Many budding entrepreneurs start out doing all aspects of their business, from initial start-up functions such as business plan writing, marketing, sales, filling orders, and then bookkeeping and billing. In the beginning, this may be necessary, as money may be tight and an extra pair of hands just aren't available.
But there does come a time when the small business owner needs to consider the value of their time. For instance, if you're charging $125 an hour for your services, does it really make sense for you to be doing something you could pay someone else $25 an hour to do? Fiscally, aren't you losing $100 an hour by doing it yourself? Perhaps you are best served to hire those tasks out so you can spend more billable hours in front of your clients than in the office, sorting your emails or answering telephones.
The beauty of technology today is that many administrative functions can be done from anywhere. Telephones can be transferred to ring at someone else's location. Newsletters can be written, websites updated, blogs generated, billing, and so much more can be done and shared virtually, many in real time thanks to the cloud.
But how do you choose the perfect virtual assistant for you? I would ask the following:
1. Are there software packages you need them to be familiar with?
2. If they're not familiar with those packages, will they charge you to learn them?
3. How available are they to take your projects on?
4. Can you see samples of their work or talk to references?
Ultimately you want to find someone you feel comfortable working with, who offers great customer service, communicates well, isn't afraid to ask questions to clarify tasks if needed, and offers top quality at a good value.
I also recommend that you consider someone who has the capacity to grow with your needs, meaning someone who can offer more services than you actually need currently. That way you don't find yourself having to switch to someone new after you've developed a strong relationship with someone you love and trust.
Ronnie Roll is a published author, regular columnist, and entrepreneur that provides support services that allow business owners to do what they do best - run their businesses.