Talk to an entrepreneur and you’ll hear a lot about hats. How many hats they’re wearing. How they juggle all their hats and also how they wish that someone else would wear a hat or two to give them more time to get to the real business at hand: Business development and sales. While they’re smart in almost every arena, delegating is not one of them. Often their strategy for freeing up their own time and wasting less on administrative details is no strategy at all: They simply hope things will get better. (Hint: They won’t)
My advice to entrepreneurs weighed down by all those hats? Take the very popular and proven step and introduce yourself to what I like to call the new business sanity saver: A Virtual Assistant.
According to Alicia Jay, owner of New VA Advice, "Hiring the right VA can be a game changer. The biggest benefit is that, when you partner with your ideal virtual assistant, that person can help streamline your processes and take care of all the minutia of your business, so that you are left with time for the things only YOU can do in your business. You can focus on your passion, being the face of your business, and growing your business."
Alicia isn't alone in singing the praises of VA's as virtual business sanity savers: According to Geeta Nadkarni’s article in Entrepreneur Magazine
...hiring a Virtual Assistant grew her business and changed her life.
Another fan of VAs? Diana Gottsman of Inc Magazine. In her article titled, “Virtual Assistants are the Best-Kept Secret of Modern Productivity” she gives Virtual Assistants the kudos they so richly deserve saying,
Despite bold visions and big plans, entrepreneurs often get bogged down by mundane tasks while building a successful enterprise. A Virtual Assistant can come to the rescue.
As the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Influence, my business coach, Shelley McQuade of Cypress Strategies urged me to take advantage of the services offered by her long time Virtual Assistant Salma Burney. Her goal was to get me to remove a few hats and take a few tasks off my to do list. It took me years to finally send the email asking for help. The result was, as Shelley predicted, just the rescue I needed.
With so many people singing the praises of Virtual Assistants maybe you’re ready to connect with a few to see if there’s a good fit.
Four services Tara loves to offer:
Office Administration, Mail Chimp Email Management, Social Media Management, Real Estate
How Tara will make your life easier:
Providing her clients with the highest level of service is a no-brainer for Tara. A skillful task manager, effective problem solver, all delivered with a sense of inspiring humor is a trademark of Tara's. One of her mantras? "Your time is valuable and I want to help you focus on what you’re good at by taking the headache out of juggling multiple projects at once." With expertise in a wide variety of tasks, Tara's services will help you stay organized and make your company run smoother.
Tara’s inspiration to become a Virtual Assistant:
Tara loves working anywhere in the world and the flexibility being a VA fit perfectly with her traveling lifestyle. Helping people and being organized comes easily to her and her niche for seeing a problem and finding a solution means she's invaluable to her clients.
Tara's advice for any business owner sitting on the fence about working with a VA:
Try it. Don't knock it until you've tried a VA. You might just love it!
Four services Amanda loves to offer: Anything design related including newsletter design and setup, layout and design of opt-ins, PowerPoints and workbooks. Her forte is working with clients through their online launches (challenges, courses, and webinars) because it encompasses strategic planning and creative tactics, taking advantage of her unique skill-set in one go.
How Amanda will make your life easier: Creating an online launch or doing DIY design can be a pain in the butt. Letting her handle the planning and implementation frees up a significant amount of your time and energy. As Amanda tells prospective clients, "if you're looking for a VA to complete your daily to do list, I'm not that person." Instead she encourages them to think of her as their online cohort or visual sidekick who has your back to make you and your business shine.
Why you should stop procrastinating and hire a VA: Amanda says you don't have to do it all, in fact you shouldn't be doing it all. Know your strengths and focus on them. Find a VA with the skills you need who can help you move your business forward. Having someone to bounce ideas and strategies with - a second brain to pick and a second set of eyes can make all the difference, especially for solopreneurs.
Four services Salma loves to offer: Designing e-newsletters, social media management, creating and updating documents, presentations and workbooks, instructing business owners on how to better use online office programs and even your smartphone and tablet.
How Salma will make your life easier: When client's present their problems to Salma she provides out of the box solutions that are simple, efficient and affordable.
Salma's inspiration to become a Virtual Assistant: After 23 years as an Executive Assistant Salma needed a change. She heard about being a VA while attending a Learning Annex session. She thought, "Wow I can have variety every day!" She loves knowing she makes a positive difference in her client's business; she can work from anywhere and any time there is internet. She loves that there is no more typical workdays for her!
The reason solopreneurs and businesses with 2 -10 employees hire Salma: To save time so they can focus on business priorities, save money compared to hiring staff, have a team member so they are not "going it alone", flexibility in terms of how many hours of support they need each week and the ability to have staff without a physical office.
So now that you've excited about the idea of growing your business by doing less... How do you make sure you’re a good fit with your future team member? To help us know what questions to ask a potential VA we turned to Tawyna Sutherland, the market leader to the Virtual Assistant industry and host of the always popular Virtual Assistant VAvirtuosos Seminars. For for the past 15 years Tawyna has worked with Virtual Assistants, training them, educating them and helping them be known for the sanity savers they are. We asked Tawyna what two questions she would ask a potential Virtual Assistant during our first call and here’s her advice:
1. Where do you see yourself three years from now, what are your business goals?
Asking this question helps you find out how committed the VA is to their business or are they just a fly-by-night VA wanting to make some quick holiday spending money. It helps you weed out the losers. The ultimate VA relationship will be long term not short term. You want a VA who is in it for the long haul and who will be an asset to your business by learning all about it so they can help you make money in it.
2. How do you communicate with your clients?
Communication is the key to successfully outsourcing work to a VA. Virtual Assistants usually have a project management system in place that they use with their clients to help them keep organized, keeping their correspondence and documents shared all in one place. Also find out how long it takes for them to respond as you'll most likely want a response within 24 hours.
As a fellow entrepreneur I encourage you to take off one or two of the hats you wear so you can focus on your highest priorities. You can work with one on a short term project or work towards a long term arrangement, but either way, give business sanity a try … I think you’ll like it!