When should I hire a virtual assistant?

Like most business owners, when I started my company, I suffered from Superhero Syndrome. I thought I could do it all and, for me, that was the right thing to do at first. Here’s why;  

  • Start-up capital was minimal and I was prepared to invest my time free of charge
  • Processes were being developed from scratch and they were changing regularly
  • I was learning how my business would operate and making key decisions about systems, insurance, legal protection etc

I knew I would be hiring a virtual assistant at some stage. It’s our core business and I believe in the value we provide to our clients, so there was no doubt I’d need support, but when?

For my first 12 months in business, I was working 4 days a week in a corporate job and coming home to spend evenings, weekends and my Fridays working on the business. I was so motivated, I would finish up some evenings at midnight and lay awake buzzing with energy. This wasn’t sustainable and my motivation certainly took a couple of dips in that first year, but after bringing on my first few clients the business started to grow legs – albeit small ones. 

All of a sudden, it wasn’t just me driving action in the business, it was my team, my clients and my networks. Communication went from being one way (i.e. me telling the world what we had to offer) to two ways, where I was receiving customer inquiries, job inquiries, questions from my team and junk mail. 

The signs for me became increasingly obvious that I could use some support. Here’s what I experienced;

5 signs I needed a virtual assistant

Admin support

1. I was losing control of my inbox. Losing control for me wasn’t me having hundreds of unread emails, it was me having important ones that I hadn’t responded to. I had revenue sitting in my inbox, waiting for me to follow up. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of my to-do list or slight exhaustion but I was repeatedly putting off getting this under control.

2. My weekdays were full of back to back meetings. At the time, I only had Fridays to meet with potential clients, the bank, bookkeeper etc so these days were getting full really quickly. My Fridays were turning into the busiest day of the week and while I was busy having great conversations and winning business, the admin was piling up.

3. My weekends were non-existent. My flatmate at the time would come home on a Friday evening at 11pm and see me sitting at my desk trying to catch up. I appreciate that hard work is a must for anyone looking to start their own business but it’s not a long term solution if you still want to be present for your family, friends and children.

4. I was procrastinating. I found myself working for hours on Canva trying to produce an image with fancy words on top of it, to use on social media. This example was one of many times where I’d spent hours ‘working’ and knocked very little off my to-do list. Aside from the fact that I hadn’t achieved much, I was slow and I knew I was wasting time.

5. I wanted to move faster. I was getting frustrated with the pace at which the business was progressing. I’d drawn out plans for what I wanted the business to look like in 12 months time and things weren’t moving fast enough for me. I knew a virtual assistant would help me drive towards these goals more quickly.

The business was in its early stages and I didn’t want to spend money it didn’t have. I get the whole ‘spend money to make money’ argument, but my business was new and I was managing risk.

I set myself a financial target, it looked something like, when mysundayclub is regularly billing X hours per month for our clients, we will be able to afford a virtual assistant to support the Director. Within 2 months, we achieved that target. There’s nothing like keeping the reward in mind when working towards your goal.

If you’re experiencing any of the pain points I’ve talked about, I hear you. It might be that you’re somewhere along the journey toward needing a virtual assistant but you’re not there yet. Give us a call anyway, we have resources, templates and tips to help you out while you’re still managing things on your own.

Rachel Bland

Director

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