Discover The Magic Of Outsourcing!
Let’s face it, running your own business isn’t as glamourous as you pretend. It’s hectic, it’s a lot of hard work, and it’s taken over your life…
But your hard work is paying off, the money is flowing in, so you start to think of what you could achieve if you had a little more time. You know you’re being held back by tasks that other people could do – and they could probably do it faster and/or better.
It’s easier to keep plodding along though isn’t it? I mean, who has the TIME to tell other people how to do their work?
NO more excuses! It’s time to get a Virtual Assistant (a VA)…
And when I say that, I mean a genuine, hardworking Australian Virtual Assistant (VA) who is running their own business, just like you, but who specialises in making life easier for other business owners.
VAs can do just about anything – and they do. So what sort of VA you need, depends entirely on what sort of work is holding you back.
- If you’re finding updating your blog page to be something that takes time that could better be utilised networking, then get a VA who specialises in website management.
- If you’re constantly interrupted by phone calls and can’t just get into the work you need to be doing, get a VA who offers reception services.
- If you just need to manage your client lists and be clearer about who does what and goes where – get a VA who loves working with CRMs (Customer Relationship Management System).
If you need all of the above, you may find a VA who does all 3 or you can hire a VA to manage these processes for you by using a couple of VAs – but that main VA can be the one reporting to you.
Setting the foundations of working with a VA.
Even though you can’t physically see your VA sitting in your office, they are there! Clear communication is vital for any successful VA/client relationship so ensure you find a VA who loves communicating in the same manner you do – whether it be via email or phone.
VAs are independent contractors (much like a plumber or your accountant), so they manage their own business and will invoice you for projects or time spent working with you.
You may have to share your VA.
VAs work with a couple of clients – this is a good thing. Why?
A VA needs to work with a number of clients so they are not considered an ‘employee’ of a client. The VA isn’t relying on you solely for income so there’s less pressure on you to make sure they have constant work.
A VA can also enhance their skills by working with more clients. What they don’t learn from you, they will learn from another client. And in turn, there will be an overlap of skills.
The VA would need to ensure that they have the equipment, software, skills and time to support you, which saves you time and money. And as with any contractor, this should all be clearly outlined from the start. If you have a customised program or product they need to learn, you may need to provide the software and/or time to learn it – this would be the same as if you had someone in-house working for you anyway.
A VAs objective is to work with you to ensure your business achieves as much as it can.
Working with a VA can take some getting used to because you do need to let go. And letting go can be very hard for some people. But for your business to take the next step, you need to do it. So it’s less about the fear of letting go, and more about the confidence that you’ve found the right VA for you.
So how do you find a VA?
In Australia there are a couple of networks which list Virtual Assistants in a Directory. Or you could just Google “Australian Virtual Assistant”.
My network is Virtually Yours – www.virtuallyyours.com.au – and frankly, it’s the best.
To find the right VA for YOU though, means that you need to chat to a couple of VAs who offer the services you need, and see who you feel would best suit you.
- Do they have the sort of work style you like?
- How much experience do they have?
- How do they like to communicate?
- What sort of useful suggestions for you do they make?
- What do they charge and how do they charge?
- Do they sound like someone you’d like to work with?
It is a case of interviewing a few shortlisted VAs and seeing who feels right. You may find that while one VA doesn’t end up suiting you, another one will.
Paying a VA.
Initially, most VAs will ask for some level of up-front payments for their work. This is purely a safety measure. Most work performed by a VA can’t be claimed back if you don’t pay up, so they risk providing the service to you without some payment before they start.
Some VAs offer retainer plans which are usually based on the number of hours used, and some invoice per project. It does depend on the type of work.
All of a VAs work is tax deductible.
VAs don’t charge superannuation, annual leave, sick leave, coffee breaks etc. They have their own office and you don’t have to worry about OH&S or office equipment.
And the golden question – ‘What’s a VA going to cost me?’
VAs generally charge anything upwards of $30 per hour. They are a business owner who knows what a business needs to be doing behind the scenes. They are worth it. Some VAs charge up to $200 an hour for consulting or specialised services – it all depends on what you need. They are also worth it.
What you do need to consider is what your time is worth. What is the best income you could be making each hour in your business? If you were working on your task that brings in the most money, what is that worth per hour? Is it more than your VA? Is the VA going to work faster than you would?
So for example, if you are worth $120 per hour and you are spending your valuable time on an administrative task – e.g. Creating a Facebook competition using the Facebook approved applications – and this takes you 3 hours to do, you have just cost yourself $360. If the VA is doing the work for you and they know how to do it efficiently and effectively, they may do it in 2 hours at $50 per hour. So the project costs $100. If you are working those 3 hours on your most valuable task and a VA is doing the work for you as well, you’ve made $360 minus the $100 which is $260 rather than doing the job ‘free’ and not making any money at all.
So is $50 an hour too much? Not anymore. Even $80 or $100 an hour would still leave you in front.
BLURB ABOUT ROSIE:
Starting her home based business in 2004, Virtually Yours was one of the pioneer Virtual Assistant businesses in Australia. Starting out working for a handful of clients, she found herself needing to constantly explain to business owners about working ‘virtually’. But tirelessly, Rosie pushed on, networking in local business groups and spreading the word about Virtual Assistants.
As the VA industry grew, so did Rosie’s popularity. Being known as the ‘mother duck’, VAs from across Australia, started approaching Rosie to ask for advice. Seeing the need for these emerging Virtual Assistants to feel like they belong, Rosie began her network. Virtually Yours has now grown to a thriving Virtual Assistant network here in Australia, with approximately 200 members from across Australia.
Virtually Yours is now been successfully ‘match making’ business owners with VAs for over 14 years. This passionate woman who has been described many times as ‘awesome’ is a true asset to the Virtual Assistant industry and her desire to see the industry grow and develop shines through in everything she does.