So, you’ve found what seems to be the ideal Virtual Assistant. Now you can just hand the work over, sit back and relax, right?
This is where the work begins, at least for some time until you get your new Virtual Assistant adequately trained in.
That’s because a Virtual Assistant needs to be trained in their role for your business. It’s a big, exciting and perhaps daunting time for them. It’s likely the first time they’ve worked for a foreign employer, and they won’t know what to expect.
It’s up to you to welcome them on their first day, settle them down, outline duties and expectations, and get them going on the first task. All while being positive and stressing how you’re looking forward to working with them. Be a confidence builder from the start.
This post gives you the key steps to follow when hiring a new Virtual Assistant.
Follow our advice, and you’ll significantly increase the likelihood of developing a long-term relationship with your Virtual Assistant. You need to put the effort in during the first days and weeks. Your hard work now will pay off for years to come.
With a fair amount of work to do, don’t make the mistake of hiring more than one Virtual Assistant at the beginning. Focus on hiring one for your business, then expand when time and revenue allows.
How do you welcome your Virtual Assistant on day one?
The most important thing you’ll send them is their “welcome email.” Aside from your interview and hiring negotiations, this is the first correspondence they’ll get from you. And you need to do an excellent job of setting the tone for future things to come.
Make sure you’re positive from the very beginning. Welcome them by saying how excited you are about hiring them. Explain that together you can achieve great things. They’ll be confident from the start and their contribution will make a real difference.
Add a video. You can also record a video if you feel comfortable doing so. Just be yourself, give them an encouraging welcome message and tell them a little bit about yourself. It will mean a lot for them to hear your voice and see your face.
Before you go ahead and start assigning them certain tasks, it’s essential to outline your business policies and rules so everything is clear.
- Confirm working hours. We always recommend going for full-time, someone who will give 100% of their time and effort to your business but you might also need a part-time worker. Reiterate the hours you expect them to work each day (usually eight hours per day is full time and four hours per day part-time) and at what time you expect them to start each day. If you are hiring full time be clear that they cannot work for anyone else. As, you want their full attention on only your business.
- Salary. They’ll already know how much they’ll be paid as you previously discussed this during the negotiation phase. But make it clear in your email and confirm what day of the month, they will get paid. It’s a good idea to pay them weekly for the first month and then move to twice a month or monthly after that. Whichever is more convenient for you and your new employee. This gives both of you the security and reassurance going forward.
- Vacation Time. You should set out how much vacation time they can take and stress these days will be paid. Sick days should also be paid. So long as they book vacation time well ahead, and let you know when they’re sick, then you can plan accordingly.
- Communication. Layout how you’ll be communicating with them (emails, Skype, Slack, project collaboration tools, etc.) and how you expect them to report back to you.
- Make yourself always available. Let them know that you are always if they have any issue, concerns or they are struggling with a piece of work.
How do you give your Virtual Assistant their first task?
Remember your first day at a new job? You were probably nervous and excited at the same time. And when your first task came along, you were eager to do it well. That’s how they will likely be feeling, so think carefully about what the first task should be.
Don’t make it too hard that they take one look and think the job’s not for them after all. You want them to be confident in their ability to do the job and do it well.
But equally, don’t make it so easy that they’ll get complacent. Instead, make it challenging enough that they’ll be keen to succeed and show you what they’re capable of. Tell them that you know it’s challenging but that you expect them to complete it well. If they need to ask a question, reassure them that they can approach you any time.
It’s important this task is job-related for what they’ve been hired for. Not just a random task.
And once the job is done, assess their performance and give them your detailed feedback. Offering constructive criticism is fine, so long as you explain the reasons for it. Above all, reassure them about how pleased you are with their work. Now that they have gotten started, the work should progress smoothly from here on out.
Does your Virtual Assistant have the right tools?
Before handing regular work over to them, make sure they have all the right software and tools and have access to them. There’s a whole list of things they might need depending on the tasks you have given them. These might include:
- Email access
- Hosting access
- WordPress or website access
- Google Analytics and Google Ads
- Your social media accounts
- Google Calendar
- Software tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
- Online tools like SEMrush or HRefs
- Skype, Slack, etc.
- Live chat for your website
- Access to your training materials
- Access to Dropbox or Google Drive
These are some of the most common tools and software they might need access for, but there may be more depending on your business.
You may also want to use password management tools such as Roboform and Lastpass and give them restricted access to certain apps and tools making workflow more efficient.
What about the training of my Virtual Assistant?
Training should be an ongoing process with your new employee. As you find more and more tasks for them to do.
Never skip on training them.
Training them takes time, but without it, you’ll just be making more work for yourself down the line. Give them the proper training, to begin with. It not only gives them the knowledge required to complete the job but also confidence to succeed. They’ll even feel more secure because you’re taking time to help them thrive.
The first few weeks together
Like any new working relationship, the first few weeks are the most important. It sets the tone for the future and can make a real impact on the success of your working relationship.
Make sure you always have another task lined up for them when they are ready for the next assignment. If they complete a job sooner than you thought (great!), don’t keep them sitting around.
If they’re busy, getting plenty of work and lots of positive feedback, they’ll be happy, especially if you’re always available to answer questions or offer advice.
The daily email
When you work remotely, perhaps thousands of miles apart, even if you’re on the same time zone, a daily email is a vital way for them to report back on their progress.
The daily email has three essential purposes:
- Let’s you know what tasks they have completed during the day.
- To outline any issues they ran into.
- To give suggestions as to how you can help solve those issues.
Of course, you may as well communicate several times a day via Skype or some other instant messenger tools and email, but the vital role of the daily email remains. It’s a written record of progress and hurdles. Also, it’s easy for you to reply with praise, thank them and ask any questions you may have. Don’t forget to reply to these daily emails, even if it’s with simple thanks because they will then know that you received and acknowledged their report.
You’ll soon know if it’s all working out
At some point within the first month, you’ll reach a conclusion about the success or otherwise of the working relationship with your new Virtual Assistant. If they’re as capable as you had hoped and if you have trained them as thoroughly as we have recommended in this article, then you’ll likely be pleased with the results.
We won’t pretend it will work out every time. There may be many reasons such as personality, but if things are not working out, then it’s best to let them go (obviously making sure they have been paid correctly).
But don’t give up if it didn’t work out the first time. Give it another try and hire another one. If you made mistakes with the first one, hopefully, you have learned from those mistakes. Your next hire should work out better, and you’ll likely get a return on your investment many times over.