As of late the question “How did you hire your first virtual assistant?” keeps popping up in my inbox, during coaching sessions, at events, and in casual conversation.
Business owners often come to me at their wit’s end because they’re working way too hard and not making any money to show for it.
They’ve got a lot on their plate, are spending three hours checking email and can’t seem to find time to focus on the tasks that actually make them revenue.
They have a classic case of working in the business and not on the business.
Meaning, they’re spending more time on administrative tasks like email and invoicing than they are on tasks that can make them money like sales and developing new products and services.
I get it. Mostly because I lived in this place for a long time. While I’ve been building a business since 2010, it wasn’t until 2014 when I hired my first long-term virtual assistant.
I get asked about how to hire your first virtual assistant, and more specifically how I found my own VA, Lyn. If you feel you’re ready to hire your first virtual assistant, check out my tips below.
Hire Your First Virtual Assistant
Step 1: You’re investing, not spending frivolously.
The first hurdle most people have to overcome is paying for a VA. They sometimes think “Well why should I pay someone else so much money if I can just do it myself?”
Here’s why: you’re not going to make any money by answering emails, doing your own scheduling or tinkering on Twitter.
That’s all time you can be dedicating to finding new leads, nurturing prospects and closing deals. You can also spend that time creating and developing new offerings.
It’s the art of scalability and using your newfound time wisely. If you can do that then you’ll be able to increase your revenue. Then your VA will pay for his or herself.
Step 2: Start asking around.
At this point in time, most people who run businesses are familiar with virtual assistants. Many of them may even have a virtual assistant of their own. As such, one of the most effective ways to hire your first virtual assistant is to tap into your market and see who people are working with.
In other words, start asking around for referrals! For example, in the last few weeks two of my coaching clients have moved to a stage where they need to hire some help. I gladly gave them recommendations.
Referrals are an awesome way to find and hire your first VA. It’s also a great way to hire any service provider. Hell, I found my trademark attorney because I asked around!
Step 3: Tap into your community.
How did I find the members of my team? They were all familiar with my brand and read my blog long before I hired them. Every single one of them.
I often times tell the story of how my accountant and I met at an airport on the way to a conference. He literally came up to me and said: “Aren’t you Amanda Abella the author of Make Money Your Honey?”
My VA was also a blog reader for many years before she came on the team, as was my web designer.
Step 4: Get clear on exactly what it is you need.
If you’re going to hire your first VA you need to get crystal clear on what you will be delegating to them. I often times advise coaching clients to list each and every task they do for two weeks straight. From there they are to mark what can be outsourced and what they must do themselves.
It typically looks something like this:
What cannot be outsourced – sales, product creation, some aspects of client work
You may not be able to outsource everything right away. But you’ll at least have a clear picture of what can be handled by someone else.
Step 4: Read Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker
I wish I would have read this book before I started outsourcing. I was fortunate enough to have a background in recruiting so I knew all about how to find someone and hire them, however, I wasn’t so great about delegating.
Virtual Freedom walks you through what to outsource, where to find VAs, how to write job ads and how to delegate so that your business becomes more scalable.
I highly recommend everyone who is considering building a virtual team read this book. Click here to get it on Amazon.
How to Delegate to Your First Virtual Assistant
Once you’ve actually hired your first virtual assistant, then comes the actual delegating part. Here are some things to keep in mind as you learn to outsource.
Let go of the reins a little.
Want to know why so many millennial entrepreneurs have a hard time learning how to delegate? Because we’re Type A control freaks. We think we have to do everything ourselves.
Even when I had a regular job I would find myself doing everything and picking up the slack for other people. With my own business, it was the same thing times infinity.
If we want to learn how to delegate we must first learn to let go. The world is not going to explode, no one is going to die and your business isn’t going to implode on itself if you just loosen your grip on the reins.
Figure out what makes money and what doesn’t. Leave the latter to your VA.
Oftentimes we don’t know how to delegate because we have no idea what we would actually hand off to another person. I know this was definitely the case for me.
A few months ago I decided to track everything I did in my business for two weeks straight. I noticed that I was spending a ton of time answering emails, marketing, and invoicing.
This is time that could have been spent actually growing my business – like getting leads, networking, creating my next offering and closing deals.
If you’re not even sure what goes on in your business each day track it for a couple of weeks. Then, take a highlighter and mark everything that could easily be handed off if and when you hire your first virtual assistant.
You can start with the stuff you hate to do. One thing I handed over immediately was invoicing because I really hated taking the time to do it.
Become aware of when you are trying to do everything yourself.
I’m the kind of person that if I get into something I’ll just keep going. As a result, I’ve had to become hyper-aware of when I’m partaking in tasks that could be handed off to someone else.
One thing that has helped me is to set an alarm each hour. When the alarm goes off I do a mental scan of any activities I did within that hour that I could have delegated.
Eventually, you won’t really need the alarm and you’ll start catching yourself in the act. At that point just stop what you’re doing and delegate it to someone else.