How to outsource tasks to a virtual assistant

How to delegate tasks without losing control

Here’s how to stop struggling to get it all done

If you could guess the resource that most small business owners lack, what would you say? Although there could be a few correct answers, I’m going to focus on a major one – time.

Most small business owners will tell you they simply don’t have enough time.

When you start a business, you’re thinking you’ll just be doing what you love. But what everyone fails to tell you is all the ‘love time’ you’ll be putting in too. Marketing, content creation, networking, liaising with clients and suppliers, answering emails or phone calls, sending proposals and invoices, and updating websites and socials to name a few.

Exhausting isn’t it?  

And these are all the vital parts you MUST do. But they take you away from the real money earning parts of your business. Plus, if you don’t know how to do it properly, or don’t enjoy it, these tasks will take you longer than someone who loves this type of work.

I can’t stress highly enough that working harder or longer hours is NOT the solution either.

You’ll end up burnt out, with cranky partners and kids who never get to see you anymore. And what happens when you start to feel this? You start to hate your business and wonder why the hell you’re doing this.

Learn how to delegate before you regret your business

Every business owner has a head that is constantly swimming with ideas, with things we’re meant to do, with a to-do list a mile long…

It’s almost a curse. A business brain that doesn’t shut off even when you want it to.

But there is a cure – outsourcing.

Yes, I know that this isn’t always the easiest thing in the world to do but trust me when I say you’ll become way more productive to build your dream business when you free yourself of time-draining repetitive tasks.

And with the business world being so online, it’s now easy to outsource your work to a virtual assistant. There are so many benefits of using a VA (I’m sure you’re aware of what these are – paying for time worked only, no employee costs etc.), so let’s help you get started.

The top 3 ways to start outsourcing to a virtual assistant

1.    Track how you’re spending your time over a week

If you’re considering outsourcing work to a VA, this is the first step that many business owners don’t do. But please trust me – this will open your eyes to how much time you’re spending on tasks. Be honest and be consistent with your recording.

To do this, use an Excel spreadsheet (or a Word document), list your tasks, and start taking note of how long you spend on this task during the week.

This list would include things like:

  • Social media posting and interacting
  • Website copywriting updating
  • Writing and sending newsletters
  • Writing blogs, posting, sharing and answering comments
  • Reading and answering emails
  • Making phone calls or answering client queries
  • Booking events, flights or accommodation
  • and many more

This list could be endless. Make sure you record EVERYTHING. Many people have a giggle at how long they are honestly spending on social media!

2.    Identify the tasks you hate and want to delegate

At the end of the week, you should end up with an exhaustive list of tasks that are taking up your valuable time.

Start by scrolling through the list and highlighting the tasks that jump out at you as ‘I hate doing this’. For some it could be bookkeeping, for others, it could be answering emails. If you have more than one task that gives you stomach burn, highlight them all.

Now go back through the list and in another colour, highlight all the tasks that you feel took you too long because you didn’t really know what you were doing. For example, it took you hours to write a blog, upload it and work out how to share it with your online audience. This would include anything you did but found it to be hard work.

In an ideal world, you should now have a list where the things that remain un-highlighted are tasks that don’t take you long or that you enjoy. If you find you’ve missed any, highlight them appropriately. You may even add a third colour here – ‘I enjoy them but only when I have time’.

When it comes to what you decide to delegate, you should ALWAYS start with your ‘I hate doing this’ list. Trial your new VA with these tasks. See how you feel about giving them away. See how well your VA does them. It’s a great way to start.

3.    Get an idea of how long these tasks take you

One of the things business owners struggle with when they start to delegate work to a VA, is ‘How do I know they’re doing my work and not wasting my time/money?’. By doing the exercise above, you’ve got a starting point.

You know how long tasks are taking you, so you’d get a rough idea of what you’d expect regarding timing.

A few things to keep in mind here:

a)    Your new VA will take a little time to learn your systems so although they may be a little slower at the start; they will pick up the pace as they become a part of your business.

b)    You want to make sure your VA has experience in the areas you need help with (other you may as well keep doing it yourself).

c)    Some VAs will offer you packages rather than work on an hourly rate basis. They will work on ‘outcome-based’ results such as ‘xxx social media posts and interaction for a week at $... cost.

d)    Make sure you set aside some time to help your new VA learn your business and understand your processes.

e)    A good VA will become the best business advocate you’ve got, and that in itself is priceless.

Ready to chillax like a boss?

If you’d like some advice on how to start outsourcing to a virtual assistant, I’d be happy to have a chat to you about your business, what you do, and the tasks you find are taking up your time. Business isn’t meant to be draining; you’re meant to love it. Let’s get you back to an in control, not so stressed business owner.

Email: sam@samsays.com.au

Phone: 0416 008 678