“Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Have An Assistant!
Running your own business is bloomin’ hard work. There’s no surprise that there are a multitude of hats to wear; graphic designer; social media expert; bookkeeper; admin assistant; and so many more. Some of these fit nicely, and some, not so much! Finding a balance can be a challenge. It’s not so much fun when we’re wearing all these other hats more often than the one that fits us perfectly, the one where our expertise, love, and passion lies, and the reason why we set up our business in the first place!
The thing is, we don’t have to continue wearing all those hats (apologies for the constant use of the hat analogy – you get my point!), especially if doing so is preventing us from achieving our goals and the life we want. This is where outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant or VA is going to be your saviour.
1. Why Outsource in the first place?
There are many reasons to outsource tasks, here are my top 6!
- we don’t want to learn it
- we dislike it
- it takes us too long
- we don’t have the software or equipment for it
- we don’t have the expertise
- lack of time
Outsourcing within our businesses is no different from outsourcing in our personal lives. Yes, we could have a go at plastering that wall but do we have the time? do we have the tools? and will we get the result we desire?! If you’re a plasterer reading this, then you no doubt answered yes to all these questions, for the rest of us, it was probably a resounding no!
2. How can outsourcing benefit me?
Freeing your time
One of the key benefits of outsourcing to a VA is that it will create more time for you and let’s face it, our elders are always telling us that “time is precious”. It’s up to you how you wish to utilise this gift, as the possibilities of what can be achieved by having time are endless. Would you create new opportunities, take up a new hobby or spend time with your loved ones?
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time”
Jim Rohn – American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker
Another hugely important benefit is that by doing the stuff we are great at and enjoy, it goes a long way to helping you stay in love with your business which in turn will keep you motivated and aligned to the reason why you set it up in the first place.
If something is not your expertise, the chances are that you are not going to achieve the results you had planned or hoped for, remember the plastering the wall example! Running your own business is about playing to your strengths which will allow you to move forward.
“Do what you do best. Outsource the rest”
Peter Druker- Austrian management consultant, educator, and author
Increased efficiency and productivity
It goes without saying that outsourcing to an expert will mean that they can get the project completed in less time and far more efficiently than you can because they well, have the skills, knowledge and experience along with doing that type of thing day in and day out plus they will already have the tools available to do the job so it may be more cost-effective for you.
Most businesses have spikes and troughs for all kinds of reasons. This past year in particular having a huge impact. Having a no-commitment flexible arrangement that adjusts with the ebb and flow of your business needs is a great way to manage your business workloads.
Having an employee creates a lot of overheads such as NI and pension contributions, annual leave, office space, desk and equipment, maintenance of that equipment, and recruitment costs to name a few. Having flexibility and only paying for the hours worked when you need them can bring you money savings along with the saving made by handing over to an expert who can do the job in less time.
Also, there is what you outsource. If you hire a VA to streamline your business systems and processes, research deals, lead generation and follow up, or assist you with your business growth, you may find that not only are you saving but your VA could be a return on investment!
Peace of mind
In this day and age when life is so busy, it is extremely important to take care of ourselves. Being able to hand over those never-ending niggling tasks or that ad-hoc project knowing that it is all being taken care of can reduce some of that stress and overwhelm and make life easier.
3. What can I outsource to a Virtual Assistant?
Bearing in mind that no business in the same. The list of what can be outsourced to a VA can vary hugely, so whether you’re a one-man-band, a small business or a large company with many departments, administration runs through and intertwines every aspect of a business like cogs in a wheel. And for every aspect of a business, there is a VA who has the relevant expertise gained from working in a certain role, specific department, or type of industry, or it could be a passion and skill they have developed from running their own business.
Now, I’m not going to create another list of all the tasks that Virtual Assistants can take care of, so if you are still reading and wondering, here are 101 tasks to outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
4. Identify what you can outsource to an assistant – a little exercise!
For some, knowing what to outsource is as clear as day. But for others, it can be as clear as mud. This can easily be down to being so busy being involved in the day-to-day tasks of the business that you can no longer see the wood for the trees.
When speaking with prospective clients who don’t know what they can outsource because they have so much going on, I urge them to take a little time out to do the two activities below, these help them identify what they can delegate.
List on a sheet of paper all the tasks that you need to do. For example, those tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list for months and keep getting pushed aside for whatever reason.
Draw up a 4-section matrix as per the below graphic.
Enter each task from your list onto the matrix according to what is of high importance to your business, what only you can do, to what you can delegate.
I hope that carrying out this exercise not only highlights what is important but also what you can outsource to benefit yourself and your business.
5. Finding the right Virtual Assistant!
This isn’t necessarily about what platform or method you use to find a VA, but more about finding the right VA for you. What does “right” mean for you? Is it skillset? Expertise? Industry knowledge? Personality fit? Or something else? Understanding this can help when you start this process.
For those of you who already know a VA that is right for you, great. If you’re not in this position and you need to start from the beginning, then here are some tips.
Many business owners leave it until they are at a panic point before hiring a VA. Don’t be this person, use your time to carry out your search to find your right VA.
Check out their website, business page or profile, do they have the skills, experience, and knowledge you are looking for and do you like what they are about? If you are looking for a VA to create graphics etc, do they have a portfolio? For more important information refer to section 6 “The Essential Checks”.
Arrange a one to one if you have met on a networking call or book a discovery/consultation call (usually free with no obligation). This is a great way to ask further questions, to find out how they can help and if you will be a good fit.
Don’t feel you need to decide during the call if you want to work with them or not and certainly feel free to ask if what you’ve discussed could be briefed in an email for you along with their next steps process. Most VA’s will do this as standard, but some may not.
From here, you’ll be able to make a decision on which VA is right for you. Which leads me to some important checks to be aware of whilst carrying out this process.
6. Essential checks to make when looking for an Assistant.
During your search process, it is important to know the key things that every VA should have in place and this list will help you to carry out those checks.
• Testimonials and reviews. These can be from a VA’s previous employer or a previous client. Either way, it is good to understand what their skillset, expertise and knowledge are and what attributes they have along with being able to see evidence of how they have helped.
• A VA should provide an agreement/terms & conditions/contract. This is extremely important as it outlines where both you and the VA stand with everything from fees and working hours to ownership and confidentiality.
• Valid Business Insurance. A majority of VA’s hold Professional Indemnity Insurance at the very minimum.
• Valid registration with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office).
Now you know
Now that you know why, how, and what to outsource as well as the benefits outsourcing will bring to your business and what to look for, let me tell you a little about my niche. I’m a general VA or your ‘girl Friday’ with a particular interest in organising chaos, business processes, systems and data management. I also enjoy taking on the things you need to do but don’t have the time for such as template creation, design of brochures, course material and lead magnets, and email marketing setup.
Connect with Lynn
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Visit my website: https://www.lynnreesva.co.uk
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