We have talked a lot about niching down to level up. This includes figuring out our strengths and weaknesses. When running your own business, you will undoubtedly wear multiple hats and take on tasks that do not fall into your zone of genius. What a lot of entrepreneurs have a hard time accepting is it is OK not to do everything. In fact, by letting go of some control, you can really focus on what you do best and leave the rest to others.
A common thought business owners have is whether or not to hire a virtual assistant. You may weigh in the time you will have to carve out to the vetting process, training, and the hard cost. Is the juice worth the squeeze? Before you immediately hop on a job hiring site, let’s break down the benefits, vetting process, and costs.
Benefits of hiring a virtual assistant
1- Free up some time. You may be immediately thinking about the upfront time you will spend training this person however; once they are up and running, imagine how much time you will save doing tedious tasks a virtual assistant can easily do. Think about the last task you did that took a godly amount of time. What could you have been doing instead? Hiking, biking, skiing, spending time with family, working on growing your business? Yes please. For some more inspiration on getting time back in your day read our article: The Best Apps on the Planet for Productivity.
2- Flexibility. Unless you come up with a different arrangement with your VA, they typically bill by the hour and only bill when you need them allowing you to be flexible with how often you use your VA. A typical VA juggles a few different clients and can accommodate your hours on busy and slow weeks. Unlike a full time employee who expects to work a certain amount of hours and get paid a salary, a VA might work 2 hours for you this week and 20 next week depending on your workload.
3- Cost saving. Hiring a VA is usually less expensive than hiring an employee, even a part time one. While they often perform a range of services such as running reports, data entry, and mundane everyday business tasks, they only charge an hourly rate for what they do. You also don’t have the added expenses of finding them office space, insurance, accommodating vacation days or purchasing specialized equipment. All these expenses add up, where a VA works from their own machine and uses their own apps.
4- Stress less. As lifestyle first entrepreneurs, we believe this benefit is the most important. We choose to be business owners so we are in charge of our own destiny and as freeing as that is, it can also be immensely stressful. Anything we can do to take some of the stress out of our everyday lives is not only important for our mental health but is important for our business too. By focusing on our zone of genius, we can grow our company. Entering data into a spreadsheet will most likely not get us there, however analyzing that report that is run after data entry by your VA just might get us there.
How to find a good virtual assistant
There are thousands of excellent virtual assistants out there. Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and oDesk to name a few have mechanisms in place to filter by job success, location, skills, price range, and reviews. They also have systems in place to make sure that the work gets done correctly and VAs are billing their hours honestly. Referrals from your network are also a great way to ensure you hire a reputable person. Post what you are looking for on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook groups, or Slack communities. Pro tip: before hiring, make sure to thoroughly read reviews. This should give you a good clue on their quality of work and whether or not they will be a good fit. Look for keywords such as “good communication,” “quick turnaround,” and “attention to detail.”
What you should expect to pay a virtual assistant
As with most contractors, hourly rates for virtual assistants can greatly range. Typically, their hourly rate is based on skill and experience. A virtual assistant who is a skilled graphic designer will most likely charge more than an everyday task virtual assistant.
The location they are based in will also affect hourly rate. For example, a VA in the Philippines may charge as low as $10/hour where a VA in the US will likely start at around $20/hour. Keep in mind that many business owners have had just as good of an experience if not better with someone who charges $10/hour than someone who charges $50/hour. As long as you do your due diligence in vetting your VA, you should hire based on your specific needs, not necessarily location. Take into consideration speed, experience level, time zones, possible language barriers and their completed portfolio jobs. Upwork has posted a helpful reference on virtual assistants’ rates.
Imagine how good it will feel to free up a portion of your list that is taking away time and energy from you. The good news is that there are many great assistants out there who are eager to take that off your hands. It’s time to stop trying to wear all the hats in your business. It’s not a good look for you or your bottom line.
At Singletrack Accounting, we have learned to prioritize our time so we can be there 100% for our customers. We know small business and we are aware of the ups and downs that come with running a business. Not only do we offer full service accounting so our entrepreneurs don’t have to waste precious time crunching numbers but we offer business coaching as well. We have helped numerous entrepreneurs grow their business and we would love to help you. Reach out for a free consultation.