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Identify the “scope” of your VA

In this first step, I’ll look at the reasons you might want to consider hiring a VA, the tasks you might want a VA to perform, and how much time those tasks are currently taking away from your business. I’ll also debunk some common myths about working with a VA so you know exactly what you’re getting into. 

Sounds like a lot, right? Don’t worry! I’ll break everything into actionable chunks and provide you with hands-on exercises in the accompanying workbook. 

The only question left is: are you ready to change your business for the better?

When is it time to hire a VA?

First things first, how do you even know you need a VA? The answer is different for everyone, but there are some common signs: 

  • Feeling completely overwhelmed: You feel like you’re drowning in tasks and working an unsustainable amount of hours just to get everything done.

  • You’re not getting everything done: You’re consistently missing deadlines or letting important tasks fall by the wayside. This is the most common reason people decide to hire a VA.

  • Your work is suffering: You’re stretched so thin that your work isn’t as high quality as it should be. You may have even lost assignments from clients.

  • Spending too much time on things that don’t result in direct income: Over 50% of your time is spent on admin tasks like scheduling meetings, booking travel, invoicing, or sending follow-up emails instead of your contracted work. 

  • Someone else could be better suited for certain tasks: Being the best content writer in the world doesn’t automatically make you skilled at advertising, building websites, scheduling, or billing. And that’s fine! Running your own business means doing work you might not be good at, which is an excellent reason to hire someone good at those tasks. 

  • You hate doing a particular type of task: Everyone has tasks they consistently put off. Your energy is the most important asset in your business, and you need to protect that!

If you’re reading and it’s resonating, then it might be time to hire a VA.

Misconceptions to ditch about working with a VA

Before you decide whether a VA is right for you, let’s address some of the common misconceptions about VAs so you have a clear picture of how one might be able to help. 

  • VAs are only for administrative work: Though, indeed, some VAs focus solely on administrative work, there are VAs for pretty much anything! You can find a VA to build and maintain a website, do all your graphic design tasks, manage your social media, shoot and edit videos, and just about anything else you can think of. 

  • VAs can’t do the same tasks as an in-person assistant: This may have been true in the past, but nowadays a VA can do almost everything that an in-person assistant can.

  • You don’t have enough work to delegate to a VA: Not all VAs are full-time and there are plenty of flexible options that fit your needs. 

  • VAs are only a temporary solution: A great VA wants to see your business succeed and work with you for the long term. They’re not just there to help you get “caught up”.  An excellent VA will spot inefficiencies in the way you work and help you craft and implement solutions to your workload challenges.   

  • I can’t trust anyone else with my business’s confidential information: Handing over control or sensitive information requires trust. With a VA, trust can be built over time and codified in your processes through reference checks during interview processes, secure password-sharing tools, and confidentiality clauses in your contracts.

  • I can’t trust a VA to track their time effectively: Great VAs know that their number one priority is to support clients in growing their businesses. Plus, VAs also want steady and consistent work.

  • VAs can jump right in without any training: Even if you hire an experienced VA, they’ve never worked with you before. It’s important to plan time to train your VA so they know your work style and expectations. 

  • VAs are available 24/7: You and your VA will decide on a schedule that works for both of you. If you need them to be available on the weekends or after “normal” business hours, you need to discuss that during the hiring process.  

Having a clear set of expectations of what working with a VA will look like is essential to starting your working relationship off right. So, reread these common misconceptions and make sure you’ve got a clear understanding before you move on to the next section.

Exercise: Determine what tasks a VA can take on

You know you’re overwhelmed, not getting all your tasks done, and need some help. The next step is to identify tasks a VA can take off your plate. Doing this will help you hire the right VA. If you think that you just need accounting assistance and hire a VA who’s a skilled bookkeeper, but then give them web design tasks, both you and your new VA will be very unhappy. 

Track how much of your precious time goes to tasks for a VA

So, how can you determine what work a VA can handle for you? 

  1. Start by tracking all the tasks you do for a week or two and how much time each takes. Free time-tracking sites like Clockify let you track time by client, project, and task so you get a comprehensive picture of where your time goes. 

  2. At the end of the week, categorize each of the tasks into administrative and direct client work. Admin tasks are the ones that you can probably hand off to a VA. Another way to do this is simply to look at your to-do list for the past few weeks.

  3. Tally up the amount of time you spend each week on admin versus direct client work. This will help you understand how much of your available work time is being lost to non-client work, and it will help give you an idea of how many hours you might need from a VA. 

Open your workbook to track and categorize your tasks and time, and crunch the numbers. 

Vibe check the tasks you’re doing

If you don’t want to track your time for a week or two, go through an average week, and make a list of all the tasks that you do. You can even simply pull from your to-do list or calendar.

Create a list of those tasks and add them to the Tasks Vibes Check tab in your workbook

Then, answer these questions in your workbook:

  • Do I like doing this?

  • Is it repeatable?

  • Can it be delegated?

  • How long does this take me per week in total?

Based on your answers, the spreadsheet will suggest whether or not you should delegate the task.

What did you learn?

  • How to identify whether you need might need a VA

  • What kinds of tasks a VA can do for you

  • What working with a VA might look like for you

  • What kinds of tasks you’re spending your time on

  • Which tasks you might be able to hand off to a VA

  • How to decide which tasks you should hand off to a VA

Next up, you’ll take this list of tasks and measure the impact of your VA and how much you can spend on one.

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