After months of coping with an endless to-do list and mounting levels of stress, I decided it was time to grow my team, again. In addition to outsourcing my edits and hiring my mom to do my bookkeeping, I knew I needed more support once I started my second business, Laura Lee Creative. It was if as soon as I found balance running once business, I decided to sabotage myself by starting a second! I knew I didn’t want to give either of them up, so, in 2017, I reached out to Rock Solid Virtual Assistants, hired my first virtual assistant (VA), and never looked back. So today, my intention with this blog post is two part. First, I want to share my advice on how to effectively work with a virtual assistant. Then, for all of you solopreneurs out there, I’m here to tell you 6 ways to know you’re ready to hire a VA.
Simply put, hiring a virtual assistant is an investment in your business AND your personal life. When it comes to your business, a VA is a direct return on your investment. Having a VA allows you to delegate tasks outside of your zone of genius, giving you more time to focus on new projects that ignite your inner creative spark. Moreover, a VA will save you endless amounts of time and energy so you can focus on strengthening relationships with your clients, SUCH A WIN! And most importantly, a VA frees up time in your schedule to be spent doing what you love with the ones you love! It’s all a win, win if you ask me!
How to Effectively Work With a VA
Just like any team, it is important to understand the best strategies for working effectively together. This is essential when working with someone who may be working in a different city or even state. Laying the foundation at the beginning of your relationship is the key to success with any virtual assistant. Here are a few of my tips for working effectively with a VA:
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication is key in all relationships, especially the relationships that directly impact your business and bottom line. Using apps like Slack or Voxer allow me to communicate with my VA on a daily basis. Whether it is a short email update or a long conversation about a project, I communicate frequently with my VA to ensure our team’s success.
Set up systems and workflows (before you hire a VA)
Systems and workflows are not only the cornerstones of your business, they are also incredibly important when it comes to growing your team. Before you hire a VA, it is vital to have systems in place that easily outline your processes for tasks and projects. When you begin delegating tasks to your VA, you will be amazed at how quickly and seamlessly things are accomplished when you have the steps perfectly laid out for them! Note: If this thought totally freaks you out, I can help.
Host weekly meetings
At the beginning of each week, my VA and I meet for one hour. If it is a heavy week of projects, we may meet for two hours to make sure we are both fully prepared for the week ahead. (Note, if your VA is only working 10 hours a week, I don’t recommend having a 2-hour meeting, but in our case, this makes sense!) My VA sends me an agenda the evening before our meetings so I can review and add more talking points. She also schedules our meetings on my calendar with a Zoom link embedded. That way, I get a notification before the meeting and can jump right into our weekly agenda! It’s AMAZING to make sure things are moving forward on all my goals and major ongoing projects like The Fireside Retreat, and a secret project I’m working on!
Start small with task delegation
When you start working with a VA, you may be anxious to unload everything on your to-do list that has been stressing you out. But, you have to be careful with this. My advice, start small when you begin delegating tasks. Give your new VA time to acclimate and adjust to his or her new position. This will benefit both of you in the long run.
Find out what your VA’s zone of genius is
This is one of my favorites! As you start getting to know your VA and their work style, you will begin to notice tasks that ignite their spark. Capitalize on this! There is no better feeling than being able to work as a team and complete tasks in each of your own zones of genius. My VA enjoys editing content. I braindump all my blog and newsletter content at the beginning of the week. Then, she goes in with a fine paintbrush and touches up all the edges. It’s a perfect collaboration!
Pro Tip: One of the hangups I had, when I began delegating things, was that I honestly felt bad that I was giving her things that I dreaded. I felt like I was saying “I hate this task, so I’m just going to put the stress on your plate instead.” After 3 months of working together, we did a mini review and I asked her what type of things she loved doing, and as it turned out, all the things that drained my creativity were igniting hers! My weaknesses are her strengths, and I couldn’t dream up a better combination!
6 Ways to Know You’re Ready to Hire a VA
One of the trickiest parts of owning your own business is knowing when to ask for help. I struggled with this for too many 14 hour days before I realized I needed additional support. If you are unsure whether or not you are ready to hire a VA, consider this:
#1 – Are you missing deadlines for your clients?
#2 – Are you overwhelmed and overworked?
#3 – Do you feel financially ready to grow your team?
#4 – Are you striving for deeper connections with your clients but don’t have the extra time?
#5 – Do you find yourself bailing on lunch dates or nights out with friends to work?
#6 – Are there some major projects on your list that have been there for far too long that someone could help get off the ground?
When it comes to your time, sanity, and bottom line, I believe that a virtual assistant is the best investment you can make for yourself and your business! If and when you do hire one, it is important to learn how to effectively work with him or her to get the most out of your investment.
Pro Tip: My biggest fear when I was hiring a Virtual Assistant was that they wouldn’t care about my business as much as I did. BOY was I wrong. This couldn’t be further from the truth and I am truly grateful for a team that believes in my vision and values as a company. Believe me when I say they will be your biggest cheerleaders, your confidants, and your right-hand man or women. They come equipped with skills beyond what you can possibly imagine, and will take your company further than you could dream!
I am incredibly grateful for finding Rock Solid Virtual Assistants as my source for the highest quality virtual assistants in the industry. Their mission is built on relationships. Each client-VA match goes through a thorough onboarding process, ensuring that you are both the right match for each other. And best of all, their team cares about you and your business’ success. I’ve been working with the Rock Solid team for over a year now and I could not be happier with their services. And, I am honored that Rock Solid Virtual Assistants will be sponsoring the 2018 Fireside Retreat! If you want to learn more about hiring a virtual assistant and/or the services they offer, head over to the Rock Solid Virtual Assistants website.