Biz Tips: The Guide To Onboarding Your First Virtual Assistant

Biz Tips: The Guide To Onboarding Your First Virtual Assistant


The Guide To Onboarding Your First Virtual Assistant

Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

Setting Up a Productive Working Relationship

Are you thinking about getting your first virtual assistant? Or do you have one and you’re still figuring your way into getting him on board with your business venture?

I was at your place two weeks ago. My wife and I finally decided to hire our first virtual assistant. It was our way of forcing ourselves into learning how to delegate work and save our mental cognition for high-level thinking.

The hiring process was tedious, I scoured through 200 applications for a Shopify General VA. I wrote down a couple of things I needed help with, and I had to test them.

Once we decided who to hire, we developed a methodology in getting our VA onboard with our business venture.

This advice is for the solopreneur who hasn’t built business processes in his operation.

1. Develop a Blueprint

My day job before was doing construction project management. We never start building a house without a blueprint.

The blueprint will govern the entire project. But it is rare to follow a design on-the-dot. In the construction phase, you are forced to deal with real life scenarios and adjust.

But you have to acknowledge the importance of having a place to start.

You create the blueprint for your business before hiring your first VA. My wife and I mapped out parts of venture that we want to delegate. This isn’t complicated. We didn’t have processes that needed complex workflows, it was simple with a couple of IFTT (if this, then that).

In our company, we give new hires a couple of job descriptions. What I recommend is giving them a task list — make it specific. You can add to that list as you gauge your VA’s skillset.

2. A Piece in a Puzzle

I learned this from my wife.

She briefed the virtual assistant on what it was we were doing and our vision for our brand. I thought this wasn’t vital as we were only delegating legwork. But my wife insisted that it will make her understand the context and importance of the task.

Any business venture should value all their employees no matter what their position. A puzzle will not be complete without a missing piece, no matter how small that piece is.

3. Create Shared Folders

Working with a VA means you don’t get to meet them in person. In our company, it’s just my wife and I. We work on digital files through a shared Dropbox folder, or we just send them over Airdrop. But this isn’t possible with a VA.

So we decided to learn how to use Google Docs and Google Drive. Yes, we’re that uneducated about the Google Suite.

Work with your VAs using this shared folder system. Build a drive where all your file will be located there, you can give them access but don’t make them an owner.

This is where we all our work now.

4. Learn a Screen Recording App

Learn how to use a screen recording app. This is also my first time recording my screen to teach our VA how to do something. Whether it’s about importing a product in Shopify, editing images, or building a Facebook app — everything can be explained with a screen recording app.

The first software we used was a web app called Loom. This is beginner friendly, and anyone can use it. The problem with the app was that it kept getting cut off after ten minutes. I can’t possibly explain facebook ads in ten minutes, so I had to figure out another app.

If you are a Mac user, I recommend you use Screenflow App. It has a bit of a learning curve but thirty minutes of watching a couple of videos will get you to a decent level. This is where we record all our tutorial videos for our VA.

5. Require Daily Checking

Tell your VA that you will record their screen while they work and that you will need a daily check in with them.

Recording their screen while they work is a matter of principle. There is no right or wrong answer, but know that there is this option if you choose to do so. With our VA, we told her that we’ll test it out for two weeks and see if we will continue with it or not.

For me, it’s not about the hours worked but the results that they produce. It doesn’t matter if they worked more than eight hours per day, but can’t get the right results.

The daily check-in consists of three vital questions — what did you accomplish, what problems are you facing, and how can I help you? Writing their daily check-in will help them clarify their thoughts and let you see their day on a snapshot. Reviewing hundreds of screenshots doesn’t cut out as daily reporting — you wouldn’t understand a thing.

Don’t get intimidated in hiring your very first VA. Even if it doesn’t work out after one month, what’s the worst thing that can happen — you lose a couple of money. But what if it does? Then you buy yourself an extra forty hours per week. Always trade money with time.

Your VA will never get it right the first time, so it’s your responsibility to educate them continuously. There’s a fine line between someone who’s incompetent and someone who is still syncing up with you — know the difference. Before you blame your VA, evaluate your task list and tutorial videos. Check if there was a misunderstanding or confusion. Up until now, we’re still syncing with our VA, and we still have miscommunications. But we are working on it.

I wish you luck on your first hiring. Free up your time and energy for the most important things. Busy is not always productive.

Talk to you soon my friend.

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