Deciding whether you want to use a Virtual Assistant can be a big scary thing for you and your business. It is important to find the right one for you – see my blog on Finding the right VA for you and your business, but there are a number of other feelings and issues you may face before you feel ready to “sign on the dotted line”.
Money and cost are the biggies. You’re trying to warrant the expense of hiring someone to do something that you could do yourself for free. You’re absolutely right, you could and have been,however, at what cost to you? What is your time actually worth? If you could get a couple of hours back what could you do instead? Is it something that could bring you more customers or increase revenue? Is it marketing and planning to help grow your business? Or is it simply having time to breath and enjoy yourself, having some family time, or even some me time!
I can get the work done cheaper elsewhere
Yes you could get it done cheaper, but at what cost to you? There are sites such as People Per Hour (PPH) that individuals can bid to get the work, but what do you know about the person behind the account?
There are rules on these type of sites that restrict you from having direct contact with the individual and anyone can set up an account by filling in the information required.
Another VA is offering for less…
The same could be said about some VAs, but this is where it is important to identify the right VA for you and whether they have the relevant insurances, processes and data protection in place. They have invested time and money into setting up their own business and website, which will give them a great appreciation for running a business, as well as wanting to obtain/retain a good reputation; ultimately the quality of the work and the service provided will far outweigh itself.
I can employee someone for less
If you are looking for a general administrator then typically the average hourly rate paid in the UK is around £8-9 per hour, with VAs charging between £20-40 per hour (dependent on location), but have you stopped to think about everything that comes with employing someone?
Taking on an employee may seem like the most cost effective solution when you look at the hourly rate, but have you considered all the associated costs? There are the fees for advertising the role, agency fees/commission, annual salary, benefits, tax, national insurance, holidays, sick pay, pension etc etc. You will also be paying for every time they make a drink or take a comfort stop.
A VA is self employed. They take away all the costs, time and hassle of recruiting someone and you pay them for the time they are actually working. Most will using a timing app to make sure you get exactly the time you are paying for. Personally if I need to take a quick break, answer the phone, have laptop issues or simply want to stretch my legs, I stop my timer, do what I need to do and restart once I am ready to start working again.
Not wanting to commit to using a VA
A lot of VAs, including myself, will offer their services on an hourly rate with no further commitment. This gives you the opportunity to trial whether working with a VA is for you. I encourage new clients to sign up to an hour or two initially to give them the chance to make sure they are happy with the work I provide, and to also make sure I am happy and confident I can complete what my clients require before any further commitment. Everything is agreed with my clients before undertaking further work to make sure they are making the right decision for both them and their business.
This is another reason why I suggest using a VA directly rather than going through sites such as People Per Hour. They will have a greater appreciation to running a business and that it is your project, your baby, your life, as well as the day to day activities of running a business and implications. Most VAs will offer you a free no obligation consultation so why not spend some time talking to them about your business, your concerns and get to know them/their business. Even if they don’t offer the free consultation but look to be a good fit for you, then why not go for the trial period to find out about them and build a relationship.
I’m not sure how long the work will take
If it is something you already complete, time yourself. This will give you an idea of how long the task will take to complete. If you find the right VA for you then once they have got to know how you work and how you like things to be completed, you will find they probably complete the task a lot quicker. If it is something new then ask how long they believe it make take to complete.
I’m not sure what I could give them
The best way to work this out is to make a list. Write down everything that you need to complete and decide whether it’s something you need to do yourself or if it is something you are able to delegate. This is also a good opportunity to review and see whether there are tasks you are still completing that actually no longer have a benefit to them. This list will then give you a good basis of what skills you need to look for in a VA.
They don’t offer everything I need
It may seem hard to find a VA that will cover absolutely everything you need help on, but a lot of VAs either work with an associate or are part of groups/associations where they could either refer you to another VA for a specific service they can’t offer, or they can outsource it for you. It means as far as you are concerned they are taking care of the specific tasks and they will ensure the work is completed under their umbrella and within the costs agreed with you.
How do I get the information out my head and into their hands
There are the conventional methods of a telephone call or email, with details of what you need them to complete, or there are apps and software such as Todoist where you can create a to do list and assign them to individuals. You can then create and update the list on a regular basis, allocating them to your VA as you go for them to pick up and complete for you.
This will be another big one for a lot of small business owners. You like to have control over what happens with your business and it will feel very difficult to hand something over to someone else. This brings me straight back to the trust element and finding the right VA for you. You need to feel comfortable with them and trust that they are there to support you and your business. Just handing over even a few small tasks to begin with will give you the flexibility to use your time more effectively for your business.
Sometimes it just needs for you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. By giving a couple of hours of work to someone, what could you achieve by freeing up this time? It might even be something that you have been struggling to do either due to lack of knowledge or time. Sometimes it is worth taking a chance to realise the benefits this could have to both you and your business.
Whether you decide working with a VA is right for you or not, spending some time reviewing exactly what you do and what processes you have in place could help you in organising yourself and your time, as well as potentially ditching some tasks that you have been completing that are no longer relevant to your business.
If you do decide to take the chance to work with a VA do your homework, find out more about them and what they can do to help you get to where you want to be. Take them up on that consultation to talk through your ideas and see how it fits with them and what they do. Relationships are very important when working closely with someone like this so make sure they are the right fit for you and your business.
If this is something you would like to discuss further with me then why not take advantage of my free no obligation chat. We can talk through these points, or any other issues you may be facing. Send me a message at email@example.com to arrange a convenient time to discuss.