I’m going to come right out and say that working effectively with a virtual assistant is not about outsourcing tasks. Sure, that’s part of it, but if that is the entirety of how you view your relationship with your VA, you are severely limiting the potential of the relationship.

Let me back up a minute. I’ve seen a number of blog posts lately about people who have hired a virtual assistant and proclaim to have the secret to working with a VA, as outlined in their post, “Tasks I Outsource to My VA to Save Time and Money” or “What My VA Does That I Don’t Have To,” or something similar. While I love seeing that people are hiring virtual assistants, I can’t help but feel that they are totally missing the point. It’s not just about outsourcing tasks. The true value of a virtual assistant is so much more.

If you just started working with a VA and have focused on delegating tasks and assignments and not much else, I urge you to explore some of these new areas with your virtual assistant. You might be surprised how much more valuable your VA becomes to you.

Aim for a Long-Term Partnership

With the right virtual assistant, you can develop an efficient relationship, and over time, your VA can become a vital asset to your business. If you think of your VA in these terms, he or she will get to know you, your business goals, your clients and your needs so he or she can almost anticipate what you need before you need it, make suggestions that effectively improve your bottom line, and research creative solutions to your most difficult problems.

Pick Your VA’s Brain

If you’re unsure what direction to take with new projects you want to outsource to your VA, or don’t know the best way to send the VA detailed information, ask! Your VA has likely been in this situation before and can provide some valuable advice to help you get started. I bet he or she also has some great recommendations on new work to delegate and tools for doing it more effectively.

Ask for Referrals

Your VA may not have all of the skills necessary to get a particular project completed, but they may know someone who can fit the bill. Ask for referrals of VAs who have that necessary skill instead of doing your own search. Most likely it will be much quicker and their working relationship will be smoother since they know and probably have worked together before.

Join Forces

A good, well-matched virtual assistant is more like a business partner than an assistant. Imagine what you could accomplish if you joined forces and collaborated as mutual partners. It could be a joint product, a JV opportunity or anything that utilizes your strengths and your VAs strengths to create something valuable together.

If you’re reading this list and thinking, “There is no way I’d do any of these things with my VA,” then I would tell you that you haven’t found the right virtual assistant for you. Try searching the VA Hub’s Virtual Assistant Directory, or get some tips and advice on finding and working with a VA in the Clients section of the Virtual Assistant Hub.

And most of all, keep an open mind. When you find the right virtual assistant, you’ll know it. And if you give him/her a chance to contribute, you can benefit in ways beyond what you ever expected.

Image credit: bluegum