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How to work with a Virtual Assistant

So, you’ve established the need for some assistance and found a VA that you want to work with so how do you get the ball rolling and the relationship off to a good start?


Have a conversation with your VA to discuss in detail the work to be done and the timeframe for it to be completed. Share your screen via Skype to demonstrate how the work is to be done or send your VA some examples of how the completed task should look. The more detail the better!

Also check in part way through the task to ensure the task is being completed in the time you expected – if you expect a task to take a certain number of hours, check to see if you VA is working towards this. If not, does she understand the task fully?

Ask your VA to complete a small task and send it to you to review before embarking on the full project so you can check it’s what you expect and whether she has any questions.

VAs often work remotely so consider the best way of staying in touch: telephone, email, instant messenger. Which is the best method to reach you and when are you available to be contacted?

As you get to know each other’s way of working, you’ll spend less time checking in and build the trust in your VA to complete your tasks to your specification. Communication will get easier in time, but it’s worth investing your time in the beginning to ensure you’re on the same page.


As you learn to trust your VA with your business, you may find yourself handing over more and more tasks.

As and when you have more work to give them – even if it’s something your VA hasn’t done for you before – have a conversation with them and see if they can help. You may be surprised what their experience covers.

If these do not fall within your VA’s remit, many VAs will know people in their network or work with other associate VAs who they can turn to for specialist knowledge and skills.


Most VAs work on a self-employed basis and will provide to you their contract and terms and conditions on commencing work with you. Generally, there are three types of work they can undertake for you:

  1. By the hour in exchange for an hourly rate, usually billed monthly.

  2. On retainer, where you buy a set number of hours per month. This guarantees your VA’s availability to undertake work for you. A retainer is usually paid in advance.

  3. By the project, for an agreed fee, often payable 50% in advance and 50% on completion of the project.

Discuss with you VA what works best for you. When payment is due you’ll receive an invoice detailing the payment methods and terms.


At the end of the month, project or retained hours, review how things have gone and feed back to your VA. What went well? Could anything have gone better? Is there anything that didn’t work out? Is your VA happy with the working set-up and is there anything they need from you?

Sadly, sometimes it doesn’t work out so it’s important to communicate well from the start with your VA and address any issues as they come up. Not being a permanent member of staff, your VA will not be subject to annual appraisals and as many VAs work remotely, they will not have face-to-face time with you, so take time to ensure your – and your VA’s – needs are being met.

I hope that helps answer some of you questions and helps clarify the process.

Get in touch with Admin Land to discover how a VA can help your business today!

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