We’ve decided to update our previous video on how to use Basecamp so that you’re using this platform effectively to help the virtual assistant understand your tasks.
Use Basecamp for all tasks
Some of you have never used Basecamp before and may be reluctant about using new tools, but there are many reasons why we suggest Basecamp and provide it for free instead of relying on emails. Firstly, emails can get lost, simple as that. Secondly, sometimes you might put multiple tasks in an email and after corresponding back and forth, individual tasks can get lost. Emails also don’t allow you to tag deadlines. Lastly, if you’re emailing your VA and they’re away or unavailable, you’ll have to forward those tasks again. Basecamp is much clearer and centralised to solve all those problems.
Break down individual tasks under a to do list
One important mix up is mixing up tasks and the to-do list. One thing you shouldn’t be doing is adding tasks in the comments of the to-do list itself. For example, in the ‘Design’ to do list, don’t click on the title of the to-do list and start assigning tasks in the comments, these won’t allow you to assign the tasks, add deadlines, and can be easily missed.
The correct way to do this is to:
- ADD a to-do task UNDER the to-do list – e.g. underneath the ‘Social Media’ list, add ‘Review my FB page’ or ‘Add my logo to FB’ – make sure they’re related to the list!
- Click into the TASK and provide more instructions and attach any files
- Make sure to SELECT any people you want to notify
- ASSIGN a person and deadline – if you’re unsure of who, just assign it to whoever you’ve been contacting (Wendy or myself) and we can assign it to the correct person later
Tip: make sure you don’t put long and winding instructions in the task name – keep it short and save the detailed instructions for later.
In each task, provide full instructions! (Links, samples, screencasts, forms)
Firstly, provide any links that are necessary. For example, if it’s related to your website, provide a link to it. If you’ve got a sample website you like, provide a link to that.
For instructions – if it’s only a few steps, typing out your instructions is fine. But if it’s complicated, try to not provide 10 step instructions, instead, create a video screencast. Screencast-o-matic is our preferred tool and it allows you to share your screen and record audio instructions at the same time.
Use forms where you can. We’ve got a few forms which are useful for you providing us with the appropriate information for various tasks. Simply check outsourcing angel’s useful forms and if you fill out any, let the VA know so that we can look out for your filled out form and bring it over to Basecamp. If there are any forms missing, feel free to suggest them to us.
The general rule of thumb about instructions is that if (when you check your own instructions) you don’t understand it, neither will the VA. Avoid being too detailed or too vague. Being on either of the extreme may mean we have to constantly go back and forth with you instead of working efficiently. You can read more here on Getting your VA to work autonomously.
We’ve got some general rules about how long to expect to wait (see below!), but otherwise, make sure you add a deadline to every task.
Assign to project manager
Again, if you’re unsure who to assign your tasks to – just assign it to Wendy or myself and we’ll fix it for you.
Check who is being notified
Whenever you add comments to your tasks, you’ll have an option of selecting who to notify. Make sure you select the names of the persons necessary – if you’re unsure, you can select it all and we can unselect ourselves if we don’t need to be notified. If you DON’T select anyone, no one will be notified of your task.
Allow 24 hours for a response
We always aim to check your tasks within the day, but unfortunately, we have limitations.
If you have urgent tasks to be done by the day’s end, you may want to give us a call or separate email to get our immediate attention (and we’ll do our best to meet your needs), but otherwise allow for 24 hours for a response. This won’t necessarily be 24 hours to complete the task, though we will try, but all we can promise is a prompt response. We might ask more questions, for an extension, or simply acknowledge the task and proceed to work on it.
Expect a minimum 48 hours turnaround time
We’ll try to complete tasks ASAP (within 24 hours) but expect expect 2 days for any task, and longer for more complicated ones. Rushing deadlines will give less productive results.
Be proactive and use other solutions
Most tasks will run smoothly, but if you notice that for a particular task you’re going back and forth with us and wasting lots of time, try communicating with us in other ways. A call (just tell your VA the time to be on Skype) might be easier, or even a screencast to show what you need. There might even be a form that will help you give us clearer instructions.
For all tasks, we aim to complete within the deadlines you’ve set, but if you’re worried about any urgent tasks – try to minimise any issues by following up with the VA. We train then to be proactive in keeping you updated, but by both sides working together, we can maximise an effective working relationship.
Tick off completed tasks
No tricks here – when it’s done, try to tick it off. It makes Basecamp cleaner and less stressful to look at. (A cleaner Basecamp also makes sure that tasks won’t be missed in the mess!)
Allow VAs time to get used to you and your business
We provide you with efficient, experience VAs that can do your task, but that doesn’t mean they’ll know the ins and outs of your business right away. Let them get used to your business, your style of communication, and the way you get things done. As soon as they’re used to it, they’ll get faster as time goes by.
Be friendly but assertive
This is a bit of a balancing act, but it’s not too complicated. Treat your VAs like your friends – if you’re kind to them, they’ll feel much more empowered and will work even better for you. But still try to be assertive. If you don’t give any feedback on what you’d like them to work on and how you’d prefer things done, they won’t be able to improve. Just make sure you are respectful and friendly while you do so.