I’ve talked a lot about the fact that Filipinos are intelligent, educated, have excellent work ethic and are very loyal. This will benefit you immensely when you hire them to work in your business. One thing about the Philippines, however, is that they don’t have the same experienced work force that you’d find in the U.S. For many tasks, the market simply isn’t there. But don’t let this scare you, because with effective training, your virtual assistant can do wonders for you and your business.
Why training is important
It’s no secret that training can be difficult. You may not want to do it. You may be tempted to bypass training altogether, or you may give your new VA a quick overview of their tasks and put them to work. It’s time consuming, requires patience, and it can be frustrating and tiring.
But it’s so crucial.
Would you hire a local U.S. employee for an in-office job without providing them adequate training and instruction? Even a highly skilled and experienced employee will need some training, even if it’s just to familiarize them with your unique systems and processes. How much more, then, does a Filipino VA need your training?
Training builds trust
Filipinos aren’t worried about whether you trust them; they want to know if they can trust you. If they don’t feel like they can trust you, your business relationship will go nowhere, and your VA will likely disappear. On the other hand, trust builds confidence and produces hard work, which leads to excellent results.
When you proactively train your new VA you are immediately proving to them that you are invested in their development and success. You show them that you care and that you are committed to a long-lasting relationship. Not only will your VA appreciate your dedication to training, but they will look to your as their source for mentoring, guidance and information. They will see you as the expert on the task you’ve been assigned. They will believe and follow what you tell them because you will have gained their trust.
Training will build your relationship
Failure to train is failure to develop a good working relationship. Think of the opposite scenario: What does it say to your VA if you don’t take the time and make the effort to teach and train? It tells them that they’re not important enough—that they’re nothing but a tool to accomplish your work. VAs who don’t receive training and who have a poor relationship with the business owner can often feel like nothing more than a slave doing the grunt work. This is no way to treat someone.
Remember, Filipinos are humans. Be kind to them. Be patient and considerate. Take the time necessary to help improve their skills and to make them better workers. They will greatly appreciate this care and concern you show, and they’ll reward you by producing tremendous work.
Training prepares your VA to figure stuff out on their own
Because you have trained your VA in the past, they believe you are willing to help them with their problems and continue training them. So instead of running away or disappearing at the first sign of trouble, they will know they can try things on their own and look for solutions.
They will know you won’t be upset and fire them because you have confidence in their skills and abilities. They in turn will have confidence in your training and willingness to give them feedback. This will empower them to go above and beyond what you have asked.
Having the training to help VAs figure out solutions on their own will be a major factor in keeping them from disappearing. Without question, disappearing is one of the biggest problems I’ve seen in outsourcing to the Philippines. If you want to minimize this risk in your business, make sure you give constant training and feedback.
Types of training to give
Now that it’s clear why training is important and what it can do for your Filipino VA, let me tell you a couple of ways to train. Remember, culturally, there are some differences between Filipino workers and U.S. workers, so it’s vital to know the best methods to teach them.
This is especially important to do when you hire a new VA. I like to create a welcome video, explaining policies. It’s a good way to introduce myself and the VA so they can feel more comfortable with me. Videos let your VA hear your voice and get to know you and trust you better. When you create a video for your VA, you can be clearer with what your expectations are.
Related to videos is the screen capturing and screen recording program Jing. I absolutely love Jing; it’ll change the way you work with your VA. This tool allows your VA to get a visual snapshot of what changes they can make to a task or precisely how you need them to go about the assignment. With Jing, there is no guesswork on the part of your VA. It’s a virtual guarantee that they’ll understand what you’re asking them to do.
Give step-by-step instructions
Filipinos are very good at following directions; you just need to make sure the directions are clear. If they are not, don’t be surprised if assignments are done incorrectly.
Err on the side of being overly detailed in your explanations. Leave no doubt what the objectives of the task are. Spell things out precisely and unmistakably, especially with new VAs. Take screen shots for the steps you are explaining and for different settings they are working with. Doing these things will keep your VA on task and will minimize the chance of them declining assignments are being hesitant to work on certain tasks. It will help the finished product look outstanding, and it will help your VA be more efficient.
Use project management systems and file storage systems
Organization is critical when running a business and working with Filipino VAs, so I highly recommend using a project management system. Basecamp works well in assigning and tracking projects, collaborating with other team members, managing deadlines and milestones, and many other important aspects of a project. Train your VA on how to use Basecamp and make sure they understand its function and importance.
Chances are, you and your VA will be passing a lot of documents back and forth. There are a few file storage programs that work well for easy sharing and storage of Word and Excel documents. Google Drive and Dropbox are two that I recommend. If your VA hasn’t used these before, make sure you thoroughly train them on how these programs function.
Visit ReplaceMyself.com and take the trainings I’ve created there
The website replacemyself.com is an excellent resource for your VA. One of the helpful tools this site provides is business owners can come to us with a product or program they want to use with their VA in their business. We will purchase the product, become trained on it, filter it, and then condense it and let the business owner know what things from the product they should use and what their VA needs to know from it. This process helps the employer know how to better manage their worker as they use the product in their tasks. It helps the VA be more effective in their work. We eliminate unnecessary steps and make it much more efficient process for the employer.
To illustrate this, I once bought an e-book that described a particular marketing strategy. I purchased it because I wanted my Filipino workers to implement it. Because I knew I wasn’t going to be the one who actually implemented it, I was willing to buy it and read it. While I studied this book, I took note of things that I could have my workers start doing and things I wouldn’t have them do. Also, I let them know what parts of the book I thought were particularly important and applicable in their jobs, along with chapters I thought they could disregard and not waste time paying attention to. In addition, I outlined for them specific steps they could take, as mentioned in the book. I gave them specific copy from the book that they could start with so that they understand how I thought it should be done.
Though I read and studied the book, I didn’t actually do the work. Instead I took what I had learned and understood how it fit in my business. I then passed it along to my workers so they could read it and use the parts I thought were meaningful and ignore those parts I didn’t think were important for them.
At replacemyself.com, you can also find are a number of online training courses. Some of these include:
- Article marketing
- Video marketing
- SEO training
- Sales copywriting training
- Digital publishing
- Podcast training
- Press release training
- And many more
Have your VA watch webinars
Webinars are an excellent teaching tool. Your VA can watch and listen to them multiple times, if necessary. You can create these webinars on any topic you see fit. You can also have your VA listen to other industry webinars by successful business owners and entrepreneurs.
Teach them everything you can
Once you find a Filipino who is a good fit for you business, they will almost never leave. This strong loyalty is an asset to you in many ways, including when it comes to training. Because you can be sure your VA is going to be with you for the long haul, you have much more freedom and opportunity to train them on a wide range of topics, systems, processes and business ideas. There’s really no shortage of information you can share with them. Teach them all aspects of your business. The more you teach, the more they will learn; and the more they learn and know, the less you’ll have to do. You can truly replace yourself in your business.
The final word
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of training. It isn’t just a good idea; training is essential. You MUST train your VA—especially when you first hire them but also throughout their time working for you. An untrained VA will be inefficient and will almost certainly end up disappearing are simply not working out for you. Once you’ve hired a VA, make training a non-negotiable priority.
About John Jonas
John helps business owners learn to outsource to the Philippines and replace themselves with virtual assistants.
He founded and owns OnlineJobs.ph.
He currently employs 14 amazing Filipino workers full-time and loves every one of them. He lives in Utah, has a wonderful wife, 5 amazing kids, and golfs 4-5 times/week.
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