Virtual Assistant

How to work with a virtual assistant in today’s fast-paced world?

Each VA can work differently depending on their experience. It is super-important to make sure expectations are made clear before any contracts are signed or payments made, this includes how tasks are communicated, timelines for completion or any specifics you need from them to understand that progress is being made. 

Communicate CLEARLY

I cannot emphasize this enough. Never assume that a virtual assistant, no matter how good they are or how wonderful their testimonials sound, can read your mind. Create a list of the things you’d like for them to do, and for those items that are appropriate, create an SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) for those items that must be done a specific way for your business. 

Set goals for every work assignment

This will help the CLEAR communication I was just talking about for your Virtual Assistant to understand the point of the assignment and what needs to be accomplished as the end result. I’d recommend creating a checklist of completion points as well as a video or SOP for the task itself if there are repeatable parts of it that can be referred to. Education and Teaching is the best way to communicate, and you never know, your VA may take their cue from you and start to communicate back the same way, 

Make sure they have access to the right programs and all required usernames and passwords for those programs –  Nothing is more frustrating than a VA who has set aside time to work on a big project for you and then realized they don’t have access to your web server, or never got access to your Google-account.

Set reasonable expectations

Understand that the first 4 weeks aren’t going to be perfect. No one can read another person in such a short time completely to be able to foresee or guess what they want before they know they want it. Having reasonable expectations for your VA in the first couple of months is vital to maintain an ongoing relationship that will be beneficial for you both. Not only will you have someone who is skilled at the things you don’t have the time or wherewithal to do yourself, but you will have the loyalty of someone who knows you will stick by them and give them the benefit of the doubt while they are learning the ropes. Empathy and understanding will always go a long way. 

Consider working with them on a “trial” basis

Now my other VA friends may not agree with this, but I have understood while working with my own clients, that it is difficult to “jump in head first” into a 3-month contract of hundreds or thousands of dollars without a lot of clout to base it on. In some cases, with Virtual Assistant Agencies that are more established, that may be possible, but if you are working with an individual who is running their own business, it may make more sense. If they are open to it, ask them for a smaller # of hours a month, have a couple of projects ready for them to hit the ground running on and then grow from there.

Ask them to update you once or twice a week

On the projects they are working on, the progress they have made, and any roadblocks they have come across and need help with – I’d recommend having a 30-minute touch-base at the beginning of every week and then asking them to send a “progress report” at the end of the day on Fridays to round it up. I’d also recommend communicating with them via Slack, FB messenger, or whatever preferred method of instant messaging you use if something comes up you want to talk to them about. 

Use a project management tool like Asana/Clickup/Trello

there are tons of varieties out there depending on your mood or personality, but they are extremely helpful in organizing your tasks and projects for your VA. If your Virtual Assistant has some experience, they will be familiar with these tools and even know how to get them optimized for you. 

Praise early and often

Positive reinforcement isn’t just a good way to raise children, it is a great way to encourage others around you, especially those that are working for you to reach your goals. Imagine you are working on a project, and you don’t get any feedback for weeks. You aren’t going to really feel like working on it much more even if you are very intrinsically motivated. Now imaging the person you are doing the work for checks in occasionally and thank you and praises you for the work that you have done, or shows their appreciation with a coffee gift-card or a testimonial for their website, or even just a kind email about their appreciation. Would you work that much harder? Yes, you would! Feed that inner ego and you will most definitely reap the rewards. 

With these tips, you will have a better chance at starting and keeping a Virtual Assistant for your business for as long as you may need them, increasing productivity and ultimate success.

How to work with a virtual assistant in today’s fast-paced world? Read More »

Hiring a Virtual Assistant: How to delegate your tasks.

So you have decided that you need help and have decided to hire a virtual assistant. You  put out a call for help on Facebook or a site like HireMyMom and then wait for the unicorn of VA’s to find you. The clouds will part, a heavenly light will shine down, and all your problems will be solved.


Oh if only it was that easy 🙂 

So let’s take the leap of faith that you know exactly what KIND of Virtual Assistant you are looking for, have found them through a good resource and checked their testimonials, had a discovery call, and all signs point to GO. Now what??

If you are still not sure what a virtual assistant is, please visit my blog on What is a virtual assistant before reading on! 

I have found in my experience that there are so many business owners out there that KNOW they need help, they are overwhelmed with the amount of work that they have to do and responsibilities they are in charge of. However, they have a very hard time knowing WHAT they need to let go of or if they can afford to allow someone else to do it for them. Insert example here? Their business is extremely important to them (it is a part of themselves, as it should be) and letting go of any part of it can feel a little bit like a new mom allowing her 3-month-old baby goes to daycare, not knowing what’s going to happen during the day when they aren’t there. (I am a mom to 2, so I tend to use that in my analogies!!! ) 

This is not a new struggle and you are not alone in knowing that you need some help so you can spend more time working with your clients more directly, coaching them, guiding them, or supporting them in whatever your zone of genius is. 

There is an exercise, recommended to me by a coach, that has helped many business owners out there determine what they can or should be delegating to someone else.

The exercise goes like this:

Step 1 – Make a list on a google doc, or notepad  of the tasks/actions you take for a week or 2.

I know, I know, this seems like a lot of work, and it is, especially if you are a busy business-owner who does ALL. THE. THINGS., but believe me, this will save you time in SPADES later on, and we all know that a little elbow grease now means smooth sailing in the long run. (Okay, I may have just made that up… but you get the point). 

Step 2 – Once you have a comprehensive list, look down it and circle the things that you WANT to outsource (the things that you either don’t get joy out of or doesn’t help your money-making efforts.)

Step 3 – Star/highlight the ones that are the HIGHEST priority for you to remove from your to-do list. Look for the things that you really loathe doing, procrastinating at, or just plain don’t feel good at it.


Once you have gone through this exercise, you will have a pretty good idea of the exact tasks that you can and should outsource to a VA. Huzzah! Celebration time.

But wait Ana, I know what to outsource, and that’s all well and good, but how do I tell them what to do and how to do it?

Well, that’s a great question, because it kind of depends on the type of Virtual Assistant that you want to work with. Per THIS BLOG, you know that VA’s can have a variety of different specialties and work in many different ways. There are VA’s that have worked in corporate for 20 years before taking their knowledge “on the road” and starting their own business. There are VA’s that know how to do a couple of things very well, but can’t, or don’t want to do more than that. There are VA’s in the United States, Canada, South America, East Asia, all at different price points, skill levels, time zones and work ethics. 

While this blog isn’t specific on how to FIND the right VA for you, (that will come, I promise) but regardless of what kind or pricepoint of VA you end up working with, it is important to know and understand how VA’s may work, and how that will work with what you need from them.

There are a couple of business models to take into consideration here, and you will find virtual assistants that fit every model, but I encourage you to see this as a business for them as well, especially if you are expecting a certain level of professionalism that you would also expect to exhibit for your clients.

  1. Hourly This is exactly how it sounds. After speaking with you on a discovery call, and you explain the type of work you are looking for based on the exercise you went through earlier, they will estimate the amount of hours they would need to complete those tasks and then tell you their rate for those hours. In most cases, they will ask for payment up front. Some will accept payment after the service, and others may want a downpayment up front and then every few weeks as long as your working relationship lasts.
  2. Project-based In some instances, you may want to only hire a VA for a certain amount of time, like when you are working on the launch of a product or course. Sometimes you just need help getting a product built, or you need someone to clean up your data an analytics, or just your inbox. In that case, you may want to look for a VA that does project-based work. This is a great scenario for many business owners and virtual assistants alike because the virtual assistants who offer these types of packages are generally much more skilled in them and can do them efficiently and effectively. 
  1. Retainer-based: Retainer-based pricing is a bit like having someone working for you part-time on a consistent basis, but you may not have a specific project or consistent task list for them to work through, it is more of that they are “on-call” for you if you need them. While some business owners in the beginning part of their business may not be interested in hiring on a retainer-basis because they dont’ exactly know what their money will be spent on, more seasoned businesses know that they ALWAYS have work to be done, but may not know exactly what it is, but know they want to have the support available when they need it. An example of this would be a bookeeper who helps make sure everything is up-to-date or Tech Admin that updates your automations and sends out email blasts to your mailing list. 

Knowledge is power, and now you have a bit better idea of the types of Virtual Assistants that are out there, and what kind of payment methods are available for their services. 

Let me know what you think of this blog! What you’d like to see more of or things you’d like me to deeper dive into! 

Until next time, lean in, serve others and go for your dream!

Hiring a Virtual Assistant: How to delegate your tasks. Read More »

What is a Virtual Assistant and how they benefit your business?

The term “VA”, or “Virtual Assistant” conjures up multiple images of someone working in front of a computer, in a coffee shop, or with a child on their lap, or in in the Philippines (as talked about in Tim Ferris “The Four Hour Workweek”). 

While all of these can be true, “Virtual Assistant” is actually more a blanket term for a wide variety of skillset, individuals that are able to help your business grow, by taking the pieces of your business off your plate that you either don’t have time to work on, or don’t have a desire to work on. 

But before we go into those details, I’d like to take a step back to look at the definition of a Virtual Assistant. Depending on where the google-engine can take you down, VA’s can be described simply, such as as someone who helps business owners with their administrative tasks, customer service agents, technical guru’s or creative masterminds. 

So which one is it? While all of these can be true, my favorite definition of a Virtual Assistant is this:

Virtual Assistants are highly-skilled professionals that provide administrative, technical, managerial or creative business services from a home-based or remote location.

Looking at the term through this broader lens helps us open up to the possibilities that can be encompassed by the title “Virtual Assistant”. In fact, anyone with a particular skill in an area that could help support a business can essentially be considered a VA

I personally know Virtual Assistants in all of the following roles, that run their own company and serve clients in their zone of genius:

  • General Administrative Assistants
  • Bookkeepers
  • CPA’s
  • Online Business Managers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Tech Virtual Assistants
  • Online Marketers
  • Content Writers
  • Tax Specialists
  • Social Media Managers
  • Pinterest Managers
  • Podcast Managers
  • CRM Managers
  • Marketing Specialists

You name it, someone has done it, and someone can do it for you and your small business.

With the miracle of technology, and the world we are all able to live in, they can do it remotely, from home, or from anywhere in the world depending on their clients needs.

That is where another misconception sometimes rises to the surface. VA’s are not just one type of person. While it is true that there are some VA’s that live in other countries, with lower cost of living (and therefore don’t cost as much as someone in higher cost of living areas), there are many different skill levels all over the world and right in your own backyard, it all depends on your needs.

So who IS a Virtual Assistant?

VA’s come from all walks of life and they choose to step into the world of Business Support for a variety of reasons:

  1. Freedom from the corporate structure of America
  2. They live a nomadic lifestyle
  3. They have children with special needs and are unable to take a 9-5
  4. They want to do the things they love and are good at, not just what their boss tells them what to 
  5. They want the opportunity to learn more and make a bigger impact in the world
  6. They want to spend more time with their families
  7. They stay at home with their children and want to contribute to their family financially as well
  8. They want FREEDOM from the life that has been prescribed to them

In a lot of senses, they are not much different from anyone who is attempting to reach their goals and serve others, like most business owners out there.

So how do I know if I NEED or want to WORK with a Virtual Assistant? While I will go into this in more detail in another post, the question shouldn’t really be about who you work with, more than figuring out WHAT you need help with, or what you would like to take off your plate.

Try this exercise:

  • Write down everything that you do in your business.
  • Circle all of the things that generate your business money
  • Circle all of the things that you LIKE to do

Everything else can be done by someone else if you so choose and can free up your time to do the things that make your business profitable and that you enjoy. Imagine the possibilities! 

So now when you see the term “Virtual Assistant” you will be able to visualize all of the professionals, in every type of profession that makes up the 64.8 million freelancers in the US (Per in 2020. We are your neighbor, your best friend, the parent down the block, the digital nomad in Peru, or the man you saw riding their motorcycle down the highway, working to serve their clients in their zone of genius.


What is a Virtual Assistant and how they benefit your business? Read More »