Virtual Assistants – Do you need them ?
Do you feel tired and burned out ? Is your business starting to overwhelm you ? Then step back and let someone else take some of the workload.
I’m talking about outsourcing some of your work to virtual assistants. “I can’t afford virtual assistants”, I hear you cry. The question is, can you afford not to have them ?
What are virtual assistants ?
A virtual assistant is someone you hire to do some of the work you have to do, which frees up more of your time to concentrate on the things that really matter. In business that means making a profit. Any job which isn’t helping to make a profit in your business could be and should be done by someone else. You could employ someone but that would be expensive and eat into your profits. A virtual assistant can be hired for a fraction of that cost.
Virtual assistants tend to specialise in certain areas; marketing, content writing, finance and so on, which is why I use the plural when talking about them. You will not be able to find one virtual assistant capable of producing high quality work for all the areas of your business. If someone says they can do that, don’t hire them.
Preparing to hire virtual assistants
Before you hire any virtual assistant you must do a thorough evaluation of the tasks within your business to identify:
All the jobs that need doing in your business
The jobs that bring in profit
The jobs that, while important, do not produce any or little profit
I have always done this on a spreadsheet and you can download an example here
Once you have done this you are ready to work out which jobs you really need to do yourself and which ones you could outsource to virtual assistants.
As I said earlier, you will not find one virtual assistant able to produce high quality work across the whole range of tasks you’re likely to outsource. Put similar tasks into groups; writing tasks in one group, finance in another, web site tasks into another. I’m sure you get the picture.
Now decide what tasks you really must do yourself ! These are the tasks which produce the most profit. What is left you could outsource. That doesn’t mean you will, only that you could.
After you’ve done all this you’re ready to find your virtual assistants.
How do you find virtual assistants ?
There are many sites on the internet where you can hire virtual assistants. Sites based in the UK or USA are often very expensive but there are some worth researching. Here are 4 web sites for you to look at and do some research on:
The first two and last one are probably familiar to you if you have been running an internet business for a while. The third one is based in the Philippines and is much less expensive than the other two.
You may worry that people from the Philippines won’t speak English or that they don’t produce quality work. I can tell you after spending 8 years working with people from the Philippines that you will have to go a long way to find more dedicated workers. It is a matter of honour for them to produce the best work they can. Secondly, many people from the Philippines speak better English than you do.
How do you engage virtual assistants ?
This is too important to be rushed. The person or persons you engage will have part of your business in their hands so they must be up to the job. All the sites I have mentioned give you the ability to research different applicants so do a thorough job of that.
It is highly likely that when you post a job advert you will get hundreds of responses. Of course, it would be ludicrous to try and interview all of them. You need to whittle the list down to about 10. Give them all tests to do. Many won’t bother so that cuts your list dramatically. Others will obviously not be suitable so they will leave the list. By the time you’ve finished with this exercise you’ll have a manageable few to interview.
You can interview over skype or on the telephone. Face to face on skype is best. Then of course you’ll choose the person or persons you want.
Be very clear with whomever you engage about what you want them to do. There is nothing more frustrating to an employee than being given a task but not the expected outcome. Put time limits on things such as, “I need emails to be answered within 12 hours”. This is even more important when the person you engaged might be on the other side of the world.
Using virtual assistants gives you all the advantages of another pair of hands without the problems associated with actually employing someone. If you are thorough when engaging virtual assistants you should have a long and happy relationship which will help you to build your business faster and give you more time for yourself.
If you would like any further information please let me know in the comments box below and I’ll be happy to help you.
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