In this video I’ll cover:

  • What cross-training means and how it can help you avoid a crisis
  • Why a backup plan is critical to avoiding a stressful situation
  • How to ensure someone is ready to fill in at a moment’s notice

Watch the video:

Click here to ask Melissa a question.

Time Freedom Video Transcript – How to Survive a Team Member Crisis

(Click here to download a copy of the transcript of this video)

It’s Melissa Ingold from and today I’m going to answer one of my reader questions. Carrie asks:

“I know I should be outsourcing more, but I’m worried about what will happen if my VA has a death in the family or is too sick to work, or just drops the ball and missing something. How can I make sure I have all my bases covered just in case something goes wrong?”

This is really about how to survive a team crisis. I’ve been outsourcing since 2006, so this has happened quite a few times. I have learned from those experiences and I want to give you some suggestions to help you avoid this, because I see this happening all the time where people hire someone, something comes up and that person is no longer able to work.

I recommend that you have your main VA, but I also want you to have a backup VA. Someone who you bring on board and you cross-train them so that way they can step into the shoes of your main VA if something happens. Not only that, it’s smart anyway because your VA is not going to work 365 days a year. They’re going to get sick, something is going to come up, they’re going to want to go on vacation. To have someone else that can step in and take over is just plain smart, a smart business move. That way you have someone that can just slip in and fill the role of your main VA.

Cross-Train Your Staff

Like I said, you’re going to have to cross-train that person so that they know how to do everything that your main VA knows how to do. What you want to do is to assign small projects, kind of keep them on board, assign little things here and there so that way they are working with you, they’re doing things, they’re good at what they’re doing, but they’re not a full time VA.

You can also connect with your VA and talk to her about this. Ask her, “Do you have any backup plans for when you’re sick or you go on vacation? What do you have in place to handle that?” A lot of VAs will have their own backup person.

I have an audio/video expert who is awesome, she does lots of stuff, she has someone that she has trained to step in and take over when she’s on holidays. She actually just had a baby, so she had trained someone and that person was able to just slip in and do the work while she took some time off for maternity leave. No hassles, no problems, the work got done, it was beautiful.

Talk to your assistant. If you don’t feel like you want to bring on someone else right now or you don’t really want to spend that money, it just doesn’t feel good, then talk to your existing VA and see what she can do. Chances are VAs have a lot of connections, they are connected with a lot of other virtual assistants in the industry, they have friends and colleagues. See what their plan is, see what they have set up, and then work from there.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Coming back to your question, you always have to have backup in place. You have to make sure that multiple people in your business are trained to do different things.

For instance, my project manager and my executive VA are both trained to handle customer support. There have been times where they have had to step into that role and handle customer support in cases where things kind of blew up. They knew how to do that, they were willing to step in and do that until we could make other arrangements.

I would have been completely freaked out, stressed out, just going crazy if something happened with my customer support team and I had no one that could step in and do that. It would have just been a mess. This way I had made sure that before anything ever happened I had a plan in place, because I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before something would come up. I was prepared for that, so it was a matter of asking my project manager, “Can you step in and do this until we can find someone else to fill that role?”

Yes, no problem, she was trained in it and she knew how to just step in and take over. Same with my executive VA, she can step in and take over when things happen.

You always have to have backup people and a backup plan. When you prepare for that, then when things do happen it’s just going to be a lot less stressful, a lot less chaotic, and you’re just going to feel so much better. And your team is going to function better too, because they are going to know that they’re not just suddenly going to have this craziness happen and have to figure out what’s going on. It’s just going to make everything flow so much easier and be way less stressful.

Make Arrangements Before Anything Happens

I hope that helps you out. The key takeaway for this is to have backup, create a backup plan. Find out what your team already has, if your VA has a backup plan in place. Start now and make that happen, put it into place, make arrangements before anything happens. That is the key takeaway for this video.

If you would like to ask questions or share comments about this video, I would love for you to go over to my Facebook page at and I’d love to connect with you there.

Every Thursday I’ll be answering a reader question. If you would like to submit a question for me to answer, I would love for you to hit the link below this video to send us your question and I would love to answer it. That is all from me. Take care. Bye.