As the Chief Client Officer for Don’t Panic Management, I spend quite a few hours every week talking to potential clients who are trying to figure out if hiring a virtual assistant is right for them. I listen to their story, try to understand the pain points in their business, and, more often than not, I detect a lot of hesitation in the conversation.
Even after they’ve sent the contact form and have set aside 30 minutes to speak to us, they’re still trying to convince themselves that they can do it all on their own, at least for a while longer.
Perhaps these solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and executives are hesitant because the investment (both monetary and of their time) is daunting, or they’re not even sure what they’d be able to pass off to an assistant. But the most common excuse I sense—though most won’t admit it—is that it’s difficult to trust someone else with your business or work product.
Asking for Help Is Tough
It’s hard to let go of the reins and let someone else take over a piece of your business, especially if you’ve placed that trust in the wrong person before, and they’ve taken advantage of you. Even Jess, our Director of Calm, has had to learn this lesson over the past year. Because she is also involved in these weekly business conversations with me, she realizes (even more than most entrepreneurs) that if you want to grow your business, you eventually have to stop doing it all yourself. You have to release some of that control, and you have to trust other people.
4 Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
While there are many potential roadblocks you might put in your own way (ahem… fear), the benefits far outweigh the scariness of actually hiring your virtual assistant. If you don’t wait until you’re panicking, if you don’t cheat yourself out of a great opportunity by swearing you have the time to invest in building a relationship and then self-sabotage by flaking, and if you do release some of the control and learn to trust your VA, then you’ll definitely see your investment pay off.
Let’s talk about some of the concrete benefits of hiring a virtual assistant. These are the things we’ve heard from our own clients as being their “true lifesavers.”
1. No Salary Required
Listen, I know that when you see your VA’s rates or proposed monthly retainer, you start to sweat a bit. We all second guess ourselves as soon as we have to shell out the dough, no matter what we’re paying for.
But consider how much more that “retainer” would be if it were actually a salary that came with employee taxes and healthcare and PTO and… I mean, let’s be real, the extra expenses employees bring with them can be endless.
On top of that, say you’ve hired an employee to take care of administrative duties. That person may not have podcasting, social media, or copywriting in their skillset. What then? Do you hire someone else? Not if you are working with a virtual assistant agency. If an agency doesn’t have one person who can manage all of the tasks you need help with, they can build you a team for the same total price of work.
It’s true, hiring a VA may seem like a hefty investment before you really know how it will all shake out. But if you know you’re committed to making it the best relationship it can be, you’ll soon be looking for ways to make more money so that you can afford to add hours into your assistant’s week.
(Don’t believe me? Ask some of our current clients!)
2. You’re the Potter, They’re the Clay
A virtual assistant can do more than simply schedule your meetings. They can be the third hand you always needed but never thought existed. They can (figuratively) jump inside your brain and predict your thoughts before you even think them.
That is, if you take the time to teach them and let them into your daily workflow. If you share your preferences with your assistant, show them your style of communication, explain to them why you do things a certain way, get all of the pet peeves that bug the crap out of you out of the way (so they take note to never do them), and educate them about your company culture and values.
A good VA will soak it all up like a sponge, write everything down in a Client Preferences document lest they ever forget, and then begin to work within those boundaries that you’ve set.
3. You Have a Built-in Accountability Partner
When you’re the business owner or executive in charge of an entire department, there’s not likely going to be anyone (save maybe your spouse) who will challenge you when you’re not doing what you said you were going to do. If you have a list of goals you’d like to complete each quarter, but you know you’re not particularly good at keeping yourself accountable for those items, one of your assistant’s jobs can be keeping you on task.
If you communicate with your VA exactly how you receive and react to accountability reminders, they’ll be sure to phrase them or deliver them in a way that you know you’ll be receptive to. You won’t hate your assistant, your goals are met, and no one has to fear for their jobs when they’re trying not to say, “But Bob, you told us you’d be revamping our content strategy LAST YEAR.”
4. Take Your Workday Back
You’re always asking for more hours in the day. Here’s your chance to get some of them back! If you could train someone to be the other half of your brain, would you? If you could impart all of your wisdom onto them so that they’d know how to answer your emails, book your meetings without asking you, or even proactively look for better solutions to the daily tasks you’re already doing, doesn’t that sound like a dream? Well, it does, and it doesn’t.
That kind of valuable assistant doesn’t come around very often, and when they do, most entrepreneurs or executives are constantly worried that they’ll put in a ton of effort training and guiding them only to have their assistant leave for another opportunity. The amazing thing about working with a virtual assistant agency is that if they happen to move on to another opportunity in life, the company will have the systems in place to train your new assistant for you with all of the knowledge you’ve already provided so that you don’t have to do it again!
And, not to toot our own horns too much, but the amazing thing about working with Don’t Panic is that we ONLY hire those one-of-a-kind assistants who are ready to jump into your brain.
Now THAT sounds like a dream.
Why Hire a VA? It’s the Snack That Smiles Back.
If you need more help, that means your business is growing! Don’t let it grow too wild and out of control before hiring a virtual assistant. It takes time to develop a relationship with your assistant. Don’t wait until you’re struggling to keep your head above water—at that point, it’s already too late. When you then add something else to your plate (like training a VA), you’re likely setting that relationship up for failure.
Instead, look ahead at the bigger picture. If you’re making a business plan for next year, think about the growth you hope to achieve and then ask yourself if you’ll be able to manage all of that growth on your own. If the answer is no, which is likely, you’ll want to add an assistant into that plan. Maybe you’re doing fine now, but if you pick up ten more clients before the end of the year, you’ll be working 80-100 hour weeks.
In the end, it comes down to one thing: investment. When it comes to hiring a VA, what you put in is what you’re going to get out. If you invest your time into building a strong relationship with your virtual assistant, you’re going to see all of these benefits and more.
And we hope you do, because we see the remarkable potential for you and your business, and we can’t wait to help you achieve it.
Are you planning to expand your business? Schedule a call with us to explore how a virtual assistant can take administrative tasks, marketing assignments, event planning and more off your plate. At Don’t Panic, we’ll help you run the day-to-day of your business so you can focus on just doing the parts you love.