What is a VA? Do I need one? How do I delegate?

Are you overwhelmed with your to-do list? Do you keep adding things to it but you never to get to the bottom of it? Is it just ‘you’ in your business and you wish it was ‘we’?

Why delegate?

It makes sense to delegate so that you can get on with your to-do list. Just because you have delegated certain tasks it doesn’t mean you have given them up for good. You just have an extra pair of hands to help. You will make your time more productive by delegating the day to day parts of your business that otherwise, time expands to fill and takeover. The parts that leave you with no time to do anything else.

As a business owner, you have to realise that you get to a point when you can’t do everything, it’s ok to delegate and outsource. Get people in to help you, people who fill in the gaps of your knowledge and are good at what they do. A Virtual Assistant can take away the overwhelm from your life. If you delegate the tasks that take up your time and the ones that you don’t get around to doing this will free up your time to concentrate on what adds value to your business and increases your productivity!

Here are some widely asked questions/misconceptions about what a VA is and what they do. Hopefully, this will make the idea of delegating to a VA much more simple and enable you to move your business forward.

Q. What is a VA?

A. Many people look at me blankly when I mention that I am a VA (Virtual Assistant), they also think of Siri and Alexa. But VA’s are real live people that run their own businesses. VA’s are online business managers and experts in their fields.

A VA is self-employed and generally works from home or a co-working space and supports other businesses, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs anyone that needs to outsource but doesn’t want to or isn’t able to upscale to a full office staff.

They provide highly skilled assistance which is technical, creative or administrative. Quite often from a specific industry background. Mine is financial and membership organisations.

Q. How do you know when it’s time to delegate to a VA?

A. When your to-do list is out of control and you never make any progress on it. The fact that you never make progress on your to-do list is more than likely limiting your growth prospects.

Things like admin, social media, website updates, content creation, email marketing these are all things you can outsource and delegate and quite often get left at the bottom of the pile when you are trying to run your own business.

Q. But what does a VA do?

A. Do VA’s do admin? Yes, absolutely but a VA does so much more! A VA is highly skilled in many different aspects.

A VA can do diary management, document production, admin, event management, social media management, content production, write blogs for your website. Update content on your website.

Create graphics for social media and banners. Plan travel. The list goes on and it’s generally all those little tasks that take up all your time online which means you lose focus on your main business goals.

VA’s help you manage your business online. A VA will help you to develop and grow your business and add to your skill base with skills that you may not have or not have time for.

A VA is there to increase your productivity. Ask yourself do you really have time to do a graphic to make your social media post stand out or is there something better and more productive you could be doing with your time?

Q. How do you work together if you are in different places?

A. A Virtual Assistant isn’t really that virtual, although you generally work online and work virtually it just means that you communicate through email, phone, webchats, Facetime, Google hangouts.

Work is carried out online and through cloud-based platforms. Google Drive, Zoom, Live Drive, One Drive, DropBox these are all platforms that mean you can share documents, so none of this emailing documents backwards and forwards palaver. Passwords can be stored through an application like Last Pass so you don’t have to share these.

Online communication is vital as it takes the place of in person but it’s amazing how more efficient it is and how much time it saves it’s much easier to get to the point!

There are lots of productivity applications like Slack, Trello, Asana that will allow you to collaborate and not have to just use email. It also means you can link your VA in with other people you may work with and that you can work productively as a team so it needn’t take up any extra time!

Q. What will it cost me?

A. A VA will save you more in time and increase your business productivity than actually cost you. Bear in mind that a VA is a highly skilled individual in their specific field. VA’s are self-employed and responsible for their own taxes.

Quality not quantity should prevail. If you are paying a VA less than what you charge as your hourly rate then this should be a no brainer.

Most VA’s charge around £35 an per hour upwards, but don’t forget a well set-up VA will have business overheads too like indemnity insurance, membership subscriptions for online tools and applications, content schedulers etc.

Q. How can I budget for it?

A. You can either have a ‘pay as you go’ hourly rate or have a monthly retainer which would mean you have a fixed amount of guaranteed hours each month that a VA will put aside for you; which means you can budget and plan your tasks accordingly.

Sometimes a project rate might work better for specific pieces of work, i.e. setting up a social media platform. Virtual Assistants are a flexible workforce that you can scale up or down depending on what your business needs are.

Q. I know I need help, but I am not sure what to delegate to a VA?

A. Think what a VA could do for you. As a business owner, you have to realise that you get to a point when you can’t do everything. It’s OK to delegate and outsource.

Here’s how to work it out:

  • Write a list of everything you do that takes you longer than say 30 minutes.
  • Highlight the things you don’t LIKE doing or don’t NEED to do yourself.
  • Then write down that big long to-do list of all the things that you want to do or develop further, such as social media content planning, website updates, business development, finding new clients, spending more time with your family, writing a new blog etc.
  • From your two lists, you now have a comprehensive list of what you could delegate to a VA and tasks that you have freed up your time for.

Q. But I like posting on Instagram?

A. Just because you have delegated certain parts of your social media or business it doesn’t mean that you can never do these things again.

It just means you are freeing up your time to concentrate on other aspects of your business.

You are working more efficiently and you have someone that can help you progress to the bigger picture.

Delegating the small stuff gives you time to focus on important aspects of your business.

Q. How do you work for several people at once?

A. Most companies and individuals within companies have numerous clients this is no different.

Setting specific blocks of time allocations for clients routine everyday work is important. It’s great to have catch up calls and weekly updates. Communication is key!

Q. How can I tell if a VA is any good?

A. Have they got a website? Check that.

Have they got social media channels? Have a look at their LinkedIn page if you are connected.

Have a look at how often they post on their social media channels and what type of content they produce.

Also, if they work with other clients ask if you can see links to any online work they may have done.

Have they got any testimonials, or recommendations on LinkedIn? Many can provide testimonials and references.

If you would like to chat further with me as to how I can help you develop and grow your business next year then please get in touch.

Make 2023 the year you took control and time back!

Read my next blog post on how much time hiring a VA could save you!

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