When you own your own business, it’s all about efficiency. Having those processes in place and delegating tasks that others can do.
Sometimes it’s easy to know exactly what you want to outsource – especially if you don’t have the skills for it. But what about those little tasks that are taking up your time? Time that you could use to take your business to the next level?
So, where do you begin on deciding what to outsource? Here are some ideas on where to start your list.
- Tasks that you HATE doing
You know the tasks – the ones you put off until the very last minute and then you drop everything to do them. You have the skill to do them, but you just HATE to do them.
- Tasks that you don’t have the skills for
These are the tasks that you have research on how to do it or take classes for. Yes, DIY saves you money, but are you saving money in the long run? How long are the research and class taking you and then to do the actual task? Think about the money you could be making if you didn’t spend that amount of time on learning and doing the task.
- Tasks that are repetitive
These are the easy tasks that you do day-in and day-out. The time you spend on those tasks adds up. What if you wrote done the process and delegated it to someone? How much time would you be able to add to working on your business instead of working in it?
- Tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list forever
The “I’ll get around to it someday” tasks. These are the great ideas you have and have never acted on. What if you did complete those tasks? What would your business look like? Would you have better processes in place? Would you be able to increase your income? Would you be able to spend more time enjoying life?
- Tasks that you enjoy doing, but should really be growing your business
These are the “working in the business” tasks that you enjoy doing, but you still need to schedule the time to do them. As a business owner, you should be working on your business – the income generating activities – and not the “back office” items that keep the business running or even are an expense of the business.
Can you imagine the time you will free up if you outsource these 5 types of tasks?
Do you need even more ideas for items you can delegate? Check out this list by Chalene Johnson – Delegate or Die. The list covers not just business, but also personal tasks! Who says you can’t have a “personal assistant?”
And – enjoy your newly found time.
You’ve finally decided to outsource some tasks and know what you want to delegate. How do you know what virtual assistant is right for you?
Let’s start with the fact that every Virtual Assistant is different – different in their pay structure, different in how they work, different in the quality of their work. Keep this in mind researching your Virtual Assistant.
Even before you start researching, ask yourself the following to make sure you get the right Virtual Assistant for the task:
- Are you in a special line of business (i.e., Real Estate, Legal, etc.)? Are the tasks that you are delegating something that a general Virtual Assistant can perform or do you need a specialty Virtual Assistant?
- Are you ok with being one of many clients or are you looking to be the one and only client?
- Are you ok if English is the second language?
- Do you already have the procedure/steps written down on how to perform the task?
- Do you have an idea of how many hours a specific task should take?
- Will the VA use your login and password or are you able to create a separate account and give them rights?
Now that you know what you are looking for, how do you find a VA? Here are some ideas:
- Reach out to your network – you probably know someone who has used a virtual assistant in the past.
- Check local chambers or BNI (Business Network International) directories – there might be a VA that you didn’t know about.
- Look on LinkedIn to see if there is a VA in your extended network and ask the mutual connection for an intro.
- Look on Facebook and online – There are also a bunch of different Facebook groups and online forums for Virtual Assistants.
There’s no doubt you will find a Virtual Assistant, but are they the right fit? When you talk to them make sure you find out some of the following questions. This is sort of an interview process for the both of you – just without resumes – but of course, there should always be a LinkedIn profile and a company website.
- How long has the VA been in business?
- What is the VA’s work experience?
- Do they bill by the hour or by the project? Do they have additional fees for rush projects? Do they give an estimate if by the hour? Is there a minimum billable time? Is there a contract? What is the minimum for the contract?
- Do they have the right equipment and software needed to perform the task that you are delegating?
- Do they know how to use the software that is needed to perform the task that you are delegating? If not, how will training be done? Will you pay for the VA to take a course? Does the VA expect to be paid for the time they are being trained?
- Where are they located? Are they in the same time zone as you? What are their core hours?
- How do they work? What kind of lead time do they need for projects?
- What is the typical turnaround time?
It’s a process – you are hiring and trusting a person with your business. But when you find the right person, it will all work out because there is something that every single VA should do for you – give you back your time to work ON your business and not IN your business.
As a small business owner, you are constantly juggling tasks for your business. Sometimes there are administrative tasks (working IN your business) that are easy for you to do, but you know you should really be doing something else (working ON your business). Maybe you just don’t have the skills or time to figure out how to do a task. There is a solution – a virtual assistant – also known as a VA.
A Virtual Assistant is a person who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
That being said, there are many different types of Virtual Assistants, and they usually have a specialty. It could be administrative – from answering phones to bookkeeping. It could be social media – posting to your social media sites to e-newsletters. It could be marketing – creating graphics to managing your website. There are even some VAs who have a niche, and they work only within a particular industry. There are also full-time Virtual Assistants who will only have you as a client.
A VA is great for those business owners who know they need help, but aren’t quite ready to hire an employee or to be responsible for payroll taxes or employee benefits. As an independent contractor, a VA is responsible for all of the employment taxes, and can be used for a single project or just when you need them. A Virtual Assistant also provides their own equipment and software.
Remember, a Virtual Assistant is NOT an employee, so don’t expect a resume. Do expect them to be knowledgeable and give examples of what they have done for clients.
Virtual Assistants are found throughout the world, and are usually in business for themselves just like you. Do you mind if they aren’t in the same time zone? Is the VA a solopreneur or part of a team?
Not sure where to start? Start by reviewing your daily tasks and decide which ones you can delegate, then outsource a couple of small tasks. That way, you can make sure you and the VA get along professionally and work well together.
Every Virtual Assistant is different – different in their pay structure, different in how they work, different in the quality of their work. So, before outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant, make sure that expectations are understood on both ends.
Using a Virtual Assistant is a great way to grow your business. How? You get your time back to work ON your business instead of IN your business.