As every small business owner knows, there comes a time when you have to start and look for extra support if you are serious about moving your business forward. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many things that you can do yourself and do well. It’s only a matter of time before the work piles up and things slip through the cracks, having a negative effect on your business, your reputation and losing you money.
Perhaps you’ve heard that other people are working with a Virtual Assistant – you’re wondering if this might be the solution you’re looking for. Are you ready to reach out to a VA and get help for yourself? Here are some points to consider:
1. A Virtual Assistant is a business professional – not an employee. The benefits of hiring a VA – not having to deal with HR issues, dealing with payroll/benefits, providing equipment, etc are perfect for small business owners. Having a wonderful working partnership with a VA who you see as an equal and someone who can really make a difference to your business is very powerful – but if you need to be the boss, you may be better off with an employee.
2. What is your style of working – be honest! If you are always doing things last minute and will end up delegating to the Virtual Assistant at the eleventh hour expecting an immediate turnaround, this may not be the best option for you. A good Virtual Assistant will have several clients that she (or he) will need to accommodate and while there are always occasions when a last minute emergency crops up, if every piece of work is a last minute emergency, that could present a problem. Discuss this up front with the VA you are talking to.
3. Do you have trust issues? Depending on the tasks you need help with the most, the VA will need access to your passwords, may be dealing with sensitive business information and perhaps even help with your finances (paypal, etc). Always look for a professional VA you can trust. Do your homework and find someone reputable – don’t be afraid to ask for references from existing or past clients. This should go some way to putting your mind at ease when handing over your information.
4. You are of the mindset that “if I need to explain it, I might as well do it myself”. There may be tasks that you, as the business owner, will need to spend some time explaining to the VA – tasks that are specific to your business. This is understandable and worth the investment of your time – next month, you won’t need to explain it! The longer you work with the VA, the more automatic things become. However, if you micromanage every task and can’t let go of the reins a little, hiring a Virtual Assistant may not be your best solution.
5. Are you billing enough to pay for a VA’s services? The average rate for a qualified VA in the Raleigh area is $ 25-$ 50 per hour. If you are not billing your services at considerably more than that, it may not make financial sense to hire a VA. At the very least, you should narrow down specific areas you need support in and can budget for – expanding out when your finances allow.
Virtual Assistants are a valuable resource to help your business grow – hope these tips help you decide if you’re ready to reach out for help.