How to Write Fool-Proof Instructions for Your Virtual Assistant
Hello and welcome to Lesson 7!
Today, you’re going to learn how to write a fool-proof set of instructions to outsource your diet to a virtual assistant. The structure you’re about to learn is based on nearly two years of incremental improvements and can be used for almost any type of outsourcing task.
Let’s dive in!
Part 1: The Introduction
First, you should set the scene and explain what you’d like your assistant to do, without going into too much detail. You should also explain how your assistant can reach you if they have any questions.
Even if you discuss this information over email or chat with your assistant, you should also write it down in case they are on leave and has cover. Here is an example I sent after an introductory Skype call with a new assistant:
Here is a list of steps I’d like you to carry out in order to assist with my diet planning and grocery shopping.
Please could you complete the steps at least four days before the preferred delivery date (specified later). You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues at any point.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions
Next, you should lay out the exact steps that your assistant should follow. The easiest way to create these steps is to do it for yourself and write down what you did.
For outsourcing your diet, you will include steps to:
• Select recipes (from Lesson 5).
• Create your meal plan.
• Add the ingredients to your online basket.
• Prompt you to review your basket and check out.
When you’re starting out with a virtual assistant, I recommend being as detailed as possible. Over time, you can get away with less detail (your assistant might even suggest a better way).
Here is my example again, which you can copy and modify.
1. Go to: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/search.
2. Filter search using options on left-hand side as follows:
• Course: Select “Main course.”
• Time: Select “1 hour or less.”
• Cuisine: Select “Mediterranean.”
• Skill: Select “Easy.”
• Rating: Select “4 stars+.”
• Servings: Select “4 servings.”
3. Select the required number of recipes for four weeks’ worth of meals.
4. Review each of the recipes, and build a list of non-perishable items, including dried seasoning, spices and herbs, dried stock, oils, butter, condiments, wine/alcohol, dried pasta, rice grains, and seeds. Then calculate the total amount required for all the selected recipes.
5. On the first week of the meal plan, log in to my online shopping account (details provided later). Reserve a delivery slot. Add all the non-perishable items listed in Step 4, plus the fresh ingredients for just the first week of meals.
6. Send an email confirming the total order cost and the expected delivery date and time. Also, attach an updated meal plan, including links to each of the recipes and items purchased (using template provided).
7. For each subsequent week of the meal plan, log in to my online shopping account. Reserve a delivery slot. Add the fresh ingredients for the next week of meals. Do not include any of the non-perishable items. Send the same email as detailed in Step 6.
Repeat from Step 1 once the meal plan has finished.
Part 3: Additional Information
To complete your step-by-step instructions, your assistant will typically need to know a number of specific details. This could include:
• the number of meals per week
• the number of portions per meal
• your budget
• your online shopping account details
• additional items to add to your shopping basket and frequency to add
Put this information into an easy-to-read format, like this table:
[The additional information for my diet hacking request]
Once you have all your information, combine your introduction, step-by-step instructions, and specific details into one single document, and send it to your assistant.
If you can, store the document in a shared folder that you both have access to—for example, on Google Drive. You can both update and improve on the instructions as you learn what works.
Your assistant will typically have a few questions, but most bases should be covered, and they’ll be able to get to work right away!
Tomorrow, you’ll discover how to supercharge your results.
Create instructions for your assistant with this template.
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