WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO BRING A VA ONTO YOUR TEAM?
The right time to hire a Virtual Assistant is right before you think you need to/can afford to! Remember, your VA is an investment, not an expense!
The best time is when your business is growing to a point where you reach maximum capacity… at that point you are slower to follow up with new clients; you may reduce your marketing efforts and then your business goes down a little.
You experience a status quo; there’s success, but also a feeling of not being able to do it all. If you see a cycle of up and down, up and down, then you are at the point where you should consider hiring a Virtual Assistant.
Or if you feel that you are too busy, but there’s not enough money – if you are really clear on what you are going to do with the extra time that is freed up by a VA, then you will be very happy with the results.
You need to be really clear about what you are going to do with that time to make the rest of your business more profitable; or it can give you time off that you need to recover so you can be more focused and engaged in your business.
If you want to grow a business, there are only so many hours in the day – you have to extend your reach by getting other hands involved. The only way you can create more time is to use someone else’s time to assist you.
If you feel you can’t afford it, i.e. you are barely making enough money, and the thought of committing to spending even more can be frightening, remember your VA can do some things for you in half the time it might take you. You can’t multiply your hours by their cost, because they will invariably do it in much less time!
What are the development activities in your business that you can’t get to? If you have a long list of them and they are going to be income producing, or even residual income producing, then you just have to go for a VA!
Most VAs will work as needed the first month, and then after that you set up a retainer. What you need first is to see if you work together well. The second month you can figure out the budget - is it worth it? - should I give them more or less work?
VAs are not employees; they are independent contractors, and you can arrange for them to work as many or as few hours as you need/your budget allows.
A really good VA will constantly be on the lookout for more tasks they can help you with. Remember your budget at that point.
When you hire a VA you are usually looking for relief; one of the mistakes made is advocating - just handing work over and not bothering about it again because you are so fed up with it and don’t want to see it again! Sometimes that works (e.g. design projects with specific parameters), but it is most likely a relationship that will only last a month.
The second mistake is core planning/lack of preparation: everything from getting your processes written down, to writing down excuses for why not to delegate. It is important to have a plan for the time that you are going to gain back. Be aware that if you hire a VA for, say, 10 hours a month, you are not going to gain that time back for a couple of months – you may spend that much time training them, answering questions, perhaps doing half the work yourself. However, it’s a wonderful process when it’s over! But you need to give yourself that 60 day window.
Don’t hire a VA until your own time management is at 90%... be sure you are managing your own time before taking on an assistant. Hire a VA because you are maxed out, not because you are feeling lazy! If you are maxed out doing the wrong things, that’s not a reason to hire an assistant.
RULE OF DELEGATION
When you look at your TO DO list, you want to look for tasks that do not require your personality or your expertise.
These should be delegated as soon as possible!
The first thing to delegate varies for different business owners - as a rule of thumb, delegate the one task that makes you feel queasy; the task that you dread! Getting this out of your head, and reducing the stress surrounding it, is priceless! It helps you to work productively on other items by not having to worry about this task.
HOW DOES YOUR VA HELP YOU GENERATE MORE REVENUE?
This is where you need to look 60 days out to see the real relief, and 90 days to see the revenue shift. The immediate relief you will experience is when a task you dread is no longer on your plate. You know that, within a period of time, this job will be done!
HOW DO I BRING A VA ONTO MY TEAM?
In the preparation phase people need to know what they have to do before hiring a VA, so that time doesn’t disappear into their schedule. Master the rule of delegation; have good interview questions prepared; identify what is going to bring the most benefit to your business. Work out your priorities, your projects… what aren’t you getting to?
Communicate with your new VA and tell them what your expectations are with you and your clients; be prepared to train them, with procedures you would want them to follow, even though they are using their own expertise. Communicate your wants, needs and desires, so people can respond to them.