Do you often look at small businesses and genuinely wonder, “how do they do it all?” – well, the likelihood is, they don’t. Calling in help and support to your business to get you to the next level isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
In this week’s Business Development post I want to talk to you about outsourcing and how delegating aspects of your business can free up your time, bring invaluable new skills into your grasp and actually increase your income.
Meet Jen – Jen works as a Virtual Assistant, supporting small businesses to grow and taking care of all their admin and ‘behind the scenes’ tasks, and she’s here to give us detail on what impact extra support can make to your business. I’ve asked her to give us all a little insight into what she does and why she is so useful for us solo-entrepreneurs.
“I know I need some help, but I just don’t know how you would do the stuff that I do?”
“Where do I start – what can you help me with?”
“By the time I’ve explained what I need help with, I may as well have just done it myself.”
“I struggle to pay myself, let alone someone else!
These are just some of the worries, concerns and apprehensions that I hear from small business owners all the time.
You’re constantly working IN your business [as opposed to ON your business] and whilst you absolutely love doing what you do – whether that be making cakes, delivering coaching or carrying out clinic appointments – you find it’s often the tasks you love that get left at the bottom of the pile at the end of the day whilst you drown under emails or paperwork instead. Hardly what you signed up for when setting out on the righteous path of self employment.
Running your own business is hard – like, really hard. If you’ve transitioned from employment to self-employment, you’ve gone from knowing various departments that support a business, for example a production team, marketing, accounts, customer service and tech support, to – you. Just you.
You might be an incredibly talented artist – whose work is more beautiful than the rising sun and is adored by millions.. so much so you decided to turn your side hustle into a fully fledged business! Hazzah! But are you going to become a professional in all those OTHER required departments over night? I hate to break it to you – but you aren’t. You can’t!
So – what’s the answer? In short – the answer is to find the people that can fill those other shoes for you. The time that you’ll spend trying to figure out how to make a spreadsheet work or how to make those images in Canva all come together for that perfect sales and marketing newsletter (I can feel your frustration), is time better spent doing the things you love, YOUR unique skill, whilst freelancers can all do the rest for you. Let them do THEIR unique skill. There are so many freelance professionals out there, spanning the length and breadth and more of the required areas of business.
The joy of hiring a freelancer? You only need to pay by the hour so can start small and grow their hours as your business grows!
Finding the right one is a bit like finding the right chair – you’ve got to be comfortable enough to know you’re getting all the support you need, that when you’re having a busy day you can just lean back and know everything will be taken care of.
What are typical tasks that a VA can help you with?
Each VA is different, and has varying skill sets and areas of specialism, but some initial ideas that might strike a chord are:
- Email management / client support
- Social media support
- Market research
- Blog writing
- Customer service
- Newsletter management
- Basic book-keeping
And, depending on the scale, the right VA could potentially cover your tasks in as little as one hour a week. Which means, for the price of a Saturday night take-away, you could get areas of your business covered and free-up your time, which you never thought was within reach.
So – you know what a VA can do – you see how outsourcing could positively impact your business, but let me guess; you barely pay yourself a wage out of this gig, so how can you justify bringing in someone else, right?
If you take a step back, you’ll see this is all just false economy. Many solo-entrepreneurs think of outsourcing, delegating, and bringing in support as an expense, but the truth is, if you collaborate strategically, working with a VA is a way to increase your profits, not your expenses.
The question isn’t ‘can I afford a VA?’ – the question needs to be ‘I can’t afford NOT to invest in this support, to spring my business forward’.
For most small businesses, you get to a stage of overwhelm, where you are completely tapped out in terms of time. You are at full capacity for what you can produce alone. You’ve created yourself a job, not your dream business. Here’s a golden nugget for you – STOP. Don’t get to this point; the point of stress, worry, and likely rash decisions. Embarking on business support needs to be done with a calm and level head on your shoulders, with time to consider your options, what would work, what you want and need. It’s a way of future-proofing your growing business. When operating under duress we make hasty decisions which could turn out to be to your detriment. So my advice would be to get help lined up before you get to the point of pulling your hair out, having sleepless nights and drowning under it all.
Having business support enables you to be manager and creative director of your business – or any other fancy term that means you get to be you.
You do you.
You do what only YOU can do in your business and find others who can help you do the rest.
Whether it’s a Virtual Assistant, Social Media Manager, Accountant, or other professional that you need to bring into your business – let them lead the way into how to get set-up and get everything under-way for you.
Everyone has their own onboarding techniques and processes – but the general purpose is to establish exactly what you need help with, and how they can deliver that support for you. It’s a really good idea to initially have a telephone or zoom call, to determine if you’re a good fit. Just because you need the support and feel like you’re drowning under a mountain of admin, it doesn’t mean you should take on the first VA to knock on your door (or enter your zoom lobby). It’s important to establish if you’ll work well together – both on your side and theirs.
We’re all different, and the fact that your skills will differ to the professional helping support your business is exactly why we’re here, but having the same values is something that will allow your working together work in better harmony.
Understanding the future plans, aspirations and hopes for a business will also allow your VA to see how they can suggest development and growth plans.
I hope that helps give an insight into how delegating and outsourcing can help and benefit your business. It’s scary – of course it is. It’s like leaving your baby with a baby-sitter for the first time. But – just remember, if you’ve continually got all these plates to spin, you’ll always be chasing – you’ll be continually working IN your business as opposed to ON it, and you’re limiting your time and capacity to focus on the core of your business, doing the things you love.
If you find the right VA (or whichever support in business you need), you’ll feel like you have a new lease of life.
Quote from one of my clients: “I just wanted to say a massive thank you for everything you do ‘behind the scenes’. Last night I went to the gym, then sat on the sofa with my husband and was in bed by 10.30pm. A year ago, I’d have skipped the gym, had my head in my phone in a panic, followed by a few more hours of work whilst everyone else slept. Having you on board has really changed my business [and my home life] for the better. Your attention to detail means customers don’t slip through the net, and I can focus on what I’m good at instead of worrying about admin!”
Get ready to take a seat and get comfy in your new chair.
If you think you’re ready to discuss any business support needs, development or growth assistance, I’d love to have a chat and see if I can help.
Continue being awesome!
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