Preparing Your Business For A VA

Preparing Your Business For A VA

So, you’ve done it. You’ve decided your business is ready for a VA. You’ve done your research and found someone who matches your working style and will gel with your business. Amazing!

… Now what?

Because I’ll tell you one thing – now is not the time to sit on your laurels and do nothing. You may have decided to outside, but you still have a little bit of work to do before you can relax. Bringing on a VA is a lot like bringing in a new employee, and there’s some preparation you need to do to make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. If you do this, your VA can hit the ground running and make a real difference to your business in half the time, and you’ll be a lot calmer about the whole thing too!

So, this is what you need to do to prepare your business for hiring a VA.

Finalise Exactly What You’re Outsourcing

First, it’s time to figure out exactly what aspects of your business you’ll be outsourcing to a VA. If you’ve followed our previous advice then you might have done this already, before you interviewed candidates, but if you haven’t then don’t worry! Here are 3 ways you can figure out the best tasks to outsource:

  • Track your activities – Step 1 is to do a complete task audit of your business. Over the course of a few days, keep track of absolutely everything you do in or for your business. And we mean everything. Include the services you provide, the marketing tasks you do, admin work you undertake and every other little mundane thing you do – even if it’s something you could never delegate.
  • Identify – Now take that list and put each item into a ‘bucket’. These buckets should be labelled:
  • Don’t know how to do
    • Don’t want to do
    • Don’t have time to do
    • What only you can do

And be really honest with yourself here. It’s OK to not want to do certain tasks, and offloading those to a VA will give you more time to do the things you DO want to do.

  • Prioritise – This process helps you identify which tasks are no-brainers for your VA (the first 2), which are things you would like them to do (bucket 3), and things they definitely can’t do (bucket 4). Now you have a prioritised list of tasks for your VA to take on either right away, or in the future.

Be Prepared For Training

One of the things most business owners don’t realise is that a VA will need at least a little time and guidance to find their feet in your business. The more experienced the VA the less time you’ll need to spend on training – but you will still need to do some. This is usually easier if you’ve already documented your processes and how you like things done – that way they can just pick up your documents and follow the instructions. If you haven’t, you will need to teach them your processes (and ask them to document it as you go).

On the flip side, the VA might also need to train you. If you’ve never outsourced before then it can be difficult to let go of the reigns and hand over control. An experienced VA will gently guide you through this transition and help you learn to adapt to this new way of working. They may also identify areas in your business that could be improved, and teach you along the way. So be prepared for some two-way training!

The 4 Key Understandings

Even if you haven’t done the above, your VA will probably have their own onboarding process for you, inducing a contract for you both to sign. But either way, before you start work with a VA you should make sure both of you have a clear understanding on:

  • Availability –  What days and times are you available to each other, and which are dedicated days for project work?
  • Communications – What is the best way for you to communicate with each other? Email? Text? Whatsapp? Phone? Video call? Slack? How do you get in touch in case of an emergency?
  • Project / Task management – How will you manage tasks, and keep track of where your projects currently are? Will you use software like Asana or Trello? Will you use a spreadsheet, or just stick to email? Being able to keep track of who is doing what and when is fundamental to avoiding miscommunications.
  • Turnaround time (regular & rush) – What will a standard timeline look like? Will ordinary tasks be completely within a week, 48 hours, 24 hours or same day? How about rush jobs – what are the terms for those? Will there be extra fees, and how will the timelines work? This helps ensure you have accurate and realistic expectations of when things will be happening every step of the way.

At Starfish Admin Services, we pride ourselves on being up front with all of our clients from the word go – and that includes our onboarding process! When you choose to work with us, we will explain what you need to do to prepare for working with us, and what we will do before working with you as well. We can help guide you through those initial first steps and into a seamless VA-client relationship. If you want to know more about how to hire a VA to take your stress away, just get in touch with the team today!