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How to Train Your Virtual Assistant

By Brian Farris   |    July 16, 2020   |    6:56 PM

Tools and Tactics to Turn Your New VA Into a Valuable Team Member

Virtual assistants (VAs) are skilled professionals, but they do require training on the specifics of your business and how it runs. Plus, when you dedicate time to properly train your new assistant, you’ll receive a much greater return on investment.

With that in mind, here's how to set your VA up for success so that they can quickly become an invaluable asset to your small business.

Answer the question, “Why do I need a virtual assistant?”

Before you can train someone, you need to define their role and responsibilities. Think about why you need a VA and how they will add value to your daily operations.

The answer may not be immediately obvious, but these follow-up questions will help you define the “Why?” behind hiring a VA:

  • What are the main tasks the virtual assistant will be responsible for? 
  • Are there any repetitive tasks you’d love to clear off your plate? (If you need some help brainstorming, don’t miss this list of 30 Things You Didn't Know a Virtual Assistant Could Do).
  • What skills and experience are needed to successfully complete those tasks?
  • How will success be measured in this role?

Once you have a firm grasp on these questions, it’s time to think about the specifics of your new assistant’s training.

8 tools small business owners can use to train a new VA

When it comes to training a VA, you have a wide range of tools available. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Training emails. A clear and concise email with easy-to-understand instructions can be a valuable training asset. 
  2. Cloud-based documents. Tools like Google Docs make it easy to keep training documents up-to-date. You can even task your VA with maintaining these documents (for example, instruct them to add all training emails into one master document).
  3. Screencasts. A screencast is a video recording of your computer’s screen. You can record audio alongside the video, too. Screencasts are perfect when you want to show a VA how to do a specific task step-by-step.
  4. YouTube videos. Before you record your own screencast on a specific topic, search YouTube to see if a video already exists. There’s a good chance you’ll find something that fits the bill. Then, share the links with your VA.
  5. Screenshots. If you don’t want to record training materials, and if YouTube doesn’t have what you need, simple screenshots can be very effective. 
  6. Your company’s marketing materials. Share customer-facing marketing materials with your new assistant, because they provide helpful context about your company and what it does. This is particularly important if your VA will be handling customer service-related tasks.
  7. Video calls. There’s no substitute for one-on-one, face-to-face instruction. Schedule regular video calls where you can answer questions, share additional context and provide feedback.
  8. An online portal. If you hire a VA through a virtual office provider, like Intelligent Office, you should have access to an online interface. These tools provide a painless way to share training information with your new team member because everything they’ll need can be found in a single easy-to-access portal.

No matter which mix of tools you choose, the goal is to communicate in a straightforward and organized manner. Don’t forget to share login credentials and other important details, too (and consider protecting them with one of these powerful password management tools).