If you were gifted with an entrepreneurial spirit, you likely have a get-it-done attitude. This is great for new businesses, as you’re likely willing to put heaps of sweat equity into your project before it even sees a dime. There does however come a point where you can’t do-it-all yourself, and the smaller tasks keep you from growing your business. Let’s look at when you should hire a virtual assistant, and why it will help you grow.
When and Why You’re Ready for a VA?
Eventually, your business will reach a point where it can’t be run efficiently anymore with just one or two people. The tried and true “warning” sign that you’re ready for a virtual assistant is when you find yourself putting off a block of projects to work on another. This could be putting off larger growth goals to do daily maintenance tasks, or vice versa (foregoing maintenance tasks to grow the business on a larger scale). Both of these situations left unaddressed could put your business in hot water before you know it. Here are some signs you’re at a point where you should consider hiring a virtual assistant.
You no longer want to do the simple everyday maintenance tasks: Becoming frustrated by doing theses tasks, which are still essential to your business, is a clear sign it’s time to hire a VA. If you continue to do these tasks, while being frustrated, your productivity elsewhere will suffer.
You are ignoring or shelving essential tasks: I touched on this a bit earlier, but if you are putting work on the shelf in order to do important tasks or vice versa, you are in dire need of a VA.
Someone can do it better: This one might make some people upset. But there is a possibility that some of the tasks can be done better and more efficiently by someone else. Personally, I’m a do it yourself-er to a flaw, and it can have a measurable effect on the quality of your output.
You’re feeling overwhelmed, or are lacking work-life balance: As you’ve probably experienced, sometimes you can get an unhealthy obsession with your business. However, it’s important to get some time off for yourself to decompress and organize what’s going on with your business. In fact, you might even discover your next breakthrough while resting your brain.
If any number of those apply to you, it could be time to start preparing to hire a virtual assistant. All four of the reasons above can prevent your business from reaching its potential. If you’re shelving tasks because of time restraints, doing lower quality work due to skill or lack of interest, or just feeling overwhelmed, your business isn’t reaching its full potential.
Even if you sense yourself approaching one of those points, it’s time to start planning for an assistant hiring, whether it’s virtual or in-house.
Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late to Hire a Virtual Assistant
While your new virtual assistant may doing less complicated work for your business, it’s still a hiring process that you should invest time and effort into. At some point, a good VA can save you time, money, and help grow your business. You should treat it the same as if you were hiring a new manager or upper-level employee.
Because of this, you need some time to prepare for onboarding a new hire. Nobody knows the ins and outs of your business better than you, and no one knows them less than someone who has never worked for you! It would be great to hop on a Skype call for 20 minutes and make your decision, but there is a higher probability of that person not working out, or even not doing any work at all. And sometimes that last point isn’t even the VA’s fault. If you aren’t prepared for a VA, odds are it’s not going to work out this time, and you’ll need to hire again. Try to have these things ready before you begin the hiring process for a virtual assistant:
Create a list of tasks you want your VA to complete: Go through your workload and determine what can be off-loaded to the assistant. This will be key in completing future steps. Don’t skimp on this step and create a list in your head either. Document it in a tangible space on paper or word document. From this list, you can decide how many hours you will need your virtual assistant to work. It will also alert you of any special industry knowledge they may need to know (this will also raise your cost to hire).
Analyze the cost benefit of hiring a VA: At first glance, it might seem like this should go before step one, but consider this. Since you don’t have a plan, you don’t know what time you're saving, or the cost of the work you’re shopping out.
Set up some form of task tracking: You may already be doing this if you have other employees or partners. You want to have a system in place to track tasks and discuss projects. Again this is all building up to having a solid foundation for your new hire to work from, so don’t forego quality for the sake of time.
Create a training document for your virtual assistant: You’re spending your time, and time is money, interviewing and onboarding your assistant. Giving them the best training materials off the bat will get them rolling, and get you back to growing your business.
The entire hiring and onboarding process can take up to two months. That’s why it’s critical to recognize you need to hire an assistant before you actually need to hire one. Unless you’re an automation legend, you won’t have less work to do as your business grows, so keep that in mind.
Once your assistant is up to speed, you can use this time to do what you do best, grow. So if you’re at a point where your young business has hit a plateau, look to see if hiring a VA is right for you.