This blog is written by Sam Wilson, Co-Founder of Virtalent

It’s always the way. 

Some clients come along with a solid plan in mind and are dab hands at delegating efficiently and effectively. Others might feel a little lost, overwhelmed and unsure. They know they need a Virtual Assistant to help, but they just don’t know where to begin. 

At Virtalent, we like to prepare for both eventualities and so have some tips to help your clients find their way when it comes to mastering delegation. 

1. Understanding their objectives   

Try and understand the objectives your client is looking to achieve by hiring you:

  • Are they trying to free up more of their time so they can spend it on client servicing?
  • Perhaps they’re fed up of missing out on family time
  • Are they looking to increase their sales?
  • Is their team growing and they need an extra pair of hands to help with recruitment?

Whatever objective they have in mind, ensure they communicate this to you. If they are struggling to delegate, reminding them of this objective will help them recognise what tasks to prioritise passing to you and, importantly, why they need to do so.

2. Define your role

Work together to create a list of repeatable and ad-hoc tasks that you are going to be responsible for. If you don’t understand any aspect of what you’ve been asked to do, double-check as soon as possible rather than wait for several days to pass by.

If your client isn’t sure where to start, suggest they make a list of everything they typically do each week and then separate out those tasks that they shouldn’t be doing (if they want to better leverage their time as a business owner) or can’t do themselves.

They can categorise them:

  • One off – event planning, website updates or research.
  • Ad-hoc – travel arrangements, content creation or marketing campaigns.
  • Recurring (day-to-day) – invoicing, inbox management, diary management or social media.

Then they should delegate everything they possibly can from this list. 

3. Align any expected outcomes

As well as understanding the task instructions, it’s important to understand what is expected of you on a more strategic level. What results are you being tasked with and do you agree these are realistic and achievable?

  • Do some of the tasks need to be completed in a certain way?
  • Does the client prefer some of the tasks to be completed in a certain way?
  • Is there a “house style” or best practice within the company or industry?
  • Are there key deadlines involved? Are these business-critical or a preference?
  • What other tasks or projects does this relate to?

4. Encourage suggestions and ideas

Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or discuss improvements to the way things are done.

Clients often know what they want to achieve on some level but are unsure of the best way to get there or even what the end result should look like exactly.

You’ve often been there, done that and got the t-shirt when it comes to many of the tasks you support any given client with.

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas – you are an experienced, talented professional hired to make a meaningful contribution to your client’s business, and not simply someone to “do admin”.

Once you’re on your way to a productive and happy working relationship, don’t forget to review and feedback as it progresses. The more you can make proactive suggestions, the more rewarding the relationship will be for both of you!