I’ve heard it said “do what you love and delegate the rest.”
For small business owners, one of the biggest challenges is wearing all the hats. We originally went into business because we had a passion and skill for a certain service or product. However, our skills may not include the operational, marketing or financial end of the business.
In the past we were limited to two choices:
- Wear every hat, fill every role to the best of our ability hoping there will be time to seek new clients and take care of servicing our existing clients.
- Hire employees to fill those roles so that we can focus on growing our business.
Hiring employees can keep us from the business of doing business: personality issues, fixed expense whether we need them or not, scheduling conflicts, learning curve, training obstacles and on and on.
However a third choice is growing in popularity: Outsourcing.
Harris Poll recently surveyed 1,005 U.S. professionals about outsourcing and learned that:
- 67% of adults would happily outsource a wide variety of tasks they dread.
- 55% believe a Virtual Assistant would allow them to focus on more important (income producing) tasks.
- 34% believe that outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant would allow them to improve their job performance.
The survey, underwritten by Elance, an online global workplace connecting executives with outsourced professionals, reveals that many businesses are choosing outsourcing over full or part time employees. Outsourcing saves time, money, aggravation and allows you to focus on your business and grow sales.
Working with a Virtual Assistant, just like hiring an employee requires planning and organization up front. You need to determine what tasks make the most sense to outsource. One of Elance’s clients, Jonathan Fleming, San Francisco Bay Area real estate agent and entrepreneur, has been using Elance for four years, and told me:
“My business has grown over 40% thanks to using my Virtual Assistants. I like the fact that they are available when I need them. We have weekly meetings where I provide a detailed listing of tasks. Elance offers a project management system that ensures projects are completed on time.
There are reviews and portfolios and as well as the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs and ask their opinion. I have a Virtual Assistant that keeps my website up to date, another one who updates my blog content and a third one that writes sales letters and keeps my database current. Before using a Virtual Assistant I would spend as much as 4 hours a day on administrative tasks and now I spend less than 30 minutes.”
Like anything, the more time you are willing to invest initially in setting specific parameters for each task and using multiple Virtual Assistants for a variety of tasks, the more benefit you’ll receive.
Elance customer Jeffrey Schwartz of Vertical Passion Media regularly works with 6-12 Elance professionals and estimates that he is saving $100,000 – $200,000 per year versus the cost involved with hiring full time employees.
Bottom line, outsourcing allows you to focus on revenue generating tasks and grow your business while ensuring the necessary administrative tasks continue running smoothly behind the scenes.
Have you ever used a virtual assistant in your business? Did it free you up to work on growing your sales? What was your experience?