Let me be brutal.
If you want a successful business you can DIY it with the best of them but if you want to SCALE up, un-tethered by a glass ceiling then you will, at some point, need to outsource.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, my business is built on your need to do this at some point and yes, of course I would love for you to contact me here to discuss your needs.
That being said, this post is more about you than me. It’s about you figuring out if you are ready to outsource and also what you should be thinking about outsourcing.
Recently, when discussing with a client her needs for the new year I used the phrase ‘What are you doing now that whilst useful, is using up too much of your time and not actually making you money?’ there were a lot of things to come out of that conversation including the following sentence;
“Well everything I do makes me money they’re all important”
I don’t disagree that all the work should get done and that it’s all important, but I believe that YOU are not the one that absolutely has to do them. In my professional opinion, you should start thinking about what you want to (and actually can) delegate and that thought process starts with that question.
“What are you doing now that whilst useful, is using up too much of your time and not actually making you money?”
Ask yourself honestly, is what you’re doing right now on your business directly making you money or building your business? If you weren’t doing that job for that length of time could you be doing something that would directly make you money or build your business?
Often, when a potential client gets in touch they say one or all of the following:
- I just don’t know what to hand over
- I want to get some things organised first and then I want to look at a VA
- I don’t think I have the money to afford a VA
- I don’t have much work that I can share
- I am afraid it wont be done as well as I can do it
And here’s the thing, those things may feel accurate, but they’re not. The truth is that the reason those sentences get muttered is because you fear losing control if you hire a VA to help and support you.
If you’re in this boat then in the nicest possible way, it’s time to get real with yourself (even I to have to do this from time to time – I too hate to feel as though I am relinquishing control!).
In any business there are a few very specific tasks that you are the ONLY person in the world who can and should do them. The rest is padding, important padding that supports you but padding nonetheless.
Shall I give an example of what I mean?
Lets say you are an artist/crafter/designer that sells using your website/Etsy etc. You are considered successful of course, after all, you’re putting your share financially into your home-life and your business costs are not greater than your income. Well done. That is no mean feat!
You realise however that you’ve hit your limit, after all, there are only so many hours in a day for you to:
- Process orders
- Send out mailshots
- Write up your offers
- Update your mailing list
- Post on social media
- Update your books
- Edit content on your website
- Take photos
- Reply to emails
- Attend shows/fairs
- Source a new supplier
- Draught new designs
- Reply to DMs on your social media
- Any and all customer service requirements
- Take deliveries
- Share the S#@! out of your product on every platform possible
- Create a newsletter
- Do interviews/research/write a blog/send back faulty parts
You get the picture right? Now take a closer look at those things and figure out how many hours in a week you are really dedicating to that task and I mean really. Guestimating 40 minutes is different to actually taking an hour and 20 minutes. Substantially different, that impact is the difference between getting your orders out on time or enjoying date night or reading the kids a bedtime story!
Now figure out which of those tasks you and only you can do. I don’t mean that only you can do it ‘your way’, I mean the tasks that it is physically impossible for another person to do on your behalf and for you to still be true to your brand, product and unique selling point.
Ask yourself what you could do with the time you use on the jobs that you aren’t 100% required to do.
Could you work on your business to scale it? Would you be able to accept more orders? Create a new line of stock? Be more visible and as a result better known and more in demand?
- If you could earn an extra £60/£100/£300 if you had that hour free would you consider it?
- If you could put the tools down an hour earlier and get to Yoga or read a book or visit your best friend, would it be worth it?
A virtual assistants role is not an employee, neither are they there to ‘go maverick’. Hiring a VA is about sub contracting a skilled professional to undertake a number of specific tasks in an agreed time-frame at an agreed cost.
Your VA is there to support you by doing agreed upon tasks and freeing up your time so that you can focus on what is really important to keeping your business thriving.
How much should you outsource? as much or as little as you like, baring in mind any stipulations your VA of choice has on minimum/maximum terms as well as yourself.
Have you considered outsourcing? If you have what has held you back?
Thanks for reading,