Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should!
People still have doubts on the value of working with a Virtual Assistant. Most are intrigued but often skeptical. This is unfamiliar territory to many and a unique concept to embrace.
Many of my clients will tell you that by engaging my services I’ve enabled them to focus on what they do best and less of what they either don’t do well or don’t enjoy. They can maintain a focus on the higher level tasks, such as, setting targets, planning strategies, and evaluating performance, but this can only be done if you avoid becoming bogged down in the daily administrative chores.
And from a business perspective, having insufficient time to plan, monitor and concentrate on higher-level activities, can lead to poor growth/stagnation and impact on customer services, sales and marketing, budgeting and many other aspects of the business. You may also find yourself:
- Working late into the night
- Getting frustrated spending hours doing tasks you don’t enjoy, or lack strategic value to the business
- Feeling isolated running the business on your own and wanting someone to bounce ideas around with
- Feeling frustrated or even angry that you are working yourself into the ground but still failing to generate the traction or results you’d hoped for.
Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant can help you live and work independently. Reducing the stress and burnout. And it could make you more productive in the long run.
Use a Virtual Assistant to do things like:
- run reports
- type up documents
- schedule appointments
- complete research
- organise travel arrangements
- social media management
- newsletter campaigns
- diary management
- screen emails
- make call on your behalf
- handle other projects as needed
You may be aware of the Comparative Advantage Principle – one of the oldest principles in economics, developed by British economist David Ricardo in the early 19th century. The principle explains why you should outsource the production of lower-value services, even if you can produce them more efficiently yourself. Even if you’re faster or better at getting a routine task done it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good use of your time. I’m not going to go any further into the details of this principle – there is an abundance of literature available for those who are interested. And it makes for an interesting read. Of course, if you are time poor, you will be thinking, “how on earth would I find time to do that?” And therein lies the problem – and recognising this is the first step towards finding a solution: breaking the cycle. It is easy to feel that there is no time for stepping back, evaluating the business, formulating strategies for growth – but these are essential aspects of running a business and it is vital to allocate some time for this. In essence, you need to ditch the small tasks. Taking care of the details of running an office can hijack your entire day.
Here are some common objections I hear on working with a Virtual Assistant:
- I’m not sure on the virtual nature – so you’re used to dealing with people face-to-face. Many of our day-to-day activities now involve dealing with people by phone, Skype or e-mail. Working with a Virtual Assistant is no different.
- I’m not exactly sure what I would have them do – the most important thing is to think about yourself first. What are the activities you do well and which add the most value to your organisation? Write these down. Everything not on your list is a candidate for delegation. Stay focused on what you do best!
- I’m concerned they will be disconnected from my business – our lives are very virtual these days. Salespeople are on the road all day, companies have departments in other buildings and entire divisions in other cities. Schedule a weekly call with your VA to make sure you are on the same page, use Skype to replicate face-to-face time and invite them to be a part of work events and meetings.
- I’m worried about the access required to our systems – this is a legitimate concern. Most modern systems provide a tiered access. Start your VA at entry level and then increase access when you’ve gained the confidence required.
- I don’t know how many hours the work will take - most employers don’t and this is why we default to a forty-hour work week when hiring employees. Write down all the things that you would like to delegate. Get the tasks/projects out of your head and onto paper. Now estimate how long each task will take. Don’t assume it will take your VA as long as it takes you. In most cases your VA will be much more efficient than you.
- How would I monitor whether my VA is really doing the work – this is a fair objection, but how do you know whether or not your full-time employee is really doing the work? Focus on the results your VA achieves. Do status calls or reports or you could leverage project software to track results.
- I’m not sure this will improve my business – remember, those at the top of the food chain focus on key targets and use others to spend time on the non-specialist tasks. They concentrate on the higher value activities, for example, searching out new opportunities or meeting with high-value clients. If you see this as just an expense, you’ll never take your business to the next level. You can only do so much.
Are you ready to take the next step in freeing yourself from tasks that make you unproductive?
Brought to you by Letitia Buckle x
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