In the busy world in which we operate as female entrepreneurs, with overwhelm and burnout becoming more and more common, I’m going to tell you how to get your very own fairy godmother in business.
Come on ladies – it is okay to admit that we all need a little help sometimes.
It is an all too common problem. We see so many solopreneurs burn out once their business gets going, because there is just so much to do.
Most business owners have a very specific set of skills. These are the skills that are worth money. They are the skills that you are paid top dollar for. So stop working late nights on administrative tasks, stop spending your weekends writing captions and scheduling social media, stop swearing at your computer because those accounts just don’t add up and you missed yet another gym class, family dinner or bedtime story.
Get yourself a Virtual Assistant (VA) to do these tasks for you.
Anything that you do repeatedly in your business – that you don’t enjoy doing – can and should be passed on to a virtual assistant.
The beauty of hiring a VA is that you can get someone to work for as little as a couple of hours a week. What is currently taking you hours and hours to do could be done in half the time by someone who specialises in just those exact tasks that are making your business a nightmare instead of a dream.The beauty of hiring a VA is that you can get someone to work for as little as a couple of hours a week. #virtualassistant Click To Tweet
This can be managed by most budgets and bring more relief than you realise by getting these things off your plate. Chances are that your VA will become more efficient and effective than you could ever be once they settle into the role.
A major roadblock for many business owners is the fact that they have to “train” their VA.
It’s true – you do have to train them, but not how you think. Start off small and work your way up. Simple tasks are the best starting point, things that are very easy for you to show someone how to do (or that they may know already). And you can then buy yourself time by adding new tasks each week or month, or whatever your timeframe and purse strings permit.
A Virtual Assistant will need to understand your vision, mission, values and brand to be able to truly perform the role.
So, hire the person that can truly understand those things. They will already know how to perform the tasks you need, you just need them done in a way that reflects what your business stands for.
Personally, I know that I run the gauntlet. Unless I am working with a deadline and it is imminent, I tend to put things off. I am a crammer – always have been.
So jumping into having a VA has forced me to create the systems and processes she needs to help me. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. I did start with the super simple and easy stuff and it was a great way for her to get to know me and my businesses.
One great benefit I hadn’t seen coming, was that when I had to sit down and map out what I was doing before handover, I found lots of little things that I could automate with apps, and lots of little ways in which things could be done better. My VA certainly had great ideas about how to improve things too and as a coach I am very aware of the benefit of getting another set of eyes on things to gain a different perspective.
So don’t get overwhelmed – get excited!
Think about what tasks you need to get done and how long they generally take.
Here are some examples of what a VA can do for you:
- Check emails
- Prepare proposals
- Follow up with clients
- Make sure projects and tasks are complete
- Post to social media
- Create social media posts
- Basic graphic design
- File taxes
- Update QuickBooks
- Make sales calls
- Follow up on unpaid invoices
- Communicate with clients to understand what needs to be done
Create a Virtual Assistant Roadmap
Write down everything you do in a given day, assign an energy level, decide what you can do and what can be delegated. Close your eyes and imagine what your day would look like if those tasks that drain your energy levels weren’t there any more.
To make this task easier, try downloading an Ultimate VA Task list and highlight everything on that list that you do. There may be more you can add to the list, but this is a great place to start. This visual representation of everything that could be done by a VA may surprise you. It will also make you realise that you are doing a lot of tasks that you don’t need to be doing yourself.A visual representation of everything that could be done by a VA may surprise you. It will also make you realise that you are doing a lot of tasks that you don’t need to be doing yourself. Click To Tweet
As you go through your day, try and make a note of how long each task is taking you to do. At the end of the day or week, add up how much time this is – are you surprised? This is time you could get back and use in a much more productive and meaningful way.
Do Everything as if it’s the Last Time
Start annotating your day-to-day, by completing workflows, writing down the steps of each task, and making sure the workflow instructions are something a 6th grader could follow.
Pro Tip: It can be even more helpful for your new VA if you video yourself performing tasks. These will become your training videos.
Training videos are one of the best tools you can make for your business. Hiring staff doesn’t always happen perfectly the first time around. You may hire a few before you get it just right – and that’s ok.
Recruitment isn’t a perfect process for any business.
Create a Job Role
Create a task list for your VA so that they have set responsibilities. Decide how you’ll meet (phone, video, etc) and what method to set expectations/maintain accountability.
Because your assistant is virtual you need to make the effort to meet regularly to discuss progress, expectations, and ideas. Unless you can communicate what you need and how you need it – and be reasonable about how long it will take for your VA to learn – well they are doomed to fail.
Do an Admin Stocktake
Look at your current workload and establish timelines and deadlines, and look for responsibilities that you can outsource. If you are currently feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do in business then take stock of what you need to do, what you want to accomplish and assess if this is doable on your own.
Give Your VA Time to Learn How to be You
Make sure that if you’re going to hire a VA that you’ve made time or are planning to make time to train them properly – otherwise it’ll be more trouble than help. Your VA isn’t you, so factor in that it may take them longer to complete tasks than it takes you, at least until they are well versed.
As I said before, it is a good idea to start with a smaller set of tasks for your VA, let them become proficient at those tasks and then add to their list gradually.
Meet Your VA Regularly
Make sure you’re meeting with the new VA every day for the first few weeks to make sure they’re on track, then meet with them at least once per week. Because your VA is not sitting at a desk in your office, you won’t be interacting with them in the same ways you would with employees.
So it is really important that they feel like an important part of your team. Even though they are working remotely, don’t forget that they are people – get to know them.
Is Money Really Stopping You from Hiring a VA?
You will need to review your budget and decide how many hours you can afford for your VA to work for each week.
You need to understand that you will experience a dip in your profit when your VA first starts. It will take time to train your VA and this is an important investment. Once your VA is established enough to work independently you will then have the time available to you to spend on more valuable tasks. This may be time with your family, time for yourself, or time to perform high income generating tasks in your business.
“Bringing great people onto your team is about demonstrating that size really doesn’t matter – people do.”Jess Campbell
When I was young I remember my mother often saying to me “It takes a village to raise a child”. I didn’t take much notice of this until I had children myself. Being in the Navy meant that I was not living near my family when I had my children. We moved every 1-2 years, so establishing that village was a challenge. Then when I found myself finally moving back to my hometown I was on my own.
It was a difficult time but you would think that having my village around me would make it easier. But after just a couple of months, my mother went into hospital for a small procedure and the world turned upside down. She didn’t have the procedure, she didn’t come home ready to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. She declined quickly and three months later she was gone.
I realised I hadn’t returned home to find my village, I had returned home to be the village. I had never felt so alone.
It didn’t occur to me to reach out to anyone.
I was drowning and at that time I was working so hard to keep my head above water I couldn’t think beyond that. So, I don’t recommend doing that. We all need help and it is ok to ask for it.
So many times I talk to women and the obstacles usually boil down to money, time, clarity, and support. Women seem to suffer from one or all of them. When you are sitting in that space it seems like the solution is insurmountable, you might resist this statement but here it is – I help you find solutions that work, you just have to ask how.
A VA can be the answer to your prayers if you know how to find the right one.A VA can be the answer to your prayers if you know how to find the right one. Click To Tweet
I believe that the statement “it takes a village to raise a child” is true. But as women, this is where our strength lies. It comes from the way in which we form strong bonds and collaborate. Your business is no different. It takes a village to build a business as well.
Your “village” will already consist of a number of people, but a Virtual Assistant will provide you with something highly valuable to most women in business – time. They will pick up the tasks that are taking up your time, are not particularly enjoyable for you, and will take away some of that stress and overwhelm.
Those things are priceless – so isn’t it worth it for the amount you’d pay a VA per hour?
“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”Ginni Rometty
Where to Start Your VA Hunt
When considering where to start with finding the right VA at the right price here are some things to consider.
Local or International?
Hiring a VA locally (e.g Australia) will cost more than an offshore VA (e.g Philippines). While your first consideration might be money, stop and think. Look at the job role you’ve created and the list of tasks you want performed. Sure, some of these tasks can easily be outsourced offshore, however, you may want a local to perform the more technical/specialised tasks.
I have a team of VA’s that are a mix of offshore staff and locals. The tasks they perform are suited to their skillset and hourly rate. My Australian VA is highly educated and extremely fast working. Some of the tasks she performs are more suited to a local, such as contacting my clients – as her local knowledge and higher education are necessary for this.
However, my offshore team is also amazing. They are also well educated, and their tasks are well suited to their skillset. Unfortunately with them being overseas, there is a time difference. And while this is not an issue in my business, it may be for yours, so keep this in mind.
Freelance or Agencies?
Hiring from overseas can be done through platforms like Upwork and Fiverr (usually best for ad hoc tasks although you may find some people there to perform regular work). You can also try an agency if you want more permanent staff. And even with an agency, you have options. Many agencies provide candidates that you then train, while other fully managed agencies provide training and supervision. You may also have the option of hiring someone who will work from home or someone who will work from a managed office.
My own experience has led me to hire staff that work from a managed office. They are supported there (and have more reliable internet access).
So what lies ahead for you is for you to decide.
You can keep going the way you are, hoping for that day to come where it all gets easier, or you finally catch up with the help of your very own fairy godmother.
And if you’re interested in learning more about outsourcing, check out this article: Build Your Dream Team by Outsourcing the Boring Bits.
If you would like an honest assessment of your readiness for a VA, then book a 30-minute discovery call with a Fempire Coach, where we can walk you through the process of getting the help you need and deserve.
Samantha is a Fempire Coach and business leader who is dedicated to helping women to succeed as fempreneurs. She is a process-driven strategist who has visionary problem-solving skills and managed to raise a family of five children while running a successful business.