By Kat Csengo
So you’ve hired your first assistant to ease the workload you face each day. You probably hired someone who knows a little bit more about all the technical stuff, has ideas for streamlining your business operations, implements new tools for you. Life is supposed to get easier, not harder.
But wait, don’t jump the gun. Hiring someone is one thing. Delegating and communicating effectively another. It’s easy to get frustrated with your new sidekick. You can feel as though you are spending more time explaining things than you would have spent doing them yourself. Or perhaps you entered this work relationship assuming that you could just dump parts of your to do list on your assistant and they will get them done, no questions asked.
The key to making your new collaboration work is being available to answer questions, patience and the understanding that your assistant needs to get to know you, your business, your working style and your preferences before being able to complete recurring tasks on autopilot and have the confidence to bring ideas to the table. It’s important that you allow them in and open up. Simple things such as communicating with them in full sentences when explaining how you want to get things done in an email go a long way.
I run a virtual assistant business and have had clients that assume that I have experience in reading between the lines. Also, what stalls meaningful progress is not answering emails or sending a reply weeks after the question was sent. It not only disrupts the momentum we have going with the project and but more importantly things will not get done.
When communication is scattered like that, there is no real chance for the assistant to connect to you or your business. Since a collaboration between a business owner and an assistant is very personal, it is key to allow this connection to establish and flourish.
Another important aspect is this: Be active, not passive.
Act when you say you would. Implement when you love an idea. Speak up when you’re irritated. Solve the problem before it becomes too big. Show your appreciation when things are going well.
Your assistant is human just like you and responds well to constructive criticism as well as praise. Your assistant invests her time and energy in your business and loves to see you and your business flourish. Why? Because if your business thrives, your assistant’s business thrives. Plus, over time you will become friends and there is nothing better than seeing a friend happy and successful.
And this works both ways.
Kat Csengo is the CEO of PaperclipFox.com, a virtual assistant company specializing in online marketing. Kat and her team support their clients in launching new websites, products and services and is there to assist them in managing the day-to-day operations of their highly successful online businesses. You can find Paperclip Fox on Facebook and Twitter.