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At the end of 2021, we sent out a survey asking all of our members what the most important thing was for their business this year … and you know what they unanimously replied?

“BUILD MY TEAM!”

So, we spoke to 4 different business owners, all experts in their field, to give you 4 different perspectives on building your team by hiring or outsourcing.

For this second perspective, I spoke to Kristy Smith from Virtual Elves. Kristy has not only found Virtual Assistants for over 300 businesses just like yours, she is supported by 20 VA’s in her own business too. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Kristy is an expert on when and how to bring a VA into your business.

 

 

Here’s Kristy’s take on hiring vs outsourcing …

 

BCW: How will I know when it’s time to outsource?

    1. Your business administration is starting to interfere with growth. When you’re spending a big chunk of your week on operations and admin, rather than strategising on improvements and revenue producing activities. Or if your clients are suffering because you’re unable to juggle their needs with the needs of your business.
    2. You’re maxed out but your clients still want more. There is a limit to how much you can achieve on your own, and once you’ve reached that limit your availability will max out. If you’re good at what you do your clients will want more of it, so you need to free up your time.
    3. You’re unable to keep up with market demand. Turning away or losing business because you don’t have the capacity or the resources to take it on is one of the biggest signs that you need to ‘staff up.

BCW: I’m keen to outsource, but not ready for a full time, local employee, so what are my options?
Depending on the job, a VA or a freelancer could be the answer. Put simply, a VA has a wide range of skills and can work on many different tasks. They are usually employed by 1 or 2 companies and commit to a certain number of hours each week/month. Alternatively, a freelancer is an independent contractor with expert level skills. They usually work on set projects with predetermined time frames and payment agreements. So, if you have tasks that require an expert skill set, you may be best to hire a Freelancer, but if you have lots of repetitive tasks, you may find a VA is a better fit for your business.

 

BCW: What do I need to think about before I decide to outsource to a VA?

  1. What is your budget? Offshore VA’s cost anywhere from $5-$20/hour, whereas local VA’s cost from $50 an hour.
  2. What tasks do you need to outsource? You’re best to start with a task audit to work out where you are spending your time unnecessarily and which tasks someone else could do for you.
  3. Do you have time to train & onboard your VA? One of the biggest mistakes you can make is bringing on a VA and leaving them to their own devices. If you take the time to create processes, train them and record videos so they can refer back to them, you’ll save yourself a lot of time in the long run.
  4. How will you communicate your needs? You need to consider what type of manager you will be, which communication & project management systems you will use and how often you will get together.
  5. What systems do I need to implement? Programs such as Skype, Google Chat, Whatsapp, and Viber are great for communicating with your VA and you can share files with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Implementing a project management system like  Basecamp, Asana or Trello allows you to delegate tasks with a timeframe/deadline.
  6. What do you expect from your VA? I suggest you put together very clear expectations and KPIs around how your VA’s performance will be measured, how it will be tracked, when you will meet with them to talk through any problems that they might be having. This will allow two-way communication to resolve issues, ensuring you get your desired outcomes and there are no surprises, for either you or your VA.
  7. What will you spend your time on once you have a VA? It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing lower-level tasks if you don’t commit to doing higher level core activities that generate more income, allow you to do the things you love most or give you more quality time with your family.

 

BCW: How will I find an amazing VA?
You need to make sure you and your virtual assistant are well-matched. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Be clear about your needs. Figure out exactly what you need to outsource and then complete a comprehensive job description to communicate that. 
  2. Match your needs with qualified candidates. Shortlist the virtual assistants who closely fit your requirements, making sure they have capacity to accept new clients. Have a look at their CV, English proficiency test results, typing test results, internet speed, personality test, and the results of a test task if required.
  3. Meet your candidates virtually. To gauge if they will be a good fit for your business, you need to get to know your candidates via a virtual meeting. This is your opportunity to ask them a range of questions and for them to get to know you too.
  4. Create a mutual partnership. To ensure you get off to a good start with a mutual, trusting work relationship, you need a partnership that works for both of you. Both you and your VA need to set clear expectations and boundaries from the very beginning.

This is the nuanced process we use at Virtual Elves to find the perfect fit – we have refined it over the years and have it down to a fine art. 

 

BCW: Where can I find out more about outsourcing?
Kristy was interviewed on The People Powered Podcast and shared some critical insights on the value of outsourcing, when we should be considering it and what we need to consider when we are looking at outsourced providers. It’s 42 minutes of pure gold and an excellent starting point. The Virtual Elves Blog is an excellent resource too.

 

How amazing was that?! I’m sure it has been a real eye-opener for you! You can connect with Kristy on Linkedin or via her website, Virtual Elves.

 

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