Tuesday, 7 January 2014

10 mental hurdles you need to overcome before using a Virtual Assistant

Before Christmas I met with a potential client to discuss working together. It was a great meeting but it threw up a conversation I regularly have with people looking to use a Virtual Assistant.

The crux of the issue is "I want to work with you, but I just can't see how you can help". 

People know they are maxed out but are sceptical of how a Virtual Assistant can help. I decided to list the most common objections or mental hurdles people have, and address them in this blog.

"I need to be in control"

This is probably the biggest psychological hurdle to overcome and the one I hear most often. It can be hard to relinquish control of any area of your business by passing it on to another individual to complete for you, and I completely understand that. Delegation is a learning process (more on that in a minute) but I have found that once you start this process it becomes much easier. The sooner you begin to trust another person can do these tasks for you, the sooner you will see results. You WILL have more time to spend on moving your business forward rather than just keeping it ticking it over. Remember, a Virtual Assistant will only charge you for the time the project takes and that's it!

"But I can do it more quickly."

This may be true in the short term but, ask yourself this: how many hours does it take you to do these tasks every week? How quickly could you show someone how to do them with clear instructions? You may even find your Virtual Assistant has ways of doing the tasks even more quickly. Virtual Assistants are experienced people with a huge range of skills and expertise and are well versed in taking projects from clients to streamline their general effectiveness and make suggestions or improvements.

"OK. But I'm not sure which tasks to delegate."

This is another very common question. To all potential clients I say this; take a look at yourself and your business and start to write down a list of everything you have to do on a weekly basis. Then write down how long these tasks take you. Ask yourself:


What are you good at? 
What tasks can only you do? 
What tasks do you NEED to do? 

Once you have looked at what you actually HAVE to do yourself and what you could delegate/outsource, you should have a fairly comprehensive list of tasks. Usually the top of this list is general admin tasks and I recently listed The top ten admin tasks you can outsource to your VA  which may also help you. Once you have this list you can start to look for a Virtual Assistant with the skill set to quickly and effectively take that workload off your hands.

"But I don't know how long it should take them to do these tasks?"

That's a fair point. Many people don't ever look at how long a job could or should take. It's why most staff work a 40 hour week by default. Tackling this is simple. Once you have your list of tasks you can take a look and decide how long you think each task should take. You've done these tasks yourself, you know roughly how long they take to complete. The great thing about a VA is that it will probably take them less time than you to complete. Why? Because a VA has no other distractions while they work on your behalf. No lunch breaks, no checking the ping of their email, no calls to take, no covering of colleagues' phones over lunch hours, no coffee breaks. Most Virtual Assistants will use a version of time tracking software for absolute transparency and when they sit down to do the task assigned, THAT IS ALL THEY DO. 

"I don't understand how it can work virtually."

Technology is wonderful. A Virtual Assistant keeps in regular contact with you - mainly via email, skype and phone, but many will also meet in person as well. A good VA will schedule online meetings, calls and regularly email updates and adapt all of these to your individual contract. Whether they file your expenses once a month or manage your diary and email on a daily basis, they will sort a schedule for contact and keep you completely updated. Most VAs use time tracking software which you can access whenever you like to see how much work they have logged for you that day/week/month.

"Should I trust a VA?"

This is completely down to you and the individual you contract. It is exactly the same as employing someone to work for you as a permanent employee. It is about building a relationship and seeing results. Your VA will keep you updated and go out of their way to make your business run more efficiently. It is in their interest to! The more they impress, the more work they will generate. Remember, a Virtual Assistant is only paid for the hours they work. You are not going through the lengthy and expensive process of recruitment. 

"Will they understand my business?"

Yes they will. A Virtual Assistant is experienced in working with hundreds of different companies and clients, and they take the time to understand you and how your business operates, so will draw out exactly what your business needs. Remember a VA will usually produce a proposal of how they see themselves working with you,  highlighting your objectives and showing how they can help. This is before you contract them, so you should easily and quickly be able to see if they really do 'get what your business is about'. I recently had some great feedback from a client saying I 'got to the heart of the project really quickly and efficiently' and this was great to hear as it is something I have always worked hard to achieve with all of my clients.

"How do they access my documents?"

Usually we use a form of online 'cloud' storage. These storage systems are simple, effective and safe - and only the people you want to can access the documents. There are so many brilliant systems available and they're so easy to use. I may as well be sat at the next desk to you!

"OK. It all makes sense, but it will it make a difference to my bottom line?"

This can be a tough one to answer because nobody has a crystal ball, however there is the good old saying 'you have to speculate to accumulate'. It comes down to how much time using a VA can free up and what you can then spend your time doing. If you had more time could you generate more business? Every big CEO employs a personal assistant to take away the day-to-day load and pressure of the neverending (but essential) admin tasks to give them to time to focus on the growth of the business. A Virtual Assistant is the smart person's choice for this job.

"But I'm not sure I can afford it."

Again, this depends on the above, and whether you can see value in speculating to accumulate. One thing we can say is that employing a VA will always save you money over employing a member of staff. A Virtual Assistant is experienced and can complete all manner of tasks quickly, effectively and remotely. You don't have to go through the expensive process of recruiting staff. You don't need to find them a desk, or buy them a computer. You don't have to worry about payroll costs like tax and NI as your VA covers those. In fact, there are so many ways a VA can save you money! Why not check them out here 

So, if you have ever wondered whether a Virtual Assistant could be the answer to relieving those time pressures but had concerns about how it could work hopefully this blog has answered those questions for you. It  might just be the helping hand you and your business needs to really get to the next level. You can find more information about The Intelligent VA Company and how we could help right here

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