It’s not me, it’s you: Outsourcing mistakes businesses make.
Recently someone posted a joblead to my network seeking assistance in their business. That’s not so odd.
But this joblead was met by my members with a very different feeling than most leads that have come before.
The person who posted the lead, (let’s call her Rita), had used quite a few VAs from the Virtually Yours Network in the past. Amongst VAs, she now had a reputation as a nightmare client. Rude, bossy, unorganised, poor communication – you name it, Rita did it. And no-one wanted to work with her.
It got me thinking about the things that business owners do – many without realising – that put a strain on their potentially fabulous business relationship with their VA. It’s this type of strain that prevents business growth when you can’t effectively seek help.
SEEKING: Mind readers
Many business owners want VAs who can anticipate what they want, who can read their mind about the issues they’re facing, and who can do this without quality communication.
Let me ask you a quick question: has relying on mind reading ever worked for you?
At work, in relationships, or even with your kids – it’s a disaster waiting to happen. As they say, ‘to assume is to make an ass out of you and me’. And mind reading is simply another word for assuming.
What people should be seeking and aiming to provide is quality communication, so that mind reading becomes defunct.
You and your VA are on the same page, and you know it. It’s not a guessing game anymore – it’s just old-fashioned communicating and getting shit done.
SEEKING: Independent VA who can work with minimal supervision and direction
VAs generally can work independently – that’s part and parcel. But the issue here is when a business owner plays their cards close to their chest and doesn’t share their pains, goals, aspirations and mission with their VA.
The best kind of VA is one who gets you and your business. They know where you are now (warts and all) and they know where you want to go and how. This trust and shared mission allows your VA to better source and identify opportunities for you and to provide quality advice and feedback.
I’ve said it many times before – letting someone into the back-end processes of your business is akin to showing them your ‘business undies’ and it ain’t always pretty. But if you take the leap and work on trust, it will pay off in the end.
SEEKING: VA to do the stuff that is too menial for me
When business owners start to view VAs as subordinates who are there at their beck and call, they miss out on learning from a fellow business owner who has many skills and ideas that may add value to their own.
A good VA will know their product and service well. They’ll know what pain it eases and the best way to implement it. They’ll often possess a collection of complementary skills as well, and they will have an extensive network around them that they can tap into.
All of this aside, treating people like they are below you, especially if they are a fellow business owner, is rude and degrading and won’t be a good foundation for a quality partnership.
SEEKING: Vibrant and energetic go-getter
Vibrant and energetic go-getters rock. But if this describes you as a business owner, you’ll probably benefit more from a VA who is more grounded and particular. Complementary personality styles mean each project has someone pushing it and challenging it and also someone who can provide balance by checking in, crossing T’s and dotting I’s.
It’s important to ‘click’ with your VA and to feel you are on the same page, but never discount the value of someone whose personality differs from your own.
Many business owners are ‘magpies’ – always looking for the next shiny thing. Many VAs are unique in that they are a business owner, but they like to help others find their shiny things and make them work.
SEEKING: Magic Pill
VAs are awesome. I’ll always believe that. But they are not a magic pill. They are a human with skills you need.
What you need is a plan. A strategy. And as a business owner, this should just be part of what you do.
It can be easy to hire a VA and then feel like you aren’t moving forward and all you’re doing is paying their invoices. I have some tips for you to alleviate this.
When you think about outsourcing, be specific. What are your business goals, how are you planning on getting there and what are the parts that you don’t need to be working on.
For example, you may be wanting to build your coaching profile by doing more speaking gigs. You think it would be great to do one speaking gig per month for the next six months. You want to capitalise on those speaking gigs and secure five new coaching clients per month.
So what areas do you need help with to get there?
Sourcing speaking opportunities
Speakers promotional package
Travel and accommodation bookings
Social media posts
Coaching session bookings and diary management
Videoing of presentations
As you can see, there is any number of parts of the process that you can outsource – things you don’t personally have to be doing.
But they are a part of the process that helps you achieve your end goal – 5 new clients per month. Each step is as important as the next.
If you know what your goal is, a VA or coach could help you work out the process and then together you can work out who does what. You are both heading towards the goal together.
Instead of just handing random tasks to a VA with no goal in sight, you have a joint mission and will be able to measure what is working and what isn’t.
Working with a VA is like taking a new business partner on board. They need to be the right fit, and you both need to be on the same page. Communication, respect, goal setting, measuring and a healthy dose of humour can take you and your VA far, together.