Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in a day? Well “THERE AREN’T ENOUGH HOURS IN A DAY!” So what can you do? You can’t manufacture more, but you can get help to make the most of the ones you have!
I want to let you inside one of my secret weapons, building a virtual team. What I mean by that is I use a virtual assistant to help me fill in some of the gaps in my business.
What is a virtual assistant? It’s somebody who has a skill set that you need and who will basically do some of your tasks for you. One of the virtual assistants I use does proofreading and then posts my blogs. I have another who actually does a weekly digest of all of my activities, my content, my speeches and my presentations and then puts it into an email and sends it out once per week. I have built a team of assistants who help me get certain tasks done. Could I do this by myself? Yes, of course. However, you have to ask yourself, “What is an hour worth?” It could be $50, it could be $100, it could be $250 or it could be $1000. Whatever it is, if you can find somebody with a skill set who can take away some of those tasks, then you have the ability to use that time to generate more income while focusing on your strengths.
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
That’s where you have to start. You have to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. My strengths are I’m a great teacher and I’m a good speaker, but my weaknesses are I’m not a great writer and I’m certainly a terrible proofreader, thus my nickname, Captain Typo. Can I do those mundane things, like putting together emails? Yes, I can do that. However, what if I could pay somebody less money to get it done and then I can focus on other things? That’s exactly what I do. I make sure that I’m focusing on the things that I am good at, and I’ve learned to delegate the rest of this to people who may be even better and quicker than I am so that it gets done.
Let’s look at some of those tasks. It could be data entry, editing a podcast or editing and posting my blog, amongst others. You have to decide where your time is best spent, and then you’ve got to find people who can fill in those gaps for you.
Enter the Virtual Assistants
There are many different types of virtual assistants. There are some, which I personally like, that will sell you X amount of hours to get things done per week. I have a blog and a podcast that I do every single week. I take my podcast and I basically convert it into the blog. Then I send it off to my virtual assistant in California who proofs it and then posts it. Because I’ve got it all connected, once she posts it, it automatically goes out to all of my social media. She’s good at it and I’m not. I can get her at one hour or two hours or three hours a week depending on how long she needs to get it all done.
There are other kinds of virtual assistants who will charge you based on a monthly block of time. Maybe you have to buy ten hours at $50 an hour, it just depends on who they are and what they want to charge. Then there are agencies where you have one person who manages a whole bunch of tasks and then brings in specific people to deal with each one of those. One may work on your blogs or your email, and maybe somebody is sophisticated enough to work on an infusion soft or making sure that they have auto responders set up in your email sequences. It just really depends on what tasks you need done and how much you can afford.
Give It Up and Get It Done!
The first thing you have to do is decide what tasks you want to get done. That’s number one. The second thing you have to do is to be very specific about what it is that you expect. I expect somebody to get a blog post edited, proofed and put up in no more than two hours, that’s the maximum. I want them to understand WordPress so that they can actually get in there and do the editing. I want them to be on a Macintosh in case I’m asking for other specific things that include using Keynote, Pages or Numbers. I want them to understand the software that I’m using. Maybe you’re on a Mac or PC and you want Word or Excel. It’s completely up to you. You have to be very specific about what you expect, how long you expect it to take, and what software technologies and skills they need to have. So, the first thing that you have to do is define exactly what it is that you want done and how you want it done.
Now, you have to go find these people. Let’s look at a couple of different places where you can find them. A lot of people are in love with things like Fiver, where you can get things done for five bucks a pop, but, in all honesty, a good virtual assistant is going to run you on the low end, $20, and on the high end as much as $100 an hour. You have to ask yourself, ‘What is this task worth and what does it save me?’
Where To Find Help?
Once you have decided what you need, you can start looking at different agencies or websites that will help you find the right person to do the right task at the right price. Another thing to consider is whether you want them to be US based and English speaking or if it is okay that they’re overseas in India or Pakistan. One of the things I could tell you about overseas people is there is a little bit of a language barrier, but a lot of them understand how to compensate for this very well. The biggest challenge is the time difference, because you’re a half a world away so when it’s 6 o’clock in the morning for you, it’s 6 o’clock at night for them. When you post something at 6 in the morning, they’re already out of work and you’re going to have to wait a day to get it done. Those are some of the considerations, even though it’s going to be less expensive to use someone overseas, you really want to consider, ‘How soon do I need these things done?’ Or ‘Can I set it up on a regular basis where it’s on autopilot and I can live with the delay?’
There are a handful of places that you can look to find virtual assistants. You can look locally, since there are probably people in your area who are willing to do that for you. There are places like eLance, Upwork and Freelancer.com. There are associations like the International Virtual Assistance Association to help you find certified virtual assistants. There’s EA Help and all different kinds of websites. The key thing that you have to do is make sure that you know how to write a job description for the assistance you need and define what the price range is. Be real clear that it’s going to be between $25 and $50 and not $50 and $100. If you do that, you’re going to get more qualified candidates who want to do specifically what you’re looking to get done.
Narrow Down the Field
Now, the next thing you have to do is start to vet the candidates. You will want to put together a document with a handful of questions and criteria that you need these assistants to meet. After you read through the information that they send you, then you either say yay or nay to an interview. Then you set up a video interview, so you can get to know them on a one-on-one basis to see if they’re really going to be a good fit for you. The most important thing is you have to be able to work with them and in turn, they have to be able to work with you. It really is like a regular job interview. You want to make sure that you do this in a very professional way.
Now, keep in mind that certain virtual assistants will work with you for X amount of time, and then they either stop, they raise their rates or they want more hours. In order to work with me, I need 5 hours per week and that’s it. You’re probably going to have to do this a handful of times. It’s rare that you’re going to find somebody who will stick with you for the long haul, but it does happen. I’ve had my virtual assistants for four or five years. The key thing is that the better you can define what it is that you want done, what your expectations are, how much you are willing to pay, then the better chance you’re going to be able to find somebody to do those specific tasks.
I don’t care whether it’s accounting, writing your blogs, working on your podcast, editing and proofing, or something else, you can find people to help you become more productive and not eat up as much of your time. The one thing that you have to do is stay in constant communication with your virtual assistants and make sure that you’re giving them some sort of education as you go along, as technology, techniques or social media changes. Be a good leader.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and maybe some other limiting beliefs you have overcome!