You may see an “entrepreneur” talking about their 6 figure business and wonder how they do it. Where do they get the time? How have they done that on their own? I am working 16 hour days and not getting anywhere!
They most likely didn’t do it on their own. Yes, their business idea, the planning, the initial development and the business path were all their doing. Hard work and sleepless nights were all part of it too. But, they did not turn their business into a 6 figure mega business on their own.
The truth is you can not physically do everything that is required to make those figures as a solopreneur. You need a team of people working with you in order to grow and scale your business to those heights. When you see a business owner on a holiday or at a day spa, their team will still be working away behind the scenes to ensure business is ticking over. When they say they work 4 hours a day 3 days a week and make $20000 a month, they have most likely outsourced their administrative tasks and a whole lot of other tasks in order to achieve this life. So, keep this in mind when you’re watching their self-promoting videos. Don’t become disheartened wondering why they can do it and you can’t.
These days, an online based business team consists generally of VA’s (Virtual Assistants). A VA is a person who works remotely – usually from their own home or a virtual office – to perform administrative duties. A modern day VA can be skilled in any area of business from bookkeeping to website management and design right through to social media and marketing. An entrepreneur will most likely also have a business coach to keep them motivated and guide their business decisions. So as you can see, it is not actually done as a one man or one woman show.
So, how do you know when it’s time to outsource?
This is a question I see asked a lot. Basically when things are starting to get the better of you and you are beginning to lose your sanity… then it’s time! In fact, that point is probably a point too far. Once you have a handle on your business and you can see it going places, then it’s time to outsource so you can continue to move your business forward. The trick is to work on your business not in your business. The moment you become your business is the moment you start to lose control. Trust me, I know!
The trick is to work on your business not in your business. The moment you become your business is the moment you start to lose control.
Can I afford it?
This is probably the biggest thing that keeps business owners from outsourcing. As a small business, revenue or profits might be low or non existent at the beginning. So how can you justify spending more. The catch 22 is that you have to spend money to make money. When you are doing your business financial forecasting, factor in a budget for outsourcing or a VA. That way you know you have the money to do it and piece of mind that help will be there when you need it.
The other way to look at it is this. If you charge $60 per hour for your time and you have 8 hours a day to work, then you can potentially bring in $480 per day. If you find a VA for $40 – $50 per hour then your differential is $20 per hour. Factoring that in, if you outsource just 2 hours of work per day then your work output actually increases to 10 hours. At 10 hours per day you would be bringing in $600. Less your VA expense of $80 leaves you with a days work of $520, therefore you are actually $40 up for the day and 2 hours better off in work output. Obviously these figures are estimates and your incoming and outgoing expenses can vary, but you get the idea.
Some business owners will look at it the other way and say to themselves, for $80 a day, I can buy myself some extra time. Time with the family or at the kids sporting events while work is still being done behind the scenes. In this case, you would be reducing your working day to 6 hours. How you choose to look at it depends on what you are looking to achieve, but both options have a lot of positives attached.
Ok, you’ve sold me, what can I outsource?
Almost anything! We live in a world where a lot of our business is done online. This makes it a lot easier for outsourcing and having someone remote to you help with your workload. You might want to start off with simple things firstly so you can gain confidence in handing your “baby” over to someone else. Most people start with blog writing or social media management and then upscale from there. Having someone write your blogs for you buys you at least an hour of your time back and also saves you a lot of brain strain. It can be hard trying to think of new topics each week to write about, but a VA who specialises in blogs has a wealth of knowledge and ideas. Some you may not have even thought of. The other bonus of outsourcing your blogs is you get evergreen content in return. Meaning you have blog content you can share to your audience for years to come. Your SEO will also thank you for it 😉
Social media management is the other one most people outsource first. It is one of the biggest time sucks as a business owner and can be one of the most frustrating. Having someone who specialises in this can help with keeping your content fresh and keeping your audience engaged. Regular posting is key in the social media realm and paying someone to do this for you can be a huge relief.
Other tasks you could look to outsource are:
- Website management – maintaining your website and ensuring it is updated, secure and all links are working is time you don’t need to spend on your business. Web VA’s will charge as little at $50 a month to manage your website for you.
- Bookkeeping / invoicingaccount management.
- Cold calling / client follow up
- Project management
- Email management
- Social media commenting and engagement
- Online research
- Data management
- Scheduling and appointment management
- Chasing new business
So, what is the verdict?
If you are wanting to expand your business or buy yourself some much needed time back, then a VA is a great option. They can help you with almost anything you need and when you find the right person, hold onto them. There are many VA’s on the market, but finding key is to find the one you gel with and the one who understands your business. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, look for the strengths in your VA that compliment you the most. You will also find rates vary quite a bit, again this is something you need to factor in, but my suggestion is don’t make the dollar your bottom line.
In short, small business outsourcing is the key to business growth. The key to making your business a successful business.
When business becomes a balancing act, it’s time to outsource.