Hands up who doesn’t wish they could magically add more time to their day? The demands of everyday life are exhausting enough for most people, but add to that working to get a business off the ground and running it single-handedly and ‘normal’ life becomes an almost superhuman effort. Most people start their own business because they have a passion for what they do, becoming their own boss to get off the 9 to 5 treadmill, only to find that trying to do everything themselves within their business makes them feel like a hamster on a wheel and can often leave you working 24/7, which is not what you wanted or thought would happen!
The realisation that you aren’t Superman/woman, (no matter how fabulous you are!) is an important lesson to learn. So, what can you do to help you take back control, grow your business and have a life as well?
To start with you could consider hiring a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can be cost- effective and an extra pair of safe, specialist hands. But obviously, you might have your doubts; after all, your business is your baby. Here are 10 reasons why you should at least consider hiring a virtual assistant;
- Liberate yourself from endless paperwork The monotony of the ‘small stuff’ like admin can make you start to forget why you wanted to go it alone in the first place, you can fall out of love with your beloved business. You will soon realise that wading through piles of paperwork each day soon zaps the passion out of what you’re doing. A virtual assistant can help take some of the weight off by tackling these things for you.
- Easier diary management Life doesn’t go to plan, so sometimes you need to cancel or rearrange a meeting with a client. Sounds easy enough, right? But what if you are trying to contact said client with a sick, screaming toddler hanging off your arm, or you have so many other meetings that trying to rearrange one for later just doesn’t happen? A virtual assistant can keep your schedule updated and rearrange meetings for you, giving you the flexibility you need.
- Spend more time with family and friends When you run a business, your work/life balance can be non-existent at times, especially when you have just started out. Every potential hour of the day is an hour when you could be making money, but having the need to do admin, post on social media, prepare invoices and the list goes on; doesn’t earn you money but is a necessity in all businesses. A virtual assistant can help you carve out time to spend doing things that matter with the people who matter and you can’t put a price on that.
- A virtual assistant is cheaper than hiring a member of staff You won’t need to pay to get someone trained as a virtual assistant will usually have their own specialist skillset. A virtual assistant will usually only be paid for hours worked, so there’s added flexibility if you know you need help but you can’t afford to hire a member of staff. There is no NI to pay, no sick pay and no holiday pay, this is all taken care of by the virtual assistant!
- It gives you flexibility You can hire a virtual assistant for as many (or as few) hours as you think you will need. Most offer packages of contracted hours, but you can also usually hire them as a one-off at particularly busy times of the year, for example.
- You’ll be more productive No more running around like a headless chicken trying to wear all the different hats in your business. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can cut your to do list in half, and get on with the tasks that are going to directly grow your business.
- You get to concentrate on what you SHOULD be doing You know the feeling; you have a super productive day planned, then you go to add something to your website or to one of your social media pages, then there’s a technical hitch. You either don’t know how to do the task in hand or you spend ages trying to contact technical support to sort it out. Before you know it, you’ve lost a few hours of your day and you’re behind. Wouldn’t it be easier to have an assistant to manage your social media and web pages so you could concentrate on running your business, I mean really doing the things that make a difference to your business?
- A virtual assistant becomes part of your team Much like a PA, a virtual assistant will become part of your team and given time, they can really come to understand what it is that you need in order for you to grow your business and how best to help and support you.
- You will look more professional Even if you’re a sole trader, you will look much more professional and responsive, if you have someone answering your emails in a timely, professional yet friendly manner.
- You get access to skills you may not have You can’t do everything yourself. With a virtual assistant, you get access to someone with a specialised set of skills, such as diary management, social media management and even website maintenance.
It’s natural that business owners have concerns about whether they can afford to hire in help, but think about the money you could be making by following leads or calling clients, when you’re being bogged down by administration instead. Or consider the extra hours you might have at your disposal to get some much needed ‘me’ time because you haven’t spent as much time with your head in the paperwork or scheduling calls and meetings.
Above all, a good virtual assistant will get to know a client’s business inside out, and their role is to make your life easier; who can say that they don’t really need or want that? Are you still wondering what you could outsource? Here are a few things to get you thinking. Diary management, an up to date diary is so important to any business but perhaps you’d like someone to schedule those meetings, book calls and appointments for you. Travel management, a VA can take care of all your travel plans. Website maintenance, an up to date website is so important to your business and a virtual assistant can ensure that your website is always current. Preparing and sending invoices, let’s be honest; handling invoices can be an arduous task, if not time-guzzling, why not let a VA do it for you? These are just a few ideas of what you could outsource but, when it comes to a virtual assistant almost anything goes.