Back in January of 2018, I had a consultation with a prospective client about my virtual office management services. All of her colleagues kept telling her that she needed to hire a virtual assistant, but she didn’t feel ready. She wasn’t sure what a virtual assistant could do to help her and felt she needed to get some of her own stuff in order before making that plunge.
Several months went by and I didn’t hear from her, so I reached out to see how she was doing. Guess what? She’d been busy – so busy that she had been meaning to connect with me but didn’t find the time. After five months of wrestling with the idea of hiring a virtual assistant, I’m happy to say she finally hired me.
Like this client, many solopreneurs hesitate when forced with the decision to hire a virtual assistant. It is scary to make a financial commitment to hire help. It’s nerve-wracking to think about trusting someone else with your business. The mere thought of what you would have a virtual assistant do, and where you would start can be overwhelming. But before you’re faced with calming those first time VA jitters, how do you even know when it’s time to hire a virtual assistant?
Here are 5 signs you may be ready:
Sign #1 – You are dropping the ball on important details and tasks.
This is normally a sign that you are overwhelmed with too much to do. Many of my clients are in this boat. When your brain gets too full, there is no place to store all the details and important tasks that need to be addressed. So, it shoves them into some unknown place of your brain called “Forget it!” And you guessed it. You forget. You forget to invoice a client. You forget to follow up on a proposal. You forget to return a phone call. You miss an appointment. And God forbid, you forget someone’s name! A good virtual assistant will not let you forget. She will not drop the ball if you hand it to her (at least most times). The need to unload your brain so you can focus on what’s most important is the first sign it’s time to hire a virtual assistant.
Sign # 2 – You are spending after hours catching up on all your administrative tasks.
How many hours per week are you currently working? Is it more than 45-50 hours? Ask your friends and family. What do they have to say about your availability? How about your health and social life? Are they being ignored? Many small business owners I know are working late hours and weekends just to catch up. Don’t do this. It will eventually lead to burnout and your business will stop being fun. Some solopreneurs will procrastinate on all the administrative tasks because they simply don’t like to do them. They will either wait until the last minute or let things pile up just so they can avoid all the administrative work. That’s where a virtual assistant can lighten the load. She loves administrative work, and that’s her specialty. If you’re spinning your wheels, procrastinating or working long hours to complete administrative tasks, that’s the second sign it’s time to hire a virtual assistant.
Sign #3 – You are hiding behind the busy work to avoid getting out there to find clients.
This might not be you, but there are many solopreneurs that are more comfortable staying in their office and avoiding the marketing and sales aspect of business building. If you find yourself getting overly busy doing stuff that someone else should be handling, it’s time to stop. You started your business to provide your service and make a difference with clients. Spending most of your time playing with your website, social media, bookkeeping, etc. is not a good use of your time. Your prospective clients won’t get an opportunity to work with you because they don’t even know you exist. One of my dear clients has a sticky note on her bulletin board that reads “Is this something Lori should do?” This is a great reminder for her when she gets sidetracked and starts going down a rabbit hole she shouldn’t be getting near. Think about all the tasks you are doing. Are they the best use of your time? If not, it may be a sign you are hiding behind busy work to avoid what you should be doing.
Sign #4 – You are struggling to reach your goals.
This week I signed up for a great learning opportunity for myself. VA Classroom University is a great place for me to stay current with all my skills, but also a place that is challenging me to set business goals. Sometimes when I’m so focused on helping my clients reach their goals, I tend to ignore my own. Are you setting goals for your business? In the business planning workshop I recently took at VA Classroom, I learned an important concept. Plan big and small at the same time. What are your one-year goals? What are your 3-month, 1-month and 1-week goals that will help you achieve your one-year goals? Are you consistently reaching your goals? In Brian Moran’s book “The 12-Week Year”, he provides a guide to shortening your execution cycle down from one year to 12 weeks. Does that concept seem impossible? It wouldn’t be if you had a virtual assistant. Imagine what you could accomplish with two people versus just one. If you are struggling to set and reach your business goals, that’s the fourth sign it’s time to take the plunge and hire a VA.
Sign #5 – You have no time to work “on” your business.
Working in your business and working “on” your business are two entirely different concepts, and both are equally important. But most entrepreneurs have so little time that the first thing that gets put aside is the need to work “on” the business. To work on your business, you literally need to set aside chunks of time in your calendar dedicated to business planning. But what happens to all the work that needs to be accomplished “in” your business? You divide that time between yourself and a virtual assistant. Ask yourself how many hours you want to work each week. How many of those hours do you need to work to meet the needs of your business? How many hours should you spend on business planning? Have you maxed out and exceeded your limits on hours? Then that’s the fifth sign the leftover hours you can’t commit to belong to a virtual assistant.
Did you notice that I didn’t say having enough money is the sixth sign you are ready to hire a virtual assistant? That is because that should not be a driving factor in your decision to hire help. Unless you are completely broke, I recommend this sign should be considered only after all other signs are assessed. Essentially, although you will pay for a virtual assistant, the idea is she will free your time, so you can go out and find more business to pay her, you and your business. You will cap out on your ability to experience business growth until you make the decision to hire virtual help. Look at these five signs again. If you answered “true” to most of these signs, it’s probably time to hire a virtual assistant. Don’t be afraid to dive in the pool – she will help you keep your head above water.
5 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant
May 24, 2018