How does working with a Virtual Assistant go from new to established? All you ex-corporate bods, like me, will no doubt have been on a team building course or two in your time. Do you remember Tuckman’s model of group development? If you don’t remember it by title you might remember it as the ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’ one?
It struck me recently that it absolutely applies to being self-employed and it absolutely applies to working with a VA! Here’s how:
You meet a VA or have a Skype session etc, you have a chat about the help you need, how you’d like to ease your stress, get back some of your time etc. You think you’d get on well working with a virtual assistant together, you have some things in common and get on, you find them easy to speak to and you’re excited about what they can do for you! It’s all great! You can’t believe you have your very own assistant! Go You! You’re delighted to have some support and to be handing over some workload so you can focus on your own business. You have clear expectations, you’ve signed that contract and it’s time to start sending some work their way….
Work has begun! It’s great! Things are being done, yay! But actually (even though they might have told you that you do need to invest a little time in to training and ‘onboarding’) you’d forgotten that a new person on the team needs YOUR time and, well. you are busy. (That was the point of getting a VA, after all!) No magic wand has been waved – yet. You’re frustrated that you need to give them info, find passwords long forgotten and explain a little more than you’d thought about how you work and what you want done when. YOU know it, surely a professional VA should know it?! There’s also that thing you asked them to do and now you have it, you don’t like it. You want it done in a different way, so now you’ll need to hand it back and get it redone. You’re starting to get the fear – was this a mistake? Is working with a virtual assistant going wrong? Your VA is learning and even though you knew this was part of the process, you forgot it would take up some of your time… Maybe, you really did forgot it was a process and just wanted to hand over all that work. Now the reality has hit that is is not quite ‘hand it over and run away’ and it does require a bit of effort, explanation, clarity and clear expectations.
You’d also forgot that they have a business, just like you, and they’re not always immediately available for an urgent piece of work and you sometimes need to fit with their availability. That awful thought of ‘it would be quicker to just do it myself’ pops in to your head. This is where you need to have faith, go over what you wanted done and let your VA in to your business to get the most out of them and the most benefit to YOUR business.
This is all NORMAL!
It doesn’t happen every time, but it DOES HAPPEN.
And it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your VA or with you as a business owner or with your relationship with each other!
It’s the storming phase. It just means you’re ironing out the softer, greyer, less easy to define parts that aren’t written in a contract. You’re working on how you communicate and your relationship with someone new in your business. You’re also working on yourself as a business owner, how you hand over work to someone who isn’t an employee – a bit like you would with your accountant or your business coach. It’s a bit like reorganizing a room… you need to move some stuff around and there’s a moment when it all feels a bit messy and ‘why did I start this’ BUT you end up with a clear, organised, calm place which is exactly where you WILL arrive with your VA.
NOW you’re getting somewhere. Your VA is learning more about you and your business. YOU’RE learning more about you and your business. You’re starting to feel less push/pull between you and that you are both pointing in the same direction and KNOWING what needs done. You know your VA and how they work. Your VA knows you and how you work. Your VA is starting to suggest things that could be changed to improve how you work. You’ve accepted your VA might not answer your email at 10pm, but you appreciate they’ll give it their full attention the next day. And they appreciate that sending a 10pm email suits you and they’re not letting you down by not replying right away. You respect each other and what you bring to the relationship. You see each others strengths and you accept the things you need to work on to move forward. You feel you can both give feedback to improve things for the future too.
You have arrived at your perfect working relationship! You can speak to them about your frustrations, the things that aren’t going quite right for you (the customer who hasn’t paid, the bit of the business that’s a mess right now, the website glitch you can’t figure out etc). You 100% know your VA has your back and is working for the good of your business and their own. You’re VA has taken full responsibility for tasks and you trust them to carry on, and involve you where they need to. You’re trusting each other and having conversations as business owners as well as client/customer. You respect each others contribution and you are a raving fan of each other’s business. You’re both invested in a joint future.
NOW you’re working with a Virtual Assistant!
Tick The List