Signs You’re Ready To Hire Your First Virtual Assistant

Sick of working 12 hours a day and still feeling behind? Holding out hope that simply wishing for more hours in the day will actually come true? Do you know that you definitely need to hire a virtual assistant but the thought of it makes you nervous?

Hiring a virtual assistant is a big step for any soul-centred entrepreneur, but one that can mean the difference between sustainably growing and scaling your business and burning out…especially when you do it at the right time.

When should I start hiring?

When you’re working a full day (regardless of how many hours that is for you personally) and you constantly have work left to take care of, it’s a good time to look at hiring someone, regardless of whether this is a side hustle or full-time business.

If you don’t look for help now you’re going to reach critical mass and end up hiring the first person you find; which if history is any indication, won’t work out well.

Now, you might be thinking – “I just need to manage my time better. The things I’d delegate are pretty easy and really only take me a minute to do.” (been there, thought that!), but refusing to delegate these repetitive tasks that anyone can do is exactly how you stall growth in your business. Keeping these tasks on your plate means:

???? You’ll have less time to develop or create those new offers you’re excited about.

???? Your metrics, KPI’s, and cash flow won’t get checked as often, if at all. Resulting in you not spotting important indicators that could drastically affect your business

???? Breaking the feast-or-famine cycle is much more difficult. You’re so busy with client work that you don’t have time to market, and then you’re scrambling for new clients when those projects end. When you hire someone to help, you can continue to market your services while working on projects, keeping the stream of clients steady.

As Mum used to say, many hands make light work.

And if you’re planning to scale your business, bringing on “many hands” is the only way to do it.

The earlier you prepare to hire, the easier it is.

If you wait too long to bring on help you begin to get desperate. And the longer you wait the more desperate you become. It gets to the point where you finally give in and slap up a “Help, please!” post on Facebook and end up hiring the first person that spells their own name right.

When that happens it almost invariably leads to disaster, and you may become resistant to hiring again.

Which, of course, leads to more trouble as you hurtle towards burnout.

But, if you make plans to hire early on you can be prepared and take your time to hire the right person for the right role — because hiring a virtual assistant isn’t always the right first step.

Giving yourself time to hire means you can save up funds to pay the person you’re going to hire, and you can take some time to figure out what work should be taken off your plate first.

You can complete a time study, figure out the right role to hire first, create a full job description, decide on what questions to ask and what tests you might have them do, and take the time to meet with a few candidates before choosing the right one for you.

That’s the power of planning ahead – knowing exactly what you’re looking for, and being able to take your time to find it.

The other bonus to planning ahead and hiring early is that you can actually help your new hire to succeed in the role.

One of the biggest reasons relationships with VA’s fail is that the business owner doesn’t take the time to properly onboard, train, and follow up with the person they just brought on their team.

They expect the person to magically be able to take a bunch of work off their plate with little to no training or feedback.

They simply dump a bunch of tasks on the person and then hope they get done well.

But even if your new hire is an expert at their work, they’ll still need time to get to know your unique business. You’ll still need to set expectations for the relationship. And you’ll still need to give feedback so they can be successful.

This often leads to keeping a bad assistant in the role for far too long hoping things will get better, or firing a good assistant who just needed some direction and feedback from you in order to be successful.

Are you already too busy and desperate for help?

No worries! Just remember that to speed up, you sometimes need to slow down.

Do your time study, create your job description, interview 3-5 candidates, and give yourself at least 3 weeks to check in with your new hire and give them feedback before you decide to let them go.

Getting help doesn’t have to be expensive.

I am a major proponent of not just saving to hire, but taking your finances into consideration in all business decisions. This is something I teach inside Scale Society, my 6-month group program for soul-centred entrepreneurs.

If you’re not sure you can afford to hire yet, remember that you don’t have to start with a 10 hour a week retainer. You can hire a very capable virtual assistant for as little as 5-10 hours a month and build up from there.

If you have $1,500 in your bank account that you can dedicate to a VA, then that means you can hire a VA for 3 to 6 months (at 10 hours per month) depending on the VAs rate (which is dependent on their skill and experience).

That 10 hours of VA time can take 8 hours (or more) of work off your plate. Allowing you to reinvest that time back in the business to generate more revenue, or invest it into your self-care which, if you’ve been teetering on the edge of burnout will likely lead to more revenue too as you’ll be able to work more proactively and productively once you’ve recovered.

Being nervous isn’t an excuse for not moving forward.

Yes, hiring is scary. Especially if you’ve never had to interview or feel uncomfortable giving feedback.

Sometimes, you’ll have hard conversations. Sometimes, you’ll make hard decisions. But I promise that learning to navigate those uncomfortable conversations is a lot better than trying to do everything in your business on your own and continuing to live in stress.

Most people want to do a good job. Most people aren’t just looking to make a quick $500 and get fired. They’re trying to build a business of their own, so give them the feedback and communication they need to help you at their full potential.

Even if you feel like you’ve waited too long to hire and are feeling desperate, it’s not too late to do it in a way that will still move your business forward.

Do your due diligence. Do your time study, meet with a few candidates, and ask the right questions. Check-in with them on a daily basis for a few weeks, ask questions, offer feedback.

Taking your time and communicating well will give you the best chance of success with your new team member.

Thinking about hiring your first VA?

And wondering what a virtual assistant might be able to do? Download my free VA tasklist and guide to 50+ tasks that a virtual assistant can take off your plate immediately so that you can concentrate on growing your business!

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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