How to Work With a Virtual Assistant When You’re a Control Freak
Ah, control freaks. I am one. I want to run and manage my own business, doing everything myself, including my own work and my clients’ work. I know one of these days I’m going to have to give in and hire someone to work for me. I want to… and yet I don’t!
I completely understand what you’re going through. It’s hard to let go and trust someone else to do something right. While we think it’s faster and easier to do everything ourselves, we are limiting our growth because there are only so many hours in a day and we are probably not focusing as much time on revenue generating activities as we should be.
While I completely understand what it’s like to be a control freak, I also understand what it’s like from a virtual assistant’s point of view.
One of many things that drives a virtual assistant nuts is a control freak. Why? Because you tend to micromanage everything! Pretty much to the point where you might as well just do it yourself. It’s great to know what you want and to have a good understanding of how everything is done, but you have to develop some trust between you and your virtual assistant.
Your VA needs some room to breathe, some room to be creative, some room to offer suggestions or perhaps a better way to do something, and to feel that you have some amount of trust in him/her and his/her abilities. If you just plain don’t trust them and things aren’t going well, then they aren’t the right VA for you. That trust is important.
Micromanaging isn’t going to save you any time. The purpose of delegating is to hand it off to someone else to be done.
Do you continually check in on something being worked on, critiquing and testing processes before it’s even ready for you to look at?
That drives me batty! I’m not done yet! Of course it looks funky. Of course the opt-in isn’t fully functional yet. Of course you didn’t receive the autoresponder message. Of course the payment button isn’t hooked up yet. I’m still working on it. Of course the email layout looks funny or there are errors in the TEST email. I’m testing it. Go have a coffee and take a chill pill. I’ll let you know when I’m done working on it and it’s ready for your feedback! 🙂
What if you can’t just let go and you need to make sure things are done in a very specific way?
Well, there are some things you can do. You can create step-by-step processes for everything routine that needs to be done. These could either be written documents or screencast videos showing exactly how to do the task, step-by-step. While this may not be applicable to everything you are delegating, this is useful for teaching the VA something new, something routine that you want done in a very specific way, or for something that is specific to your business.
Even better would be to organize these into an Operations and Procedures Manual. This could be a large document that contains all of the instructions for every process in your business. If you have created screencast videos instead of documents for processes, you can include the link to the videos in the appropriate place.
Alternatively, you can have an Operations and Procedures folder in Dropbox or Google Drive that you can both access. Each process could have its own document, folder, or video (if you have lots of storage) within that main folder.
It takes a little bit of time to do, but you only have to do the documentation of each process once (unless the procedure changes). Then if something happens to your VA, another one can step in and more easily pick up where the previous one left off. This is a real timesaver for you in the long run. You can tell the VA what you need done and refer to the specific document/video.
Now that that’s done, you need to be able to trust your virtual assistant to be able to follow instructions and complete the tasks. At first, when the relationship is still new, you’ll certainly want to check up on the work afterward to make sure that everything was done correctly. But at some point you need to trust your virtual assistant to do the work.
Also, when your relationship is new, have your virtual assistant test everything thoroughly and wait for your approval before proceeding. This may be a newsletter or email broadcast, or perhaps a sales page. If they are writing social media content or blog posts for you, have them send you the material first and then publish it once you approve. This will allow you to see if there are any mistakes that need to be corrected, and hopefully in time you will feel confident enough in your VA to allow them to just go ahead and send or publish the material on their own, without having to go through you first.
Your VA wants to please you but also wants to feel that you trust him/her and his/her skills. It can sometimes take a few months in a new VA/client relationship to work out the kinks, for the two of you to get into a good rhythm and develop trust between the two of you, and for the VA to gain a good understanding of your likes, dislikes, and preferences. Give it a good chance to succeed but, at the same time, if it’s just not working, it might not be the right pairing for you.