There have been occasions that I have received calls from a potential client and their first question is “What Do You Do?“. I give my 30 second response and wait. The next question is “How much do you charge?”. My sales response is to then ask them open-ended questions so that I can then mirror their responses to my solutions. (My corporate training kicks in) This type of potential client is not prepared to hire a VA. (My opinion)
Then there are those that call and have questions prepared. I love them…They know what they want, they have an idea already how long each task takes, and most importantly they are ready to make a profit. This type of potential client is already aware that if they hire a VA, they can make more money. Once they hire a VA they will be able to spend more time on their revenue generating activities vs. their non-revenue generating activities…bottom line.
They also recognize that we DO help them make a profit because we have knowledge that they can leverage on some of their marketing plans. Some of us have experience of marketing plans that are working, and some that are not. We probably did something right in our own marketing along the way after all “they” found us, right?
So if you are not ready, here are a few tips that hopefully help you prepare to hire a VA…THEN profit:
Step 1 – Identify the tasks that are NOT bringing in any money but ARE necessary.
Be specific. In many cases the VA has the experience and skills to handle many of the tasks. Quite often we can lend advice on the specific details and possibly help you expand the task. But to avoid confusion later, make sure you know exactly what items you want completed.
Step 2 – Have an idea of how long it will take to complete each of the tasks.
This is key. When you are hiring someone to do something for you, we all hate to feel like we were taken advantage of. Again, be specific. I have received three different clients because the person they hired took too long to accomplish the task. It wasn’t that they didn’t know how, but it took longer than they expected, so an expectation was not communicated. There is nothing wrong with asking the questions up front to make sure the two of you are on the same page, and there aren’t unreasonable expectations. If the VA says well I think it would take about this long, find out why…it just may be worth it, the VA may take the task to the next level. Another reason for you to let go of it.
Step 3 – Add up the time and determine how you want to pay for the support.
Once you have the tasks identified, length of time for each task, add it up and determine how much time you need a VA. Determine if this is daily, weekly, or monthly. Think about if this is something that I need to have done every week. What time are you receiving back so you can make more money?…Average the hours and determine if you want to budget to pay hourly, project, or retainer. What is best for your budget? You may be able to start on a trial to see how it pans out.
Step 4 – Now that you are prepared – it’s time to find a VA that matches your need – Invest in the time.
As you were deciding on the tasks that you need to outsource, hopefully you have created a list of skills needed to accomplish those tasks…Now would be a great time to utilize that. Invest in the time to research. Ask a colleague for a referral. There are several places to find VA’s…Many forums, organizations, VA training organizations that list VA’s. Of course, if you are already on social networks like Twitter. Linked-In, Plaxo, and Facebook, you can always search them as there are several of us out there networking. I highly suggest you speak with more than one of us. Once you determine a match of skill level, you also want to get a feel for personality. Will your personality match with their personality? Again, that may be another reason to trial it for a month or so to see if the two of you gel…Be upfront, and honest!
Step 5 – You have decided…The work begins
There is always a learning curve. A learning curve for you to understand the processes that VA uses, a learning curve for the VA to understand your process. Hopefully as thing progress, you will begin to have written processes/systems if you don’t have them already. Once you get through that learning curve…take a moment and reflect on if this is working or not…if so…ahhhh…breath…move into that next step of profiting because now you have time to focus on THAT! Now you can give more time to the clients/customers you already have and there is space to invite more in….Ain’t life grand?