Tag Archives: outsource

Are you paralyzed in the ‘what if’ syndrome of being a small business owner?

Are these questions constantly finding their way into your thoughts and conversations?

  • What if I can’t do everything myself?
  • What if I disappoint my clients?
  • What if I get in over my head?
  • What if I don’t make enough money to support this business?

These are all real feelings that every entrepreneur and small business owner has had at one or more points in their journey.  Without  fear, you would not be driven to overcome these “what if” senarios, however, getting paralyzed by these kinds of thoughts could easily derail your success.

To get passed these fear based thoughts, without paralysis, you have to turn the negatives into positives, the CAN’TS into CANS!

  • What can I do by myself?

This is where you should look at your daily workload realistically, and decide what tasks have to be done by you, and what can be outsourced to an assistant.  Don’t ever be afraid to delegate.  Without delegation, you will limit your power for growth and success.

  • How can I delight my clients?

What extra steps can you do to impress your clients?  Some of these can be simple, effective communication, or sending a hand written thank you note to them for trusting you with their business needs, remembering their birthdays, providing quality work with no errors, and obviously staying within their target budget.

  • What if getting in over my head is a good thing?

Having too much work will only be stressful, if you don’t have a plan in place to outsource some of your workload.  The administrative tasks that bog down your day, need to be done by someone who can focus on just those tasks and has the expertise to make you shine. Get a team in place  that can handle the areas of your business that you are not skilled in.  Your virtual team can be utilized on an as-needed basis, or, better yet, delegate weekly assignments that help take work off your plate.  Just be sure to have them in place when you need them.

  • What if I make so much money that my business is able to fully support me and my family?

This is really where you need to focus your time.  Securing the clients that will ultimately bring in the cash flow.  You started your business because it was your passion and/or your expertise.  You are the face, the voice and the driver of how successful it can become.  Staying focused on why you started your business will help you to not get paralyzed by fear of failure.

Turn the negative “what ifs” around and let them work for you.  What if staying positive and asking for help was the ultimate solution to getting your business to the point where you ultimately want it to be?  What if…?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working with a virtual assistant is a great option for a busy entrepreneur. Working with anyone – real or virtual – is a dynamic situation where adjustments need to be made as the working relationship evolves.

We have worked with hundreds of VA and clients, and find that the key to success with any working relationship is having good communication and setting realistic goals.

Today, interacting with your virtual assistant is done using various electronic technologies. Setting up a virtual workspace for communicating with your VA is essential.

These technologies should include the following:
Email – let your VA know if you will be setting them up with a specific email address for your business, or if they will use their own email address to communicate with you. Determine a response time that is acceptable to you and your VA.
Live Chat– Skype or Facetime once a week or once a month if that will help you stay connected.
Document Sharing –Dropbox, Basecamp, and Trello are some options where you can share work and give instructions that can be accessed remotely.

Your VA’s output is greatly dependent on your initial orientation, and the systems that you have already set up, along with some training provided by you.

As your working relationship develops with your VA, you may need to be tolerant and allow for a learning curve. If you remember to communicate, give appropriate feedback, and provide the tools and the training necessary for the job, your VA should become a great asset to your team.

The world of outsourcing work to a virtual assistant is a very broad landscape.  There are so many options for a small business owner, and knowing what is right for you may be confusing.

Are you looking for a long-term relationship with a virtual assistant who you can outsource work to on a consistent basis?  Or, do you need a concierge-type virtual assistant to do small one-time projects like ordering lunch for a meeting, making dinner reservations or sending out thank you cards?

Does time-zone availability matter to you? Will you be outsourcing any writing or correspondence for your business? Is it important to have your virtual assistant understand grammar, and punctuation?

Once you determine what makes sense for you and your business, then you will need to figure out how much time you want to invest in finding, interviewing and working with your new virtual assistant. This is also a good time to consider if having your work sent overseas will cause any potential problems for you or your business.

A full service virtual assistant company, like Assistant Match, will do the following for you:
•    help you assess your outsourcing needs
•    write the job description that will be used to screen candidates
•    pre-screen US-based virtual assistant candidates
•    present you with the top 3 candidates

Many other virtual assistant companies will require you to do all of that, which is a huge time commitment and often something outside your area of expertise.

When clients have come to us in the past after going through some of the low cost VA companies, the main complaints they share with us are;
•    having to write their own job description
•    having to screen too many responses
•    not knowing how to work successfully with someone virtually
•    miscommunication between them and an overseas VA
•    no real business relationship

A full service virtual assistant company will provide you with more than just a virtual assistant.  Assistant Match offers a team of professional US-based placement specialists who provide an on-going relationship with both our clients and our team of US-based virtual assistants. This ensures the working relationship is as successful as possible.  But, in the event the VA/Client relationship doesn’t work out, than we find someone new and transition that person in as smooth as possible. The low cost VA companies do not help with that, which then puts the business owner back at square one and contacting us for help after lots of frustration and lost time.

We know that a small business owner puts their heart and soul into creating their company, building a professional reputation, and attracting clients.  Your business is generally a reflection of who you are and what you value. Professionalism, quality, and dedication is how a you want your business to be perceived by clients, investors, and the general public.  So risking your hard earned reputation is not worth saving a few bucks, is it?

It’s not always a good feeling to know that your business needs help with digital marketing.  It can cause a lot of different emotions — hopefulness, excitement, dread, or even anxiety, but you know that doing nothing is no longer an option.

A website is not just a business card anymore. Everything you put on your website, along with your social media channels and digital activity, educates your visitors and contributes to your public image.  So making sure this part of your business is managed is important.

Unfortunately, writing and publishing takes time and not everyone is a born writer or social media enthusiast.

Here are a few suggestion to help you.

  1. Outsource the Work:
    There are many virtual marketing assistants that can do an excellent job either ghost writing for you, or taking content already created and repurposing it for online use.  They are also usually skilled in researching topics, or your competitors.  A lot of these virtual assistants have held traditional marketing positions, but have branched out into the digital marketing profession, so they often offer a broad range of marketing skills that can be utilized.
  2. Invite Client Contributions:
    Why not ask your clients to write for you occasionally? Ask clients for marketing tips, advice on how they built their company, leadership tips, etc. They’ll get a plug on your website and social channels, and you’ll get expert resources for your website.

If you plan to write your own website content, good for you!  But you can’t forget that web content needs to be linked on social media and then social engagement, commenting and moderation are vital in keeping your digital presence attractive to the search engines. The content writing is just the first step to having success with your digital marketing.

I recently read an article published on Entrepreneur.com that was titled 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant written in December 2012.

Below is the Entrepeneur.com List:

  1. Online Research
  2. Bookkeeping
  3. Database Entries
  4. Data Presentations
  5. Managing Emails
  6. Holiday Cards
  7. Travel Research
  8. Scheduling
  9. Chasing Business
  10. Industry Knowledge Research

While I completely agree with the premise of this article about how using a virtual assistant can shave hours from your work week,  I think there are a lot more than 10 tasks that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.  The outsourcing options are almost limitless.  A professional virtual assistant can perform general to advanced administrative tasks but there are many professional virtual assistants with expertise in a more specialized field.  The skill level of today’s virtual assistants is extremely impressive.

I am going to add to the list published on Entreprenuer.com  with 10 MORE options for outsourcing work to a virtual assistant.  And honestly, there are even more options than this, but these are the areas that many clients are seeking help with on a growing basis.

  1. Social Media Management
  2. Newsletter maintenance or management
  3. Website updates
  4. Blogging
  5. Event planning
  6. Graphic design
  7. Article distribution
  8. Customer Service
  9. SalesForce or E-commerce updates
  10. Personal Assistance

 

Every business owner knows that decisions affecting your business have to be made pretty much every day.  There are easy decisions, and then there are those harder decisions that show up and create sleepless nights, stressful days and self doubt.  These are usually the decisions that are necessary to keep your business moving in the right direction.

For many business owners,  the biggest challenge isn’t making the right decision, it is doing or implementing it.  I love the quote by Tony Robbins, “ A real decision is measured by the fact that you have taken a new action. If there in no action then you haven’t truly decided”.

Think about how much time is wasted or lost making decisions that don’t ever come to fruition.

So, what are the main causes of decisions not being implemented?

  • Lack of Time?
  • Lack of Resources?
  • Lack of Motivation?
  • Lack of Finances?

Every business is different and every person handles decision-making differently. If you’re finding that more decisions are being made than are getting done, it’s time to pause, reflect, reorganize, and re-evaluate your processes  your resources and your time-management skills.

Let me know if you struggle with getting your business decisions moving from an idea to an action.

Is your life centered around family, work, and play (FWP), not necessarily in that order?

I am pretty sure the common denominator to ensuring a balanced life is TIME.  Spending quality time with your family, putting in enough hours at work, and having some downtime to enjoy the things in life that give you pleasure and lets you recharge your mental battery.

Many of us struggle with balancing what I will call the FWP cycle.  Work is required to earn enough money to take care of our families, and a discretionary fund is needed to pay for our “play” time, so most of us put more emphasis on the work part of our lives.   I have asked many business owners (both men and women) what an ideal day would look like to them and the universal answer seems to be having more TIME. As we get older, we realize how fast TIME goes by and there is no slowing it down.

So, how do you overcome that lack of TIME to balance FWP?  As a business owner, it is important to constantly be aware of your efforts.  Are you dedicating your time wisely or are you wasting valuable time doing things that may not be generating revenue, building business relationships, or are even within your area of expertise?  Think strategically when you are worried about managing your time.  Do not waste precious time doing the things that can be outsourced.  This quote by Jack Canfield is very relevant, “When you are able to maximize your potential by focusing on your core genius, you become more productive and effective”.

ACTION ITEM: Record every single task, project or activity you do for one week, noting which line items are income producers, core genius or something that was a time waster and should have been outsourced.
Share your list in our comments and let’s talk strategy and outcomes.