Number One Tip for Success using a Virtual Assistant

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Remember they are a human. It is a relationship and like all good relationships are built on a foundation of communication.

It is a pretty exciting time with your vision on how you are going to scale your business, you finally have the additional admin support that you couldn't previously afford. You have offshored all your low-value tasks and now you are free to spend more time on strategic and client-facing activities.

The most important tip I can share with you is to remember your VA is human and not a Robot.  They have thoughts feelings and ideas.  They have good days and bads days just like you.  

  • Like a new team member in yourown office, they need your one on one time for training.
    • Meet once a day for the first few months each morning face to face. It only needs to be for 10 minutes.
    • Use, share your screen and have them record your session. They can go back and review your requests.
  • Your VA wants to please you, manage expectations, set KPI’s  and Go-To-Tasks so they are always productive.  Let them know what you expect them to achieve.
    • Salary increases are common in the first 6 months working for a Filipino company.  Set expectations on what is required for a salary increase in 6 months & 12 months.
    • Asking for money from a foreigner can sometimes feel like a national sport that they play.  Don’t take offense.  It’s a major culture difference.  Western society it viewed as rude.  In the Philippines it's survival. Set your expectations on day one on your policy on salary reviews, asking for money, cash advances, bonuses or commissions.
  • Your team member is human and will get sick or want to take a holiday just like you.  Give them benefits like in your own country, sick leave and annual leave after a probation period to keep them loyal and engaged.  
  • Remember they do not have superhero powers and can’t do everything. You can’t expect one person to have graphic design, blog writing, book keeping and outbound sales call experience. Yes, I have been asked for this profile more than once :)
  • Give praise and be grateful.  Send a thank you at the end of each day.  Tell them when they have done a great job or impressed you.  Share your wins and let them know how they helped you as part of a team.
  • Let them know it is ok to ask questions.  I tell my team “questions don’t mean you don’t know your job, it means you want to improve it and be better”
  • Be super clear on instructions with lots of detail.  When they haven’t completed a task correctly before you make any comment or questions, check first how you communicated the task.  I can’t tell you how many times when I re-read my instructions (often written in a hurry) they have not been clear and I have assumed too not the old saying about assume….
  • For super clear instructions, my top tip is to do an activity yourself and record it using Jing and then email to your VA.  
  • Ask them about their career aspirations, what tasks interest them, what they would like to learn. We all perform best when we are passionate about our work.
  • In the Filipino culture sharing a meal is really important.  If your team member is in a Managed Operations service make sure they provide these activities.  If your VA is working from home get them to order a pizza or take away meal (that you pay for) and have a virtual meal and conversation with them. Build the relationship.

From all my years of recruitment, management, remembering what it was like to work for someone else and being a Mum, it is pretty powerful when you tell another human being that you believe in them and encourage them to be the best they can be.  Simple, yet powerful.

Fiona Kesby is the CEO of an Australian owned and operated Managed Operations in Cebu, Philippines.   Fiona currently lives in Cebu and has experience offshoring tasks since 2008. She has 18 years experience in Recruitment.  She is passionate about sourcing the best talent in the market, developing leaders and providing a culture built on the love of learning, execution, care, finding a way and drive.You can contact her on

Topics: Outsourcing & Offshoring, Virtual Assistance

6/6/2016, 9:29:48 PM


However, we have one addition to make...

We just spent a LONG time collating the best info about working with, recruiting, hiring (and even firing virtual assistants!) on our blog here:

Hope that helps!

Anyway I am off to share this with my closest 9k Twitter followers ;)



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