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Measure and justify the impact of a VA

In the first step, we dove into the reasons why you might want to hire a VA and how to determine which tasks to hand off. Now, let’s measure and justify the impact a VA will have on your business. 

Delegate tasks that will grow your business

To get the most out of your VA, you want them to do tasks that result in a high return on investment (ROI). For example, if you’re a freelance writer, ask your VA to identify potential clients. If you’re a designer, ask them to make small copy changes in Figma based on client requests. Similarly, if you’re spending five hours a week processing invoices and could spend that time on billable work, that is a high ROI task. In each of these scenarios, you are generating new business and improving the quality of your current work.

To assess if a task has a high ROI for your VA, all you need to do is ask yourself:

  • Does this task result in income?

  • Can someone else do this task?

For example, if you’re a freelance writer and one of the tasks you want to hand off is identifying potential clients, that’s a task that someone else can do that helps you bring in money. This makes it a high ROI task.

Exercise: Set a budget for your VA 

It’s time to crunch some numbers. You’ve already tallied the amount of time you’re spending on tasks that you want to hand off. Now, you need to figure out how much that time is costing you. 

To determine how much you can afford to spend on a VA, take the total amount of weekly hours you spend on those tasks and multiply it by your average hourly rate to get your maximum budget.

For example, if you spend 8 hours on tasks you want to give a VA, and have an average hourly rate of $50, then 8 x $50 = $400

Since not every minute of that time will go to billable work — you need to manage your VA, approve tasks, and take some time for yourself — take 20% off that number.

$560 x 80% = $320

From that, $320 is roughly my maximum weekly budget.

Head to the VA Budget tab in your workbook to plug in the numbers and come up with your budget. The gross budget is approximately the amount you can afford to pay a VA while still breaking even if all the work your VA will be doing is billable. Since not all of the work your VA is doing will likely be billable, the net budget takes 20% out of your gross budget to account for non-billable time.

Next, look at the average hourly rates for different kinds of VAs. Prices are determined by experience, skillset, and location.

  • A typical rate for newly established VAs in North America is $15-$20/hour

  • VAs with more experience tend to be in the $20-$35/hour range

  • VAs with highly specialized skills (i.e., custom building a website or creating a social media strategy) can run anywhere from $40-$100/hour

  • You may find VAs in other geographies in the $4-$10/hour range. 

No matter where they are, it is important to pay a fair rate for your VA and avoid exploitative wages. 

If your budget is $320 per week, you could use that to pay a VA $25/hour for about 12 hours of work a week OR to pay a VA $15/hour for about 21 hours of work a week. It all depends on the work you need assistance with!

Decide whether you can afford to hire a VA

After doing all this work, you may find that hiring a VA doesn’t make sense for you right now. That’s fine! You’ve done all the preliminary work, which will save you time in the future. 

If you’re working with a tight budget, it may be worthwhile to talk with a few candidates anyway. They might be willing to negotiate a rate and schedule that works for both of you. 

What did you learn?

In this step, you learned how to:

  • Determine exactly what you want your VA to do for you

  • Identify high ROI tasks to hand off to your VA

  • Determine how many hours you might need a VA to work based on how much time you’re spending on the tasks you want to delegate

  • Calculate a budget for hiring a VA and how to allocate it

  • Decide whether now is the right time to hire a VA

Next, you’ll map tasks to specific skills your VA needs.

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