Creating Good Habits and Workflows Before Outsourcing

February 20, 2023

Description and Show Notes

You might have heard that having a virtual assistant is an essential key to success as an entrepreneur, but have you ever thought about the importance of good habits and processes before you outsource? That's exactly what we're talking about on our latest podcast episode! Tune in to learn how you can make the most out of your time, energy, and money as a solopreneur before you begin your (potentially) weeks-long search for a virtual assistant. 

If you're a solopreneur trying to decide if hiring a virtual assistant is the next best step for your business, this episode is for you!

You will learn:

  1. Good reasons to start a search for a virtual assistant at any budget
  2. Recommended habits and repeatable workflows to have in place before you outsource
  3. Using the in-episode example, you'll consider the importance of asking yourself: Is Instagram the right platform for me to be spending my time, energy, and money?


Let’s talk about how outsourcing may not actually solve the problems you think you have in your business. So at what point is having a virtual assistant a bad idea for you, as the business owner?

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.

Hey friends! In this fourth season in of the podcast we’re talking about outsourcing as a solopreneur AND! Something I think is very closely interlinked with successful outsourcing, which is having good workflows and habits in place.

So, hear me out — maybe you don’t actually need a virtual assistant, yet. I know that may not be what you’re hoping to think about today, because the theory of having one of those unicorn assistants is so alluring. We hear all the testimonials all the time, where people hire a right hand helper and swear up and down that it made all the difference, and all the coaches are saying you HAVE to outsource and hire help if you wanna scale, yada yada.

We all need and we all want some help in some aspect of our businesses, so me telling you that maybe you shouldn’t outsource might not be the most encouraging thing for you to hear, today.

But I truly think that having good habits in place, regular business activities that you do YOURSELF every day or at least most days is vital to having a positive experience hiring a virtual assistant.

I’m going to give you some examples of good reasons to hire a VA now and in my opinion, bad reasons to hire a VA right now. And then after that I’ll be walking you through some of the workflows and good habits or processes that could nudge you toward having those good reasons to outsource sooner rather than later.

Let’s get started!

Let’s take the common example of “hiring someone to help me with Instagram.”

First I’d like you to think very carefully about why you want to hire someone to help you with Instagram. Just take a moment to consider why Instagram is the platform you want to put your money into.

I’ll pause here for 10 seconds just so you can give yourself a moment to think about it. Or hypothetically think about it.

[10 second pause]

In my opinion, some of the really good reasons to start what could be a multiple-week search for a virtual assistant who specializes in Instagram content might be:

  1. Because you noticed that you spend 3 hours of your already limited time creating content on Instagram every week, or
  2. Instagram is your primary lead generation tool but you get really frustrated and overwhelmed whenever there’s a change, and you just don’t want to think about it anymore, let alone keep up with the trends

Some not-so-great reasons to start your multiple-week search for a virtual assistant who specializes in Instagram content, in my opinion?

  1. Because you really need to get into Instagram. And you’ve really been meaning to but you just don’t have time.
  2. Because you hate Instagram but you know you have to be on there.

Bad Reasons

Here’s my logic, based on my multiple years of being a virtual assistant and also designing systems for people who need virtual assistants:

If you haven’t been using Instagram at all and you need to get into it AND you’re under a limited budget (that’s important, because if you have unlimited budget then go ahead and go experiment with whatever you want), that’s a big gamble. It’s a big gamble because you don’t know if IG is where you should be spending your time, energy, and money. There are a LOT of “Maybe’s.”

Maybe Instagram content marketing doesn’t work for people with your business model.

Maybe your time, energy, and money are better spent somewhere else. Like hiring a PR agency or an SEO person who specializes in local event advertising.

And if you top it off with "hating Instagram” then I would especially say DON’T hire someone to do Instagram for you. Because most likely, if you do find someone within your budget who specializes in Instagram content, they will probably LOVE Instagram. And they’re going to annoy the heck out of you because you’ll be like, what, I don’t want to lip sync, I don’t know who those K pop boys are, why do I have to use this filter that makes me sound like Spongebob Squarepants? If you hate Instagram then don’t use Instagram and definitely don’t pay someone to make it look like you love creating content for Instagram when you honestly don’t. Okay?

Good Reasons

However, I do think it’s a good idea to start your multiple-week search for a virtual assistant if you know you spend 3 hours every week (Or however many hours, really, as long as you know that number) creating content or posting to IG. And the other example I gave, which was that it’s your primary lead generation platform and you get frustrated with all the changes.

There’s a difference between being frustrated and keeping up with all the changes and hating Instagram entirely, because in the first case, your VA will (again) probably love Instagram and keeping up with the trends. So they could do things like help compile ideas and trending audio for you to use, and they can take all your random notes and organize them so that you don’t have to spend brain power making decisions. You can spend your time being creative and doing the fun parts.

And if you know exactly how many hours you take doing Instagram stuff all by yourself, then hiring part of it out really will free up some of that time for other things in your to-do list. It’s not just some hypothetical, “I hope this helps and leads to sales” type of deal. And how do you know? Because ideally you’d have a system set up already.

You know exactly how many pieces of content you’re producing and posting in a given month.

You know how many leads you can reasonably expect to get from your content, and where they’re tracked, whether it’s via your opt-in forms or maybe you use a DM strategy, or maybe you track however many inquiries or invitations to speak that you receive every month.

If that’s your current state, then great! Go for a virtual assistant who can help you streamline that process, and take stuff off your plate. I miiiiight suggest putting some systems in place beforehand and having documentation in place so that it’s easy to hire, fire, or add on additional helpers, but I’d say you’re in a good spot to at least get started.

If you’re not using Instagram at all, yet, (again, and you have a limited budget) then I would suggest maybe taking a course or attending some training or getting a consult with an Instagram specialist first before looking for a VA to just do it for you. This is for a lot of the same reasons — you don’t know if it’s actually a good platform for you, and you don’t know exactly how much of your time you’re buying back. No one has to use Instagram or TikTok or Linkedin or any platform. There are plenty out there, and there are plenty of non-social-media strategies you could try, too. So don’t box yourself in just because you feel obligated to use a particular platform.

All right, we’re continuing to talk about Instagram as the example for creating workflows and outsourcing administrative tasks to a Virtual assistant, but to recap:

Good reasons: Because you have systems in place, you have the budget, you know how much time you’re buying back so that you personally don’t have to spend so much time on it anymore.

Bad reasons: Because you hate Instagram but feel like you need to be on it, or on the other side of the spectrum: you’re not using Instagram at all and feel like you need to get on it.

And of course, because I don’t want to just leave you hanging with whether or not you should get a VA right now, I put together a written workflow for someone who might be using Instagram, sure about staying active on the platform, and trying to build consistency. I’ll walk through this example personal workflow and then afterward I’ll walk you through how you can look at it as an opportunity to build some good habits before you outsource.

And then in the next episode I’m going to walk you through the opportunities within this system of habits and repeatable workflows where you really can outsource some of the steps and not worry about it too much when you hand stuff off. In fact, in a lot of ways I think outsourcing is helpful in keeping you accountable and focused and maintaining good habits as a business owner. So let’s get into it.

Test test test

Sample Workflow: Instagram Content Creation

  1. Your standard workflow for creating Instagram content is that when you’re out and about, you have random ideas for helpful content for your ideal client. So you write them down briefly in the Evernote app in your smart hone. Every Sunday night as you’re preparing for the week ahead, you sit down at your computer and go through your list of notes. You spend 30 minutes editing and/or re-write them so they make more sense and you give them a relevant title.
  2. Whenever you on Instagram and hear an audio or see a trend you want to use for your own business, you hit the “save” flag and you save it in a specific collection titled “Content Ideas,” so you can find it easily, later.
  3. Once a month, you clear out a 2-hour block of time to record or create your Instagram content. This part is easy to remember because you signed up for monthly co-working with an accountability partner and you set up appropriate but fun consequences if you bail on them and don’t show up, or if you get too distracted and don’t do what you said you’d do.
  4. You take the recordings you made and make videos and carousel graphics using Canva. The videos are already done, from the previous step. The ideas for the carousel graphics are easy to find, because they’re all saved in Evernote and edited and ready for you! And it’s easy to come up with content because all of your audios and trends are ready for you in your “Saved” area on the IG app. So you mix and match ideas, load them up into the Later app and schedule them to be posted over the next 6 weeks.
  5. Once a month you look at your Instagram Insights and check which videos or graphics did well for your audience. You put those numbers in a spreadsheet that’s saved in Google Sheets and easily accessible from your phone or your laptop. And you keep that data that in mind when you sit down to make your next batch of content, next month.

That’s all of it! It doesn’t have to be super complicated, just a nice, easy process that you can handle and that doesn’t overwhelm you. And really, this is a workflow but it’s also a set of good habits that are easy and fulfilling for you to keep up with. And to make it a little clearer, I’m going to walk through the good habits for this workflow.

Good habits for this workflow:

In order for the that workflow to, well, work, you need be consistent with quite a few things. It’s easy to state the multiple parts in theory, but in application, here’s what you’re really dealing with:

  1. You always save all of your ideas in Evernote, every time. No more random stick notes, or writing it in the margins of your journal. All of it goes in Evernote!
  2. You regularly hit that “Save” flag in Instagram when you see a trend or audio you want to use. It’s not just endless scrolling and consuming. For this habit, I suggest that you err on the side of saving too many things rather than not enough. If you even remotely like the idea, save it for later so you can replicate it in a way that aligns with your brand.
  3. You never miss your co-working appointment with your accountability partner every month. Your family knows about it, and you’ve established strong boundaries that they can’t bother you while you’re making content for those hours, or even when you’re working by yourself and compiling content. I also would hope that you’ve established how much content you expect to produce, and that you’re not hard on yourself for not magically becoming an internet creator or influencer.
  4. You always look at your Instagram Insights from the previous month to make sure you’re making relevant content that you audience enjoys. It’s as simple as just doing it. Now, depending on how your brain works, you may have to combine this with additional consequences. Like maybe you owe your partner $20 if you don’t hand them a page of numbers that you’ve looked at and highlighted by the end of the month. Whatever it takes to get that habit working.

See how that works? These are habits that you regularly perform for your business. You do have to make them work for you, and again, that’s if you even want to bother with Instagram to begin with. The same process could easily be adapted to someone who’s really into networking. Maybe you have to attend 6 events every month and you sit down to write emails to everyone afterward or do follow-up calls. Whatever your system is, you establish a month-to-month habit system to keep it running the way it’s supposed to.

I’ll be back in the next episode for more on this process to wrap it up and get it ready so you can start your search for a virtual assistant. I hope you found this breakdown of decision making, habit making, and workflows helpful as you design a system that works for your personality and your brand. If you think you need a little bit of hand holding, I am literally an email away. You can visit my website at and contact me there if you’d like to work 1:1 with me on a system that custom designed for you. As always, I’m rooting for you. Take care and I’ll see you next week!

Compassionate Side Hustle Strategy is sponsored by Gentle Momentum.

What if you had someone to help you navigate both the inner drama AND the back end operational stuff that comes with running your business?

What if you never felt overextended, rushed, bullied, or pressured into doing things for your business that just aren't your thing?

Gentle Momentum is a hybrid coach-in-your-pocket mentorship and accountability system designed to help ambitious, mission-driven solopreneurs just like you, stay on track and focused.

It's exactly what it sounds like: a program designed to help you generate momentum in your business!

To learn more, visit Rochelle Sanchez dot com and click on the "Work with me" button.

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