As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it’s sometimes hard to see the bigger picture. You may have strayed onto a new path, tried something new or have just been working at the same pace for a long time.
But how do you know when you need a change? The tipping point, or breaking point, is not always clear.
While in this post, I can’t help you decide to change your career or redefine your business focus, I want to provide some clear warning signs that it might be time for you to consider hiring and working with a virtual assistant (VA).
You may or may not need to work with a VA or you may actually need to hire full time staff, in the end you’ll have to decide for yourself and your business, but when you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, I can say with high certainty it may be time for you to hire a virtual assistant.
Is your business growing?
Congratulations! Your business is growing but how will you manage that growth while still staying involved and keeping an eye on your bottom line?
A virtual assistant can pick up some of the tasks you don’t need to do anymore while you focus on what you love doing best.
Write down those tasks that are important but could be handled by someone else, this will be your starting list when first talking to a VA.
Is your business stagnating?
While this isn’t a great situation, you’ve recognized it and that’s the first important step. Talking to a colleague or friend first to help them help you see the bigger picture is a great place to start. Once you’ve got that picture, decide what’s important for you to work on or develop, and where could you use some help.
Offloading tasks that don’t require your expertise or brainpower can help you climb out of stagnation. And an outside perspective could help you see new markets and opportunities.
Understand the big picture of your business and make a plan for where you want to go. Then decide what you absolutely need to do and what can be given to someone else.
Are you working longer days but working less on the work you love to do?
As your business grows you’ll have to work more, but are you starting to give up your evenings or weekends just to stay on top of things? And are those things administrative tasks, or social media engagement, or just resizing images?
Take some time to look at your daily and weekly schedule: what is taking up most of your time? And is that what you enjoy doing most? If not, then it might be time to adjust your business priorities and get some help.
Do you have a new product or service you’d like to develop or launch but can’t find the time to work on it?
Most business owners start their businesses with lots of ideas but many don’t come to fruition. Whether it’s creating an ebook for some passive income or a freebie for your newsletter signup form, these types of products or services could help your business develop and grow. And while there are only so many hours in the day, what could you work on if you didn’t have to do [insert tasks you don’t like to do, don’t want to do, or don’t have the expertise for]?
Spend some time writing down a to-do list, goals and timeline for your next service or product. How long will it realistically take you? Then identify which parts you could outsource. It’s not worth your time to learn InDesign just to create one fillable PDF, for example, so why not consider working with someone who can get it done for you?
Are you doing things outside of your technical comfort zone?
If you work online or conduct a lot of your business or marketing online, you may feel overwhelmed with all of the tools out there. Tools like:
- Social media platforms and posting tools
- Email newsletter programs
- To-do list apps, like Wunderlist
- Cloud accounting programs
- Your website
There are plenty of people, including virtual assistants, who are proficient with these tools and processes and that’s their job. If it’s not yours, and you don’t have interest to learn it (or your time could be better spent on something else) it’s probably time for you to work with a VA.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s OK to get help when you can’t do it by yourself.
Make a wish list of tools or programs you’d like to use in your business. Ask a VA about them and get feedback about how and if they can integrate easily into your business.
Are there things you’re doing yourself that take a long time and you know someone else could do it quicker or more efficiently?
Along the lines of the previous question, if you’re struggling consistently with programs or processes that you know someone else could do faster, why are you still struggling? If it doesn’t bring you joy and it doesn’t immediately impact your income, it will most likely be more cost effective for you to pay someone to do it.
When you notice that you’re doing something that drains your time, write it down on a list. Don’t lose the list. Then bring it a virtual assistant and see where they can support you with those tasks.
Have you been losing track of time engaging or posting on social media?
Social media can be like a black hole!
First you check your newsfeed, then you jump over to a page and another page, then you look at the list of people who’ve also liked the page, then you check out their profile and their business page, then you feel bad because your page doesn’t look as great as theirs–and now 2 hours are gone.
If this has happened to you, first you need to set a countdown timer when you check your social media accounts, and second, if you have no goals or strategy or plan when it comes to social media, then you’re probably wasting your time.
Social media engagement for your business is not just time to browse around so if you feel lost, you probably need a virtual assistant to help you get on track.
Identify the one or two networks where you’d like to engage. What do you want to achieve there? More leads? More sales? Write it down and then take your list to a VA and ask how they can help you make those goals happen.
Are you forgetting things? Missing appointments? Letting things fall through the cracks?
These things happen sometimes, but if they are starting to happen all of the time, you may be at the point where you need support in your business.
A virtual assistant can be a cost-effective option for outsourcing some of your business tasks so you can focus on the work you love to do. Whatever it is that you’re failing at, admit you have an overworked-in-my-business problem, and ask for help. Getting input from someone on the outside could be your first step towards getting it together again.
Talk to someone about streamlining your processes. You may need one project management program to keep everything in one place, or you may need someone to organize all of your files. Whatever it is there is a process for you out there, you may just need help finding it.
Are you feeling resentful, unhappy or stressed?
This is an unfortunate side effect of being your own boss or working on your own. You started this business with all the best intentions but somehow the joy and dreams got away from you.
But all is not lost! You just need help in figuring out how to get back to doing what you love best (see the next step below).
And if during this process of reflection you realize that this is not what you want to be doing, then friend, it’s time to start looking for a new line of work. While that type of guidance is beyond the scope of this post, there are plenty of resources out there and I wish you all the best.
Take a day off. Yes, I said it. Take a day off and don’t think about your business. Come back and make a list of things you have to do in your business and the things somebody else could do, here’s a list of 50+ things a VA could do for you to get you started. Then contact me.
What was a turning point in your business and how did you recognize it?
Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.