In business, we are all on the lookout for the best value for money and value for our time. We all want to find ways to generate more revenue and find more customers.
If you’ve reached the point where you’re overflowing with workload, but you’re flying solo and don’t have anyone to delegate to, then you’re possibly considering hiring an employee. You may, however, have hesitations about managing an employee and all the compliance considerations (AKA paperwork) that goes along with putting on an employee. This is when outsourcing comes into play.
What the heck is outsourcing?
Outsourcing is simply engaging an independent contractor/consultant to take care of a specific scope of work. Examples can be when a large company contracts a freight provider to transport its products to customers, or when an accountant engages another professional to cover client work during tax time/peak period.
Should I be outsourcing or offshoring?
Offshoring is engaging a contractor located in another country/overseas. This is typically done due to the cost savings from cheap labour in some overseas countries. Australia has a high cost of labour due to the highly regulated business requirements (AKA high cost of doing business) that we have here. Whilst, there are definite cost savings to be had with offshoring, there are definite downsides. I’ve heard from many business people, that the cost savings are often eroded by the re-work involved, due to lower quality output.
Outsourcing is really a question of budget and principles. If you don’t have the budget to pay local rates and don’t mind differing levels of quality, then offshoring is probably for you. If you prefer to support your own economy and require a qualified contractor with specific skillset, then outsourcing is for you.
What is a VA?
A VA is a virtual assistant who provides administrative support remotely, using technology. Most of us have heard of VA’s from the Philippines, contracted by large Australian companies to run their call centres, or helpdesks. But did you know the VA industry also exists within Australia and throughout western/Commonwealth countries, also?
And because local VA’s come from all different avenues of business administration, there are many niche VA’s, such as those specialising in social media, digital marketing, Not-for-Profits, transcription, legal, medical, bookkeeping, and so on.
How does a VA work remotely?
This depends on each VA, but most use modern business tools such as DropBox or Google Drive to share files; task management tools such as Trello or Asana to manage workflow, shared calendars via Outlook or Google Calendar, shared inboxes via Outlook or Gmail, phone or Skype to communicate, and so on. Most VA’s track their time with a time tracker such as Toggl and invoice by the hour, or offer packages by task or blocks of time.
Tips to win at outsourcing
Use a VA that matches your niche/segment – locate a VA who has experience in your field or industry segment. You can put a request through via VA Directory, requesting the particular skill set you require.
Have a trial run first – if you’re after a VA for ongoing support/recurring tasks, then request a 2 week trial period first and tell the VA that you’re looking for the right fit. A good VA will understand this and will also want the right fit.
Make a list of tasks that you can delegate – put together a list of the tasks that you hate doing, tasks that never seem to get done, and time-consuming tasks that you can give to your VA to free up your time. Again, a good VA will ask you a set of initial questions to better understand your business and where you need help.
Make a list of work that you will focus on when your time has been freed up – this is the best part! Visualising the extra 5 hours per week that you’ll have to focus on finding new clients.
Now, I hope the above tips will help you to confidently go ahead and free up your time by outsourcing. Take the leap and know that you’ll save yourself stress and find more time to spend on your most important priorities.
Modern Day PA provides flexible admin support to time-poor mining consultants and small business owners, who don’t normally have access to an assistant.
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