Working with a virtual assistant – part 2

One of the biggest challenges with a VA is their distance.  They are not sitting next to you when you share your instructions.

For people who have never used assistants, I don’t think they realize how challenging this idea will be.  It’s not that you can’t communicate through email and other online forums.  But it’s very easy to have your ideas misinterpreted and read incorrectly.

For those who have used assistants (or have even managed teams of employees), you are going to have some initial hurdles when communicating virtually.  You are probably more heavily reliant than you realize on your assistant understanding your non-verbals, work style  and other forms of communication.

I’ve learned when giving instructions to SPELL EVERYTHING OUT!.  While it’s tedious (and I often wonder why am I doing this instead of knocking out the task?), I’ve learned that helps in ensuring there are fewer questions on your expectations.

Here’s an example of a recent project I posted for my VA:

  1. Go to website  –
  2. Open an Excel document
  3. Locate the list of events on the home page (You will find them in the center of the page)
  4. Create 3 columns in Excel: date, event location and event
  5. I want you to list all of the events on page 1 in this format.  An example is 12/1/01 (Cell A1)  Alaska (Cell A2)   No Event (Cell A3).       (For international VAs, you may also have to explain to use the American date format of Month, date and year)
  6. Do not go onto page two on the website.
  7. Send me your work after you have completed it and confirm how long it took you.

Time consuming?  Yes. But I promise if you take your time and spell it out clearly, there will be less questions.

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