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Grow A Business That Fits Your Life
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How To Find And Work With A VA – The Business Owners Guide

Many business owners ask me for suggestions on how to outsource effectively. They understand that hiring staff or outsourcing at least some tasks to other professionals – either as a one-off or on a regular, contract basis – is often necessary for the long-term growth and success of their business.

Yet for so many, the mere thought of this brings fear, or they have attempted to hire a contractor at some stage and have had less than beneficial outcomes.

But it doesn’t need to be so challenging. Once you learn how to find the right people to help you manage your business, you’ll be able to focus your energy on the things you enjoy and the things you do best.

I’ve just finished reading ‘How To Find And Work With A VA – The Business Owners Guide’ by Jo Saunders. This eBook is an easy read, in clear, simple language, outlining the essentials that any business owner should know before hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA).

Some VAs may focus on general ‘admin’ tasks, while others specialise in a specific field – for example, bookkeeping, writing, graphic design, web site management, social media – or for particular industries such as real estate, music, health and well-being, and so on.

Regardless of the type of VA you require, by reading ‘How To Find And Work With A VA – The Business Owners Guide’ first and following the guidelines recommended within, business owners can greatly improve the likelihood of building a successful working relationship with the right VA for their needs.

So if outsourcing tasks is an area you’re about to venture into or would like some helpful tips on, consider reading this first to give yourself a head start.

How to Find and Work With a VA – The Business Owners Guide

How To Improve Business Through Outsourcing

Sometimes you are not your own best employee.

Sometimes you are not the most cost-effective choice for handling certain aspects of your business.

Sometimes success in small business relies on recognizing where you could use some help and investing in the things that really make a difference to your productivity and profitability.

Sometimes, small business outsourcing is just a better idea.

Plain and simple.

Should You Outsource – Business and Personal Factors

Outsourcing certain business tasks is often the best strategy for small business management, both personally and professionally.

In every business’ life, there comes a time when, for one reason or another, it is in your best interest to bring in some outside help. The motivation can often start as personal in nature, but in truth the impact of successful outsourcing cannot be entirely separated from either side of life; the result of successful outsourcing should benefit you in your personal and business life.

The motivation behind outsourcing can very basically be broken down into one of two factors – time or skill.

  • Outsourcing for time management; when there is just not enough time in the day or the week to complete the essential functions that your business demands – and in truth, relies on – then you need to look at where you can benefit from some outside help to get the job done.
  • Outsourcing for skill and expertise; if you can’t do it well, you shouldn’t really be doing it. Someone who can do it better can. Spend your time where you can give the most value to your business, and rely on the skill and expertise of others to add value to other aspects.

Personally, if either a lack of time or lack of skill causes you stress and strain, thereby spilling over and affecting your personal life, it is time to get some help.  Being dedicated to your business is not the same as letting it rule your life.  Remember why you became a small business owner to begin with and look at outsourcing as a way to maintain a balance between your personal and business life.

Good Help Is Hard To Find – Or Is It?

They say good help is hard to find. This old adage keeps many small business people from outsourcing and improving their business and personal lives. However, if you know what to look for, you can find good help in short time, and start enjoying the benefits right away.

Here are a few tips to help you find good outsourced service-people:

  • be clear on the scope of a job or project and what you need
  • evaluate outsourced employees as you would any other – interview, read resumes or evaluate samples, and ask questions (NB: while many business professionals won’t have a resume as such, you should sticll be able to ask for and see some relevant samples, a portfolio and/or references or testimonials)
  • look for specific skills or experience relevant to the job
  • do not choose based on cost/payment alone (sometimes you get what you pay for…)
  • draft a written contract that clearly defines roles and responsibilities
  • agree to a small project first to trial this outsourcing relationship, before committing to any long-term contracts or major projects
  • look for freelancers who are part of a recognised professional body for their industry and/or for freelancers in general. While this won’t guarantee that you’ll get the best person for the job right away, however many of these organisations have certain standards they require from members.

If you are outsourcing a project, also consider your needs after completion so that you can get the ongoing support you need. Work to build a relationship with good freelancers so that you can readily come back again for subsequent projects and issues. In this case, also consider correlating pay to milestones throughout the project as an incentive to see the project through to completion.

Whether it is a virtual assistant you need to relieve the burden of record-keeping tasks and communications, a programmer, designer or writer for marketing campaigns, there are plenty of great agents out there waiting to fill your need. When business and pleasure begin to suffer, use these tips to ease your burden and increase productivity, all the while making your small business thrive.