If you’ve ever felt like your business has gotten you in the grind for too long and you haven’t got enough time on the clock to get everything done, you’re not alone. There are good reasons for outsourcing work but it isn't until you're bogged down with work that you start considering it.
We’ve been there ourselves, and so have successful entrepreneurs we’ve talked to before. You’ve dreamt of running a successful business and getting to do it all as your own boss, but the reality is that when you finally have it, you become trapped in the daily grind, losing time for yourself and the things you enjoy.
On the other hand, you've seen successful entrepreneurs who seem to have it all together. What's their secret?
Successful Entrepreneurs are outsourcing jobs to virtual assistants!
If you have a business that is starting to take off and you can’t find the time to get everything done, it’s smarter to delegate some of the work. When you’ve already listed your reasons for outsourcing work, the next step would be: where do you start hiring a virtual assistant? There’s often a sense of this adding to the current state of overwhelm because you’re having to take the time to figure these questions out.
What are successful entrepreneurs’ reasons for outsourcing work to virtual assistants?
- Virtual assistants help tackle overwhelm
- They are able to do a myriad of tasks
- They free up time for other things
- They are cost-effective and efficient
How virtual assistants can help tackle overwhelm
There are definitely benefits of outsourcing to virtual assistants if business owners are constantly doing it. You can start the process by listing down the outsourcing pros and cons for your business and how hiring a virtual assistant can help you. Tackling overwhelm is usually the first step — you need to identify all the tasks you have in your business and pinpoint the ones that you can hand over to a VA. Once you have all these things laid out, you will need to be savvy about who you’re going to hire and what role they will fulfill in your business.
A virtual assistant can take care of labour-intensive, often repeated tasks that bog you down and take up so much of your time. Handing over recurring tasks to a virtual assistant can leave you space to focus on other things in your business, such as planning and strategising.
Virtual assistants can handle a variety of tasks
One of the best reasons for outsourcing work to virtual assistants is that they are highly-skilled and competent. Some examples of the work they do are: General administrative tasks and calendar management, social media content management, digital marketing setup and management and related research, and management of systems and processes.
Though we shouldn’t expect virtual assistants to be a jack-of-all-trades, a good virtual assistant is adept with systems and processes for ensuring that those important, repeated tasks get done and you don’t find yourself chasing your tail.
Virtual assistants can free up your time
Have you ever longed to take that much needed break or vacation? The benefits of outsourcing work to virtual assistants do not only cover the tasks they can do in your place, but also the time they save you in the long run.
Successful entrepreneurs who have their business properly systematised can trust their hired VAs to take over when they step away for a trip or a weekend break. Because a virtual assistant can handle the things that used to occupy almost every moment of your day, you can now have a chance to take a breather, no matter how brief it is.
Disconnecting from work every now and then helps you recharge and at the same time, it gives you a fresh perspective on how you can move forward with new concepts and strategies that can benefit your business.
"Successful entrepreneurs who have their business properly systematised can trust their hired VAs to take over when they step away for a trip or a weekend break."
Virtual assistants are cost-effective and efficient
When you ask business owners and companies for their reasons for outsourcing work to virtual assistants, the first thing they might say is that hiring a virtual assistant costs less than getting an additional on-site employee. Because virtual assistants work remotely, companies and small business owners don’t have to worry about providing them the workspace and tools they need. Not to mention, the pay rate of a virtual assistant is considerably less than a full-time office employee.
Virtual assistants are also efficient in the way they work and are proven to be more productive than their office-based counterparts. They have fewer office distractions and most are paid by the hour, so the more they do, they more they earn. Imagine getting more bang for your buck!
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”
While hiring a virtual assistant is a great option when considering your reasons for outsourcing, it would be naive to think that things will be smooth sailing right off the bat. There are some common traps in outsourcing jobs that it pays to avoid, especially when you’re handing over key tasks that are crucial in your business.
Common pitfalls in hiring a virtual assistant and tips on how to avoid them
We often come across entrepreneurs who will say, “Yeah, we tried that, but …” What usually follows are tales about how they struggled with finding a good virtual assistant or they didn’t have the time to go into onboarding, training, or activities that ensure success. Sometimes they’ve struck a really “bad egg” and have had to fire them, then mop up a mess.
You see, there are a few common pitfalls when it comes to outsourcing jobs to a virtual assistant. Fortunately, we’ve come across most of them at The Virtual Hub, so you can put strategies in place to avoid them!
Finding good help
One of your reasons for outsourcing is that you need someone to hand over work to. Everyone wants to avoid the dreaded situation where the person you hire is simply no good or not trustworthy.
Virtual assistants often have responsibility for valuable assets in your business, like your client list, and you need to have confidence that they can be trusted.
Here are a few tips that can help:
- Treat the Virtual Assistant role as vital to your company. With that in mind, you wouldn’t make snap decisions for key roles, right? Go about your hiring process as though your company depends on it.
- Consider your budget. If a VA’s hourly rate is going to give you pause before sending work their way, then this will defeat the purpose of getting help! At The Virtual Hub, our policy is for VAs to do a minimum of 20 hours’ work per week, so that you can really see benefits from having them.
- Look for someone who communicates well. The foundation of making any outsourcing relationship work is good communication. Red flags should include things like being slow to respond to messages (within reason) or a poor grasp of English (or the language you communicate in).
- Look for someone who you can work with. If you’ve read any outsourcing pros and cons list, you’ll often see ‘incompatibility’ as a point under the cons of outsourcing. Just like with hiring office employees, it’s important It tends to work out for the better if you can build real, “human” relationships — a VA is not Siri!
"VAs often have responsibility for valuable assets in your business, and you need to have confidence that they can be trusted."
Training and communicating
We cannot stress enough the importance of communication when hiring a virtual assistant. Another common pitfall is training and communicating with a new VA hire.
Many entrepreneurs have fallen into a similar trap: “My VA completed what I asked them to do, then they came asking for more work. I was spending half of my time finding more work for them, but I didn’t have time to train them on the systems we use.”
The second part of the problem is having good systems of communication. Communication is a key part of both training and the overall running of your business. This shouldn’t turn into yet another “job” for you!
Here are some tips for smoothing these things out:
- Have documented processes. Sure, it might take you a little time to prepare, but this saves you a lot of time in the long run! For example, let’s say you set up and edit a podcast basically the same way every time, try making a screen-recorded video so that you can easily share the process. This avoids situations where you’re having to repeat yourself and taking up even more time. Podcasting is one of the hottest growth trends in 2021. With more people listening to podcasting every year, it's time to get on board. Yet managing a podcast is a lot of work, you will likely need to considering hiring multiple VA's to support on your podcast project or consider hiring a top podcast production company or service.
- Have a clear platform for communication. Sometimes email isn’t the best, right? Messages go missing in the pile and information gets lost in the back and forth. There are platforms available (such as Asana, Trello, or Slack) which help to keep communication in one clear, searchable spot.
Successful entrepreneurs have various reasons for outsourcing work to a virtual assistant, the most notable of which is that they help with the overwhelm. If you’re looking to hire remote staff, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing work, avoid the common traps, and make sure you get the right people.
A productive working relationship with your virtual assistant or anyone else you outsource to means that you don’t make extra work for yourself and you find people you’re comfortable trusting.
If you're still unsure about why you should get a virtual assistant and how you could get one, our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants is here to help you. This guide will show you all the ways that a virtual assistant can help you grow your business and all the steps necessary for having one like how you can hire a virtual assistant and how you can successfully manage one.