Remember that a major part of the objective of having a personal assistant is that he or she will hopefully become an extension of you. It’s the closest thing to being able to be in two places at one time. You want to train them to think as much like you as possible and to process things the way that you would process them.
Here are some key processes that will help you create a strong communication system of SOP (standard operating procedure) with your assistant:
- Morning Call – Make sure that you talk the first 15 minutes of every day if at all possible. This is especially crucial with your very first assistant and during the first few weeks of working together. They can only accomplish what you direct them to and the more time you spend with them the more apt they are to start thinking and acting like you.
- The “Don’t Forget” E-mail – Each morning you should get 1 e-mail with a list of bullets that simply state what times and with whom all of your scheduled and confirmed appointments are at for that day. Sometimes it helps to have your significant other CC’d as well so that they have an understanding of what you’re doing.
- Daily Stats (Previous Weekly Stats on Monday) –Each morning you should get 1 e-mail with all of the activity stats of your entire team from the day before. That way you can quickly go through it and identify any “situations.” On Monday mornings there won’t be any stats, of course, so what you want to do is have him or her deliver a statistical recap of the prior week including daily performance, weekly totals, and totals to date for whatever period you are monitoring.
- V-mail E-mail – Have your assistant check your voice-mail always and send you a bulleted list of who called and what actions were taken.
- Master Travel Itineraries – Have your assistant think through all aspects of a trip when you head out of town including weather, special packing needs, addresses, phone numbers, air transportation, ground transportation, notes on payments that must be made or received upon arrival, etc.
Next is winning at the e-mail battle! One of the main items that your assistant can help you with is managing the flow and control of all of your incoming e-mail. Please read my article called “Don’t be a Digital Pack Rat: Winning the E-mail Battle.” When it comes to e-mail your goal is to get your inbox down to zero each day and you’ll want to do a couple things (this is how my assistant and I process such a large volume of e-mail each day):
Master E-mail (Mid Day Master E-mail) – this is basically 1 email from your assistant that consolidates all of the items that have hit your inbox and what actions have been taken on them. After some training he/she should be able to effectively complete 80% of your e-mails without your explicit instruction and then you will just see the action that was taken on the master e-mail. Typically I’ve requested 1 e-mail per day except when first working together at which time I ask for 2. Also, after time and trust has built you don’t even need to get this e-mail every day from your assistant because you can trust and know they are just taking care of stuff for you and then you would only need one on very high e-mail volume days or days where you’re not in front of a computer at all which may only be once in a while. Remember to forward e-mails to him/her out of your inbox with instructions on how to process each one. It is the #1 METHOD OF TRAINING for a virtual assistant. Give them very detailed instructions and have them catalogue certain types of e-mail instructions as SOP which should one day become a training reference guide for all assistants (you’ll need more as your business grows).
As far as specific types of e-mails, here are some more tips:
- Batching weekly e-mails with attachments into one – If you have a bunch of people sending you attachments, have your assistant compile all of those e-mails into 1 e-mail with the necessary attachments you need. Or just have him/her store them and ask for the documents as you need them. (You can send a flip drive once a month to have them backed up and sent back to you).
- Deleting multiple strings – It’s amazing how many e-mails we receive that we’re CC’d on with many other people. Have your assistant delete all the back and forth e-mails to a large e-mail group of people with the exception of the most recent one.
- Social networking e-mails – He/she can accept all friend requests for you and then include in the master e-mail summary who you’ve connected with.
- Calendar appointments – A very large number of e-mail have to do with calendar requests; COMPLETELY OUTSOURCE control of your calendar to your assistant. This empowers him/her to take care and process a majority of these with their own discretion. You simply create SOP for what types of activities should happen during what times of each day and what times of each week. For example, every Wednesday night is private date night with just AJ and I. My assistant knows not to schedule anything in that slot. There are many other protected times like church time, paying bills time, prospecting time, etc.
I know there is a lot here but this one thing alone will improve your efficiency and lower your stress tremendously. T. Harv Eker said in Secrets of the Millionaire Mind that middle class people think in terms of either/or; such as, “I can either make a lot of money and have a successful business OR I can have a great family life.” Rich people ALWAYS think in terms of both; such as, “I can make a ton of money AND have a great family life.” These strategies will help.
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See you in the stairwell,
Take the stairs – Success means doing what others won’t.