5 Virtual assistant training tips that are critical for success

Good virtual assistant training is of the utmost importance to succeed when outsourcing tasks.

Of course you can start small, using a small budget by crowdsourcing for cheap small tasks, but sooner or later you’ll want to outsource more and hire a virtual assistant.

The main problem with outsourcing however is, that not many people really know how to train their virtual assistant (VA) properly. While on the other hand expectations are sky high, it’s still of the utmost importance to train these assistants well. Some even compare this with a triathlon.

Here are 5 critical virtual assistant training tips.

  1. Tell her exactly what you expect from her service
    In writing, like a detailed checklist or a periodic task planning. Describe the tasks at hand extensively, but keep the number of tasks limited when starting out (see tip 2).
    Tell her that reading this planning is her first task and her them to read it! That’s what you would want if it was your first job, right?

    Let your virtual assistant get back to you with questions about your task descriptions. Even if she’s experienced you need to train her to do things the way YOU want them done. Do not assume she knows everything. Everybody has a different view on how they want things done, so tell her exactly what you want and how you want it done.

  2. Keep in mind that this virtual assistant training is a continuous process
    Your ultimate goal will be to outsource every single aspect of your online business. To achieve that, you need to continuously train your assistant in new facets of your business.

    Show her how to setup basic WordPress blogs, how to search engine optimize them, how to handle spam comments, how to do keyword research. Show her how to use automation tools like article submission and keyword research software.

    Keep your virtual assistants engaged and learn her new tricks. This will also prevent her from getting bored.

  3. Require daily reports from your VA.
    She should email you a daily report detailing what she did for that day. A simple spreadsheet with tasks performed and hours spent will do. Thus you can easily check what your assistant is doing and if she is doing well. If not, you can adjust your virtual assistant training schedule.

    Your expectations should be reasonable however. Don’t expect VA’s to write and submit 10 articles a day, that’s a specialists job.

    While you don’t have to read the reports in detail, they will show you what the capabilities of your virtual assistant are. And it keeps your VA on the alert as she will know that a report to you is expected at the end of the day.

  4. Reward your VA for great work.
    If your virtual assistant doesn’t perform well, you have to correct her.
    But if she does a great job, reward her for her work! Your VA needs regular recognition and encouragement, even if you are not completely impressed with everything she does. And if her work needs improvement, start with the positive factors and then blend in the improvements.

    When appropriate, pay her an unannounced bonus for delivering great work. Like buying some necessary software program. Or you could even give her an unexpected paid vacation day.
    If she does extraordinary work, you want to do everything possible to keep her.

  5. Have patience with your assistant
    Your first step when you hire a new virtual assistant to take over many of your tasks in your business, is to have some patience with her work. You need to spend more than a few hours with your VA before you fire her.

    You should test her first on a couple small projects before you make an offer to a your future virtual assistant. Once she has proven their worth, make her an offer, and stick to your guns! Expect her to need virtual assistant training in the first few weeks they work for you.

There you are, 5 critical VA training tips.

Now, don’t underestimate these tips. In my offline career, whenever I’m asked to help companies to improve their business, one of the first things I ask is whether the employees are trained well. In most cases, my guess is close to 70%, this is NOT the case.

On the other hand, don’t expect the first virtual assistant you hire to work out for you. It will probably take several people before you find someone that fits your needs.

Oh, and don’t treat your VA like crap, as some people do. They are people too, and if you don’t treat them well your best workers can always find someone else to work with. Treat and train your team just like you want to be trained.

Here’s a great resource for outsourcing and virtual assistant training.

Post your virtual assistant training experiences below.

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6 thoughts on “5 Virtual assistant training tips that are critical for success

  1. JamesCReedJr.@humannature says:

    This is very interesting to me because eventually I want to have an assistant. Even though this article talks about things to tell your assistant, you can also relate these tips to yourself as well. #1 “In writing, like a detailed checklist or a periodic task planning” you can take this advice and apply it to yourself. Make checklists and follow through with your plans. Keeping on task can be hard at times, especially if you have a busy life outside of your blog. I would recommend this website to beginner bloggers and amateur bloggers alike.

  2. Case Stevens says:

    Great advice, right from the source!
    What’s your name?

  3. Virtual Assistant Philippines says:

    I agree with the comment above, especially if the work is an unusual task for a virtual assistant. I would also add that it would be better if you talk (call) to your VA to talk about the task rather than chat.

    Try to know your VA very well, he/she may have something skill that she didn’t notice that may have value to you.

    Constant communication to your VA would make difference. Make you VA feel they are human too, chitchat with them.

  4. Stormy says:

    I’m starting a photography business, and I’ve recently begun considering getting an intern to handle some of the SEO and online/admin portions of my day. Thanks for this article, this seems like it really might be a better option for me, because I don’t have to worry so much about training my competition and having someone in the studio all the time. Your tips for keeping them in line seem dead on – obvious stuff, but probably easily missed for new people like me!

    • Chris says:

      Hi Stormy,
      Some of the local photographers around here and my self use virtual assistants, or out source parts of the workflow. I also ended up hiring a friends wife to work a couple hours a day while her kid is in school and have her do the time killers like running to the post office, writting blog posts, and commenting on relevant blogs. I don’t train her on anything about running a biz or photography, so I am not training potential competition.

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