How to Manage a Virtual Assistant: 5 Tips for Outsourcing Beginners

September 11, 2012

Outsourcing became a popular choice for business owners in the middle of the 90’s. It started with technology-driven firms and IT departments of companies in various industries. Now, both big and small companies take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing because of the savings on costs and skills virtual assistants can offer. With the coming of online job search sites, the number of businesses resorting to virtual assistant services has since multiplied as many professionals around the world are choosing to offer their services virtually.

If you’re new to having a virtual staff in your workforce, or hesitant of hiring one, here are some tips on managing an employee that works thousands of miles away from you.

  • Start small. That means giving your virtual assistant with small tasks, something they can work on for a short time. You can cut them off once in awhile, like every 30 minutes or an hour to check on their progress and see if they are on the right track. I know you’ll say you’re busy and have no time to see how they’re doing, but taking this into consideration will help you correct mistakes early on and get the results you need.
  • Set your expectations. Right from the beginning, let your assistant know of their job description, even their role in your company or organization. This gives them the direction they need to avoid ending up at a wrong way.
  • Set up a communication routine. If your schedule allows, set a time for a conversation with your assistant to talk about important matters. This also tells your VA to reserve their questions or updates and not flood your inbox.
  • Stay reachable. There are many options for an instant messenger, like Gtalk, Skype, and Yahoo Messenger, at your disposal. Have something ready just in case your VA has something urgent to say. If you are always on the go, give them your mobile phone number so they can reach you wherever you are.
  • Be “on the cloud.” This means keeping your files on the cloud. Not only will this make sure that you have copies of all your documents but also makes it easy for you to collaborate with your VA without having to open a computer and search for the needed files.

Hiring a virtual assistant is a tested and proven choice for business owners who want to save time, money, and effort. But, of course, the road may be rough that you can’t be so sure of your working relationship with the virtual assistant. For beginners in the outsourcing game, the success does not lie only on your assistant’s skills set but also on the way you deal with them. If you can’t do it by yourself, you can always have your trusted in-house associate to do it for you.

There are virtual assistant companies that give away free trials for you to see how it works. Why not give it a shot?