Business Owners Guide:
outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant
This guide will tell you everything you want and need to know about outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant. We’ve made it easy for you to jump to different sections using the menu below.
As a business owner, time constantly feels limited. Trying to attend to every area of your business, as well as stay on top of digital and industry trends and changes can have more negative than positive effects. Being constantly overloaded and overworked just doesn’t allow you to be the best you can be. That burning urge to offload is very common and in fact, a natural part of your businesses journey as it flourishes. Which is what has led you here.
The thought of putting your trust in someone else can be daunting, but you shouldn’t disregard this option until you have explored everything, gathered all the facts and tried it. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zones to be able to move on to the next chapter. This guide will provide topics around the wonderful world of outsourcing to a VA, including an explanation of why, when and how to outsource effectively as well as the benefits. Once you know all you need to know about outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
What is a Virtual Assistant?
The term Virtual Assistant (VA) has become more and more recognisable over the years, particularly amongst small business owners and entrepreneurs. You may have heard different terms such as Virtual PA, Virtual Office Assistant or a VA. Maybe you are more familiar with the terms outsourcing or a freelancer. All refer to someone who offers businesses support with tasks and projects remotely. The assistance and skill set of a VA are endless, they literally come in all shapes and sizes. General VA’s can assist with a variety of day to day tasks whilst your specialist VA will have a more defined set of skills under their belt.
When to outsource to a Virtual Assistant
You may be getting things done by yourself, but are you completing them in a timely manner? Are you producing quality work? Are you seeing results? When you find yourself asking these questions as well as lacking time, knowledge or interest, it’s time to reevaluate the way you are working and what you work on. Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant may very well be the next crucial step you take in order to reach personal and professional goals. Here are a few more common reasons you will be able to resonate with.
- Your business has started to grow but you need another you to get it to the next stage
- You’re forever feeling like there are never enough hours in one day
- Double bookings are being made, appointments and opportunities missed
- You’re having to turn away work, it’s become almost impossible to do it all alone
Rather than an undefined approach like, “I want a VA to help me grow and save time”, be specific. Do you have a newsletter that should go out like clockwork every week or month, but don’t have the time? Do you want to experience an inbox zero system? Take the time to ask your self these questions.
What do you really need help with? Understanding this will allow you to work out exactly what kind of support your business needs as well as the skill set, experience and knowledge required when ready to outsource to a Virtual Assistant. Knowing what you want from the get-go will get you off to a strong start.
What are the benefits of collaborating with a VA?
A never-ending to-do list can pull you away from the tasks that really count when it comes to growth, leaving the gold mine tasks unattended or neglected. Collaborating with a VA really can be a pivotal moment for you and your businesses journey. They support you helping lighten the load, so that you can focus on areas you enjoy, excel in and that ultimately helps build your business. We prominently work with small business owners but no matter what your business size you can benefit.
Think about it, if you are spending all your precious time working in your business instead of on it, how are you fueling your business growth? Working with a Virtual Assistance comes with many benefits for small business owners looking to grow, work smarter and save time.
- Flexible working
- Do not have to worry about paying, sick days, holiday and pension
- Pay for what you get, we only track the time spent on your projects and tasks
- Additional skills set brought to the table that you can utilise
- Access to paid software and apps that your VA purchases so you don’t have to
- More productivity and less stress
How can I spot a good Virtual Assistant?
You’ve decided to take a leap of faith and find a Virtual Assistant, but the task you tackle next is knowing where to start and what to look for. It can be a tricky one especially when you are on new grounds. As you will see from your Google searches there are many choices available but not all will be a good fit for you. Make sure you zone in on some of the most important and valuable skills and qualities that are important to you and your business. We have listed below some of the qualities we believe all Virtual Assistants should have:
- Impeccable time management
- Can bring new ideas to the table
- Problem Solver
- Great communication skills
In addition to this, you will want to make sure an agreement and non-disclosure form is provided to protect yourself and your business. Here are a couple of other things you will want to ask:
- Do you have professional indemnity insurance?
- Are you registered with ICO
- Do you have any reviews
How much does a Virtual Assistant cost?
This is the question that many business owners want to know above all others. How much does this amazing support cost? Is this option affordable for me? Virtual Assistants understand that no two working relationships are the same and that every business is as unique as its owner, which is why they provide options. One package that is popular, and you will most certainly come across when doing your homework, is Retainer Packages. These are hourly bulk packages you can purchase on a rolling agreement. Some also offer bespoke packages for a particular service which is usually an area they are experienced and specialise in.
The cost of a VA comes down to several factors. The level of experience, the number of projects/tasks you want to outsource and the budget you have set aside. All will all be contributing factors.
What tasks can be outsourced to a Virtual Assistant?
There are numerous tasks that you can outsource to a VA. We broadly fit them into three categories: Business Administration, Marketing and Design. This, of course, will differ but we thought it would be a good starting point for you to get an idea of what you can delegate.
You can outsource any of the tasks you would usually expect a personal assistant, secretary or office manager to deal with, as long as they can be done remotely. This could be booking meetings, organising travel, email and diary management, digital organising and a whole lot more.
Designing may not be your strong point but could be your Virtual Assistants. When starting up or re-branding you will need a logo, website and stationery, these are all a must for any serious business owner. Then there is also social media posts and headers to think about, as well as your promotional material such as flyers, business cards and merchandise. There are so many VA’s out there that will passionately do this day in and day out, and better yet do an amazing job delivering results you would not be able to achieve.
This is another broad subject with many categories. You can outsource content writing, blogging and email campaigns to a Virtual Assistant, all the tasks that eat up a lot of time and dedication that you just don’t have available. Consider working with someone who has a specialist skill set to really reap the rewards. This really can be effective, particularly when talking to your target audience.
What tools can I use with a VA to work effectively?
Throughout your relationship, you are going to be working on a number of different projects and tasks. This means sharing emails, documents and anything else required to get the job done. Trawling through email communications can be a headache, eating up a chunk of time you never accounted for. The complete opposite of why you outsourced in the first place.
Using a project management system is a must for a truly effective organised team. It allows you to assign tasks, set due dates, communicate and upload files all in one place making it much easier to refer back to later. It may be another tool you need to learn how to use but we can guarantee you will not look back. If you are not already using something like this in your business, you will soon find yourself using it professionally and personally. Your Virtual Assistant will most likely use a project management tool already so should be able to recommend one and walk you through it.
How to work with a VA? The do’s and don’ts
Here are the things you should do when working with a VA:
Trust your VA. All good Virtual Assistants will thoroughly research their tasks and ensure they know exactly what they are doing before commencing. If they need clarity on any aspects, they will ask.
Give clear instructions as to what you want to achieve. This ensures you get the results you want.
Inform your VA of your priorities. They can deliver the work in the order that suits your business best.
And here are the things you should not do when you outsource to a VA:
Don’t micromanage your VA. The reason you starting outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant was to free your time up. They are professionals who are used to working on tasks independently.
Don’t forget to set deadlines for work. If you need something finishing by a certain date, tell your VA. They will make sure it is complete.
Don’t ignore your VA. Communication is key and although you don’t want to be constantly messaging back and forth, keeping in contact can help. A regular phone call allows you to keep track of tasks delegated, also giving the VA a chance to suggest other ways to save you time.
If you want to know more about working with a VA, there are a number of resources you can use to help. Here are a few suggestions:
Outsourcing to a VA is not just a good idea, it can be essential for taking the weight off your shoulders. There is so much to do away from your main tasks that it is easy to either put them off or complete them without the care and attention they need. You need to concentrate on driving your business forward.
Make sure you book in a free consultation today so we can help you work out which aspects of your business can be outsourced most effectively.