How to Train Your Virtual Assistant 27

How to Train Your Virtual Assistantaffiliate disclosure
Whether it is step-by-step instructions on how to do tasks or simply teaching your VA the basics of your business, you should be prepared to offer some training to your new assistant. How you offer this training is up to you and may depend on what tasks the assistant will be doing.

If you are training them on the general aspects of the business, you might consider self-recording an audio or video for them to listen to. If you send out brochures and information packets to your customers, you may want to send one to your assistant as well. You might want to create an FAQ or simple checklist for them to refer to as needed.

For more in-depth tasks that require step-by-step training. You can do this by using screencast software and creating simple tutorials that walk them through each step. Essentially you will be recording your screen showing them how to do the task. This is perfect because you can also talk while recording and include tips along the way.

If you don’t have the ability to record things, you can still document each step in a Word document and take screenshots of the different steps so they have visual cues to go by. Be sure to include any log-in details that they might need to complete each task.

There is more to training your assistant than just creating instructional material. In the beginning, you and your assistant will be learning how one another work. It can be a high-stress time for everyone while you work out any kinks. While your assistant is learning the ropes and easing into her new position, it’s important that you do what you can to help make the transition a smooth one.  Here are some simple ways you can help out:

Delegate Tasks

Rather than assigning several projects at once, delegate only one or two to start with. Once those are complete, assign a few more. This allows you time to check the work and address anything that needs to be changed. How you delegate your tasks is something that you and your VA need to discuss during your initial meeting. Some have project management systems and some prefer to use email, Skype or phone.

Streamline Communication

Replying to email is time consuming and most virtual assistants charge for this time. Rather than fire off a new email for each thought you have, take a few minutes to gather your thoughts so you only have to send one.

Offer Clear Instructions

The more clear and organized you are with your instructions, the faster the VA can complete the work. Take care when writing these out and ensure you include all login details and other necessary information.

Assign Tasks Well in Advance

Procrastination may cause your projects to be delayed. Most VAs have multiple clients and busy businesses; therefore, they plan their schedule weeks in advance. If you wait until the last minute to assign work, your assistant may not be able to meet your deadline, or possibly help with the project at all. If they have to rearrange their schedule to complete your work, you should expect to pay a higher rate.

To avoid being charged a higher rate for rush or weekend work, try to plan your projects a month or more in advance. This allows your assistant to set aside time for you.

At the same time, it is also important to let your assistant know if there are delays in an upcoming project. The more forewarning you give, the easier it is for them to adjust their schedule to meet your needs.

Offer Feedback

Offering feedback benefits everyone. Positive feedback is easy to give, but many find it hard to speak up when something is wrong. If your assistant is not doing a task right, let them know. Take a few minutes to explain again how you would like the work completed, and then ask them to go back and fix any mistakes. Do not feel bad about asking! By going back and redoing the work, they become more proficient at the task. That in turn, is beneficial to everyone.

Following these small steps along with creating your custom training material will go a long way towards creating a long-term, profitable Client-VA partnership.

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How to Train Your Virtual Assistant

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Please Share Your Thoughts

27 thoughts on “How to Train Your Virtual Assistant

  • Amanda Northern

    Hey, great post! I have tried hiring VAs a few times and I find having to que up all of my tasks overwhelming. I’ve realized that I don’t have many clearly defined processes which make it difficult to delegate. So I’m trying to work on that first.

    • Leslie Post author

      I know what you mean, Amanda. If you feel like coming up with the tasks to delegate is too much work, then you end up just doing it yourself. Once you come up with a system and do it on a regular basis, it becomes much easier for both you and the VA.

    • Leslie Post author

      As a business coach, I’m sure you do get asked frequently about hiring help. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • Vanessa Parker

    Great tips. I failed at providing my virtual assistant the training she needed. I was not prepared and did not offer her projects in time and little training. I learned quickly that I needed to plan and create training materials for my next virtual assistant.

    • Leslie Post author

      Hi Vanessa, just realizing what you need to do better next time is a big step. When you are first starting out, it takes a while to figure out how each other works. It does take some extra time and effort, but you are right that coming up with a plan and possible training can make your partnership work better in the future.

  • Liron Segev

    nice ! I agree – be clear. The clearer you are the better the results are. In my experience I used a service in India and even though they technically could speak English there were some miscommunication. I learnt to check in often initially and ensure the task was being done correctly and as they learnt what I was looking for then I could check in less and less.

    • Leslie Post author

      Clear communication is key. You were wise to check in with your help frequently in the beginning, Liron. This is sound advice even if English is your assistant’s first language.

  • Abigail Kuhn

    You have shared some awesome content here. Being a virtual assistant myself, it is very important to train your virtual assistant in your business and how you like things done. Get them accustomed to your preferences. I really like the suggestion to use video to show them how to do tasks. I find this extremely helpful when clients do this for me. I have in turn done it for others when I have been working with my own VA or with coaching clients.

    • Leslie Post author

      Yes, you’re right Abigail – using video can be extremely helpful. I should use it more often myself. Thanks for commenting… I appreciate hearing from fellow virtual assistants. 🙂

  • Joy Zalzala-Soyka

    Thanks for these great tips, Leslie! So far I have only trained people in person, so I really really appreciate the suggestion of putting audio and video instructions together.

    • Leslie Post author

      Joy, I think it’s great when you can train people in person. Sometimes things done virtually can be misconstrued. But using audio and video are probably the next best thing.

  • Janelle Jones

    Thank you for this post. I struggle with giving clear instructions. I know that this is my fault and something that I am working on.

    • Leslie Post author

      Janelle, I think a lot of people struggle with that. I know I often think that I’ve done a great job of describing something, but when I get feedback – I discover I was way off the mark.

  • Janet Williams

    Learning how to give clear direction has definitely been a process for me. You gave some great ways to provide instructions aside from a simple manual. Thanks for the tips!

    • Leslie Post author

      I’m glad to hear you found these tips helpful. Thanks for commenting!

  • Dequiana Jackson

    Thanks for these tips on how to give clear direction to those who are helping you with your business. Creating those instructions upfront and checking in to make sure the person understands them will make for a good working relationship.

    • Leslie Post author

      You are right on about how to create a good working relationship with those who help you in your business. I’m happy you took the time to leave a comment on this post, Dequiana.

  • Tamyka Washington

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing the best ways to communicate your needs with those you hire to work with you!

    • Leslie Post author

      You’re welcome, Tamyka! I greatly appreciate your feedback.

    • Leslie Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Sarah. Yes, we definitely want to avoid those headaches!

  • Nina Capelouto

    Thank you for your post very helpful suggestions. I will use some of these suggestions when hiring a VA or someone on Fiverr. I have not ever hired an ongoing VA, I have control issues. I have used online resources like elance and 99 designs. Something to consider a part-time VA. Thank you for the 200 ways to use a VA.

    • Leslie Post author

      I think a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with giving up control. However, once they find the right assistant, they are glad to have the extra help in order to pursue the tasks they are truly passionate about. If you’ve had positive experiences using help like Fivver and 99designs, it can make the decision to use a VA a lot easier.

  • Kemya Scott

    This is a great reminder on how to work with VAs. I need to create a few starter tasks with clear instructions for my future VA. I need to make sure we’re on the same page.

  • serena

    This is awesome suggestions. I am striving to head in that direction of having my on VA, but I have lots of work to do first. I have to find income streams first and then I can start delegating, but this post will help me when I get there.

  • Angela D. Wharton

    I’ve always wanted to hire a VA but the thought of having to train her has changed that want. However, you have shared so much great information in this post that I have reconsidered. Thank you so much!