For many solopreneurs, the process of bringing a virtual assistant into your business is a big step, especially if you have no idea how to start, if you’re not sure you can afford one, and if you’ve been burned by a VA before. This episode includes advice from a former unicorn virtual assistant turned project manager who wants to make sure you’re really ready for a VA before you hand over your hard earned dollars and start trusting a stranger to help you with your business.
If you’re looking for a “scale fast and cheap” along the lines of the usual top 10 hacks for scaling a business with free tools and outsourcing, then I’ll tell you right now that I’m not who you’re looking for. But if you’re in it for the long haul and want to scale mindfully and compassionately, listen in!
The process of outsourcing to your first virtual assistant can feel intimidating at first or downright frustrating, especially if you have no idea how to start, if you’re not sure you can afford one, and if you’ve been burned by a VA before.
This is Compassionate Side Hustle Strategy, hosted by me, Rochelle Sanchez. I help solopreneurs like you build good habits and compassionate systems that allow you to show up consistently and authentically in your business.
The end goal is to help you onboard a virtual assistant who is 100% aligned with your mission and within your budget, but there are a few things you should probably get in place first, right? That's why we're here.
You deserve to do what you love for a living. And I believe that you're closer than you think. So clear your schedule and let's get to work on the next best step for you on your business journey.
Welcome back! In this episode I’ll be covering 3 tips to help you prepare for outsourcing.
Maybe in the past you’ve realized that you hired someone for your team that just isn’t a good fit, values-wise.
Or maybe you’re REALLY rather keep the money your business is making instead of giving it to someone else.
While you don’t have the ability to control other people’s actions (and I can get into that, eventually, since it’s more of a mindset thing), you can prepare yourself for any unexpected setbacks as you look for a virtual assistant.
Before I get into this, keep in mind:
If you’re looking for a “scale fast and cheap” along the lines of the usual top 10 hacks for scaling a business with free tools and outsourcing, then I’ll tell you right now that I’m not who you’re looking for. I’m a woman of color, daughter of immigrants, and I’ve been a virtual assistant and I have virtual assistants. For any part of your business, I’d say it’s good practice to consciously see if you can keep some distance from the mindset of “How can I get it cheap” and “How can I save money,” even though I know that’s what we’re all TRYING to do because that’s just how our capitalist world works.
But for our purposes, I encourage you to truly see outsourcing as an investment, and how paying someone else to help make running your business easier is valuable. Value doesn’t always come in the form of capital, and I think that’s important to keep in mind at all stages of the entrepreneur journey.
My intention with these 3 Tips to prepare yourself for outsourcing, is show how that your process can be is as ease-filled (I like that word better than easy) or it can be as frustrating as you let it be. Take what applies to your situation and then let the rest go. And I mean that for any of the upcoming episodes about workflows and outsourcing.
Tip #1: Don’t take it personally.
Remember that whatever you outsource, it’s not forever. It will probably take a few experiments and short-term contracts to find someone you want to pay to help you long-term. For example, a lot of folks say they need a virtual assistant to “do their marketing for them.” That might look like hiring a Canva specialist to create templates for you, and then to create the images for your weekly podcast or blog in batches, and then uploading them to your business Google drive for you to grab later. That’s not the same as having someone take over all marketing, but it’s a good start.
The reason Tip #1 is to not take it personally is because hard not to take losing money personally though, right? Take that example: what if you don’t like their graphic design style and the templates they made for you? Or what if they take longer to get the project done than you were expecting, and now you just have to do it yourself
It’s hard not to take that personally, because we’re trained to believe that having and saving money is the ultimate goal in life, and so that naturally follows us into the way we set up our businesses. The money that you’ve invested into the process of finding a virtual assistant hasn’t been wasted even if you haven’t found someone to keep around long-term, yet.
It hasn’t been wasted because everything you invest in will teach you a valuable skill or give you a first hand experience that will help you in the future.
So, don’t expect perfection (from either yourself or your VA), and try your very best to not take it super seriously or personally.
Tip #2: Stay true to your BIG business goals.
Stay true to your business goals. If you want your business be successful in the long-run, set some goals for 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years down the line. For some business owners, this is a no brainer. For others, it’s like, “Oh, I did that two years ago back when I first bought my domain but I haven’t looked at it since then.”
Keeping the big picture in mind is helpful because you probably won’t be so bogged down by the thought of spending $100 in a week to have someone help you with something that you believe you can do yourself. Like, yes, you can do it yourself. But you’re making that CEO decision to pay another human to do it so that you can focus on… what?
What is it that you really need to focus on, instead of tinkering with Flodesk or looking at the latest releases on Appsumo?
That’s a question only you can answer, and hopefully you have your big business goals set and you’re following a strategy that moves you along your own unique path to achieve those goals.
Personally, I’ll be honest here, I get kind of freaked out thinking too far in the future and so that’s why I’ve gotten really good at creating smaller goals and baby steps (stepping stones) that are easier to focus on. I have a personal practice so that I don’t get distracted too easily, and I have my own system of lining up my goals so that I know which ones are first and which ones are later, if I still want them by the time they come around.
[So, Tip #1 to prepare yourself for outsourcing was to not take it personally, Tip #2 is to make sure you’re clear on your business goals and have a strategy in place so they don’t change before you reach them… and finally… ]
Tip #3: Start SMALL.
Most people think they can’t afford to outsource because they’re still trying to make back the money they’re spending on all the apps and the website and the scheduling software.
But the truth is that a small budget can go a long way, if you play your cards right. For example, I actually don’t recommend going all-in and hiring a social media manager that costs thousands of dollars per month as your first attempt to outsource. And that might be tough for you if you do have a great budget, because there are some very convincing agencies out there that will have you believing you just give them your money and poof, the sales come in!
It’s perfectly okay to start small. And the way you do that is by simply setting your budget, and your budget is basically the amount you’re willing to gamble. Your odds are better than at a slot machine or a card table, but it’s still a gamble, and that’s kind of normal for you already, right? Entrepreneurship is risky. Running a business takes you making calculated risks, without any guarantees. So this really isn’t that new.
What you’re going to do is re-visit your budget. Or if you don’t have one to re-visit, then just set a number that you feel comfortable putting into this search for a long-term VA and paying regularly. Is it $600 per month? Is it $100 per month? Pick a number and then stick to it and be smart about it.
Giving yourself a budget cap is a smart way to keep thinking like a CEO even if you’re not raking in that six figure revenue. You’re going to get smart and resourceful, just like you’ve been doing with your own time working on your business… except now you’re choosing how someone else uses their time working on your business.
I suggest choose tasks in your workflow that are simple, straightforward, and not expensive to outsource long-term. For most people this is the uploading, scheduling, and template-based graphics design. That’s pretty much as simple as it gets, it’ll get you used to having someone else waiting on you every week, and it’s easy to pass on to someone else if the VA you find isn’t a good match for any reason.
If you’re not sure where to go from here, check out the free resource, 15 Tasks to Outsource and Save 15 Hours with Your First VA. It will save you some heartache and frustration as you try to scale your solopreneur efforts into the business you picture on your vision board. There are even tips at the end where I talk about tracking your time to help you decide how much time you’d really like to save by outsourcing!
All right, those are my tips for preparing to outsource. I hope you found this helpful and comforting, because that’s my intention with this podcast. I think we have enough people bullying everybody and smack talking how everyone else is doing it wrong. I’m guilty of that sometimes too but I try to keep it positive and hopeful on this show.
Make sure you grab that freebie, and I will see you next week!
Compassionate Side Hustle Strategy is sponsored by Gentle Momentum.
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To learn more, visit Rochelle Sanchez dot com and click on the "Work with me" button.