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How to Train Your Virtual Assistant

By now you’re likely feeling the immense relief of having hired your first virtual assistant! And as you should. The hiring process can be long and tiresome, especially if it took you a while to find the right person. But here you are out the other side and with a top-notch VA to boast. I promise you, life is going to get so much easier so soon! Not only can you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you’ve got someone by your side to help you get there.

Definitely take some time to have a celebratory drink and cake – you deserve it! I mean it, go on – right now. Go get some cake! Come back when you’re done with that and not a minute before.

Have you had your cake? Promise? Okay, good. Let’s get back into it. I’m gonna give it to you straight here – there’s still work to be done before you’re reaping the benefits of your new virtual assistant. But just like with the hiring process, I will guide you through it all. The next step in all of this is training, and while I’m not going to pretend it’s going to be the quickest, easiest and most fun task, I am going to give you tips on exactly how to make it more enjoyable for both you and the VA. And – most importantly – the best way to do it in order to make sure your business blossoms!

Tasks, Tasks, Tasks!
We briefly touched on this in the first blog, but now is the time to really have an understanding of exactly which tasks you’ll need your virtual assistant to help you with. Of course, the tasks you’ll have for your VA will depend entirely on your business, so I’ve broken down the usual tasks for both an Amazon Online Arbitrage seller and a Coach as a starter for ten:

Amazon sellerCoach
Sourcing productsCreating a website
Answering Amazon Seller Central
Assigning DSN code to domain
Fixing Amazon glitchesConnecting PayPal to your website
Learning about and applying a VATResearching how to begin email
Filling in tax formsLearning how to create programs for
your business
Accountancy reports Learning how to launch the course, 
program, and product
Policy warningsFinding IT for the launch
Building relationships with manufacturers, traders, other sellersContacting numerous people who can 
help you, who promise miracles, only 
to learn that there’s another step that 
they did not tell you about
Amazon seller tasks and coach tasks that can be outsourced to a VA

As the big boss, you should be spending 70% of your time on work that generates revenue, builds relationships, and finds new products. Why? Because you’re the big boss! You’re the top dog, the ruler of the empire that is your business. You didn’t start this thing to do admin, and – correct me if I’m wrong, but – are you even good at admin? Be honest now, this is a safe space. I’d also bet my bottom dollar that you don’t enjoy doing it – and hey! You’re the boss, you should be CEO-ing, not admin-ing. Are you starting to see why you’ve hired a VA?

Manage Your Expectations and Work Together
Once you know the tasks you want to teach to your VA, take some time to remember that this person has (potentially) never seen your systems, known your business, or maybe even have done the process at all. No matter how well you train your VA, they will not be perfect right away. It’s a learning curve for you both and you’re playing the long game. (If you need more cake, now might be a good time to grab some.)

Also, get to know them! You’ll be working with this person for (hopefully) a long time, and work is so much better when you like who you work with. Not only that, but understanding your VA’s situation in life will help you to understand their requirements from you. Where do they live? What is the average living wage in that country? Do they have a family? The better you treat your VA, the better they will work for you – and if all goes well, you both get a friend out of it!

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Prepare the Elbow Grease
I’m gonna break it to you – training takes time. There’s no way to escape it, and if you do try and cut corners, it’ll just come back to bite you on the bum later – trust me on that one. Have you ever heard the saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’? Learn it, live it, love it, my friend – this is your new motto.

I’ll state the obvious now: you’re going to need to train your VA on every single aspect of their job. Every task you’d like them to do, they’ll need training in. I know, I know, I wish there was another way, too. But, if you follow this guidance you’ll only need to do the bulk of the work one time, and should you ever need to hire another you’ll be prepared. There’s always a silver lining! So, what is the guidance?

Virtual assistant team in action!

Do the training systematically – it’ll be easier for you both

I can’t quite express how important and valuable it will be for you to record everything. It will become the foundation of your training (and the VA can rewatch them as many times as necessary), it will solidify and officialise your processes, and it will save you days of your life should you ever need to train another person on the same processes. Just to clarify, when I said it will solidify your processes, by that I mean: when you’re a one-man-band a lot of the time your processes tend to reside in your head – this is categorically a terrible idea for future-proofing and scaling up. If you record your processes in training, it’s like a two-birds-one-rock type situation as you’re putting the processes down onto paper (or video), and then – just like that (Carrie Bradshaw style) you no longer have the burden of a single point of failure. You can thank me later.

So, when it comes to recording, the software I most recommend is Screencaster. Here you can record videos of up to five minutes for free. You might think that five minutes isn’t enough, but actually it ensures each piece of training is short and sweet and more digestible for your VA – you don’t want them zoning out. Also, it forces you to focus on each individual process, rather than giving a big overview and missing lots of bits.

Once recorded, they can be uploaded to YouTube as private videos and you can send the link to your VA. A great feature of YouTube is that you can then monitor how many times the video has been watched so you track their progress. You could even put together a little exam at the end to check they’ve got a good understanding of it all! And my final tip? Put all the links to all the videos into a document, PDF it, and then voila – your own personalised Virtual Assistant Training Course! What a professional you’ll be!

As a little helper, I’ve put together a list of topics you might want to cover in training for sourcing:

  • Introduction to Amazon OA
  • Introduction to Keepa, BBP and other free software used to analyse deals
  • Introduction to categories
  • What is Buybox?
  • What are bundles?
  • How to analyse variations
  • Give plenty of good vs bad deals

Time Flies When You’re… Training?
There’s a very simple answer here… no. No, it does not. Apologies. Like most things in life, if it’s worth having, it doesn’t come quick. But you might also know the phrase ‘time heals all wounds’, right? In which case, don’t worry, because the memories of the pain of training will fade into nothing in time!

A good trick to find out how much time it’ll take you is to estimate a reasonable number of hours you’d think it will take… and then multiply that number by four. Yep, we’re not beating around the bush here – it’s pure facts. It’s key to factor in and be realistic about your work ethic and any limitations you might have because you’ll only hurt yourself if you’re not honest. Wow, I didn’t mean to get so spiritual there!

A good guestimate on how long sourcing training will take is around 10-14 days. And that’s for a complete beginner, supervising them from start to finish and going through all the nitty gritty details. Remember, you’ll need to go through everything from thinking about analysing deals to reviewing them. And for your own sanity, make sure they’re working on the right version of Amazon – if you’re in the UK but they’re using the USA version, you’ll be pulling your hair out in no time!

So, anyway, as I was saying, training is quick and easy, and you can expect your VA to be perfect immediately… well, good luck and best wishes!

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