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How To Delegate Your First Task To A Virtual Assistant


Barnaby Lashbrooke

Founder and CEO of Time etc, author of The Hard Work Myth

7 minute read

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In a world that’s becoming more remote by the day, there isn’t a more valuable hire right now than a virtual assistant (VA). Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, business owner, or freelancer beginning to see success, a virtual assistant stops you from working in your business and allows you to start working on your business, as stated in The E-Myth.

But hiring a virtual assistant isn’t like bringing on an apprentice, ‘borrowing’ your nephew for the weekend, or finding the cheapest virtual assistant freelance gig on Fiverr. It should be like any other hire — you wouldn’t hire an employee if they weren’t up to scratch, so your virtual assistant should be no different.

They’re an incredibly useful resource. They’ve got your back to help you do more, become more efficient, increase your earnings, and boost your success. Although, they can only be a valuable asset to your team if you choose one that’s best suited to your needs. When you onboard the right assistant, it’s an easier and more enjoyable process and you’ll reap the rewards much faster.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to begin your virtual assistant journey and send your first task…

Shake those jitters

Take a deep breath. It can be quite a nervy process, especially if it’s your first time working with a virtual assistant. The reason it’s daunting for many is that they don’t know where to start.

Choose your tasks

Think about why you want to hire a virtual assistant in the first place. You might feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and it’s wearing you down. Or you may feel that there are so many responsibilities on your plate that you are being spread too thin to do the best job possible.

So, think of the task that wastes your time the most. Daily, weekly, monthly — it’s something that prevents you from working on higher-value things to grow your business. This could be any routine task, ranging from data entry to chasing payments. By picking something you do often, you’ll quickly see the benefits of handing it off to an experienced virtual assistant and not having to worry about it again, safe in the knowledge that it’s in good hands.

Start by writing down everything you currently do and ask yourself the following questions for each task:

  • Is your expertise specifically required, or could anyone do it with the right instructions?
  • Does it suck away your time without a sufficient return on investment?
  • Is it important but you often put it off because you don’t enjoy doing it?
  • Is it often neglected because it’s a low priority compared to your other tasks?

If a task ticks any of those boxes, you should consider delegating it. Another easy way to determine which of your tasks can be delegated is by using our free online tool.

Once you’ve narrowed down what you would like to hand off to an assistant, consider what is needed to complete it. Would your assistant need any log-in details? Is there a company tone-of-voice they should adhere to? Which software or programs should they use? Similar to onboarding a new employee, taking the time to create instructions or guidelines will not only help your future assistant complete the task successfully, but it will also save you some time down the line. You won’t need to repeat your instructions over and over again if your assistant can consult your task guide whenever they need it. It doesn’t need to be in long, chunky paragraphs that span multiple pages. Clear, easily digestible bullet points will do the trick.

Find the right virtual assistant

Create a compelling job description

What do you really need from your virtual assistant? Write a clear description of the task and the skills and experience it would require. Some virtual assistants might be more experienced in admin or executive work, others may be specialists in marketing or eCommerce, so you would want the right people to put themselves forward for the job. Then, you can add your requirements (such as preferred availability) and a company summary.

Schedule one-to-one meetings

At Time etc, once we have the details of your tasks and requirements, our team begins the process of handpicking which virtual assistant we believe would be the best match for you and your needs. Next, we would encourage you to have a call with the assistant. This introductory meeting gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have, and get a feel for if the person is right for you.

You will be presented with one option initially. If you don't feel that the assistant is the best fit for you after speaking with them during your call, the team will happily provide more options until you find your perfect match.

How will you communicate?

This is an incredibly important element to bear in mind. We recommend discussing how you and your assistant will communicate with each other early on in your working relationship, so expectations can be set and managed. Would you want email updates on certain days? Would you prefer a weekly check-in via Zoom? Or are you more active and responsive on Slack or Whatsapp?

Open lines of communication are one of the key factors of a successful virtual assistant experience.

So, you’ve decided what you need to delegate. You’ve found your virtual assistant. Now it’s time to send your first task.

Sending your first task

Once you’ve completed all of the above tasks — you’re ready! You can now set your virtual assistant on their way to take a burden off of your shoulders. Simple!

What to expect

In the early stages, make yourself available for your virtual assistant to ask you questions about your tasks or your processes. Remember, this is the first step and the beginning of the journey. At this point, it might take longer for these tasks to be done by your assistant than doing it yourself, but with a little time, your assistant will soon get used to it and will be completing it quickly and efficiently before you know it. Then the task will essentially be off your plate forever, freeing up more time for you to dedicate to the more important matters of your business.

Don’t forget to provide feedback

Without feedback, your virtual assistant will be none the wiser if their work needs improvement, or if you’re pleased with the results and happy for them to continue in the same fashion.

If something is incorrect, flag it. Offering constructive feedback helps avoid mistakes being repeated and causing you both more frustration. But also share good feedback. Tell them what you’re pleased with, the quality of the work, how quickly they completed the task for you, or their adaptability. Anything positive you notice, share it with them.

To solidify the relationship and show you’re keen to help your virtual assistant, ask for their feedback too and be willing to take suggestions on board. Due to their experienced professional backgrounds, there’s every chance your assistant may have ideas that you’d never considered.

The next step? Figuring out what other tasks you’re ready to delegate to your virtual assistant!

Achieve more and reclaim your time by working with the best virtual assistants

The most important part of selecting a virtual assistant is finding one that meets all of your business needs. Don’t cut corners when it comes to your time — choosing the right assistant is a crucial element in helping you take your business to the next level.

If this sounds like a bit of a daunting task, don’t worry — with 13 years of experience, we’ve got it figured out.

At Time etc, our mission is to help busy entrepreneurs and business owners achieve more. We know your time is precious, which is why you won’t need to do any of the heavy lifting. Our expert team will carefully match you with a dedicated assistant based on the skills, experience, and even personality traits you need.

Our virtual assistants must pass a rigorous 10-stage process to join us, so you can rest assured you’ll only ever work with someone that’s professional, experienced, and passionate about helping others.

Want to do more of the work that matters? Try a virtual assistant for free or speak to our team to build a plan that’s perfect for you.

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About the author

Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Virtual Assistant service Time etc as well as the author of The Hard Work Myth, recently recommended by Sir Richard Branson. Barnaby is a Forbes Columnist on productivity and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, selling more than $35 million worth of services.

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