April 5, 2022

Best Tasks to Delegate to a Virtual Assistant From Expert Entrepreneurs

Skills to effectively delegate tasks are critical to have in any type of business regardless of industry, product, service or business model.

In fact, knowing how to delegate tasks successfully should be a mandatory part of any business training.

It is the one thing that often separates those who win from those who lose when it comes to scaling a business.

As entrepreneurs, you simply don’t have the time to do all the day-to-day tasks needed to keep the engine of your business moving. Learning how to delegate tasks effectively allows you to free up time to do more of the high-value tasks to grow your business – which is the whole point of hiring a Virtual Assistant.

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

However, one of the misconceptions of hiring a Virtual Assistant is that they are a jack-of-all-trades. Many business owners fall into the trap of the ‘Super VA’ myth. When they hire a virtual assistant, they expect them to do everything and then get frustrated and confused when they realise that the person has limitations. While some are reluctant to delegate tasks because they fear losing control, others tend to overdo it and neither ever reap the real advantage of delegation.

Effective delegation of tasks does not mean handing over the keys to your brand new car and hoping for the best, nor does it mean looking over someone’s shoulder and micromanaging constantly.

Successful delegation is a real balancing act between letting go while simultaneously maintaining control. Sounds like an oxymoron but it is the key secret to success in this area.

1. Be extremely specific when you delegate tasks.

- Nathan Chan, Creator & Founder, Foundr Mag

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

There are a lot of people that are very naïve — they think when they get a virtual assistant or somebody virtually that they can just take all their problems away like waving a magical wand.

When it comes to task delegation, what might seem clear to you may not be so clear to someone else because they’re not in your business. Until they’re working with you for a long time, people won’t know your style and they won’t know how you think so you have to be extremely specific when you delegate tasks and allow time for them to adapt to your systems and processes.

2. Create your own processes for checking up on your VA.

Siimon Reynolds, One of the World's Leading High Performance Coaches for CEOs and Entrepreneurs

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

Getting success with the delegation of tasks to your virtual assistant boils down to your ability to create your own processes and systems for how your business operates and what this VA is actually going to do for you.

 When your team is virtual, you not only have to learn how to effectively delegate tasks to them but you also have to develop processes for checking up on them — whether they’ve actually done the stuff they said they were going to do, how far along are they on their projects, what obstacles are they facing and where they need help. Because developing these processes is not only going to make them a more effective virtual assistant, it’s going to make your business a much better one.

This should be done for both real world and virtual offices, but certainly doing it for virtual offices is a great way to improve the smoothness of operations.

The people who gain success are those who really focus on their processes and having good relationships with their VAs, establishing that rapport which is important in getting an open communication channel within their virtual team.

They also share their business vision and strategy with the team and discuss with them how those processes link together and what part each VA plays in the whole thing.

3. Invest time in your relationship with your VA.

- Annette Lackovic, Australia's #1 Female Sales Expert

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

When you’re paying for a staff member, you want to get the most out of them. But often, people make the mistake of treating them like a lemon to be squeezed down to the last drop because they want to make the fullest use out of the time that they have with their VA.

You’ve got to have a little bit fun in the day. Have your VA feel that they are appreciated. It’s okay sometimes to have those down times together as well. You’ve got to treat your virtual assistant like they’re sitting in the room with you, at a desk next to you. They are not machines, they are human beings like us. We all need that breather.

People don’t realize how pivotal and how important the relationship that you have together is because all the other stuff you kind of teach, but if you don’t gel and if you don’t have that connection with your team at the moment, you’re actually doing yourself and your business a disservice.

You have to invest time in that relationship, you have to set up times where you talk, have meetings and then you also need time to have a little bit of a joke together and a little bit of a chitchat.

Doing this improves your ability to delegate tasks and practice effective management over your virtual assistant… without burning them out!

4. Dedicate time in training your VA around one specific skill.

- Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth & SEO, Hubspot

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

The most common mistake business owners make is expecting just one person to be a jack-of all-trades. Whilst sometimes people who have a variety of technical skills exist and you can find them, the more things that one person does, the more one-to-one management they need.

So, what you’ll end up doing is, instead of successfully delegating out a wide variety of smaller level tasks to a wide variety of people, which a lot of people think, “Well, more people means more management,” you’re actually having to do a lot more quality control.

One of the things that can work much better is to stop putting all your eggs in one basket. Take someone who is highly specialised in one area and dedicate more of your time to just training them around that one specific skill.

When that person becomes proficient in that skill, you can bring in more people to whom that first person can delegate tasks. You’re starting the kind of delegation process where you have virtual teams that are not only being overseen by you but that are being managed by other virtual members.

That’s where it’s almost like the ‘teach a man to fish’ situation of spending a lot of time one-on-one creating a manager level person within your virtual teams that then can delegate smaller tasks within the team.

When you get to this level, you really start to successfully master how to delegate tasks.

5. Give your VA a lot of training.

- Yaro Starak, Founder, Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

Even when you get someone competent who has the ability to take initiative, you still need to train them. There needs to be a lot of training initially before they can execute their technical skills successfully.

People don’t have the capability to be told something only once and then retain that exact information in their memory, most of all be an instant master of that task. You need to train people. It’s progressive learning, and it will take time. It will be a bit of a painful process until they become proficient.

6. When you delegate tasks, you have to believe in your VA and support their decisions.

- Matt Malouf, Managing Director & Head Coach, The Fortune Institute

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

So many relationships between virtual assistants and business owners fail because the owner’s mantra is ‘They can’t do it as good as me, they’ll never do it as well as I can, they can’t do it as fast as I can, they’re making too many mistakes’ and they adopted this limiting belief that no matter how talented the people are, they’ll never do it as well as them.

It’s rubbish!

The reality is, the first time you performed the task, you couldn’t do it as successfully as you can do it today.

You probably practiced it time and time again, you made multiple mistakes which probably cost you loads of time and money and yet we have this expectation that in a very short period of time, we should be able to train someone once or twice on something, delegate tasks to them, and they can do those tasks as well as we can.

You also have to believe in your people and support their decisions. If they are fearful of making a decision because they think you’re going to yell at them, or reprimand them, or that it may not be the way you did it, they’ll never make a decision, and hence they can’t take over.

If your business has amazing systems and processes that enable your people to make decisions and believe in themselves, then you can confidently let go and successfully proceed with effective delegation.

Systems and processes enable your people o make decisions so you can let go.

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When you’re inviting any team member in, virtual or otherwise, you need to have faith in your system. You need to have faith in your ability to teach somebody how to become awesome at what you can do, understanding and believing that your virtual teams can do it as well as you can, if not better! It’s the essential step to learning how to improve delegation skills.

7. The goal should be eventually to delegate tasks to your VA.

- Dan Norris, Serial Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of WP Curve

tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant

A lot of people say, ‘delegate tasks that you’re not good at’, but the the point of delegation is not to find people to do things that are better than you; it is for you to build a business that can scale and you can’t build a business that scales where you do any of the work.

You should be delegating everything, and learn how to delegate tasks effectively. There’s always going to be a period where you need to do stuff yourself, if you’re starting literally from zero, but the goal should be to eventually delegate tasks and for your work to be something you love doing that you probably don’t have to do.

That’s ideal!

8. Effective delegation involves regular communication.

- Taki Moore, Coach Marketing Expert & Founder, Coach Marketing Machine

what to delegate to a virtual assistant

A lot of people fall into the delegation trap of giving their VAs a task list and then not communicating with them for maybe 2 or 3 weeks and then getting annoyed and saying things are not working. It is one thing to empower people to work alone but it’s another thing to have no check-ins or no leadership in terms of communication.

Most things left unattended don’t do well. And when things fail, it’s when delegation skills need to be improved.

Effective delegation involves having check-ins – daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. You can have a daily check-in for 10 minutes, a way to kind of get everyone on the same page, excited about what you’re doing. Weekly check-ins can be tactical meetings, monthly and quarterly can be strategic meetings.

9. Successfully onboarding your VA may affect your productivity but it will be beneficial in the long run.

- Nathalie Lussier, Digital Strategist, Founder, AmbitionAlly

So many people hire someone and don’t realise that their workload is probably going to double in the first few weeks because they have to successfully ‘onboard’ this person.

Typically what happens is they get frustrated, annoyed, and fire the person, and say, “You know what, it’s just easier to do it myself.”

That’s a massive mistake!

It happens with anyone that you hire. If you spend the time and make it work, in 12 months’ time, your business will be much further along than if you give up and go back to doing everything yourself.

Just have that expectation going in, that you will be not as productive, and yes, you probably can still do things faster if you were doing it yourself, but in the long run, you’ll reap the benefits of delegation. The whole point is to let it go, and have somebody else do it.

10. Workflow automation will make things run much smoother.

- Paul Higgins, Founder, Build Live Give

In a virtual environment, platform is critical to when you’re not face to face. When you delegate tasks, it is critical to make use of project management tools.

You can have tasks lists that actually sit in a project management platform and they’re all the things you have to do on a day-to-day basis and you’ve also got a list of all the repeating tasks.

So if a task has to be repeated, it’s actually automatically put in there so that they can’t forget it.

When you automate your workflows, it makes running your business much smoother and it makes it absolutely dead easy for someone to get something right.

"Workflow automation makes running your business much smoother." 

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There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into automating your processes and practicing delegation, but if you get these right, that’s when you get success.

11. Set milestones where you’re checking-in.

- Barbara Turley, CEO & Founder, The Virtual Hub

If it’s a very big project, you want to make sure that if the deadline is four weeks from today, you don’t want to be catching up with your VA for an update the day before the deadline or on the deadline and expecting it’s all done.

When you delegate tasks to your team, you need to be having milestone meetings as well during those four weeks to check in on, ‘Are there issues? Do you need my help with something? Are there roadblocks? Are there people not getting back to you?’ Things like that, that can really derail projects.

Often we see people just setting deadlines and then coming back on the deadline date and then going, ‘Okay so what’s the deal?’ and if you’re going to be a leader, you need to have milestones where you’re checking in – an oversight.

It gives you a sense of control. Letting go is one of the biggest challenges as entrepreneurs so the milestone check-ins give you that feeling of control in knowing what’s going on, without having to do the doing.

As a leader, you need to have milestones where you're checking in - an oversight.

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12. When you delegate tasks to a virtual team, take full advantage of collaboration technology.

- Gordon Jenkins, aka, The Visible Guy

The beauty with technology these days is you can replicate an office environment in a virtual environment.

Just because they’re virtual, we’ve got this impression that they’re not part of the team. Well, they actually are part of the team. The reason why they’re part of the team is because they’re doing a job that they’re skilled at where you don’t have those technical skills in the team already. And just because they’re virtual, doesn’t mean the communication for effectiveness changes.

Communication is so vital to get the day started properly. One thing to always keep in mind to successfully delegate tasks is that you are working with a virtual team dispersed in different locations. Hence, it is vital to take full advantage of collaboration technologies to stay on top of things and set you and them up to win.

13. Evaluate which tasks to delegate by making a list.

- Matt Malouf, Managing Director & Head Coach, The Fortune Institute

The first thing you need to do in delegation is understand what it is you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, and this is what’s going to give you more leverage.

Just write down what you do in a day. Then from that list, work out what you’re doing. There’ll be certain things that you do as an owner that you probably shouldn’t be doing or things that can be outsourced or handed over to someone else.

From there, you need to start to work through that process of getting clarity on the task, understanding whether there’s a system for the task, but also how long the task takes.

It’s also understanding that your time is valuable, your time is worth money, your return on your time is better spent in other areas, and having a virtual assistant to delegate tasks to and do these things for you is going to be way more profitable for you in the long run.

14. When you delegate tasks, get your VA’s commitment to your business.

- Annette Lackovic, Australia's #1 Female Sales Expert

Delegation is not only about outsourcing the things you don’t have time for to another person; it’s also about entrusting that person to fulfill their role in your business.

Your virtual assistant needs to to be able to connect with your business — to have that connection and feel like they’re part of something. They are part of the team. They’re not just a virtual assistant — they’re actually a part of something bigger.

This is effective management. Our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants can walk you through all you need to know about what virtual assistants can do for your business including what they do and don’t do, who hires them, and where and how to hire one.

When you get your VA’s commitment to your business, it will give them a sense of ownership to the vision. A shared accountability to the business – you get to share in the problem solving and successes of the business.

15. Learn how to successfully delegate tasks to the right person.

- Barbara Turley, CEO & Founder, The Virtual Hub

A lot of people are afraid to delegate tasks because they fear losing control.

But an hour of your day is a lot of time wasted on admin tasks, when you should be spending that time on the things that successfully drive your business forward, not just keep your business engine running.

Delegation is about finding the right person for particular tasks with a clear process, a clear understanding of their role and their deadlines. If you’ve got great people in each seat, it requires very little management from your part. 

But it’s not just about having great people, you need to fully master how to successfully delegate tasks, create a system within the current parameters that you have, with either the people that you have or the time that you have. Create the system and then understand that it’s going to be development of that system over time that leads to success.

It’s having the mindset that the task you’re doing is also something somebody else can do. You just have to ensure that you’ve got good systems and processes that your virtual teams can follow and have accountability around it to ensure that it gets done. When you develop and set up a process for your team – it’s got your stamp on it and your team’s job is merely to execute it. So it’s there to support and help so they can get it right. So then these things will run like a really well-oiled machine, without you having to think about it — this goes to show that YOU ARE IN CONTROL!

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