your VA) something to go back and reference if there’s ever a problem or even if you just need to figure something out about the project at a later date.
For tasks that are a little more in-depth and need a longer explanation than what a basic email would allow, it might make more sense for you and your virtual assistant to get on the phone. The only downfall to sending a project via phone/Skype is the fact that there are no ‘paper trails’. In this case, you might want to discuss things over the phone but also send an email with some basic info the VA will need for the task. This way your assistant will have something to go back and reference if she needs it while working on the project.
This little gem has become more and more popular and more than likely you’re already familiar with it, maybe even using it to move files between computers. Dropbox makes it easy to set up a main folder that you and your VA can work from – giving you each the ease of adding documents, editing them, etc. One of the great things about Dropbox is that you can work on a document and when you save your changes, it will sync with the other person. So you’ll immediately be able to see any changes made – no more having to edit a document, email it and then wait for your virtual assistant to email it back to you.
You can use Dropbox in conjunction with email. Simply upload files to the Dropbox folder and then email your VA project-specific instructions. Or better yet, if you prefer (and your assistant is okay with it), skip the email step and just write out the instructions/log-in information/etc. and upload that right into the Dropbox folder as well. Just make sure your VA is checking the folder for changes on a regular basis.
Project Management Systems
Some virtual assistant prefer to work with a project management system. If this is the case, she’ll set you up as a client in her system and you will be given login information to access your client area. It is in here that you will communicate with the VA and send projects, etc. One of the more common project management systems out there that you may have heard of is Basecamp.
If you’re lucky enough to find an assistant who lives in your local area, you can always set up a time to meet face-to-face and discuss projects for the week/day/month – whatever you decide.
These are just a few of the common ways that you can work with a virtual assistant in your business to send them projects. Most likely, you and your VA will decide together the combination of systems that work best for both of you.
Do you use a specific PM system? If so, which one? Please share your favorite project management tool(s) in the comments below.
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