Have you ever had a job that was in some way, shape or form unfulfilling? You know that dread of going into work because you just know that a, b and c are about to happen?
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Hiring a virtual assistant: Establishing a relationship
Maybe your manager drives you up the wall – throwing tasks at you left and right, but never really taking the time to explain anything to you. Then afterwards, they come to you and tell you that you did it wrong. Okay… Back to the blind drawing board!
Or maybe your tasks just aren’t that challenging, and to make matters worse, they aren’t even tasks that you’re qualified to do. But hey, somebody has to get it done, right?
Or perhaps your manager never took the time to stop and recognize how much time and effort you put into your job.
None of these situations breed great feelings, do they? Another thing they don’t breed is productivity.
That’s why I think it’s important to wrap this 3-part series with a post about how establishing a relationship with your virtual assistant can make all the difference.
In our first post, we talked about how hiring a virtual assistant can help you become more effective, more efficient, and help you grow your business exponentially. We also covered in detail the process, including where you can go to find your virtual assistant, what types of questions you should ask your top candidates during the interview, and finally, how you know they’re the right fit.
In our second post, we talked about bringing your virtual assistant on board, what types of tasks you might delegate to them, and we also dug deep into the training process.
In this post, I’m going to cover some things we’ve found extremely helpful in establishing a relationship with our virtual assistants.
In doing these things, we’ve seen positive results that continue to directly improve the course of our business, like:
1. An increased level of excitement and commitment from our virtual assistants, JM, Jess and Adeel, for the position and the tasks at hand; and
2. We’ve also had the absolute pleasure of building very strong relationships with JM, Jess and Adeel, and in doing so we’ve built a team that works well together, making it possible for us to create incredible progress on a daily basis.
What exactly do we do to get these positive results? Let’s take a look:
Do away with the robot act and get to know your virtual assistant! They are a real person with hobbies, a family and passions.
Now that you’ve hired them and they’re a part of your team, wouldn’t you like to know more about them? You might have found out the basics during the interview process, but really start to peel off another layer. What did they do this past weekend? How is their son or daughter doing? What do they have planned for tomorrow night?
Letting your virtual assistant know that you care enough to ask these questions is only part of the equation; genuinely being interested in what they have going on in their own life, outside of their position within the company, will help you grow your relationship with them big time.
And what does growing a relationship do? It builds like-ability. They start to feel as though they really know you and can trust you, and vice versa. This is especially important when you don’t see one another in an office every day.
Quick side story: John had the amazing opportunity to meet up with JM when he was in the Philippines in March for Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank. John didn’t have to arrange to fly JM to Cebu where he would be for a couple of days; he wanted to arrange it because he genuinely wanted to meet her in person and be able to spend time with her face-to-face. They had a blast :)
It’s also very important that you stay attuned to how they’re feeling about their work. Set up a bi-weekly meeting – or monthly at the very least – where you sit down and catch up with them. What tasks are they enjoying most? What tasks are they enjoying the least? What types of experience or expertise do they have that might lend well to an area of your business that they aren’t currently exercising?
Making sure that you’re on the same page and that you have that open line of communication about both work and personal life with your virtual assistant is important.
For many Entrepreneurs who are looking to hire a virtual assistant, managerial skills aren’t their strong suit. Something we’ve found that is very important to practice and be conscious of is being patient.
What do I mean by that?
If you have a task you want to delegate to your virtual assistant, then don’t just email them with a 1-liner and expect them to go figure it out, (and don’t email them an entire book about it, either). Be patient.
Ideally, you’ll explain exactly what the tasks is in a sentence or two, then also include a sentence or two about why the task is important, and finally, provide them with a video that shows how they can go about doing it themselves – be straight to the point with your instruction.
Also, always offer to answer any questions they may have – each and every time.
This not only gives them a certain level of comfort (knowing that you care enough to take the time to explain the task), but also a sense of ease in communicating with you (knowing your door is open if they have questions).
In our last post on training your virtual assistant, I went through the entire process that we use with creating videos of the tasks we want JM, Jess and Adeel to execute on. This is a great way to be very clear about what you’re looking for, and a great reference for your virtual assistant to go back to again and again.
You’re the one who hired your virtual assistant, so you should be very clear in regards to what their background is, what their skills are, and what types of tasks you’re going to delegate. Giving your virtual assistant tasks that aren’t their strong suit is, in my opinion, a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, we choose to be productive.
Therefore, if your virtual assistant doesn’t have any experience with design or creating images, don’t expect that you’ll be able to send them off to create an amazing library of social media images for you to use.
Can you train your virtual assistant on certain aspects of this? Of course, but again, we choose to focus on utilizing and leveraging the strongest skills that JM, Jess and Adeel possess in order to maximize our team’s productivity. When they’re working on the things that they know, that they enjoy and that they’re good at, they’re happy; and when our team is happy, the sky is the limit!
You’re likely hiring your virtual assistant because you have too much on your plate. That means you know exactly what it’s like to have to do every task that you’re about to delegate to them. So – let them know how much you appreciate that!
Something astronomical doesn’t have to happen for you to send your virtual assistant an email every once in a while that says, “Thank you for all of the hard work you do. I appreciate you, and I’m so happy you’re a part of the team!”
Not a day goes by when I don’t thank Jess, or give JM and Adeel big props for their amazing work. I know exactly what it’s like to do everything that they do in a day, and some of that stuff isn’t easy! We always make it a point to recognize their efforts and verbally and/or monetarily compensate them for this.
Your virtual assistant is a part of your team – a part of your company – so empower them to feel comfortable with acting that way!
We ask JM, Jess and Adeel for advice and feedback all the time. Their input and suggestions are just as powerful and important as ours is.
For example, JM handles a lot of our social media scheduling, and so we let her know that if there are things she’s reading about on the Internet or hearing about in videos that she thinks we should be doing, then let us know so we can try them out!
In addition, Jess, JM and Adeel all know that if they find a training or some type of course online that will help them grow their skills or discover new tools for the business, then they should definitely do it! John and I both know firsthand the importance of investing in ourselves, and that absolutely extends to our entire team – virtual or not.
Empowering your virtual assistants increases their excitement for the position (knowing they are an active member in the company – not just a mechanical one), and also boosts productivity. When your virtual assistant knows that their ideas and recommendations will always be considered, they’re more likely to seek out opportunities.
We genuinely care about the well-being of our team, and our virtual assistants are a part of that. We not only let them know that on a daily basis just in the way we communicate with them, but we also invest time in learning more about them and helping them grow both personally and professionally.
I cannot stress this enough: if it weren’t for JM, Jess and Adeel, then EntrepreneurOnFire wouldn’t be what it is today. We simply wouldn’t be able to do everything that we do, as efficiently and effectively as we do it, if we didn’t have them as a part of our team.
Also, JM, Jess, and Adeel have taught us SO much and helped us grow a ton. How? Well, there is no way that I would be able to focus on creating content and engaging with our community, or that John would be able to focus on Podcast creation and product development, if we had everything that JM, Jess and Adeel take care of on our plates as well.
Without them, we’d always be working in the business instead of on the business – a very, very important distinction.
So, are you ready to start working on your business instead of in your business? Let us know your action plan for hiring your virtual assistant in the comments section below!