Running a business is difficult. It’s not an easy walk to the park. As a business owner, you run its marketing, sales and operations. You need to be on top of all of them!
It is no wonder running a business while lucrative and enjoyable can also be stressful. And when we are stressed and overwhelmed, it often interferes with our ability to focus on our work, and most often than not, it makes us feel exhausted. This then leads to a backlog of work and potentially we could lose clients in the process. Soon, this comes to full circle because the load of work and losses made due to stress will only just continually add stress and fatigue. If this goes on, this might not foster success and leave you feeling unhappy and unproductive. Well, the truth is you have three options:
Do nothing and be in this vicious cycle over and over again.
Hire more people which will require you to run spreadsheets to justify the return on investment (ROI) with detailed cost and benefit analysis.
Outsource tasks e.g. to a virtual assistant (VA) where you will pay only the service that you need when you need it.
I think options 1 and 2 are self explanatory. I will dive deeper into outsourcing in a moment and attempt to give you some insights on how to go about this process.
Identify business tasks that are causing you to feel overwhelmed and can ask someone for help.
As the business owner, know that there are aspects of your business you should maintain control over. Great examples would be dealing with clients, making decisions, business development tasks, and the like.
While there are tasks that are important, needed to be done but not necessarily done by you. Here are some examples of tasks you can outsource.
General Administrative Tasks such as reaching out to business contacts, scheduling your meetings, creating files, email management, and the like
Accounting and Bookkeeping such as payroll processing, invoicing, tax calculations, and the like
Marketing such as managing your social media accounts, creating publicity materials, making a website, and the like
The key thing to consider here is to put controls and checks in place so that you are still providing the required oversight and decisions to tasks you outsourced.
So, decide what kind of business processes do you need the most help with.
But first, let’s define what is outsourcing and why outsourcing is a good option.
Outsourcing is the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the company's own employees and staff. Outsourcing is a practice usually undertaken by companies as a cost-cutting measure. As such, it can affect a wide range of jobs, ranging from customer support to manufacturing to the back office. (Source:Investopedia)
Outsourcing some of our day-to-day tasks to a VA can go a long way. By outsourcing, we are less stressed and we claim back some time for ourselves. Delegate and be done. We have more time for self-care thereby boosting our mental and physical health.
Key Benefits of Outsourcing
Outsourcing is definitely beneficial to your business.
In my books, below are the top 3 key benefits of outsourcing:
You can focus on what’s important - your business’ core processes.
Outsourcing some of your day-to-day tasks can allow you to focus more on your businesses’ core processes. As the head of your business, you’ll have more time and energy to exert on what makes your business grow and be profitable. If you’re a consultant, then you’ll have more time to focus on coaching and getting potential clients to work with. If you’re a digital creator, then you’ll have more time to create products and so on.
This could also mean that you don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades. Even though you’re the head of the business, this doesn’t mean that you have to carry all of the responsibilities by yourself. There are tasks that may not necessarily play to your skillset. And if you are doing tasks outside your skillset, you can be either spending time inefficiently or not maximizing the quality of your work. For example, if your business is in the field of marketing, you can’t assume that you can create a website on your own, or you cannot manage finances on your own, or the like. Instead of handling more than you can at the same time, it’s much advisable to know what you’re good at and allot the other tasks to those who're skillful in that specific field.
You can optimize your capital
If you outsource, you only pay for the services you consume. This gives you the flexibility to adjust your consumption if your business is on its peak months or if it’s on its downtime. You can assemble a team that fits your needs without having to maintain the monthly overhead and expenses of having an employee. By outsourcing some of your tasks and you only require a certain number of hours, then you can only pay for those services and you don’t have to find other tasks to fill the other hours required for a full-time employee.
Outsourcing can also be a viable solution if you want to optimize your capital and cut operational costs. By outsourcing, you can cut expenses on office space, furniture, electricity, internet, and the like. These expenses may not seem much, but if you were to outsource, then you get to cut off a huge percentage of what could have been part of your operational costs.
This then allows you to allocate that budget into what’s more important and ideal. You can allot that budget to creating ads for your business, buying a domain for your website, or you can add it to your savings.
You can tap into skilled resources and broaden your business efforts
VAs already have the knowledge, expertise, and experience you’ll need for your business. In some cases, you don’t have to invest time and effort into developing or teaching processes and workflows for them.
You also have the ability to outsource your specific tasks to a team that have an excellent skill set fit for those tasks. As the person in charge of your business, you can opt to choose people who are offering their best skills and can oversee all of the details that need to be addressed.
Because VAs have various experiences and have worked on other similar projects, they can also provide perspective and give advice on how you can broaden your business efforts. By taking in their advice, coupled with research and brainstorming, you can create an optimized system that can increase your customers’ satisfaction. Moreover, by doing so, you also get to gain more confidence in the services you offer.
Lastly, your VAs also have a big pool of connections and knowledge on tools you may not need today but could potentially need some time in the future. For example, in case you might need to create digital products in the future to adjust to the current climate, then you can ask your VAs if they have a network of specialists with complementary skills you can pull from.
Whom to Outsource?
Outsourcing business tasks isn’t always easy. And choosing the right VA for the job could also be challenging. Here are some tips for you to find the VA fit for your business.
Know your needs.
It’s highly important for you to have a clear understanding of what skills you are looking for. Once you know the business tasks you need the most help with, the next step is to figure out where your VA can fall in place.
Once you know how a VA can potentially support you, the next thing you should do is figure out what qualities and skills you are looking for. Are you looking for university-graduates? Students? Do you want your VAs to be licensed? Or, are you keener on finding out their personalities and behavior? By figuring out what attributes you are looking for, then you can devise a process as to how you will hire quality VAs. Are you going to have them undergo a behavioral-based interview? Do you want them to take an exam? It’s very much like hiring any employee and this person needs to fit in your business’ culture.
Have an agreement/contract in place
Now that you know which processes that they need to undergo and you have selected a few candidates, what you should do next is evaluate their proposals. You must have an agreement in terms of which services are needed from them as well as their contract schedule. If you need to negotiate, it’s also very much welcome. Then, all that’s left to do is for you to ensure that all stakeholders are in agreement.
Allow them to build trust and rapport
If this is your first time hiring a VA and you’re not quite used and familiar with it yet, you can always start with tasks or projects that are small and specific. That way, you can allow them to build trust and rapport without having to risk something going wrong if the VA is not the right fit.
Try to identify their attention to detail and critical thinking through daily tasks over time. If they perform well, then it’s your turn to trust them with bigger tasks.
Conversation from a Business Owner Who Has Done Outsourcing
I have experience in employing good quality VAs.
Not only it helped me get the work done, it allowed me to focus on setting strategies, finding clients and serving and delighting clients.
Let me share an interview I had with another female business owner I interviewed. She has a 6 month old daughter. She recommended hiring a high calibre VA, someone with good English and customer service skills. She said this allowed her to grow her side hustle, do her full time job and raise a family.
I asked her some questions about her journey in hiring a VA that you could apply to yourself.
Q: Before you hired one, what was your biggest hesitation?
“ The belief "I can't afford it", I'll hire one when I get bigger. I don't know where to start. I find it hard to let go of control and do it all.”
Q: When you decided to go ahead, what was the biggest pain point in your business?
“For me, not having enough time to do it all. Too many tasks to do, not enough time.”
Q: What factors did you consider in deciding what to delegate?
“Is this my best use of time? Does it HAVE TO be done by me specifically? Assess what is the impact of this task on growing the business in terms of high, medium or low.”
Q: With your current experience now with your current provider, is there something you’d like to improve?
“At the moment no, I'm really happy with them so far.”
Q: Would you recommend getting help in this form to others?
“I 100% recommend getting a VA to all small businesses. I wish I did from the very beginning. Don't know why I waited so long.”
I wish you all the best in your journey to outsourcing if this is an option you are looking for. It is both a liberating and daunting experience.
Find someone whose personality clicks with yours, with skills that match your needs and controls and checks in place with you doing the review and final decision.
If you would like more information about outsourcing here in Australia and in the Philippines please reach out to our experienced team at TalentUplift.
We offer a variety of outsourced marketing services that can be catered to match the needs of your businesses. Call today at +614 08 493 148 and speak with Violeta Perez or email email@example.com.
Violeta Perez is a Business/IT Professional and a Digital Marketer in Talent Uplift
Violeta is a Chartered Accountant who loves technology. Her mission is to leverage on technology and bring design thinking to your business for you to thrive in today’s digital age.
She offers the following services:
• automation of facebook messenger chatbots,
• brand design or logo creation,
• web design/development,
• podcast support and
• social media management
She previously served in senior roles in Corporate in the fields of Finance and IT. She has over 22 years of experience leading high performing teams and a proven track record of delivering results, reducing costs and inefficiencies. She has deep experience in the following:
• Financial Reporting
• Management Reporting
• Project Management
• Reporting & Analytics
• Public & Private Sectors
• Asia Pacific Global Company
She is outcome-focused, driven and motivated.
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