You’re running your business and it’s getting hectic. You’re making ok money but know that if you had a little more time you could be achieving a lot more. You know you’re being held back by tasks that other people could do – and they could probably do it faster and/or better.
But you don’t have TIME to tell people how to do it for you – it’s all just easier to keep plodding along and doing it yourself.
It’s time to get a Virtual Assistant
I mean a genuine, hardworking Australian Virtual Assistant (VA) who is running their own business, just like you, but who specialises in making life easier for other business owners.
VAs can do just about anything – and they do. So what sort of VA you need, depends entirely on what sort of work is holding you back.
If, for example, you’re finding updating your blog page to be something that takes time that could better be utilised networking, then get a VA who specialises in website management.
Or if you’re constantly interrupted by phone calls and can’t just get into the work you need to be doing, get a VA who offers reception services.
Or even if you just need to manage your client lists and be clearer about who does what and goes where – get a VA who loves working with CRMs (Customer Relationship Management System).
If you need all of the above, you may find a VA who does all 3 or you can hire a VA to manage these processes for you by using a couple of VAs – but that main VA can be the one reporting to you.
When you work with a VA, you liaise with them mainly by phone or email (whichever works for you – and make sure the VA is one who likes to communicate the same way you do).
They are an independent contractor, much like a plumber, drafts person or accountant. So they manage their own business and invoice you for projects or time spent.
Virtual Assistants work with a couple of clients – this is a good thing. Why? Well if they work with a few clients you don’t suddenly get lumped with a superannuation fee that you weren’t expecting, the VA can learn more skills by working with more people and the VA isn’t relying on you solely for income. Less pressure!
Initially, most VAs would want some level of up-front payment for their work. The work they provide cannot be claimed back if you don’t pay up, so they won’t risk providing the service without some payment before they start. Some VAs offer retainer plans which are usually based on the number of hours used, and some invoice per project. It does depend on the type of work. All of their work is tax deductible.
The VA would need to ensure that they have the equipment, software, skills and time to support you, which saves you time and money. And as with any contractor, this should all be clearly outlined from the start. If you have a customised program or product they need to learn, you may need to provide the software and/or time to learn it – this would be the same as if you had someone in-house working for you anyway.
VAs don’t charge superannuation, annual leave, sick leave, coffee breaks etc. They have their own office and you don’t have to worry about OH&S or office equipment.
Their objective is to work with you to ensure your business achieves as much as it can.
Working with a VA can take some getting used to because you do need to let go. And letting go can be very hard for some people. But for your business to take the next step, you need to do it. So it’s less about the fear of letting go, and more about the confidence that you’ve found the right VA for you.
So how do you find a VA?
In Australia, there are a couple of networks which list Virtual Assistants in a Directory. Or you could just Google “Australian Virtual Assistant”.
My network is Virtually Yours and there is also the Australian Virtual Business Network which showcases VAs who have provided amazing references and proven their skills and history as a VA and there is also A Clayton’s Secretary.
To find the right VA for YOU though, means that you need to chat to a couple of VAs who offer the services you need, and see who you feel would best suit you.
Do they have the sort of work style you like? How much experience do they have? How do they like to communicate? What sort of useful suggestions for you do they make? What do they charge and how do they charge? Do they sound like someone you’d like to work with?
It is a case of interviewing a few shortlisted VAs and seeing who feels right. You may find that while one VA doesn’t end up suiting you, another one will.
VAs generally charge anything upwards of $30 per hour. They are a business owner who knows what a business needs to be doing behind the scenes. They are worth it. Some VAs charge up to $200 an hour for consulting or specialised services – it all depends on what you need. They are also worth it.
How much is your time worth?
What is the best income you could be making each hour in your business? If you were working on your task that brings in the most money, what is that worth per hour?
Is it more than your VA? Is the VA going to work faster than you would?
So for example, if you are worth $120 per hour and you are spending your valuable time on an administrative task – eg. creating a facebook competition using the facebook approved applications – and this takes you 3 hours to do, you have just cost yourself $360
If the VA is doing the work for you and they know how to do it efficiently and effectively, they may do it in 2 hours at $40 per hour. So the project costs $80
If you are working those 3 hours on your most valuable task and a VA is doing the work for you as well, you’ve made $360 minus the $80 which is $280 INSTEAD of simply COSTING yourself $360
So in effect, the allocation of this task has provided a financial difference of $640 for your business.
So is $40 an hour too much? Not anymore. Even $80 or $100 an hour would still leave you in front.