How to Work With a Virtual Assistant Successfully – Top Secret Tip #8


In the seven prior posts in this series, we’ve covered the preparation and search for a virtual assistant.  We’ve also touched on how being an ‘ideal’ client for your virtual assistant can benefit the relationship as well.  Our next top secret tip actually expands on one of the items that we identified as being a mark of an ideal client.

Top Secret Tip #8- Communicate Effectively

I think most virtual assistants would agree that if they  could have just one ‘ideal’ trait it would be that our client were a good communicator.

When it comes to working with a virtual assistant, being a good communicator goes beyond just being able to talk or e-mail someone in an understandable manner. In fact, you could say it has three distinct parts.

1. Clear expectations

Don’t assume that your virtual assistant is going to know what your expectations are going to be.  You may know that the document you’re having them work on is a draft, but unless you tell them, they don’t.  You don’t want them spending hours of your time perfecting something that doesn’t need to be perfect.  On the other hand, if it’s something that needs special attention let them know.  One VA on the forums said, “It’s so much easier to do a quality job when you know what their ultimate goal is.”

2. Specific instructions

It may be difficult at first to think specifically as you assign tasks. Give as much detail as you possibly can.  If you have an example of how something should be formatted, include the sample. The more detailed your instructions, the better chances of having it done right the first time.  Trust me, neither you nor your virtual assistant want do overs. The longer you work with your VA, the easier it will get. Especially since the more repetitive projects are passed along, the less information you’ll have to pass along to have them completed.

3. Timely responses

Try to be as timely as you possibly can with your responses to inquiries from your VA.  Remember, the answers to their questions can mean the difference between an item completed quickly and correctly.

It could easily be said that the success of your relationship with your virtual assistant balances on how well the two of you communicate with one another.  If you are prepared to communicate effectively you can feel good about doing your part.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.


  1. Dokemion on June 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    If you have little ones at home who love to be close to you – even when you’re working on a dozen things at once! – you can make it all work out. Why not let the kids help you with your work at home business? There are many things little hands can do to help keep them occupied and get some extra work done, all at the same time!

  2. Creating the Ideal Client for Virtual Assistants on December 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    […] She’s also aware that quality comes with a price.  As committee chair, she’s used to delegating tasks to others and is most likely comfortable with assuming they’ll be done without […]

  3. BettyPeterson on December 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Marie

  4. BettyPeterson on December 17, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Hi Marie,
    Being a noob in business management, I was hesitant to hire virtual assistant to help me with my workload. However, after reading your tips over and over again, I decided to hire a virtual assistant . Right now, I delegate my tasks to these 2 virtual assistants and work with them remotely. 
    Thank you Marie for the tips.