Most clients come to me when they are ready to scale their business and know that they need support in order to achieve business growth.

However, some clients come to me for two other reasons:

  1. They have come to a point where if they don’t outsource now, they’ll crash and burn.
  2. They have had horrendous experience with previous virtual assistants and need rescuing or their business needs repairing.

Either way, it’s too late!

Not a fault of the client of course. We all try and ride the storm, surf the bigger waves and hang on for dear life until we realise that we need to let go soon, or we’ll crash completely beyond repair.

It’s very hard to begin making a real difference for a client like that. You start in the middle and have to work very hard to make progress while still repairing the start of the story of either saga mentioned above.

In time, it all comes right. Hard on the client, hard on the virtual assistant.

How can you avoid a crash and burn?

By the time you outsource, you’ve probably been thinking about it for weeks, possibly months (in a few cases, years!) If you have a growth strategy for your business, it’s easier to predict the need for support, then plan for the implementation.

The short answer is –> START SOONER!

Or try these steps:

1. Get ahead

When you become aware of the need (of support) and the cash flow is not quite there, start documenting how you are doing things in your business:

  • Start with a list of all the tools, platforms and apps that you use. Then make a list of all the likely tasks that could be or will need to be automated.
  • Make a list of all current tasks that you undertake and mark those that could be outsourced to someone.

You can do this via a mindmap, list, spreadsheet, vision or kanban board – whatever format works for you visually. You could start with some headings like:

TASK…CATEGORY…WHO…TOOL USED…AUTOMATE?…OUTSOURCE?

Prospect Calls…Scheduling…Me…MS Word…Yes…Yes

Facebook Posts…Social Media…Me…Facebook…Yes…Yes

Accounts…Admin…Me…MS Excel…No…Maybe

With the few options above, this means you can outsource and automate some of your processes already (assuming you might want to continue doing your own accounts).

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Now you have clear documentation of the operations of your business. This will be invaluable when the time comes to work with a virtual assistant.

2. Get Savvy

If you do something a certain way, consider if it is something that could be improved, even if it currently serves its purpose.

Make a list, audio recording, or even better, a screen recording of how YOU achieve this task. A Virtual Assistant will pick up on tasks much faster to quickly get things going and may even come up with more effective ways to complete those tasks.

3. Get Out

Get it out of your head! For the parts of your business identified above for outsourcing, document them so they are not constantly in your head and never shared.

4. Get Prepared

Write down all the things you’d like to know about a potential Virtual Assistant. Make a list of the tasks you’re prepared to offload immediately and then later down the road. Make it an easy start for both of you so good progress is made, setting the pace for a successful relationship.

You could make a list of qualities that you know you would work well with. Then perhaps split the knowledge needs into “Must have” and “Nice to have but not essential” regarding tools and platforms – perhaps a strong working knowledge of Google Drive is essential, and perhaps a knowledge of a scheduling app is helpful, but not necessarily the one you are currently using.

5. Get Outsourcing

Sit down some evening with your favourite soap opera or music. Make out a questionnaire – use a doc, spreadsheet, google form, whatever works for you. Get it online as a download or online form and reach out to your community for referrals and recommendations. Ask potential virtual assistants to fill out your questionnaire – this will help you make informed decisions of their suitability for your business and way of working.

When you connect with a virtual assistant, you can then assertively communicate your needs and find out the things you need to know in order to make that all-important decision.

Before you know it, you’ll be focusing on fee-paying activities while your new virtual assistant focuses on your admin, marketing, tech, etc.

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It’s not easy to just sit down and start making lists, but it’s a start. I have created a comprehensive guide on outsourcing called Outsource The Smart Way that walks you through a ten-minute process with four steps to get you up and running with a virtual assistant (or any service provider).

If you’d like to receive my free guide on outsourcing with supporting emails, click here.

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