If you've reached that point in your business where you are missing deadlines, failing to dedicate your time to tasks that contribute to your bottomline or worse, feeling like you are your own bottleneck - it might be time to consider outsourcing certain tasks. And while this represents exciting times for your business, I fully understand the stress that goes along with the idea of having to pay someone to do tasks that you are more than capable of doing yourself. This week's video goes into my top mindset and implementation tips for outsourcing on a budget.
Laura here. You are at the Better Biz Academy channel and today I want to talk about a really popular topic that people love when they are at the stage in their business where they think they might need to invest in and hire a virtual assistant to help them, but are concerned about fitting it into their budget.
Outsource Only When It Makes Financial Sense
Well, first of all, it doesn’t really make sense to work with a VA unless you are generating revenue in your company where you can afford to pay somebody to help you. The reason for this is not just because it is going to constrain your budget but it’s also going to have a negative impact on your relationship with that virtual assistant if you hire them and then realize that you are not able to keep up with paying them. You will feel like it is a burden every time that you need to pay the invoice and you will be questioning whether this is worth it in your business. So a good point to invest with a virtual assistant in the business is a situation in which your business has grown faster than you can keep up with and you actually need somebody to help you where you are running out of hours in the day and you have demands from clients, or new projects that you really should be working on that would help to generate revenue and you are unable to work on those because your time is so limited.
By freeing up your time and hiring a virtual assistant to handle some of those administrative tasks, like helping you manage your calendar, checking your emails, responding to commonly asked questions, sending your email newsletter etc., this frees up your time to do more of the things that only you can do in your business like appear on video, record courses, host a podcast, write blogs or whatever that may be for you.
Consider The Total Value A Potential VA Will Bring You
So, if you are just starting out, you still want to be mindful that you are outsourcing on a budget. By this, I don’t mean choosing the cheapest possible quote that comes in from a virtual assistant. Price is something you should have in mind but when you are outsourcing on a budget, you want to think about the effort that you are going to make to put into the exchange as well.
So, if you are truly constrained by a budget, but you want someone to help you, perhaps you are looking for a person who can grow with your company. What I mean by that is hiring someone that you are going to put more intensive training with and then ultimately, they're going to grow to understand your company, hopefully expand their hours and you'll have a really good working relationship. You could do this by hiring the person and paying them a lower amount because you are going to train them purposely by yourself and that’s going to be at the outset of your relationship. So, this person may have never been a virtual assistant before and you are going to train them individually. You are going to pay them a lower rate than what you would pay a standard VA in exchange for your hands-on training. Now this is probably going to be a little bit more work than hiring an experienced VA because the VA is going to learn along with you. However, that is one way to do it on a budget.
Find Overseas Talent
Another thing that comes up a lot is really something that should be the subject of its own video and that is - outsourcing overseas i.e. not hiring someone from U.S. or Europe and instead, hiring somebody from the Philippines, El Salvador, Central America, South Africa, these are some of the most popular places to find VAs outside of the United States.
There are a lot of wonderful VAs from these areas and they can definitely help you grow your business but it depends on the type of tasks that you need done. So, if you are looking for somebody who is a native and fluent English speaker, that could be a challenge you encounter when hiring someone overseas. If you are looking for someone to help copyedit the materials that you are posting, actually write your newsletters or help you write them, be a customer service agent and interface with your high paying clients, right? So, if you were a business coach for people who were paying you a lot of money to work one-on-one and your VA is sending them emails, it would make a difference whether that person was a native English speaker or not, as you could across as unprofessional. So, something to keep in mind if you do outsource overseas and I will cover that in a separate video because I definitely have plenty of experience doing it and truthfully, it’s the right fit for some people, but it’s not right for all tasks.
Another major downside of outsourcing overseas is the time difference. So, whether you choose to reference somebody in India or the Philippines, the time difference is huge. So, unless you are really good about getting tasks to somebody the night before and giving them enough instructions that they don’t need to ask questions or clarify, then you are going to wake up to an email inbox full of further questions and people who need assistance finishing the task. Now, if you get into a rhythm with your VA where you leave projects up every night, they complete it while you are sleeping and then you wake up and voila! it’s done, then that's fabulous. But again, it's going to take some training and time to get there.
My next suggestion for outsourcing on a budget is to hire interns. Now depending on where you are in the world, you want to check your local laws. I am not a lawyer and can’t help you with that. However, here in the United States, there are really clear rules about what you can and can’t do with your interns.
Don’t hire somebody to be your personal assistant and say that they are an intern. Interns who are unpaid have to be trained very heavily by the person who is helping them with that particular project so it could actually be more work for you, as the client, to train somebody as an intern.
However, if you've got a really streamlined process, it could work or if you're paying the intern and you are able to pay them slightly less than you might pay a VA with 10 years of experience, it could be an opportunity to help somebody start a whole new career and really allow them to grow with your company.
One of the benefits of hiring someone who hasn’t had a lot of VA experience is that they are not going to be colored by their past experiences. They are going to be excited about the opportunity of working with you so you can train them to do the tasks that you need help with and in the way that you would like.
Now, of course they are probably still going to be a contractor or a freelancer so check your laws on that as well but that’s another option into kind of save some money depending on how you structure it. Let’s say you were interested in hiring an intern, you have zero budget at all, you are looking to do it and have an unpaid internship. You'd have to be pretty hands on in that relationship but you want to hire people for specific tasks. So, if I were going to hire interns, I might hire a social media intern or a publicity intern. I'd look to my local college in the area and see if there are any students who would like this kind of experience for a couple of months where they could learn one-on-one from me and my business but they would also be carrying out certain tasks. So, something to keep in mind and a great way to outsource on a budget.
Be Selective About The Tasks You Outsource
My final tip for outsourcing on a budget is finding that quality VA that you need to work with who may have a higher hourly rate or higher retainer and having them focused on the most important tasks. There is a tendency for entrepreneurs who are just getting started in the field to think that they need to outsource everything and once you see a VA helping you out with your blog, your customer service emails, you start to push everything their way and that can lead to high invoices for somebody who is on a budget. So, you need to be very mindful about what you ask the virtual assistant to do and whether that is propelling you as the client to the next phase of your business or taking things off your plate for your personal life so you can have more time with family, relax or take vacations.
Being mindful of what you ask the VA to do helps you see that return on investment. So if there is something that just bogs down your time - formatting blog posts, adding them into WordPress, adding images, creating Pinterest-ready graphics to go with your blogs - if you were able to outsource that whole process to somebody else for two or three hours a week, there is a good chance that that would free up those couple of hours for you to go do other amazing things and you'd be more likely to see the ROI when you compare it with hiring somebody for ten hours to do all kind of tasks and then there is a lot of back and forth and training and challenges with that and then you might say, "well, jeez I am paying a lot for this VA; I don’t know that I am getting the return back and I am not sure that I am seeing the value." So be mindful of what you choose to outsource and that will help you establish a beneficial relationship where you can grow overtime.
For more tips about outsourcing and growing your business using a digital team, check out betterbizacademy.com. We have got a free guide for 70 different tasks that you can outsource to a virtual assistant to get those creative juices flowing and thinking about what you can delegate and get off your plate.
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