One of the hardest parts of starting to work with a virtual assistant (VA) can be figuring out how to hand your tasks over.
Often, a barrier to even handing tasks over can be knowing that they won’t be done the way you currently do them. This is not necessarily always a bad thing. If you are working with a process-driven VA, you may be surprised to find that they find ways to improve your current processes.
The best way to hand any task or project over to your VA is to give a very clear brief. It might feel like a lot of work, but the more specific you can be about what you want, the better your VA can serve you.
What should your task brief include?
1. Give background about the task
Your VA will get their head around the task much faster if they understand how the task impacts your business. For certain tasks, like invoicing, for example, this may be relatively straightforward. However, for any business-specific tasks, this may not be as clear. Especially if your VA does not have a large amount of experience in your industry.
Some questions to ask yourself when putting this together with this include:
- What is the purpose of this task in your business?
- Who currently undertakes this task in your business?
- Why do you do this task a certain way?
2. Write down any specifications
Do you have a current process to complete this task documented? This can be as complex as a step-by-step standard operating procedure, or as simple as what your desired outcomes are from the task.
Don’t forget to share your not-negotiable outcomes. What, if any, are steps or results that cannot be missed? What milestones will occur throughout the task?
Top tip: Sometimes taking the time to write your specifications down can seem overwhelming. Using a tool like Loom to record your screen and talk through the task while you complete it, then asking your VA to write it out for you as phase one, can be an easy way to overcome the overwhelm.
3. Provide any system logins
What systems are currently in use for the task?
Your virtual assistant will require access to these to complete the task. We recommend setting them up with their own login to each system – not sharing your login with them. This way, you retain control over your business systems.
4. Give a timeframe for task completion
How often is this task completed and when do you need it finished by?
The task may be a weekly repeating task, that needs to be done each Monday by 3pm. Or, in the instance it is a one-off task, you may need it completed by next Wednesday before your meeting on Thursday. The clearer you are on this, the easier it is for your VA to deliver.
5. Give an outline of what work you have completed on the task to date
If you have already started this task, let your VA know what you have already done. Share what barriers you’ve already encountered. This can save them having to reinvent the wheel to begin or progress the task forward.
6. Explain what updates you require along the way
How often do you want to be updated on how things are progressing? And how do you prefer to receive these updates?
Some communication channels you might like to consider include:
- A project management tool like Asana or Trello. Ask your VA to load task milestones at the start of the project and mark these as complete as they go
- A [insert your preferred frequency here] phone or video call to touch base – go as far as asking your VA to schedule these into both of your calendars
7. Share any relevant content
What else does your VA require to make this task a success? Providing them with everything they need upfront will minimise the number of times they need to come back to you for clarification.
Setting up a shared folder in Dropbox, Drive or elsewhere with your VA is the most effective way of sharing your content. It gives you both easy access and ensures you’re not clogging up each other’s email inboxes with yet more emails to manage.
Now you’re ready to hand that task over to your VA.
Most VA’s will read your brief and come back to you with any questions or suggestions on better ways to approach the task.
By investing the time upfront to create a strong task brief based on the above steps, you will have confidence that the task is going to be completed to your standards.
If you are struggling with where to start on your task brief, then drop us a line here at Admin Army. We’re experts in helping our clients figure out the best way to hand over their tasks, so we can deliver you the best results!
Ready to start tasking? A great place to start is our standard operating procedure template which covers off all of the above + plenty more!