7 Tips for Working with a Virtual Assistant

May 22

7 Tips for Working with a Virtual Assistant

Do you have so many tasks on that “to-do list” to the point that you barely have enough time for dinner during the evening? If so, then you may want to consider reaching out for help and hiring a virtual assistant. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can get the help you’re in need of, without having to worry about a hefty payment that is usually associated with an in-house employee.

If you’re currently thinking about hiring a VA, here are 7 tips for working with a Virtual Assistant:

1.  Be Patient and Understanding

Yes, you want the VA to be able to jump right in and know exactly what to do. However, in reality, it’s going to take some time to get on track with the VA. For this reason, we recommend only giving them one task at a time. Once they get the hang of working with you, you can start pushing more and more tasks on them.

2.  They’re Only Human

Like you, virtual assistants are only human. We know you want them to be perfect, but there may be times where they make mistakes. Mind you, we’re not telling you to let them get away with mistake after mistake - you will know when the mistake is something you should just let slip by, and when it’s something that should be held responsible with. On the same note, it is also important to recognize that just like you, they need their rest. Overworking your virtual assistant isn’t going to get things done faster for too long.

3.  Make Sure Your Instructions are Detailed

Virtual assistants aren’t mind readers, so they’re not always going to know what you want or need. You need to make sure you give them instructions that are as specific as possible.  Until your VA gets to know you and can “read between the lines,” write your instructions with step-by-step explanations. Don’t assume the VA will know exactly what you need and can fill in the tiny holes in your instructions. Unless you hired a specialized VA, they may be used to many types of tasks throughout different industries, which makes it hard for them to fill in the holes you left.

4. Make Sure the VA Understands the Tasks

When you assign a task to the assistant, make sure they know what’s going on. For example, you can add one or more of the follow lines:

  • How long do you need for this task?

  • Do you have any questions?

  • Could you explain the task back to me? I’d like to know how you’re going to accomplish it.

With those lines, you’re looking for verification that your assistant understands what you need. This way, your VA won’t waste time doing it wrong and you  won’t have to pay them for doing the wrong thing. So in short, make sure your VA understands the task before they even start working on it.

5. Check in on the Task

If you believe the task is going to take your virtual assistant 5 hours, then check in with them after 1 hour to see how their progress is. This will allow you to cancel the task if it looks like a terrible idea, give additional instructions and to check over their work to make sure they’re on the right track.

6. Be Kind

Virtual assistants are people too. Right? They will be more likely to do a great job if you treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve. Don’t act as if they are there to serve you – treat them as if they are there to help you.

7. Take a Realistic Approach

In the beginning, you should test your VA with numerous tasks – make some of the tasks simple, and others complex. This way, you will get an idea of what they are capable of doing without needing you. Remember, there are limits to what a VA will be able to accomplish without seeing your business.


Your own interactions with your virtual assistant play a crucial role in creating a successful outcome with your assistant. At first, if you’ve never hired a VA before, it may seem complicated, but in due time, the two of you will understand each other.