Keeping Track of Virtual Assistants: A Helpful List of Tools and Practices
Today's Editor's Picks
Virtual assistants are amazing in the sense they allow you to free up time to focus on important tasks while ensuring the business keeps its momentum.
VA’s can do just about anything depending on your needs.
They can write content for the blog. They can manage your emails. They can build links to your site. They can operate your social media campaigns. As long as you can delegate the task in a clear and concise manner you shouldn’t have trouble with your virtual employees and assistants.
That doesn’t mean you won’t run into some troubles here and there.
Having one VA shouldn’t be a problem to manage because it’s just one individual but once your empire starts to grow and you take on a dozen it’ll become very apparent that there needs to be a system to keep the wheels turning.
Here are some of my suggestions for maintaining your virtual workforce.
Phase 1: Document & Record EVERYTHING
Before you set out to amass this army of virtual assistants you should truly sit down and do an assessment of your work to find out what’s worthwhile to delegate to these workers.
Mainly it’s the little tasks that may hold you back from making the big moves – such as:
- Responding to (non-business) email
- Responding to blog comments
- Link building
- Guest posting
- Content creation
- Graphic design
The list goes on and on.
These little tasks eat away at your time that could go toward networking endeavors or exploring your advertising campaigns to increase leads and conversion (the real money makers).
Once you have these tasks on file you should record the process.
Use one of the many screencast tools to record yourself doing a particular task (just one main action), label it accordingly, and put all of them together in a knowledge database your VA’s may access to learn rather than having to tutor each and every one of them.
Phase 2: Keep the Projects Centralized
Consider subscribing to a SaaS (free or paid) to keep things in one place (but be sure it’s in the cloud so you’re less likely to lose the information such as running it off a physical server in the office).
You could choose from:
- Google Drive
These are three off the top of my head and each bring a wealth of value for keeping everything in line.
To do this the easiest:
1. Setup a Google Drive account
2. Create a spreadsheet which will be used as a content publication & link building calendar
3. Use the word processing options for the VA’s writing
4. Tap into the free storage for uploading media (like graphics or videos)
5. Use internal G+ groups for bouncing ideas
Give permission to view to each of the VA’s and then begin delegating the particular tasks for each individual – it shouldn’t pose a problem if you’re accustomed to using spreadsheets and Word.
Phase 3: Conduct Regular (i.e. Daily) Meetings
Timing may not be the easiest thing to manage with your VA’s especially if they’re spread around the world but it would be good practice to hold regular meetings – daily, if possible.
These should be short and sweet running no longer than five minutes.
- Get up to date with what everyone is doing
- Take in feedback from each individual about their work
- Ask how you can help
- Delegate new tasks
Send an email to those that couldn’t attend via Skype, Google Hangout, or whatever video conferencing tool you used so they are in the loop.
Phase 4: Delegate Managerial Roles
Give your best VA some real responsibility.
Like traditional business structure – put someone in the role of a manager.
Set guidelines for how they can manage the VA’s (don’t let the position go to their heads and cause stress with the others) but make sure it’s enough so you don’t have to micro manage each person.
Put them in charge of certain ‘divisions’ like editor for all the content needs or discovering and developing new link building campaigns.
The point of VA’s is to make your work easier from not having to do all the minutia. You pay them to handle the little things so now step it up and allow your best VA to handle the others.
Phase 5: Ensure They Have the Right Tools
A last, quick one, I’d like to add is that they should have the right tools.
Listen to what they’re saying.
If they need a better graphics program then pony up the money and get it to them. If they need access to a site behind a paywall to complete their research than don’t bat an eye at the expense.
They’re there to help you create a great business. You have to be willing to make the investment not just in their labor but in developing their skills. It’s win/win for both parties because they’ll work harder and smarter – and you have the satisfaction that you’re giving them long-lasting benefits by staying on the team.