Here’s a question for you: do you think you need a virtual assistant to help you manage your business? Yes, no or maybe? It’s most likely a case of you don’t know what you don’t know, and if you’re anything like Sam, then this is the place for you.
Sam’s a new business owner. She’s just set up a business running from home, buying in and then reselling baby toys and clothing to the general public. She’s set up a website and used her experience (before kids) as a photographer to take her own product photos for the site. There are a few things that have got her stumped though:
- What will I use to keep track of money?
- How do I promote myself without spending any money?
- What social media channel should I post on?
- When will I be able to reply to emails when I’m busy with my daughter?
- What goes in a newsletter and who will I send it to?
- Will I ever get a day off work again or get to bed before 1am?
Sam is obviously in a bit of a pickle here. She loves the flexibility of running her own business from home. But she’s getting stressed putting in the long hours necessary to get her business off on the right foot. Frustrated with doing so much and seemingly getting nowhere, feeling overwhelmed and overloaded, she’s wondering if indeed she does need a virtual assistant to help her out.
If you’re like Sam, you’ll be wondering that too. So, today we’re spending time focusing on explaining what a virtual assistant is, identifying if you are ready to outsource work from your business, and learning how to hire the right VA for you.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant or VA is a self-employed personal or administrative assistant. Traditionally thought of as a personal secretary, the role a VA performs nowadays varies considerably from typing letters and answering the telephone. In fact, many VA’s specialise in specific areas such as project management, receptionist duties, data entry, bookkeeping and even marketing. Who you choose to hire as your virtual assistant partner depends on the types of skills they can offer you, as well as the quality of their work.
A virtual assistant can perform a range of roles, using their skills and experiences to help you with:
- Data entry
- Creating and posting on your social media page
- Creating, uploading to and managing your website
- Writing and sending out your newsletters
- Organising appointments
- Creating and sending invoices including matching payments received
- Answering emails and messages received via social media or chat features on website
- Researching projects
- Website development
Even if a VA doesn’t list or advertise a specific service, it doesn’t mean that they don’t offer it. Take us, for example, we can come to your office to help cover sick leave or support your staff during your busy times.
Using the services of a virtual assistant can bring you multiple benefits, including:
- Paying only for the hours you need help for
- Getting your life back – seriously, you’ll free up plenty of time by outsourcing
- Benefiting from skills you don’t have
- Freeing up time for you to concentrate on tasks that will grow your business
We could be slightly biased here, but we think every new business owner should use the services of a virtual assistant. So, let’s look at how to tell if you are ready to outsource work to a VA.
Are You Ready to Outsource Your Work?
Sam is at the point where the thought of using a virtual assistant sounds great. She’s just not sure if she’s at the stage where she can give someone else work from her business to do. If this is you too, take a look at these three signs which show you’re ready to outsource to a VA:
- Your business is making enough money – you’re going to need to pay for their services obviously, as well as cover your own costs. We find that many new business owners start off by hiring a VA for a few hours a week and then upgrading their package once they have more money coming in.
- You have systems and policies in place – a VA will know exactly what to do and what is expected from them from your current systems and policies. If you don’t have any, that doesn’t mean you can’t hire a VA. But rather that we could help you create some to ensure you get the most for your money. Take a read of our article You Need an Office Procedure Manual: Here’s Why to learn more about this.
- You’re ready to let things go – this is the hardest part! Letting someone else do something for your business can feel like you are giving up your baby (almost). Think of it as delegating tasks you’d rather not do so you can concentrate on the ones you want to do.
Sam decided that yes, she could cover costs successfully and still pay herself. She didn’t have any systems and policies in place, so she asked for help on creating those. She identified the ways a VA could help her, and she has decided which tasks she’d rather not do – and give to her VA instead!
How You Can Hire a Virtual Assistant
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s more to hiring a VA than just finding their website on the internet. We believe there are three important steps to follow when choosing and hiring a VA for your business:
Step 1: Make a To Do List
Outsourcing is all about you and what you need done. Before you can hire a virtual assistant, you need to decide what you need help with. Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What should I be doing to grow my business?
- Which tasks do I struggle with or not enjoy doing?
- Are these tasks ongoing or one-off tasks?
You will also need to take into consideration the systems you have in place around these tasks. How easy will it be for you to hand this task over to someone else? Perhaps these tasks could be automated? If so, you can find a VA who can help you automate your workflow.
Step 2: Hire a Virtual Assistant
Once you have your to do list sorted and you know what tasks you need done, the next step is to hire a virtual assistant.
- Do a Google Search for “virtual assistant nz”
- Ask in your business network groups for recommendations
Create a shortlist of Virtual Assistants and visit their websites to learn more about them to see if they have the skills you need. Make sure that they tick all the right boxes for your needs.
Here at InDeed We Can, we are happy to do a couple of one off tasks to see if we are the right VA for you before you commit to our retainer and service packages.
Step 3: Nurture and Grow
Hiring a VA gives you back your time, which as a small business owner is one of the most precious commodities you’ll ever have. To make most of your virtual assistant and the benefits you can enjoy, you will need to spend time with your VA to train them and ensure they understand how your business works. Remember, communication is key here, so using tools such as Trello to keep track of to-do lists is a smart decision.
We’ll ask you again: do you need a virtual assistant? If you support getting your business back on track and moving forward, then yes you do. We’re here to help support you in any way we can, performing tasks which help you focus on the things you want to do and remove your overwhelm. If you’re ready for a chat, book your free discovery call today.