Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in all the tasks required to run your business and would love to focus on just the areas you’re passionate about? You know, the thing that you started your business for in the first place – taking beautiful photos, writing great copy, designing stunning websites, coaching people to reach their full potential – those kinds of things.
If you’re finding emails, invoicing, client onboarding, or scheduling is taking the joy out of your day-to-day, a virtual assistant (VA) could potentially help you get these off your plate and let you focus on what you love.
But how do you know if a VA is necessary? Are you really ready to invest the money and training into a VA at this point in your business? Are there other options to consider before investing into a VA with an hourly wage or monthly retainer? As a Dubsado expert, my opinion may seem biased, but if you’re asking yourself when to hire a virtual assistant, you’ll want to ensure your business processes and systems are working to their full capacity before hiring someone for tasks that could be easily automated.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A VA, as the name suggests, is an assistant who works with you virtually. They usually take care of administrative or repetitive tasks that are time-consuming for you as a business owner. Think of your least favourite thing you do in a day. Maybe it’s invoicing, or scheduling IG posts, or research. Whatever it is, you can bring on a VA to take on these tasks for you.
There are VAs with experience and expertise in any field you can think of, so if the help you need is industry-specific, you should have no problem finding someone who matches your needs. Due to the virtual aspect, you have access to a global talent pool as opposed to folks based in your city.
It also means that you don’t need to provide office space or equipment to your assistant as they have their own office they work from. This setup allows you to find the perfect person and get right to work. The onboarding and orientation time of a VA is much quicker than bringing on someone in person. And because they are usually freelancers or contractors, you don’t need to learn the ins and outs of taking on employees if your business isn’t quite there yet.
Signs You Need Support In Your Business
Many entrepreneurs get to a point in their business where they feel either extremely burnt out or overwhelmed – or both. These feelings show up in a variety of ways, but if you’re considering when to hire a VA, knowing the common signs you need support in your business are important. Some of the most common are:
You Feel Like a Slave To Your Business
Are you running your business? Or is your business running you? If you find yourself constantly falling behind on tasks, feeling overwhelmed, or just no longer looking forward to your work, there are likely changes within your business structure (whether through hiring a VA or automating your tasks) that can significantly help you establish better business boundaries.
You worked so hard to create a business you love, don’t lose that joy or passion. Bringing on an extra set of hands to take care of the day-to-day lets you focus on what you do best. Bringing on support (whatever this looks like), can help you reconnect with why you started this in the first place and get back to feeling in control and enjoying your work.
You’re Turning Down Work
This is such a common growth limitation for service-based businesses. You’ve finally connected with your ideal client pool and have customers excited to work with you, but you don’t have enough time to work with them all.
It can be such an awful feeling turning down work and opportunities with clients that you’d LOVE to work with. But bringing on support is essentially like buying back your time. Whether you pay someone to take care of repetitive tasks or automate them using an automation system like Dubsado, you free up the time you need to take on a few more clients. You can make more money and your clients get access to your expertise. Everyone wins!
You’re Regularly Working Outside Of Desired Hours
You started your business to be your own boss. To set your own hours, create your own schedule, and answer to only yourself. But when tasks start to pile up and you feel like you’re falling behind, that freedom often goes out the door.
As I mentioned above, creating professional boundaries, being able to take holidays, spending more time with your family, and working around your life instead of living around your work are some of the benefits from adding support in your business. When you can take the time-consuming, soul-sucking tasks off your plate, you can log out early and have time for the things in life you love. After all, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about!
Common Tasks You Can Outsource
In today’s digital landscape, you can hire a skilled VA to help you with just about anything. However, there are some common tasks that businesses regularly seek out VAs to complete.
But it’s important to remember that, especially as a solopreneur or small business, every dollar counts. There are so many aspects of your business that you can outsource to another professional – from marketing to accounting – that we want to ensure our dollars are spent wisely. Before considering hiring a VA, it’s so critical to ensure our online systems are doing the heavy lifting they’re designed to do, before bringing on the support of a live professional.
Setting Up Client Profiles
Properly onboarding a client is essential to getting the information you need for a project and creating a positive first impression. Since onboarding happens routinely and follows the same process every time, this is a great task to outsource or automate (or both!).
Whether you onboard and create client profiles manually or you use a customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Dubsado, a VA can take all the fiddly parts off your hands. In a perfect world, you would have your CRM performing to the best of its ability, and then utilize your VA to support with the extra tasks that the platform can’t do on its own – like managing approvals, personalized client communications, etc.
So much of your interaction with clients is administrative. Your deliverable may be stunning engagement photos, but there are so many other things than the actual taking of the pictures.
The endless list of steps involved in getting a client from inquiry to glowing testimonial can rob you of the joy you bring into your work. But since all these tasks are predictable and routine, they are easily outsourced. While detailed or personalized questions can benefit from a VA, most of the tedious, redundant administrative tasks can be completed by your CRM system. For example, a Dubsado workflow allows you to automate the majority of the client workflow – from the proposal to the follow-ups to the offboarding.
The back and forth of setting up times for discovery calls, virtual meetings, review sessions, and everything in between can feel like it takes longer than the calls themselves.
A scheduling system or a VA can take over the scheduling side of things so all you have to do is show up and work your magic. No more back and forth, no more cancellations due to schedule conflicts, just you, your client, and the work you love.
Send Follow-Ups & Reminder Emails
Entrepreneurship is a lesson in managing endless emails. Keeping your clients on schedule, reminding them of meetings, following up with inquiries, and sending action items to move forward. All of these emails take time out of your day and keep you from doing actual client work.
With the support of a VA, these emails can be taken off your hands and you can actually get something done in your day. How many hours a day do you spend returning or writing emails? Those hours can be bought back with the help of a VA.
But First: Automate Your Business With Dubsado!
While there are thousands of things a VA can support you with, and it may seem like the logical next step, setting up a CRM like Dubsado can save you thousands in wages by automating your repetitive tasks.
And this is absolutely not to say that you should never hire a VA, because I truly believe bringing on professional support in your business is an amazing investment and way to support business growth. However, I believe the two can work together in a way that maximizes efficiency and ROI.
In my experience as a Dubsado specialist, many creative entrepreneurs are either not utilizing their CRM to its full potential or don’t have one setup at all!
And I see this a lot, business owners are wondering if they should hire or when to hire a virtual assistant, but in reality, they can get the same or better support (without human error or specified working hours), by effectively setting up a CRM like Dubsado.
And when the time comes that you’re fully ready to bring on a VA, they can support you in the tasks that Dubsado can’t do, such as marketing, researching vendors, making bookings, connecting with customer service for support, or anything else you can think of that would make your life easier.
But First: Automate Your Business With Dubsado!
Whether setting up Dubsado or hiring a VA is the best choice for you right now is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. But some things to think about are:
- What tasks am I looking for support with? Are these things that a CRM could do for me?
- Am I ready to manage another person? Or would having electronic automation be a better fit for me right now?
- What would Dubsado cost me per month vs. a VA? Is there a financial benefit to one option or the other?
If you’re interested in learning more about what Dubsado has to offer and seeing if it could meet your needs for now, you can read more about what Dubsado can do for you. And if Dubsado is the right choice for you but you’d love a hand getting things set up, I’m here to help!