Training doesn’t have to be that hard. Just putting a little effort in makes a big difference.

Homeschooling my daughter has forced me to teach her a lot of things I know nothing about. One of the things she learned how to do, even though I had absolutely no talent for it, was music.

My daughter is musically inclined but she’s not a genius. She’s just really interested. But interest can only get her so far. I think what allowed her to keep going was how invested we were in her training.

I think it’s the same with training your Filipino virtual assistant.  Whether or not it’s a task you know how to do, it’s not enough to just throw resources at them. They might learn on their own if they’re interested, but what if they’re not? If you want them to acquire skills that you can use, you need to do a bit more.

1. You need to follow up on them. I could have easily just let my daughter study music theory on her own. But I wanted to make sure she was learning. So every once in a while I would ask her how she’s doing. Can she show me what exercises she’s done? Can she show me why her answers there are correct? I still can’t tell you the difference between chromatic and pentatonic scales. But I know my daughter can because she’s shown me her work. She knows how to play those scales. And she will go out of her way to correct me if I say something wrong about them.

It’s the same with your VA. They’ll know you’re invested in their training when you ask about their progress. You’ll know that they understand the resources you sent them when they can explain what they learned.

2. You need to give them opportunities to practice what they have learned. We have a small house and a trumpet can be really intense. But she can’t really develop her skills if she can’t practice them. So whenever she can, she’ll play our national anthem for online class. She’ll play “Happy Birthday” on Zoom for friends and family. She played Christmas Carols. Played along to music videos of her favorite bands. 

These little exercises did help her to gain more confidence. Same thing when training your VA. Like, when John had me learn ebook marketing years ago, he gave me small tasks that I could manage everyday. And if I made a mistake, it was okay. Since they were small tasks,  it’s something I could easily fix. That gave me the confidence to keep working on it and eventually explore other things to learn on my own.

3. Give them room to learn on their own, if they want to. As I mentioned, my daughter has expressed wanting to learn to play the trombone. That means I’m going to have to go through it all over again. Months of listening to her: 
 * play out of tune 
 * playing her scales again and again and again, 
 * play too loud or too soft
 * learn to play a song and get frustrated when she doesn’t get it.
But the good thing about this is I don’t have to be as involved anymore. I know she’s interested. She knows I’m invested. The challenge doesn’t scare her anymore. She knows she’s going to rock it.

That’s what I felt when John sent me stuff to learn on my own over the years. When I first started, I was so afraid of making mistakes. I emailed John a lot. But now, he just sends me stuff and I learn on my own. He gives me room to try stuff out. People make mistakes.  John forgives. I guess that’s why, years later, he has a team that can do practically anything.

Next week I’m going to have tips from my OFS team for how to better manage them.