How To Get The Very Best From Your Sidekick

December 29, 2014

The Sidekick Series

  1. What you need to do before you take on a sidekick
  2. How to find the right sidekick for you
  3. How to get the very best from your sidekick
  4. How to be an even better super-hero (coming soon)

Congratulations!  If you’ve worked your way through the first two articles you are now the proud partner of your very own sidekick (aka virtual assistant).  But hold on super-man, before you lean back and pop your feet up on that desk of yours … you have some work to do.

In order to get the very best from your sidekick so you can really start to maximise your own time (or even … gasp … put those feet up for a minute) you need to make sure your sidekick has all the tools needed to be the partner in crime you need him or her to be.


1.  Get together for an in-depth conversation which expand on initial discussions.  This can be face-to-face, a skype or phone call but it’s important to have an in-depth chat.  I follow a certain format for this conversation and make notes in my discovery doc for reference.  Points covered are:

  • Your pain points
  • Your goals
  • Your demographic
  • Your priorities

2.  If you use a project management or task list (I use ProWorkFlow but other tools include Workflowmax, Basecamp, Wrike, Asana and many CRM’s have a project management add-on) invite your sidekick as an admin.  It’s a great idea for you to be able to find information, conversations and documents around a project or task and these systems will allow you to know at any time where your VA is at.

3.  Make a list of tasks you are going to delegate.  Prioritise these in terms of their urgency and the impact handing these over will have on you.  If you haven’t already, I suggest you start with an initial task to get used to each other’s work habits, preferences and styles before going for gold.  Note these tasks in your project management system and invite your VA to the projects they will be working on.

4.  Transfer of information.  Using the list of tasks you defined in #3 above, note the information needed to get your VA up to speed as easily as possible.  Tip: if sharing passwords, use a tool such as rather than email or messaging.  Use text, video, screenshots (and JING by Techsmith is a great tool for online videos and screenshots) or talk your side-kick through the task, whichever medium is easiest for you.

5.  Procedures!  Not a cringe word at all but depending on your exit strategy for your business I strongly suggest you task your sidekick with compiling an operations or procedural manual as they take on tasks.  This achieves the following:

  • Adds value to your business
  • Documents intellectual property
  • Reduces training / induction time for new team members
  • Reduces your dependency on your side-kick
  • Helps to identify areas for improvement / increased efficiencies

6.  Feedback.  Possibly the most important part of your relationship.  In order to be the super hero you need to be, you will need to train your VA to be the best darn sidekick they can be … for you, specifically.  This means feedback.  Good and not so good (I’m sure Robin let a few baddies go in the early days).  I often say to new clients, the best thing about a VA is you can’t see them crying!!  So while by no means should you be rude or hurtful (and you wouldn’t be a super hero if you were!), do be honest.  You’ve been doing everything just the way you like it for so long, having someone helping you may feel uncomfortable to begin with but in no time you’ll have your sidekick trained to do things the way you like them.  A good VA will offer suggestions for improvement which include different ways of doing things, tools to increase efficiency, a process that isn’t currently happening and you will have the yay or nay before going ahead.  Good feedback is just as important as not so good, honestly it’s what keeps me going day in – day out.

Follow the steps above, supply detailed information and have good communication channels open and you’re well on your way to getting the very best from your sidekick.  You deserve that.

If you made it all the way to the bottom, thank you for reading!  Please comment if you have something to share and if you’d like to receive my weekly blog straight to your inbox, please subscribe here.  I’d absolutely love that!



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