As a solopreneur or small business owner, you might find yourself wearing all the hats and trying to do everything on your own.
You’re not just the coach or service provider. You’re also the customer service rep, social media manager, graphic designer, admin assistant, and more.
And it’s hard. And many business owners make it even harder for themselves by not getting the help they need.
Now as you know, I am 100% for outsourcing. It is one of the best things you can do for your business. But if you aren’t ready for it mentally, and even emotionally, it can be a huge source of stress and anxiety. So today we’re going to talk about the mindset you need in order to succeed with outsourcing. I’m going to talk about the four main things you need to keep in mind.
Learn to let go
The first thing you need to do when considering outsourcing is to learn to let go. This is by far the hardest step. Many solopreneurs and small business owners are used to doing everything themselves, but that mindset can hold you back. Delegating tasks to a virtual assistant allows you to focus on the core aspects of your business that require your attention, which will help you grow and scale.
You need to learn to trust someone else to help you in your business.
Learning to let go is an essential part of outsourcing, but it’s easier said than done, especially if you have been doing everything yourself for a long time. It can be tough to trust someone else with tasks that are critical to the success of your business, but it’s necessary if you want to grow and scale.
If you’re a web designer who is used to handling all aspects of your clients’ projects, from initial consultations to design to development to launch. As your business grows, you find that you’re spending more time on administrative tasks, such as scheduling meetings, invoicing, and following up with clients. You know you need help, but you’re not sure if you’re ready to delegate these tasks to someone else.
One way to start letting go is to identify the tasks that you don’t enjoy doing or that are not the best use of your time. For example, if you hate bookkeeping, consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle your finances. If you don’t have time to write blog posts, hire a freelance writer to create content for your website. By outsourcing these tasks, you free up more time to focus on what you do best – designing beautiful websites.
Or, if you’re an online business coach who spends a lot of time responding to emails and managing your schedule. You could hire a virtual assistant to manage your inbox and schedule appointments, so you can spend more time coaching your clients and creating content for your website. This will allow you to focus on the high-value tasks that will help you grow your business, while your virtual assistant takes care of the rest.
It’s also important to remember that outsourcing is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
You don’t have to delegate every single task to a virtual assistant. Start small by outsourcing one or two tasks and see how it goes. This will help build your confidence in your ability to hand over tasks to someone else. As you get more comfortable with the process and build trust with your virtual assistant, you can gradually delegate more tasks and responsibilities.
By doing so, you’ll free up more time to focus on the high-value tasks that will help you grow your business.
The second aspect of getting into the right mindset for outsourcing is around budgeting. It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing a virtual assistant purely as a business expense, and then wanting to minimise that expense as much as possible.
From an accounting perspective, your virtual assistant is an expense, yes. But when you’re viewing the role they play in your business, a virtual assistant is so much more than that.
When you get ready to hire a virtual assistant, don’t skimp on quality. Instead, budget for a virtual assistant who will be an asset to your business, even if it means spending a little more.
Remember, the value of outsourcing is not just about what your virtual assistant can do for you but also how much time they can give you back. Your time is valuable, and outsourcing should always be viewed as a business investment rather than an additional expense.
When it comes to budgeting for a virtual assistant, the first step is to determine what tasks you want them to handle and how much time those tasks will take. This will give you a rough estimate of how many hours per week or month you will need from your virtual assistant.
Next, research virtual assistant rates in your industry and location to get an idea of what you can expect to pay. Remember, rates can vary widely depending on the skill level and experience of the virtual assistant, so it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford.
It’s also worth considering the long-term benefits of hiring a virtual assistant. By outsourcing tasks that take up a lot of your time, you’ll have more time to focus on the tasks that generate revenue for your business. This can lead to increased productivity and ultimately more revenue.
If you’re looking at your monthly budget and comparing that to the number of hours you think you’ll need a virtual assistant for, and they’re not matching up, don’t think your only option is to reduce your hourly budget. If you’ve done your research on what the average rates are for the kind of virtual assistant you need, I rather recommend reducing the number of hours you will hire them for.
For example, let’s say you’re a graphic designer who spends a lot of time creating social media graphics and updating your website with york attest projects. You want to hire a creative virtual assistant, and from your research you know you need to budget $25 an hour. You have a budget of $250 a month, which would be 10 hours. But you worked out that you spend 15 hours a month on these tasks that you want to outsource. Rather than reducing your hourly budget down from $25 an hour, hire an assistant for 10 hours a month to start. Then, once you’re able to increase your income because of those extra 10 hours you have, you can slowly start increasing their hours.
As I mentioned earlier, an important thing to keep in mind is that hiring a virtual assistant should always be looked at as a business investment, not an extra cost. By investing in the right virtual assistant, you can free up your time to focus on growing your business and generating more revenue. In the long run, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.
I’d like to take a moment here to talk about new virtual assistants. When you’re hiring a virtual assistant for the first time, it may be tempting to hire a new virtual assistant, as they tend to price low in order to get experience.
Now, I 100% recommend hiring new virtual assistants for your team once you have grown and are a bit more established. Being in a position to provide that space for someone who is just getting started is amazing.
But for your first hire, you are still learning how to be ‘the boss’, you are getting used to handing off tasks, having a team and so on. This will be new for you. So if you end up hiring someone who is also very new to this set up, it could be a frustrating and disappointing experience on both sides. So, for this reason, I recommend against hiring a new virtual assistant as your first hire.
It will be better for you to hire someone with experience – not only in the skillset, but also working virtually as a VA. They will be more prepared, and the transition will be easier and smoother.
Communication is key
Once you’ve found the right virtual assistant, the third element of getting into the right mindset is to learn how to manage them. While you may think that managing a virtual assistant means micromanaging, this is not the case. When you train and onboard your virtual assistant well, they should be self-sufficient and able to work independently.
A mistake I often come across with small business owners working with virtual assistants is thinking that the virtual assistant will guide or lead the process of working together.
When you hire a virtual assistant, it’s important to remember that it’s not their job to manage you or your business. Your virtual assistant is there to support you and your business, but you should be the one making the decisions and directing the work.
Your virtual assistant should be self-sufficient and able to work independently, but that doesn’t mean they should be left to their own devices without any direction or guidance. Regular check-ins and clear communication can help ensure that your virtual assistant is on track and that you are getting the support you need without micromanaging. Remember, your virtual assistant is there to help you, not manage you or your business.
Another key element of managing a virtual assistant is communication. As with any relationship, communication is key. Make sure that you and your VA are on the same page when it comes to deadlines, priorities, and goals. If there are any issues that arise, address them right away rather than letting them fester and potentially cause bigger problems down the line.
Additionally, providing your virtual assistant with regular feedback is crucial to their success. This can include both positive feedback for things they’ve done well, as well as constructive feedback for areas where they may need improvement. Remember that your virtual assistant wants to do a good job and help your business succeed, so any feedback you provide should be given with the intention of helping them improve.
I have a virtual assistant who manages my inbox for me. At the beginning of our working relationship, we established clear expectations around response times and how to handle different types of emails. We also set up a system for flagging any urgent emails that require my attention. This has worked incredibly well for us, and I never have to worry about missing an important message.
Remember that while managing a virtual assistant may require some upfront work, the benefits can be huge. By delegating tasks and freeing up your time, you can focus on the big picture of your business and take it to the next level.
Set clear expectations
Finally, the fourth aspect of getting into the right mindset for outsourcing is setting clear expectations from the outset. This means knowing – and then communicating with your virtual assistant about what you expect them to do, how you want them to do it, and when it needs to be done by. Clarity is crucial when outsourcing, as it ensures that everyone is on the same page and that the project progresses smoothly.
It’s important to communicate clearly and set expectations from the start, so your virtual assistant understands their role and what is expected of them.
One of the most important things you can do when managing your virtual assistant is to set clear expectations from the beginning. Make sure that they understand your business goals, your working style, and your communication preferences. This can include things like how often you want to touch base, what kind of reporting you expect, and how quickly you want them to respond to messages.
Another important aspect of setting clear expectations is being specific about the project goals and timeline. This includes deadlines for each task, as well as the overall project deadline. Be clear about what you want your virtual assistant to deliver and when you expect it. This will help avoid any confusion or misunderstandings down the line.
To ensure that expectations are met, it’s also important to establish a system of regular check-ins and progress reports. This helps you keep track of how the project is progressing, and allows you to address any issues that come up before they become bigger problems.
In addition, it’s important to be open and flexible in your communication with your virtual assistant. If things are not going as planned or if you need to make changes to the project, be upfront and communicate this as soon as possible. This allows for a smoother working relationship and helps avoid any surprises or misunderstandings.
Remember that outsourcing is a partnership, and setting clear expectations is key to a successful partnership. By communicating clearly and establishing expectations from the start, you can ensure that your virtual assistant is set up for success and that your project progresses smoothly.
And there you have it! The four key elements of the mindset for outsourcing that you need to keep in mind as you begin hiring for your business.
First, learning to let go and let someone else help you in your business.
Second, when budgeting for a virtual assistant, don’t skimp on quality.
Third, managing a virtual assistant doesn’t mean micromanaging, but instead, training and onboarding them well.
And fourth, setting clear expectations from the beginning can prevent confusion and ensure a smooth project.
Remember, outsourcing can be a tremendous asset to your business if you approach it with the right mindset.