Effective Outsourcing: How to get the most out of Virtual Assistants

Outsourcing has become a popular phenomenon in recent years, but many people fear it. When I started my first company at the age of 17, I outsourced everything I did.



From the leads I generated to the website design and development, it was all done through streamlined outsourcing. At one point, I had an office/company in another country with over 15 employees working virtually.



Outsourcing gives you many different options. One of the more common options are virtual assistants. I’ve had the same one for almost 3 years now and he’s one of the main reasons why I’ve been able to grow so rapidly.



Here are tips and strategies to get the most out of virtual assistants:



Robotic Focus


Typically, people count on assistants to help them with all kinds of different things. Unfortunately, virtual assistants aren’t so dynamic. You have to keep them focused on a few tasks to get the best output.



My virtual assistant started off as my lead generator. He had a very clear set of instructions and that was his job from 9 AM to 3:30 PM everyday. He did nothing else, but generate leads as per my instructions/technique.



No matter where I was or what I was doing, I was picking up tons and tons of leads. This was possible because I taught him one thing and had him repeat it every single day. He only got better as time went along!



It’s very important to keep your virtual assistant focused on a few specific tasks. They are most effective when they are able to learn one thing and implement it for a long period of time.



Measure Progress


With everything I did, I made sure I could monitor my virtual assistant at all times. I never gave him something to do that I couldn’t measure easily. If you sleep on your virtual assistant, they will sleep on you.



Always delegate tasks or work that you can easily monitor and measure their progress on. When my virtual assistant was generating leads for me, I had a tracker telling me exactly how much time he spent working.



Clear Communication Channel


Communication is tough with a virtual assistant. It’s extremely difficult in the beginning, but it gets easier as time goes along. I HIGHLY recommend you hook your virtual assistant up to an instant messaging program like Google Talk or Skype, so that you can always be in touch with them.



My virtual assistant is hooked up on Google Talk and we message each other when necessary. It also notifies me if he goes idle or away from the desk, which also helps me monitor him.



I even used a lot of TeamViewer to show my virtual assistant exactly how I wanted him to do things. Instead of talking to him on the phone about what I wanted done, I showed him live. I felt like the time spent with my virtual assistant on TeamViewer really expedited his learning curve.



Reward Performance


My virtual assistant gets additional bonuses and rewards for performing. When he was generating leads, I gave him an extra $50 for every lead I converted into a customer. That gave him motivation to work before and after hours to generate as many leads as possible.



Currently, I give my virtual assistant a new gift of his choice each month if he meets my monthly goals. Just a month ago, he earned himself a video camera for hitting the monthly goals and it was only possible because he spent weekends finishing things up.



If your virtual assistant is working hard, you need to reward them. Not only that, but take some time out of your busy day to acknowledge it and thank them! They are human beings after all and enjoy the same compliments anyone else would.



Explain Why


I used to give my virtual assistants things to do, but I never told him why. I just assumed he understood and never cared to dive in deeper. Turns out, he really had no clue why he was doing it so the effort he put in was very minimal.



I took some time out to explain to him why he was doing what he was doing and he was ecstatic. Virtual assistants like to feel like they’re important and bring value to the company.



Always take some time to explain why you’re making them do it and how it benefits the company. The level of effort will be much higher and you’ll be happier for it!



Make Them Work In Your Hours


Many virtual assistants are weary of staying up all night working, but it’s best for the both of you. I started off by hiring a virtual assistant who worked in Indian Standard Time (12.5 hours ahead of my time) and things went horribly.



Not only was it hard to communicate, but I really didn’t know what she was up to. I asked her to work during my hours and she quit. While many virtual assistants are going to be against it, it’s best for you!



Find someone willing to work during your office hours (even if it costs a little more) and hire them. A virtual assistant is most effective when you can stay in direct contact with them, which is typically during the daytime.





Managing a virtual assistant isn’t a piece of cake. However, when you need to cut costs and get work done, they are the most viable option. Feel free to share your best tips on how to get the most out of virtual assistants.


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