How To and What Type of Tasks to Give Your Virtual Assistant | Effective Ecommerce Podcast #31


In this episode of the Effective Ecommerce podcast we’re gonna be talking about virtual assistants what type of tasks I give my virtual assistant and how I give them those tasks. So if you didn’t catch part one of this series definitely check it out it’s episode number 30 of the podcast and in that episode we talk about how to hire a virtual assistant and I have a very step by step very algorithmic easy formula for hiring a virtual assistant and I explain it more in that episode but if you want the short cliffnotes version you go to slash success pack or just and poke around you’ll find the free success pack I have a link in the YouTube video right up here that you can get it as well but once you get the success pack it has these step-by-step instructions including the complete templates for what the job post should say the messages should say it’s copy and paste basically but anyways at this stage I’m gonna hope that you already have a virtual assistant and you’ve already hired them.

I’m gonna share the type of tasks I give them how I give them those tasks and some bonus tips for continued success some of the mistakes I’ve made hiring virtual assistants and some of the mistakes I’ve had and I’ve made in continuing with the positive relationship. So let’s go right off the bat what type of tasks should you give you a virtual assistant when I talk about this it’s anything that’s algorithmic and just to define it I know that’s kind of a fancy it’s not that fancy of a word it’s kind of a fancy word what does algorithmic mean it means anything you can create a formula around or you can say if this happens then do this if that happens then do this if none of these things happen do this other thing basically the same way you talk to a computer if you can create some kind of a formula around how to do things 100% give it to your virtual assistants. So what’s an example of this answering basic emails 90% of the email customer support emails are probably things that could just be the same messages over and over again.

For B dancewear people might say how long does it take for you to ship something I can have my assistants say just copy and paste a very simple message two to four weeks and then you know another question might be what are the sizing charts or I can’t think of a month on my head but there might be five or six questions that I say hey if these are the questions that you get just respond to them you know how respond to them do it if it’s a different one if it’s something you don’t know how to respond to put it in a special folder and I’ll respond to it. So that’s a very simple example of something algorithmic another thing another example something this algorithmic is alright I want you to edit all of these photos crop out the background like like edit out the background and how do you do it well let me show you in a video now that I’ve showed you one time how to do it you should be able to do it for all of these photos very basic what’s what’s the step the only step is go in use the pin tool or whatever it is in Photoshop and delete the background that’s very simple.

Things like that but are very algorithmic you could have a VA do really the the quick answer is to what kind of tasks should you give you virtual assistant literally anything they can do even if you can do it better you should have them do it now there’s some things like CEO level tasks of what direction your company’s gonna go in things like that I would not have my virtual assistant do that’s really your responsibility but I think anything that you can do is anything that you do more than once anything that you do more than once every six months or. So you should have your virtual assistant do it maybe even if it’s once a year it’s I mean it’s up to you but at an example I used in the last podcast is my state sales tax for bee dance where it takes me about two hours to do it doesn’t take that long but I always forget how to do it and what I finally did is I wrote down step by step the steps for myself to do it and then once I realized that okay here’s the step by step on how to do it I recorded myself doing it on a screen recording and now this next time I go to do it I’m gonna have my virtual assistant do it. So that’s one example and anything that you do more than once you can probably record yourself doing on your screen and just give it to your VA and say hey now go do this a thousand more times like I’d like I gave her the Photoshop example. So what are some other examples of tasks that I give my virtual assistant editing this podcast putting this video up on YouTube that takes probably about an hour’s worth of work maybe it’s a little bit less maybe it’s a little bit more but there’s a lot of little micro steps in there that are just tedious in a waste of my personal time what does he have to do he has to edit the intro edit the outro sync up the audio in the I’ll post it to YouTube add links to the video add a description to it maybe even transcribe the video add a thumbnail to it post it as a article on my website you know and all these things take time for me to do it I have to stop what I’m doing I have to do it and to be honest it just it drains me to do things more than once like it kills me some people thrive off of that I’m not one of those people. So what else does he do all the video editing for me like literally all video editing and I might go in he might do 95% of the video editing I might go in and make some quick tweaks but what he’s done for me is uploaded into Premiere Pro done most the basic editing sync the audio and the video he’s done most of it by the time I go in and do any of the last-minute little you know cosmetic things he posts on the B dance for a blog and you can even hire a virtual assistant I know people that hire people in the Philippines to write articles for them now I’ve never had a VA write articles just cuz most of VA’s I’ve had they have good conversational English but they don’t have great grammar they don’t have really high writing skills because that’s not what I hire people for I’ve had a virtual assistant even do coding projects for me I basically had them create an inventory management system which sounds more complicated than it is collect emails from websites and other data.

Basically I say hey I want you to go and find every dance studio in the United States get me their website get me their email give me their phone number and they go and they do that once again anything that’s algorithmic and I think an important thing to remember here is virtual assistants are people and people learn how to do things they get better over time. So anything that you can teach someone to do you could teach a virtual assistant to do and remember they’re gonna continue to get better in the example I gave in the last episode and I’ll give again here is thumbnails I have my virtual assistant do all my thumbnails and some thumbnails are definitely better than other thumbnails and you know he gets better over time and when he does a thumbnail that’s not quite up to standards I say this is the things you need to fix and we’ll sit for 10 minutes and I’ll I won’t do the work for him I’ll tell him how to do it I’ll say hey that image needs to be moved over to the 30% or whatever it is. So that’s the kind of tasks and hopefully these jogs some ideas in your brain of the kind of tasks you can give to your VA. So how do I actually give them tasks well there’s a couple simple examples the method I use personally is I have a screen recording software I think it’s just called screen recorder that’s for Windows there’s a few different ones for Windows but the screen recording software I use is very simple because it uploads really quick I hit the record button and I hit the stop button and it automatically soon as I hit stop it saves it to a Dropbox folder and he has access to this Dropbox folder and then I’ll add in Google sheets the tasks and. So I have a list of all the different tasks and this is kind of an old-school way of doing it I mean it’s regular it’s a new school way but probably not the best way a better way might be to use Trello or Basecamp right now for having one virtual assistant using a Google sheet is plenty he gets done everything I needed him to get done and. So we use a ranking system I’ll list out all the the tasks as well as a description on how to do it and then a priority priority one means it needs to get done as soon as possible priority two is you know not quite as important priority three is least important and sometimes I’ll use a priority four which is kind of a task that like hey if you ever run out of everything else to do do this task but it’s usually not very important. So it’s very simple to give them tasks.

Here’s some bonus tips for hiring virtual assistants and keeping like staying successful with them I recommend doing a once a week accountability meeting and you know I’ll go over really quickly what I talked about in that meeting but let’s see if I can find it here really quick basically we have a VA spreadsheet and this is where I put all the different tasks. So it’s a Google sheet and this is where I put all the different tasks I also have a checklist for our weekly meeting and the weekly meeting I always open with do you have any questions for me then I look at his priority one tasks and I see okay is there any priority one tasks that I gave to him that still haven’t been done and this is why I fired one of my last assist assistants is I noticed I’d give him priority one two tasks and a week would go by and it still wouldn’t be done and then I finally ID looked at there. So this will actually another I looked at you I have a software called hub staff that I use and there’s a lot of different ones on there and basically what it does is it allows VA x’ to clock in and clock out and I use that for time tracking but it also will take random screenshots every six to ten minutes of their screen and I recommend getting the software I think if you go to hub staff you’ll save like 15% or some amount of money it’s five dollars a month for one VA I think it’s fifteen dollars a month for three VA s.

On but that’s a great software to have and what I have my VA do is he clocks in he clocks out it also allows me to build two different projects because be dance where I have B dance where the company pay for it and then if he’s working on my personal stuff I have me personally pay for it. So what I do is that tracks all his time and then at the end of the week he tells me how much money I owe him and I usually trust him you know every once in a while I’ll spot check and say hey wait a minute do these numbers add up but right now for the most part I trust him and I have a zero tolerance policy if I catch him lying to me blatantly lying I will fire on the spot. So that’s an incentive for them not to lie to me obviously the you know mistakes can happen if it’s off a little bit that’s fine but if I go back and I realize that it’s always off a little bit then that’s a fireable offense and I tell them right from the beginning if I catch you cheating me out of money you’re gone no no no warning nothing like that it’s like I don’t want to deal with that like virtual assistants are replaceable if they’re cheating you I mean you don’t want to you don’t want to fire a virtual assistant but you know they’re gone right away. So anyways I look at the priority one task and if they’re not getting done or if I’m giving my VA tasks and I feel like they’re slow about it I go and I’ll look at their screenshots and see are they actually doing my work cuz sometimes it takes longer to do tasks sometimes I’ll give my VA a task and like this should take an hour but I forgot you know that it’s actually gonna take about four hours because you know certain things just take longer the next thing I look at is number of hours worked are they working 40 hours a week or are they only working ten and if they’re only working ten it could because I’m not giving them enough tasks or it could because they’re you know have something else going on but it’s something for me to look at and know and try to figure out what’s what’s going on there the next one is are they running out of tasks. So I’ll ask my VA hey are you running out of tasks because if you’re running out of tasks that’s my job to give you more tasks and I try to do this at least once a week maybe more often but if I see that they’re running low on tasks I’m gonna spend a few minutes and brainstorm or you know maybe thirty minutes and brainstorm what other tasks I can give to my VA and this happens sometimes because there’s some times in my life where maybe I’m not working a lot on my business or for whatever reason I don’t have a lot of new tasks and this happened actually this last week as I didn’t have that much task for my VA but it allowed me to think creatively and I thought you know what why don’t you go through and make a list of every youtube entrepreneur out there and this is something I want but it’s also something long-term that’s gonna be beneficial for our relationship. So I want you to go through and I want you to watch some of these videos I want you to put a link to the top video their most popular video and I want you put a link to whatever you think they’re best most best edited video is. So it allows me to stall for time because I don’t have an immediate task for my VA but I still want him to be happy I still want him to have work and it’s it’s valuable work I’m willing to pay for my VA to go do this research because it’ll improve his skills and this list that he’s compiling I might be able to reach out to them and do some kind of collaboration. So another thing I didn’t mention is not only do I have a list of all their tasks I also have a list of weekly tasks.

It’s laid out where it’s a column for Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and every Monday they have a certain task and when they’re done with that task they need to cross it out and then you know right now I’m looking at it and it looks like some of the tasks have not been crossed out and this is one of the things I want them to do is make sure that they’re actually crossing it out even if it seems tedious and repetitive to them I want them to have to cross out all the different tasks that they do that way I know that they actually did it that way and we know that nothing has been skipped. So that’s one of the things I’ll check on Mondays make sure all the tasks have been unchecked or all the tasks have been crossed out same thing when a task is done in the task spreadsheet I have them do a strikethrough like a cross out basically and I want to be the one deleted because I want to be able to verify that it actually did get done. So that way when it’s crossed out I know that it’s done and I can go verify that it’s done because in the past I’d have my VA just delete the tasks from the spreadsheet and sometimes I’d forget about that I even assign the tasks hopefully that makes sense anyways. So to break it down on the spreadsheet on the on the tasks spreadsheet there’s a list of tasks that need to be done there like a onetime type tasks and then at the bottom I have weekly tasks that need to happen every Monday every Tuesday every Wednesday. So in our weekly meeting I go through and I say hey have you been doing your weekly tasks. So some other questions I don’t always ask these but I do sometimes what do you want to learn I’d say like once every few months I’ll say what do you want to learn like would what do you want to do for me and then the next thing I’ll ask is you have any new ideas any anything that you think would be good for my business and then finally I’ll ask what are you gonna be doing this week and that’s pretty much it yeah. So that’s pretty much it for the weekly meeting let’s see what else we got.

I usually pay through PayPal which I recommend I used to pay for through a site called I think RIA RIAA when I first hired my virtual assistant they didn’t have PayPal and we would just do basically like wire transfers I don’t recommend that I highly recommend doing PayPal and I recommend if at first you want to be safe you can pay them as a quote-unquote employee through PayPal as like a business transaction but I recommend pretty soon after that switching to save money on the fees to friends and family next up is document the process I recommend having a central day one Google Doc and that you do from the very beginning you say hey day one here’s everything we’re gonna do on day one that has a link to your VA handbook and what I have my VA do is every time I give them a new task I say add this to the v-8 handbook write out the step-by-step and recently what I did is had them I’ve had him start doing a spreadsheet that’s called the I think it’s called the virtual assistant task spreadsheet and in it is basically the step-by-step on how to do all the tasks and I say all right if you’re if you anytime you do a new task it needs to be added to the spreadsheet and for instance if i said ‘it us video is gonna be on there and it’s gonna have this step-by-step on how to edit a video or a podcast and they got to go in and check all the boxes cuz my VA has recently been forgetting a lot of small things like uploading videos without transcripts or uploading videos without proper info cards and stuff and I’m like alright no more of that let’s create checklists for everything it also makes it very easy if for some reason I need to hire a new virtual assistant they can kind of just jump in and know how to do it very quickly I at the beginning have my VA do daily emails and I forget all the questions I think it’s in the in the in the e-commerce success pack I do have the via VA like guide to hiring a VA you can check that out about what questions I ask but it’s basically what did you do today what issues did you run into how can I help you you and I it for the first few months I have them email me every day until I start to trust them the last tip I have for you is need to make sure you need to make sure you keep them busy because what’s the old saying like idle hands are the devil’s plaything or something like that I don’t remember exactly what it is but basically what I found is if your VA starts to not have enough work to do first off they’re gonna be a little upset because they get paid the way I do does I pay them by the hour. So I say there’s a hundred seventy-three hours on average and a working month. So if you’re getting paid $350 a month three hundred fifty dollars divided by 173 that much that’s how much you get paid an hour. So I pay my VA s on an hourly basis. So that way if they want to work 50 60 70 hours a week they can if one week they only want to work 20 hours that’s fine but they make money based off how many hours they work very black-and-white that way there’s no kind of you know if ands or buts about it it’s like either you did the work you sat down and did it or you didn’t but I found over and over again the times that my Vaz screw up more is when I haven’t been giving them enough tasks for a little while or they’ve had boring tasks and then I started getting them to go back to doing regular tasks they start to screw up more that’s also how I lost my first virtual assistant it was my fault because towards the end I wasn’t paying enough attention to her and she started screwing up she started not caring as much which is human nature it’s it’s you know like anything that’s why I recommend having a weekly call just to check in and it’s for both of you it’s for your VA to let them know hey don’t forget I’m a human i spending money is hard for me to do and I want to make sure I have good value is it’s easy for people if they’re just getting a paycheck it’s easy for them to start cheating the system but when they realize that they’re cheating another human I think it makes it a little bit harder but it’s also good for you to remember that hey this is a person as well you want to make sure you’re giving them interesting tasks. So with all that being said I think that’s a ton of information about hiring virtual assistants hopefully that’s that helps once again go to Effective Ecommerce dot-com slash success pack or just get the free success pack it includes like all this information in a very easy to understand organized manner and last but not least if you’re gonna sign up for online jobs at pH which I highly highly recommend go through my link slash online jobs I get a small very small kickback from them and as a thank you if you do use my link I will give you a free one-on-one consulting session either help your business your e-commerce business or to help you hire a virtual assistant but either way it helps me out. So that’s pretty much it for this episode obviously go to iTunes leave that five star review but I’m gonna leave it there thank you guys. So much for watching this and I hope it was helpful or listening to this if you’re on the podcast thank you guys have a good one and remember new episodes every Monday every Monday morning I release a new podcast episode and YouTube live from 5 to 6 p.m. PST all right thanks guys have a good rest your week

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