The biggest misconception when it comes to delegation is that no one else can do a task as well as you. However, as a business owner/entrepreneur, if you ever plan to scale your business successfully, then you have no choice other than to overcome your fear of outsourcing.
The truth is that even if you wanted to, it is impossible to do everything by yourself and expect to be efficient or productive.
Sometimes, you just need to delegate tasks or job functions to a third party to help you out.
Yes, I understand it can be scary at first but every success story started with taking some kind of risk!
My advice is to work on some of those fears and take baby steps towards being a more organised and productive entrepreneur.
As the Chief assistant at Virtual Assistants For You, I have had the privilege of meeting quite a number of entrepreneurs online and offline and some of their fears of outsourcing include:
Fear of being scammed
The virtual assistant industry is still in its infant stages in this part of the world and let’s face it, Nigerians are not exactly known for their honesty. But, that being said a reputable virtual assistant company has more to lose by not following through on their promises – and the truth is they can only get so far with this kind of behaviour.
My advise, ensure that you work with virtual assistants that have come highly recommended to you. You can also ask your virtual assistant for reviews and/or testimonials to know who they have worked with.
Fear of exposing trade secrets
This is a major fear for most entrepreneurs around the world. Trade secrets, sensitive information and data security can be compromised when one outsource. This is bad for business.
My advise, ensure that your virtual assistants sign a mutual non – disclosure agreement and a contract if necessary to protect your business.
Fear of being unreachable
This is another major reason why entrepreneurs are afraid of outsourcing to virtual assistants. There is always a possibility that your VA may be unreachable when you require them to complete a task urgently. This is especially so in Nigeria, where there may be phone/network or even power outages.
To avoid this, we always advise our clients to share their schedule with us ahead and if possible communicate important information at our weekly meetings. This gives us adequate notice and ensures that we do our best to meet deadlines and remain reachable notwithstanding the challenges that may arise.
We also reassure our clients that we always have backup electricity as well as backup internet service provider just to avoid stories that touch.
Now, how does outsourcing help you grow your business?
Virtual Assistants usually work for small/medium businesses. This means that your Virtual assistant is there to generally make your life much easier by performing general or specific tasks depending on your requirements.
Outsourcing can help:
- If you struggle with overwhelm at work and it affects your productivity. Outsourcing can help relieve some of your everyday business stress, giving you more time to focus on what’s important (this includes self-care) and the more important things like spending quality time with your family.
- If you have to handle repetitive tasks like invoicing, responding to email inquiries etc ; tasks like this may not necessarily add to your profits. In addition, if there are tasks you’d rather not handle perhaps because you don’t like it or you’re not great at them – it just makes more sense to outsource this type of tasks to a virtual assistant.
- If you’re not meeting your business goals. When you’re tied up with day-to-day admin tasks, the likelihood of achieving your goals is remote because If you’re working in your business, rather than on it, and hardly ever achieve your business goals and objectives. A VA can take on the daily tasks which are keeping you stuck, giving you more time to chase your dreams and goals.
- Lower your costs due to economies of scale . You also pay lower labor rates as you don’t have to employ and train a full time staff. In addition, you don’t have to worry about additional expenses such as rent or utilities when you outsource to a virtual assistant.
- Your business experiences increased efficiency and you’re better positioned to focus on strategy/core competencies.
Ready to take the bold step to outsourcing some of your business operations? Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- Outsource the right task to the right virtual assistants. There are different virtual assistants who offer various services, ensure you hire the right one for your business needs.
- Consider all outsourcing costs.
- Interview your virtual assistant as you would an employee.
- Set clear objectives.
Ensure that you clearly communicate exactly what you need and provide your VA with a description of their roles.
- Write everything down including a solid contract and a non disclosure agreement if necessary.
- Get recommendations or ask for referrals from friends and business associates.
- Check their skills.
Some VA’s may be experts in email management, others social media etc. It’s worth ensuring your VA has experience in the tasks you want to outsource.
- Ask for examples of works, reviews, testimonials or case studies they have done in time past.
Scheduling a meeting via zoom or WhatsApp is a great way to communicate and get to know your VA.
Have you ever outsourced to a virtual assistant, if yes, how was the experience? If no, why not?