1 Chris C. Ducker s TOP 10 VIRTUAL ASSISTANT TIPS Exclusive FREE Download ONLY Available at:
2 Introduction There is a lot more to personal and business outsourcing than the Four Hour Work- Week. Tim Ferriss wrote a great book. Some of it okay, a lot of it extremely inspiring and very influential. He also opened the door to outsourcing for hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners around the world, that until they picked up his book, probably never even heard of outsourcing or these people called virtual assistants. As someone that has been involved with the outsourcing industry for over 10 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the way people perceive the industry, how they utilize it for business growth and cost- saving reasons, as well as a lot of frustrated entrepreneurs that want to get stuck in, but literally don t know where to start. This quick reference guide of tips on working with virtual assistants will hopefully serve as exactly that a reference for you to get your hands dirty with on your mission to become a more savvy business owners, whilst you scale your empire and live life a little easier in the process. Non- Copyright Notice: The entirety of this ebook is original. Both the author and publisher would like to state very clearly that they are extremely happy for individuals and companies to distribute this ebook to whoever they feel will enjoy and benefit from its contents, as freely as they would like. Go for it spread the word of the Virtual Assistant!
3 Tip #1 First things first, be Realistic about this! A lot of people look at outsourcing as a magic pill of sorts, to be able to just click and everything s going to be fine and dandy from the get- go of working with their virtual staff. That s usually not the case. Just like staff that might be in your office, you do have to spend time training and developing them and we ll go into that on another tip in this ebook. But firstly, you must understand that outsourcing is not that magic pill, and it s not just about saving money. A lot of people when they start looking at outsourcing, they look at it as a way to be able to just save money and that s pretty much it, expecting someone else to do everything else for them. But the old adage of you get what you pay for is very, very true. So you have to make sure that you spend that time to develop your staff in the right way, and not expect too much straightaway. For me, outsourcing is a lot more than just saving money; it s also about being able to grow your business. So looking at outsourcing initially, to be able to save on some costs particularly for a startup or a small entrepreneur, is a very, very good thing to do. However, don t lose track of the fact that it can bring a lot more to you; it can bring a lot more to the table in terms of business operations, in terms of business growth and expansion. And remember you ve got that scalability behind you that you don t have as a small business owner, when you look at outsourcing. Because that scalability means that you don t need to have a big office, or to invest tens of thousands of dollars on infrastructure, or equipment and things like that. Bottom line you can do it with the right outsourcing partners. So in the rest of the tips in this short ebook we are going to be discussing anything and everything to do in regards to working with a VA, setting up your virtual assistant campaign, working with freelancers as opposed to working with solutions providers and a whole lot more!
4 Tip #2 Benefits of Working with a Freelanced Virtual Assistants From all the conversations that I have with entrepreneurs and business owners that I talk to on a day to day basis, a lot of them have problems with time. There s too much to do and too few hours in the day to be able to do it. So obviously, its safe to say that the number one benefit of working with a VA is the benefit of saving time and gaining more time in your day to be able to do more important things like strategize for business growth, plan on proposals, make more time for clients or maybe potentially just spend a little more time with existing clients, to be able to fester and grow those current relationships. The other thing is that you do get the opportunity to become ultimately more productive as an entrepreneur yourself. You find that if you re not bogged down with those day to day issues such as filtering and listening to a hundred voic s and doing all your own online research and that type of thing. Because of that and that alone as well, you ll also become a lot more productive spending more time on focusing on additional business concepts and projects and a whole lot of other things as well. And really for me personally, the third main benefit of outsourcing is the fact that you do get to spend a lot of time doing the things you really love doing whether it will be playing more golf, spending more time with your family and children, vacationing in beautiful locations and, generally speaking, just enjoying life a lot more.
5 Tip #3 Why Entrepreneurs should Love Freelanced Virtual Assistants For this tip, I want to talk to you about one of the two main directions you can go, when you're looking to set up your virtual assistant experience, and that is to work with a freelancing virtual assistant. Now that s somebody that is usually based normally out of a home, they might work out of web cafes as well, but most of the time, nine times out of ten, they re working at a home. And there are pros and cons to this set- up. The major pro is cost. Because home based virtual assistants will cost around about, generally, 50% less than working with a solutions provider, sometimes even more than that. And with that in place, the bottom line is that you have to understand that with every pro, there s usually a few cons, too. The main ones here are spending a TON of time looking for, training and hoping that the VA you're hiring is going to work out. A lot of them don t. And for me, it s the TIME involved, more than the money, that I have issues dealing with. You can always make more money but, you cant turn back time. Once its lost its lost. But, if money is an issue and if you re a start- up or you re just getting going and you need to watch your spending, then this is the route for you to go. The other way to looking at working with freelancing virtual assistants is, and this is really where it comes onto its own, is project based VA work. If you re looking to have a new website designed, if you re looking to have a couple of hundred links built to your blog or URL, if you re looking to have a logo designed - that s the way that you should look at freelancing your outsourcing work to a virtual assistant (if you don t need a full- time member of staff) working at a home. Because they re project- based, you re paying for the work; you re paying for the project and not per hour, per week or per month.
6 Tip #4 Don t Make Assumptions! There s a saying that goes Assumptions make an ass out of you and me and it s very, very true. If you assume that your virtual assistant is going to know exactly how you want reports put together, exactly how you want spreadsheets manufactured and put together and presented to you and a whole lot of other things that they are going to be doing for you - if you make those assumptions, that they re going to know exactly how you like things to be produced and presented, then you are going to have problems at some point down the line, that s for sure. My advice to you, and this is really the brunt of this tip here, is that you shouldn t assume a single thing. If you truly want your presentations to be manufactured and put together in Arial font, size 10, tell your virtual assistant that you want Arial font, size 10 - because otherwise chances are they re going to end up producing it in Times New Roman font, size 12 or something along those lines. If you want your online research presented in such a way, whether it be on a word document, or a PowerPoint presentation - or even in a spreadsheet (perhaps if you're going through a lot of figures and numbers) tell them exactly how you want things laid out. I once had an issue with a client of mine that was upset that their virtual assistant produced their spreadsheet with pink and black colors involved. And when he sort of ranted and raved a little bit about it, I asked him well did you tell the virtual assistant that you wanted a particular color involved? and he said well no, I assumed she would do it in our colors (which were orange or blue or something on those lines). So, I said to him well, if you don t tell her then how can you expect her to read your mind?. Give very clear, distinct instructions on the tasks that you re asking your VAs to perform for you. And spend some time with your VA, particularly at the beginning of your relationship, to try and make things very clear and concise so that they can follow the instructions that you give them, so that you have no problems at all when the work comes up ed to you at the end of the day.
7 Tip #5 Invest Time in Developing your Virtual Assistant When you first start working with your virtual assistant, you have to make sure that you train them properly in terms of how you like things done. Remember every virtual boss is different. They all have different tasks to do, different software to use, different ways that they like their virtual assistants to work and we talked about it a little bit in the past tip in regards to not assuming that your VA will be able to do everything that you want him to do or her to do straight off the bat. So when it comes to working with them initially make sure you spend some time in training them to the point that they can work unassisted, to a level where you re going to be happy with, and they re going to be happy with, for the long- term. As time goes by and you invest a certain amount of time and effort in getting them to that competency level of being able to work with you and for you in a positive manner, that s when you should start developing your virtual assistant, just like you would do if you were going to be working with somebody back in your office. Just because your VA is at an arm s length, like here in the Philippines for instance, it doesn t really mean anything at all. Develop them, spend some time with them, spend a little bit of money on them if you have to. If you feel like there s an online course or two that they could take that could benefit both them and you, and the working relationship that you have, go ahead and spend that money and sign them up for that course. Because ultimately the better at what they do for you they are, the better you re working relationship will become and the more money you re going to make as the big boss! Smile!
8 Tip #6 Set Realistic Task Timelines Let s say you re wanting your VA to book a three or four city tour in the United States. Think about all the parameters in place on a task like this; not only do they have to work around your schedule and your calendar, they also have to take care of your flights, transfers and hotels, which means that they are actually getting at least two or three quotes from different airlines and hotels to make sure you get the most cost efficient trip overall as well, because a trip like that is going to cost quite a bit of money. So a task like that, with all the backwards and forwards that is going to be required will probably take in excess of around about a week to complete. Based on the fact that your VA will be doing his or her regular tasks, too, on a daily basis. Here s another example Let s say you ve been working for three or four months on getting some face time with a CEO, an owner of a small to medium- sized business that you want to do business with. Preparation is the key of every successful negotiation. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you are for that meeting, or that negotiation. So, finding out about the person you re meeting with, whether he has any business partners, how long he has been in business, and what other business is he involved in, does he serve in any boards or committees, and so on and so on. These are all very, very important pieces of information for you to know when you meet with that person face to face. Although it s not going to be as in depth as booking a three or four city tour in the US, it is still going to need a certain amount of time to create and put together for you in a legible manner so that you can digest it properly. And something like that will probably take a good VA around 4-5 hours to complete without any major interruptions. Be realistic on your task timelines.
9 Tip #7 Build Trust with your Virtual Assistant You have distance between you, it s not like your VA is like a regular PA that is in your office or just outside your door. In fact, when people ask me about what a virtual assistant is, I usually just say to them Well, a VA is pretty much just like a personal assistant or PA except for the fact that they can t pick up your dry cleaning, or make you cups of coffee on regular intervals throughout the day. And it is very much as simple as that, but what you ve got to understand is that, when you think back to working with personal assistants, that relationship between boss and PA is very, very intimate. You get to know each other very, very well. The PA gets to know how the boss wants things done and the boss gets to know the abilities and the skill sets of the PA so that he can give her or him the right tasks to be able to get completed in time. And working with a VA is very much along the same lines except for the fact that you re at an arm s length, or sometimes over on the other side of the world. Nobody likes a micromanaging boss. I, myself, personally had one boss in the past that was an incredible, brutal micromanager. The guy was just so intense. There is no other word to describe him. Now that doesn t mean that he is not a good businessman. It just means that he is not the best at managing his staff. So my advice here is to build up the trust, don t micromanage. Don t reply to s on behalf of your VA, don t be on the phone every hour with them following up on one task or another. Build up that trust; show them that you trust them to be able to perform the work with minimum supervision Micromanaging your VA is not going to help you achieve more and make more money. If anything, it will stress you out!
10 Tip #8 Give Praise for a Job Well Done! Make sure you give praise and recognition to your virtual assistant when they do a good job. Like any other member of staff that you might have under your employment, your VA is no different. If they do a good job, let them know about it. Tell them about it. Either in an , via a Skype conversation, or instant messaging, or whatever the case may be, do it in a way that will be able to inspire them, motivate them to continue to do a good job. Particularly if they do a really good job working on a particular task very, very important. This is even more important in your virtual relationship, as you don t get the chance to see each other properly face- to- face everyday, interact and spend time in meetings at the same table, etc. Receiving praise makes your virtual staff member feel good, accomplished, appreciated and a whole bunch of other things that are intensely important to the overall growth of your relationship together.
11 Tip #9 Always Pay your Virtual Assistant on Time. Always. Why do we work? To get paid Right!? Your virtual assistant is no different. VA s in the Philippines work very hard for their money. Just because they come cheaper than their American, English or Australian counterparts, it doesn t mean you should treat them any cheaper. Always be sure to pay what you promise, including any bonuses, etc., and make sure you pay them on time. Paypal is a great option for this as it is instant. Even faster than a wire transfer. Paying your VA on time will enable them to stay focused on their work, and not worry about paying their bills, buying their groceries or taking care of their younger siblings. Reality check: in the Philippines, like a lot of other developing countries, its usually one major breadwinner that will earn the bulk of the income for their family. Don t allow them to let their family down. Pay them on time, and in FULL always.
12 Tip #10 Have Fun with this thing You ll Learn to Love it! As entrepreneurs, we are a strange breed. We work ridiculously hard at developing, nurturing and growing our business empires. Most of the time we do it with little or no help at all. However, we know that there are people out there that can and WILL do certain things better than we do but, we don t let them. Times need to change. You ve made a great decision in hiring a home- based virtual staff member. The freedom it will give you will last for a long, long time, and you ll find yourself planning the growth of your company with outsourcing in general, in mind. Which is not a bad thing at all, I can assure you. Have fun with your new business relationship. Try new things out and experience different set- up s and processes for tasks, so that you can find out what works best for YOU and the way you want to run your business and work with your VA. Most importantly, above and beyond everything else Utilize your VA properly. Stop that micromanaging, and those silly 14 hour days. Get creative, and let your hair down a little.
13 About the Author Chris C. Ducker is an entrepreneur at heart, with almost 20 years experience in the business world under his belt. Although he is known online predominantly for his work in regards to virtual assistant services, and how to work with international virtual assistants, he background is in the sales, marketing, branding and PR industries. For the last 10 years he has lived exclusively in the Philippines, where he has trained thousands and thousands of outsourced Filipino workers on a multitude of tasks including virtual office support, telemarketing, branding, administrative support, customer service, as well as internet marketing virtual assistant tasks, to name a few. He is Founder and CEO of the Live2Sell Group of Companies; a 200+ employee BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) company, based in Cebu City, Philippines which includes his virtual assistant company, Live2Care. is also a Professional Member of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). Chris has been called a virtual business guru, an outsourcing evangelist, and more recently the King of Kings in Outsourcing! A true advocate of outsourcing, and himself utilizing the support of several virtual assistant services to run different businesses and online projects, Chris is a firm believer in the virtual way of doing business. Follow Chris on his personal blog VirtualBusinessLifestyle.com and via Twitter for more tips on working with virtual staff and outsourcing in general.
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