5 tips for a better relationship with your Virtual Assistant

5 tips for a better relationship with your Virtual Assistant

How to build a great relationship with your Virtual Assistant

You’ve found your dream Virtual Assistant and you’re starting to reap the rewards of having someone to share the load with. It’s an amazing feeling, right? In fact, you’re probably wondering how you’d survive now without them.

The problem is, when you’re working with someone remotely, how can you make sure they’re as happy with you as a client as you are with them as an assistant? Here are five simple things you can do to nurture a long and fruitful relationship with your Virtual Assistant.


5 tips for a better relationship with your Virtual Assistant


1.      Keep communication open and regular

Don’t be fooled by your VA’s remote location and digital communication prowess – this doesn’t mean they don’t want to actually speak to you every now and again.

In the early days, video calls or regular chats are an essential part of you getting to know each other. Your Virtual Assistant will build a picture of your preferences and factor the nuances of your personality into the service they provide.

But what you really want is for your VA to develop the ability to second guess your next requirement. You also need to be able to trust them to respond on your behalf and instinctively know the call you would make when faced with a scheduling clash. 

The secret to this is communication. The mind-reading skills of your VA will be significantly enhanced if they’re completely in the loop with what’s happening in your business. This is why you should always have a regular check-in session in the diary.


2.      Be honest about how you like to communicate

We sometimes see a fear from our clients of over-communicating with us – they don’t want to be a nuisance. In contrast, most Virtual Assistants feel more uneasy when a client goes too quiet on them. The only way to get the balance right, is to have an honest chat about how you’re best to keep in touch.

Are there certain days or times when either of you would prefer not to be contacted? Do you favour a particular video conferencing platform? Would you like a regular email summary from your VA? Maybe a good old-fashioned weekly phone call is more up your street?

Agreeing how you keep in touch is the best way to make sure you keep up regular communication and prevent frustration and guesswork creeping into your relationship.


3.      Make them feel part of the team

When you’re not working at the next desk to someone, there can be a tendency to get down to business and forget all of the pleasantries that you instinctively offer to more visible team members. For example, inviting your VA to relevant team meetings and socials. Including them when you’re celebrating successes. Or simply just making sure you’re available to answer questions or flesh out the details of a brief. Even simple things like taking time to ask about their weekend can foster a friendly relationship, making them feel part of the team.


4.      Agree everything in writing 

Your relationship with your Virtual Assistant has to be based on trust. A contract sets out things like payment terms and contracted hours. But more importantly, it clearly details proposed working arrangements and terms and conditions, so you’re both happy and clear about what’s expected. And if you’re uncomfortable with anything, it flags the opportunity to talk about it and hopefully find a resolution before it becomes a problem.

Agreeing this at the beginning of your relationship (and revising it whenever relevant) could help if later down the line a misunderstanding arises (on either side). It’s protection for both client and Virtual Assistant if there’s a breach of trust.


5.      Make sure your VA has provisions in place for if things go wrong

It’s important that you, as a client, feel absolutely confident and comfortable outsourcing all kinds of work to your Virtual Assistant. This inevitably means giving them access to all kinds of data and information. You’ll probably also need to entrust them to act on your behalf. There are inevitably risks involved in doing all of these things.

Making sure your Virtual Assistant has insurance cover in place can offer the reassurance you need. We suggest you look for professional indemnity insurance and cyber security insurance as a minimum, and public liability insurance if they are doing any onsite work. It’s also important they’re registered with the ICO for data protection reasons.


Why it’s worth nurturing a good relationship with your Virtual Assistant

Your Virtual Assistant is likely to have years of experience working behind the scenes, helping businesses like yours run smoothly. This can be extremely valuable when you need advice. Whether it’s a perspective on a new piece of software you’re considering or access to your VA’s bountiful little black book of contacts. If you get the relationship with your Virtual Assistant right, they can be a great sounding board as you’re growing your business. 

Ready to start a new relationship with a Virtual Assistant? Book a 30 minute consultation to find out how Virtually Priceless could help you.

Virtual Assistant onboarding checklist

Virtual Assistant onboarding checklist

Get off to a flying start with your new VA

You’ve found a Virtual Assistant who seems so perfectly suited to your business that it feels like they will simply slot into place effortlessly. That’s great news. And you’re right, it won’t be long before you’ll be wondering what you ever did without them. But first there are a few things you need to do to make sure you kick off the relationship in the best possible way. Here we share our VA onboarding checklist to help you give your new Virtual Assistant everything they need to make a difference from day one.


Our Virtual Assistant onboarding checklist


1: First, tick off a few formalities

Part of the onboarding process is making sure any formal documentation is in place. Here are four important items of vital admin you should cover before your Virtual Assistant starts.

  • A contract. From contracted hours to rates and payment terms, it’s important to document the details of the working arrangement so you’re both happy and clear about what’s been agreed. This contract is to protect both of you.
  • Insurance. What insurance does a Virtual Assistant need? We suggest you look for professional indemnity insurance as a minimum, and ideally cyber security insurance as well. If your VA will be doing any on-site or event work, they should also have public liability insurance.
  • ICO registration. Your Virtual Assistant will hold data about you and your clients, so it’s important they’re registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) for data protection reasons.
  • AML registration. If your Virtual Assistant will be supporting with bookkeeping and other finance-related tasks, ask if they’re registered with HMRC in line with money laundering regulations (or AML).

2:  Share access to technical tools and software

Working remotely means your Virtual Assistant will need access to a variety of your tools and software. Most initial hiccups experienced in the early stages of working with a VA are down to them not having permission to use the right systems they need to fulfil a task. This is best avoided by giving them access to everything they will need from day one. This may include some (or all) of the following:

  • A company email account. This allows your Virtual Assistant to communicate as a member of your team.
  • Inbox and calendar permissions. If you are hiring a VA to take away the burden of your emails and the pain of diary clashes, they’ll need admin rights to your accounts.
  • Access to shared drives. For example, if you use SharePoint or Google Drive, give your VA the right permissions for relevant files and folders.
  • Register them as users on any third-party applications. This includes CRM systems and project management tools such as Asana and Trello.
  • Any other niche platforms. Make sure your VA has admin rights to your HR portals, virtual office accounts and (if relevant) any accounting software.
  • Share passwords. Use password sharing technology, such as LastPass, to make sure they have any passwords they might need.

3: Take time to introduce them to your business (and you!)

Every business is different. You’ll have certain preferences and ways of working that your Virtual Assistant needs to know about. From the fonts and colours you use to who does what in your team, it’s vital that you spend time with your new Virtual Assistant to make them familiar with the nuances of your business. In fact, in our experience, the more time you spend with your VA upfront, the more likely they are to hit the ground running.

A few questions you’ll need to take time to answer in the onboarding process are:

  • What’s your business all about? Give your Virtual Assistant a thorough overview of what you do. Introduce your team structure and share information on your clients. By giving them insight into your vision and goals, your Virtual Assistant will get a clearer idea of what they can do to help you achieve them.
  • What’s it like to work with you? Be open and honest about how you like to work and communicate. They’ll need to know about anything you don’t like too. This conversation will set the tone for how you work together.
  • Are there any company processes they need to know about? This includes everything from what systems you use for what, to specific procedures you follow for things like invoicing and onboarding new employees. Of course, if you don’t have these in place, they are all things your VA can help to implement.
  • Is there anyone else they need to work with? If so, making these introductions early is a great way to integrate your Virtual Assistant into your team.

What’s the right way to onboard a Virtual Assistant?

Hiring a Virtual Assistant might feel like a fairly momentous turning point for your business. It’s understandable that you want to get this relationship off to a flying start. And your VA is there to help guide you through this process.

So, the best way to onboard a Virtual Assistant is to start by asking them for help. Yes, the first thing your VA can even help you with is their own induction!

At Virtually Priceless, we take control of the onboarding process for our clients, so they know exactly what we need and when we need it. Of course, the more time you can invest in this process (even if it’s just thinking time) the more you benefit in the long run.

If you’d like a chat about working with a VA, or have any questions, please do get in touch or book a free 30-minute consultation

7 questions you need to ask when hiring a Virtual Assistant

7 questions you need to ask when hiring a Virtual Assistant

You’ve probably arrived here because you’re thinking about hiring a Virtual Assistant. We can also confidently guess that at this very moment you’re probably feeling a mixture of emotions about this.

There will definitely be an overwhelming sense of relief that you’ve bitten the bullet and made the decision to seek some much-needed support. You may also feel excited at the prospect of soon having more time and opportunity to dedicate to growing your business. But also niggling away in the background, there’s probably a slight nervousness. Driving this apprehension is one big concern – how do you make sure you choose the right person for the role?

In this post, we aim to reduce any trepidation you’re feeling about hiring a Virtual Assistant. We’ll do this by giving you a plan – a series of questions that will help you obtain the information you need to find the right person to support you and your business.


What you need to ask when hiring a Virtual Assistant

These are some of the key questions we suggest you ask to help you find the perfect candidate for your position.


Q1: What tasks do you want to outsource to a Virtual Assistant?

This first question is one to ask yourself. Before you even start the process of hiring a Virtual Assistant you need to be 100% clear on what you are asking them to do.

For example, do you want help with repetitive, recurring tasks each month? Or do you need a self-starter who is going to proactively manage your inbox with little guidance? Read our What support do I need? post if you want our guidance on figuring this out.


Q2: Tell me a bit about yourself?

This may feel like idle chit-chat but it can be a really simple way to establish whether you’re a good fit for each other. Often what you’re looking for in a Virtual Assistant is a carbon copy of yourself. But as cloning is currently still confined to the realms of science fiction, you may have to make some compromises. The answer a candidate provides here will give you an insight into their priorities and personality. This can help you make a judgement on whether you will work well together.


Q3: What type of work are you skilled at and most enjoy? (And what do you prefer not to do?)

This question is aimed at uncovering whether a Virtual Assistant has the right experience and interests to help you. Consider their answer – does it suggest the type of work you’re looking for is something they do regularly? Also, if their answer reveals their passion for social media planning and event organisation, when you need someone to manage your inbox, it may be a red flag.


Q4: How do you like to communicate?

Working with a remote assistant means communication is very important.  You need to feel confident that they will be responsive and also communicate in a style that fits with your needs and preferences. This isn’t just about the technology they use (telephone, email, Zoom, WhatsApp, Slack, Microsoft Teams etc) but also how much communication they expect with you. Are they comfortable working proactively and independently with minimal contact, or will they wait patiently for you to delegate tasks?


Q5: What time do you have available to work with me?

You need to know an assistant can commit to the right hours to deliver the tasks you need. Not every Virtual Assistant works a standard 9-5 or has a regular schedule. Some VAs tend to work into the evening, while others start early in the morning. If you need a VA to be working for you during set times, it’s important that you make this clear and understand their availability. Also, always check their time zone.


Q6: Tell me about what professional provisions you have in place?

There are certain things a Virtual Assistant needs to have set up to provide you with a professional service. Yes, it takes more than a secure internet connection and home office space to be a good Virtual Assistant. For example, at Virtually Priceless, all our VAs have professional indemnity and cyber security insurance. We also confirm their ICO registrations and carry out checks to verify their background and experience as part of our pre-screening processes. 


Q7: What happens if there’s an emergency?

Computers crash and technology has an irritating habit of failing. That’s life. Your Virtual Assistant should have procedures in place for when things don’t go to plan. Also, what happens if your Virtual Assistant is unwell and unable to work for you at short notice? Who is responsible for finding cover when they take a holiday? It’s important you’re clear on the back-up and business continuity plans your assistant offers. For example, at Virtually Priceless, at least two members of the team are fully briefed on each of our clients. We also have standard operating procedures that make sure work can be picked up by another VA at short notice if needed.

We’re here to answer your questions

Let us help you to find a Virtual Assistant that is the best match for you. Book a free 30-minute consultation and we can have a chat about who in the Virtually Priceless team could best support your business.

Virtual Assistant vs employee: 5 reasons why a remote assistant can be the best solution

Virtual Assistant vs employee: 5 reasons why a remote assistant can be the best solution

When you first started your business, you probably never imagined being in a situation where you would need to consider hiring extra support. Now here you are, desperately in need of an extra pair of hands and not sure where you’re going to find them.

It’s completely normal to feel reluctant to start the rigmarole involved in advertising and selecting a new employee. You’ll probably also feel put off by the thought of all the formalities that are essential responsibilities of a good employer. It can all feel very daunting. So, you’ll be pleased to hear, taking on a permanent employee isn’t your only option.

Before you post your job advert, have you considered hiring a Virtual Assistant instead of a permanent employee? It may be a new option for you, but it’s not as ‘out there’ as you might think. In fact, you’ll probably find it makes a whole lot of sense.

Virtual Assistant vs employee

Before we jump into the benefits of a Virtual Assistant over an employee, it’s important first to clarify this – what’s the difference?

An employee. This is an individual you recruit as a permanent member of your staff to perform a specific role. They usually work physically alongside you at a desk within your premises. You pay them a salary and offer a range of employee benefits.

A Virtual Assistant. This is an independent worker whom you contract to undertake specific tasks for you from a remote location. You pay them a fee based on the work performed. That’s it. They look after themselves in most other respects.

Why you should hire a Virtual Assistant

Now, your Virtual Assistant may not be able to physically deliver a coffee to your desk every morning, but there are definitely many other benefits of recruiting flexible, remote support. Here we outline five of the biggest benefits of choosing to hire a Virtual Assistant over a permanent staff member.

1. A Virtual Assistant can adapt to fluctuations in workload

Do you have seasonal busy periods, but some quieter times in between? Maybe you have new product plans on the horizon? Or is there a big event in your calendar that’s going to take more than a bit of overtime to deliver? Using a Virtual Assistant gives you the flexibility to scale up support when you need it and reduce it when things calm down.

2. Employing staff is usually more expensive

Have you considered the total cost of employing a permanent member of staff? To start with, they’ll need space at your premises, a desk, IT equipment and a phone line as a minimum. Add to this their NI costs, various benefits, holiday pay and sickness cover. Suddenly, it becomes blatantly clear that a salary is only part of the cost of a new member of staff. In contrast, a Virtual Assistant comes with zero overheads. All you pay is their fee.

3. You get more skills and experience for your money

With a Virtual Assistant, you often get much more than an administrator that works from home. For example, every member of our Virtual Assistant team at Virtually Priceless is a highly experienced PA. They come with all the skills you need. No further training is required. They also offer a whole range of add-on specialist skills that go way beyond what you probably expect from an administrator. This may be social media management, project management, event planning or email marketing for example.

The years of experience and enhanced skillset you can find in a Virtual Assistant are often beyond what you can afford to pay for in a permanent employee. So, before you place a job ad, ask yourself this – is the salary you’re able to offer going to attract an employee with all the skills you really need? Can you really afford to invest in the training to help a new employee develop all of the skills for the job?

4. You don’t pay for their tea breaks

Have you ever considered the wasted time you pay employees for when they they’re chatting by the water cooler? Or eating their lunch? A Virtual Assistant will only bill for the time they’re actually working for you on a task or project.

5. Virtual Assistants understand running a business

Virtual Assistants are also business owners themselves. They understand the pressure and the rewards. They can use this experience to help you run your operations more smoothly.

Why you should recruit a permanent employee

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes employing a permanent staff member is definitely the best way to proceed. For example, if you want to specify exactly what hours and where someone works for you. Or maybe you need the physical presence of someone in your office? Perhaps you feel it would be better to have more freedom to train and mould a person to exactly fit the role you need? Developing a team member can certainly be very rewarding.

However, it’s sometimes worth taking the time to decide whether employment is 100% the best option. It’s much harder to go back once contracts are signed and they’re on your payroll. For this reason, some of our clients decide to use a Virtual Assistant to help them work out if they really need a permanent team member to perform a role. This allows them to experiment with various types and levels of support so they can make a carefully considered decision.

Virtual Assistant vs employee: Which option is right for you?

If you’re in a quandary about whether to opt for a Virtual Assistant or an employee, we can help you decide on the right option. Whether you have budgetary concerns or are simply unsure if a Virtual Assistant is a good fit for you, arrange a consultation and we can talk through our approach and how our services could benefit your business.

A to Z of Virtual Assistant services: Part 2

A to Z of Virtual Assistant services: Part 2

Are you limiting the growth of your business by spending too much time on tasks that are essential but don’t make money for your business? Are you feeling stuck, because there’s simply no-one else in your business you feel you can delegate to? Outsourcing tasks to a freelance Virtual Assistant can be a great option. Here, we continue to answer the question – ‘what does a Virtual Assistant do?’– in this second part of our A-Z guide to our services. If you want a recap of A-M, you can find part one here.




A to Z of Virtual Assistant services: Part 2


N – Nicely Saying No


As much as you’d love to say yes to every event invite, speaker request and enthusiastic intern, it’s not feasible. But spending hours agonising over how to let people down gently is an unnecessary drain on your time. Instead, let us craft that perfect ‘nice no’ on your behalf.


Watch the video to learn more




O – Operations support


The smooth running of your business relies on you providing all the things your employees need to perform their roles. That’s everything from access to IT tools, to finance and payroll, to arranging team events. These are all tasks your Virtual Assistant could do for you.


Watch the video to learn more




P – Private PA support


Family events, moving to a new house, personal appointments, house renovations, school applications… the list goes on. If the burden of life admin is weighing you down, a Virtual Assistant can step in to help you keep on top of things.


Watch the video to learn more




Q – Queries


Do you ever wish you had someone you can trust to firefight all those day-to-day queries for you? A Virtual Assistant can be your go-to person when you need a gatekeeper on your side to not only field the requests you receive but also to raise queries on your behalf.


Watch the video to learn more




R – Recruitment


Do you need help advertising a role, shortlisting candidates or arranging interview slots? And how do you manage the formalities of bringing new staff onboard? Have you considered asking your Virtual Assistant to help you recruit the best talent and give them the smoothest possible start to their employment?


Watch the video to learn more




S – Social media


Showing up consistently and responding promptly is the holy grail of good social media. But there are so many platforms and so little time. Perhaps you need a Virtual Assistant to research, compose and schedule posts for you?


Watch the video to learn more




T – Taking minutes


If you’re a participant in a meeting it’s fairly impossible to write the minutes while also adding valuable contribution to a discussion. Instead, ask your Virtual Assistant to attend to make sure you have an accurate record of the main points covered. This frees you up to concentrate on getting your points across.


Watch the video to learn more




U – Updating records


The need to update records can seem endless. Changes to employee details, adding new contacts to your CRM system, revising your asset register – these are all things that a Virtual Assistant can help you with.


Watch the video to learn more




V – Video conferencing support


With a Virtual Assistant working behind the scenes on your video conference, you can focus all your efforts on delivering the content. From monitoring and responding to chat comments, to managing breakout rooms, we’ll make sure the technical side of the call is taken care of.


Watch the video to learn more




W – Working flexibly


Do you need short-term cover for a gap in your team while you’re recruiting? Or are you seeking a more ongoing solution to your administrative woes? When you hire a Virtual Assistant, you not only choose the tasks you outsource, but you can also increase or decrease the level of support we provide based on what works best for you.


Watch the video to learn more




X – XMAS parties


Or any party really. We can research venues for you, send out invites, deal with all the logistics, and organise those extra special touches that will make your event memorable.


Watch the video to learn more




Y & Z – You time & Zoning out


This is about you being able to take time out from your business. With a Virtual Assistant working for you behind the scenes, you can take a well-earned break knowing we’re keeping things ticking over for you while you’re away.


Watch the video to learn more




Now, what could a Virtual Assistant do for you?


That’s our A-Z complete. Now, it’s over to you. To help you to identify tasks that you may be better to outsource to a Virtual Assistant, follow this simple process:


  1. Make a list of the things you do on a day-to-day basis to keep your business running.
  2. Mark the tasks that are always still on your to-do list at the end of the month.
  3. Underline the activities that you resent doing as they are a drain on your time.
  4. Highlight any duties that you feel are taking you away from growing your business.
  5. And don’t forget to star those pesky chores that you hate doing and would love to delegate to someone else.
  6. Now, hand that list to us and let’s have a chat about how Virtually Priceless could support your business.

How could we help you?

Of course, there are many more tasks a Virtual Assistant could help you with. We’ll cover more in part two of this guide. However, if you have something specific in mind, let’s have a chat about how Virtually Priceless could support your business. We’re always looking for a new challenge and love supporting busy executives like you.

Our A to Z guide to Virtual Assistant services: Part 1

Our A to Z guide to Virtual Assistant services: Part 1

Is your daily task list stretching you beyond your limits? If so, you might be wondering, what can a Virtual Assistant do to help your business run more smoothly? In the first part of our A to Z guide to Virtual Assistant services, we introduce some of the tasks that you could outsource to give you more peace of mind (and more free time!).


A guide to Virtual Assistant services


A – Admin Tasks

These are the small repetitive tasks that you could do yourself, but is this the best use of your time? Proofreading, arranging deliveries, registering for events – how much time could you free up in your day by outsourcing recurring chores to a Virtual Assistant?

Watch the video to learn more


B – Bookings

From train tickets and hotels, to booking venues and hospitality for events, a Virtual Assistant can make sure you keep on top of it all to prevent any last-minute panic. We can even arrange your dentist appointments and trips to the hairdresser, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Watch the video to learn more


C – Client support

Hire a Virtual Assistant to help you deliver a consistent, VIP experience for your customers. Efficient onboarding procedures for new clients, prompt responses to emails and thoughtful gifts to celebrate successes. With a Virtual Assistant by your side, delivering this high level of service will no longer feel an unrealistic ambition.

Watch the video to learn more


D – Diary management

Calendar organisation is a core Virtual Assistant service and a superpower that we’ve honed here at Virtually Priceless. With a little help from us, diary clashes disappear and extra pockets of time in your working day emerge. All without you having to lift a finger.

Watch the video to learn more


E – Events

Finding a venue, catering, creating an event programme, sourcing speakers, ordering branded merchandise, managing delegates, communicating with suppliers, and keeping it all within budget – hosting an event is hard work. Not to mention the additional challenge of post-event follow-up. If you don’t have an events team at your disposal, it can help to hire a Virtual Assistant to manage it for you.

Watch the video to learn more


F – Finance Support

Outsourcing basic bookkeeping such as logging receipts, updating accounting software and paying invoices can be an important weight lifted from your shoulders. Especially when tax return season comes around. Many of our clients at Virtually Priceless also ask us to chase unpaid invoices on their behalf. This takes away any awkwardness of having these conversations with late-paying clients yourself.

Watch the video to learn more


G – Gifts

Are you hesitating with adding a birthday perk to your employee benefits package because you can’t face the admin involved? Maybe you’re always forgetting your friends’ birthdays or want to buy your clients gifts that will make you instantly memorable? Why not use your VA to help you get one-step ahead with gifting?

Watch the video to learn more


H – HR support

There’s a mountain of admin involved in running a team. Recruitment processes, holidays, absences, benefits – and this is merely scratching the surface of the administrative burden of being a good, conscientious employer. We can help you make sure your HR is watertight, so your team feel happy and supported at work.

Watch the video to learn more


I – Inbox Management

Reading, reacting and responding to every message can be a significant drain on your time. It’s also easy for emails to get overlooked when they’re surrounded by unread junk and circulars. With the support of a Virtual Assistant, you can keep on top of your email and avoid inbox overwhelm.

Watch the video to learn more


J – Juggling tasks

Virtual Assistants thrive on juggling multiple tasks and spinning plates. Employ us as your second brain so when you’re flat-out busy with the core functions of your business, the small (but essential) admin won’t get missed. You’ll be surprised what we can do in just a few hours.

Watch the video to learn more


K – Knowing your business

We make it our business to know your business inside out. It’s the best way for us to work on your behalf. But it’s more than that too. By understanding how you operate now and your ambitions for the future, we can tailor our services to help you achieve your business goals.

Watch the video to learn more


L – LinkedIn Support

Do you need help researching ideas for posts or creating graphics to boost engagement? Maybe your inbox is overflowing with unanswered requests to connect and other personal messages? We can help you keep on top of your LinkedIn interactions to maximise the business benefits of your presence on this platform.

Watch the video to learn more


M – Marketing support

There’s a lot of pressure on businesses to find more ways to engage with new audiences and promote what they do. From social media and email marketing, to copywriting and content calendars, a Virtual Assistant can help you to deliver your marketing plan with fewer sleepless nights.

Watch the video to learn more

How could we help you?

Of course, there are many more tasks a Virtual Assistant could help you with. We’ll cover more in part two of this guide. However, if you have something specific in mind, let’s have a chat about how Virtually Priceless could support your business. We’re always looking for a new challenge and love supporting busy executives like you.