How to Work with a Virtual Assistant

I have to tell you something very important.

As a freelance writer, you’re a genius at a few particular things. But, your “genius zone” probably doesn’t include every single thing on your to-do list.

It sure doesn’t for me.

So, why not delegate?

Doesn’t it make sense to pay someone $50 an hour to do time-consuming tasks or something you hate to do so you can do the work that’s bringing in $100-$200 an hour or more?

That’s where hiring a Virtual Assistant, or VA, comes in.

In my last two articles (“Drowning in Details? It’s Time for a Virtual Assistant” and “Where Do You Find a Virtual Assistant?”), I gave you a simple way to recognize whether you need a VA and then the best places to hire one.

Now, I’d like to fill you in on how I work with my VA.

When You’re Working with a VA

First, here’s what she does on a regular basis:

  • Posts my weekly blogs
  • Sends out the accompanying email to announce the new blog post to my list
  • Tags the posts
  • Enters keywords into the SEO plug-in
  • Tweets my blog posts
  • Posts my blog post to my Facebook Page
  • Writes most of my other tweets
  • Writes most of my other Facebook Page posts
  • Implements most changes to my website
  • Does various techie things — that is my zone of awfulness and her zone of excellence, which is why I hired her

To keep track of everything and plan for future projects, we have regularly scheduled 30- to 60-minute weekly meetings on Skype. That makes it easy for me to type notes or research something quickly while we’re talking.

During our calls, I’ll go over a Google doc that my VA can access. It’s a spreadsheet with assignments on it. It’s a running list of what needs to occur, when. I list each assignment in the order of priority, listing the date assigned, when it’s due, and the next step after it’s complete.

For example, I have a teleseminar coming up and before the actual call, a lot of tweets and Facebook Page posts need to go out, along with some emails. Those social media assignments are listed before the teleseminar date.

As these tasks get accomplished, my VA checks them off.

Our discussions in our weekly calls cover what project she needs to work on next, any future plans I maybe be dreaming up, and any unusual personal scheduling that either of us foresees in the near future.

All this works best if you know what you need your VA to do. Spell it out clearly. Discuss your overall plans — who needs to get what information to whom and by when. State deadlines and stick to them.

My VA is basically a part of my systems, allowing me to work with more clarity in my genius zone, which is working on the business itself and working one-on-one, coaching my mentoring clients to improve their businesses.

Her impact on my company is that I’m now free to do the big things that make a huge difference in moving my business forward.

And, I consider the cost of hiring her and the work she does to be money in my pocket.

[Editor’s Note: Jan Schochet is a one-on-one mentor and guide to the sometimes puzzling work of small business ownership. To get on her list to receive weekly business tips, go here and download her free report.]

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Published: January 11, 2012

2 Responses to “How to Work with a Virtual Assistant”

  1. Thanks for the insight and great ideas, Jan. Thanks.

    Bob EdelsteinJanuary 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

  2. Great post! We run a professional virtual services company and provide support to hundreds of companies and individuals. It's so great to hear what a positive impact a VA has had on your work and day! Another tip is to choose your VA carefully - do you due diligence, screen, interview and test her work just like you would with a traditional employee. All the best.

    Guest (Sandra)November 19, 2012 at 6:04 am


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