What Are the Specific Skills to Teach for Virtual Assistants?

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As more and more businesses turn to virtual assistants to handle tasks, it's becoming increasingly important to know what specific skills to teach these assistants. 

If you're a business owner considering hiring a virtual assistant, you'll want to ensure that the person you hire has the skills needed to get the job done right. Virtual assistants can be incredibly helpful in handling a variety of tasks, from administrative duties to social media management and customer service. But what are the specific skills that you should be looking for in a virtual assistant?

In this episode, we'll the question most people ask me “What are the specific skills to teach for virtual assistants?”. We'll also discuss how to hire the right virtual assistant for your business and what to do if the person you hire has additional skills. 

If you want to ensure that your virtual assistant is a valuable asset to your team, be sure to watch this episode..

Read the Full Transcript

You know, I get asked all the time "How do you train your staff and your virtual assistants? Like, what do you train them to do? Do you have, like, a set process that you take everybody through and everybody gets the same training? How does this all work? How do I train my virtual staff?". That's the question.

Hey guys, I'm Atiba. Welcome to the Build Your Team show. And today that's the question that we're going to be answering, because I get asked it all the time, you know? Is there a set of skills that I should be looking to teach my virtual assistants or my team? And here's the answer, no. Flat out! No, there isn't a set of skills. Flat out. 

Because just like hiring anyone else for a position, every position has its own unique set of skills. The challenge here, and why people often ask this question, and I'm hoping this isn't why you ask this question, and if it is, that I can get you off of this thinking. The reason that a lot of people ask this question is because they see virtual assistants as their crazy task monkey that can do whatever they want. And I can just give you all sorts of tasks and you can go do it, right? And let me ask you a question. If I told you right now, go outside and I want you to run a sledgehammer, then come inside and cook me a Michelin five-star meal, and then I want you to go deliver a baby in the next hour. And then after that, change a tire. And when you're done with changing the tire, do some research for me, then come back and clean my fish tanks and read lullabies.

If I told you to go do all of those things, you would say "Hey, Hey, I can't do all of that. Like, I don't have the skills to do, or I can maybe do a couple of those, but I don't have the stills to do all of those". And this is the problem why in my experience, people have asked this question about what skills do I need to teach my virtual assistant. Because what they're really asking, and sometimes what we're really thinking in the back of our minds are "How much can I get this person to do? How many different things can I get them to do? Can I teach them to do this and do this and do this and do this and do this? And they go make them do all those things that I may not even want to do myself". And the answer is no! Absolutely not! Absolutely not! 

If you've seen any of my videos before, you'll know, I'll tell you the number one thing when hiring a virtual assistant, is you must hire for fit first. Hire for fit first. They've got to fit you and fit your organization first. That's the first thing, okay? Personality and fit. They've got to have that. That's number 1. 

Number 2. Number 2. When looking at skills and what you're hiring a virtual assistant to do, hire them to do one thing and one thing only. Yep, I said it. So, if you need accounting done, hire them to do accounting. Don't ask the person who's doing your accounting to also post to your social media. No. No. And oh no, it's wrong! And you're only going to set yourself up for failure. You hear me on that? You will be setting yourself up for failure because the same reason you can't do it, is the same reason somebody else can't do it. It's not realistic. Hire them to do a task. "Oh, but Atiba, if I hire them to just do accounting, I don't have a whole lot of accounts" Okay, great! That's why they're virtual. 

You may only have 5 hours of accounting of a week for them. Great! Hire them. Pay them for the 5 hours. Let them do their task well. And then find somebody else who can post to your social media. Find someone else who can be your executive VA. Find someone else who can answer your phones.

Now, is it possible that you find someone and you hire them to do accounting and then you learn that they can also do something else? Yeah, that's possible. It happens to me all the time. All the time! I hire someone for one skillset, we get them in, they get working on that one skill set and in the process I learned "Oh wow! You can also do X and you can also do Y and you can also do Z". That's awesome! 

And so here's what I do in that case. If you came in for this skillset, and then I learned you could do X, Y, and Z, then I'm going to make a choice. And here's my choice. My choice is going to be, you're doing this thing, which one of X, Y, and Z are closest to this? And then I'll give you that one on top of it assuming that there's time for it, okay?

So like, if you're only spending 5 hours a week doing this, then, and you can work 10 hours a week, then I know I've got 5 more hours of your time that I can use, then I'll give you another task, but that's after you've demonstrated that you can do the thing that I hired you for. That's when we start looking at what else you can do.

And then I'll start to ask the question "Okay. So now I've given-- you started off doing this task and then we saw you could do other stuff, so I also gave you this task as well. Which one do you love more? Which one makes you happier? Which one is better for you?". And you may say "Well, you know, I really, I know you hired me to do this one, but I really love this one".

I say "Great! Keep doing this one and then I'll go hire someone new to do this task". To do this task. To do this task, not this one. This is the one they love. To do this task. Gotten confused with my hands there a little bit. 

So guys, what skills? What skills do you need to train them on? What skills should they have? Hey, it's about the position and narrow it in. Narrow it in and get them to do one thing for you. Let them handle one area. Don't treat them like a Jack of all trades, because that's just not fair. It's not right. And it's just not fair. And in the end, the only person who's going to get hurt is you because your business will suffer, not theirs. You're still going to have to pay them. Your business will suffer. Then you'll say "Oh, these virtual assistants, they don't work!". But it isn't that the virtual assistants don't work, it's the system that you put them in that didn't work. So hire them and let them do one thing. Let them do one thing.

Now within that one thing that you've hired them to do, they should have the skills to do it. Now it doesn't mean that they have to be perfect because no one is perfect. You may need to teach them the way you like it done. There may be a specific set of things that you want done. There may be a specific way of using their skills that you want done. And you do have to teach them that. And in that, you may even discover some things that they don't know that you need to teach them and teach them new skills. And that's okay. As long as it's in that one area of focus. 

All right, everybody? I hope this helps. I hope that this kind of frames it for you and you kind of see "Hey, that may be why, when I hired virtual assistants in the past, it didn't work!". Or hopefully I caught you before you hired some people and ruin some relationships. And you're thinking about hiring them and you realize "Oh, I might've been thinking about hiring them in the wrong way. Maybe I need to restructure the way I'm thinking about this".

So, anyway, like I said, I hope that helps. I will see you guys soon. And if you have any questions, as always, drop them down below. Love to hear from you! Bye, everybody!

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