You’re considering hiring someone for reason – you’re busy AF.
But hiring someone, even someone who comes with experience and receipts, isn’t enough to make sure you’re going to be successful.
As someone who has wasted a whole lot of cash on bad hires – to the tune of about 22000 – let me let you in on the most important thing you have to do before you hire anyone, especially an assistant.
***Write down your process.***
It sounds so simple, but so many people think they can skip this step and just brain dump and their assistant will just magically figure it out. And some assistants can. But the thing is, most people will not be able to read your mind.
I don’t care if your process looks like garbage on paper. (Honestly, seeing that will give you the come to Jesus moment you need to make sure you fix that shit.) Get it all down in as much detail as possible.
Let’s say you want to outsource content management. Great! Here’s my current process for writing a blog post as an example.
1. Write the post.
2. Edit the post.
3. Add it to WordPress.
4. Format the post.
5. Confirm my headline is solid.
6. Find a photo on Pexels to use for my blog post image.
7. Create a blog post sized image in Canva.
8. Read the post one last time for flow and final edits.
9. Hit publish (or schedule it for later.)
Now, let’s say that I want to just write the blog post, and then pass it off to my assistant to take care of the rest. This looks like a pretty detailed set of steps, right?
This might be a clear list to me, but if I handed this list to someone who wasn’t intimately familiar with me and my brand, they’d probably make several predictable errors, like using photos that weren’t me, using the wrong fonts, or formatting the post in a way that I didn’t like.
That’s because the problem with this list as it is right now is that there are tasks on this list that are subjective, meaning your VA has to make a judgment call.
The most successful VA partnerships start with more objective tasks – tasks that have clear, repeatable processes – and then expand to more complex tasks.
The more subjective tasks you give someone who is new without enough context, the more likely you are to be disappointed when your new VA doesn’t instantly get it.
There are two ways to address the subjective tasks in this list.
First of all, I could supply a style guide that had a list of fonts, hex codes for my brand colors, examples of photos I like, and previous blog post images I’ve created, and give that to my VA so they had a reference point to start from.
Another option would be to remove the subjective pieces of these tasks, making them purely administrative – ex. buying a batch of stock photos I like and leaving them in an Approved Photos file for my VA, creating a blog post image template for them to clone and use to create those images in the future, create a template blog post to use when formatting blog posts, etc.
As a general rule, the longer you work with a VA, the more subjective your tasks can be. I’d recommend sticking to primarily objective work for your first 2-3 months, and then move on to more complex tasks and workflows.