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Been thinking about hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) lately? Good for you! It’s a very smart move. In fact it’s one of the best ways to get more done—especially when it comes to online marketing—and still have a life.
However, one thing you have to remember is that finding and hiring a good VA, while important and worth spending the time to do right, is just the start.
You also have to learn how to outsource effectively or even the best VA won’t be able to do a lot for you. Plus once you start outsourcing tasks and projects, you’re going to have a new and different role to take on in your business.
Because, in addition to taking care of clients and/or customers you’re going to go from “chief doer of everything”, to project manager, overseer and strategist.
You see, you are the only person who truly holds the vision of your business in your mind at all times. And only you know how you want it all to look and work. That means, in the end, it’s your job to make sure everything is always done the way you want it.
Unless you embrace your new responsibilities (or hire a dedicated project manager), at best you won’t be taking advantage of all the possibilities that come with having a VA team. At worst, the whole experience is going to be horrible and you’re going to end up with a mess to clean up. Even if you hire a dedicated project manager, you’re never entirely off the hook.
The problem is that the project management alone can be pretty time consuming. If you’re busy, it doesn’t take long to become the bottleneck because they are always awaiting your approval to finish and launch projects.
Luckily you can make your project management job easier by taking these seven steps…
1) Set up systems for communication. Ideally you want to use an online project management system, not just email. And decide how and when you expect to be notified. This is a must, and makes it easier for you and everyone on your team to know what’s happening at any given time.
2) Create a written and/or visual overview of your business and share it with your team. The more they understand what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and where you’re trying to go, the easier it will be for them to help you.
3) Set aside time each day or week specifically for project management. Especially since you aren’t used to doing this, schedule appointments on your calendar or set reminders in Outlook or your Blackberry just for project management.
4) Set specific appointments or alarms to follow up on larger projects and due dates. Do this when you first assign a task or project to help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
5) Create process documents and checklists for your VA. Then ask that they open and follow these each time they perform a task.
6) Assign another VA to assist with project management. After about two years of outsourcing to my Vas, I got so busy I couldn’t carve out time to review their work. Things would stall for weeks as a result.
Finally I had my team assign another VA to help with project management. She proofreads and tests everything before it’s declared done. And she also checks regularly to make sure tasks aren’t falling through the cracks.
7) Think of your relationship with your VA team as a collaboration. Don’t just be a task master. Treat them as an invaluable part of your team and work together to achieve your goals.
It’s your business. While it may take some time and training to get your team working smoothly and efficiently, it’s well worth doing. Soon you’ll have way more time and energy to devote to growing your business—and having a fulfilling personal life.