Have you been hearing all the talk about remote working, virtual assistants, and outsourcing your life to cut your working work?
Have you been letting it wash over you like so many other fads and miracle solutions?
If so, it’s not surprising. In this post, though, we’re going to illustrate that when it comes to engaging a virtual assistant (or more than one) to support your business, there is REAL value to be had—value that you won’t want to miss out on after digesting the insights we’ll share.
What Can You Learn if You Read On?
By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll be aware that the value of a highly-skilled, professional virtual assistant, engaged at a very economical rate, extends beyond business productivity, to bring you substantial improvements in:
- Profitability (financial value)
- Health and wellbeing (physical value)
- Your family and social life (emotional value)
…And recovery of control over your life, which as many people in business know, quickly ebbs away when you are busy establishing and scaling an enterprise.
So let’s get into it by taking each of the above-mentioned business-management elements in turn, in reverse order. As a first step, we’ll briefly review the typical cycle of health and emotional transitions that people undergo when building a business from scratch.
The Cycles of Building a Business
The following phases, or cycles, are typical of those experienced by professionals who build a new business on a shoestring, which is how most small-business startups begin life. Indeed, perhaps you are one of those people and can relate to the following emotional fluctuations during the formative years of your enterprise.
During the first year after business inauguration, it’s common to feel full of enthusiasm, energy, and determination. If the business does well, your customers or clients will seemingly love you, you’ll feel you can do no wrong, and the future will appear assuredly bright. You will work long hours and relish it, feeling limitlessly energetic and motivated by excitement and optimism.
In the second year, you might find yourself working even more hours each week, especially if the business has experienced healthy growth. You’re giving it your all, and while still feeling the buzz of success, you may be starting to experience other emotions, such as frequent tiredness. Some guilt might also be surfacing, particularly if you’re no longer devoting as much time to loved ones and family as you once did.
By now, there may be dents in your motivation as the initial thrust of growth begins to slow. You’re trying different initiatives and ideas to keep your business fresh and healthy, but the long hours and continual pressure are starting to wear on you.
Year Four (and Onward)
The fourth-year is the point at which many businesses begin to plateau. You may have been successful and can see that everything is going OK, but now, you find yourself getting even more tired, your energy reserves might be at an all-time low and you feel somewhat stuck in a rut.
During this phase, the potential for burnout is high, as is the development of marital or other relationship problems, physical and/or mental exhaustion. However, even if you don’t experience any of these issues, your workload will probably be such that you are rushing through tasks and missing golden opportunities to improve your business.
Of course, if you have been fortunate enough to afford local staff to relieve the personal burden, none of the above may apply. But, unfortunately, that’s not a realistic possibility for many small businesses, so the business owner or founder often shoulders a massive workload.
Business-Building Cycles and Virtual Assistants: What’s the Connection?
Perhaps you’re wondering now, why we’ve explained the four emotional cycles of building a business, and what they have to do with virtual assistants.
The explanation merely encapsulates some of the personal issues that often manifest when starting up and running a small to medium-sized enterprise—and allows you to reflect on those that most resonate with you.
Why did we do this?…
It’s because that’s is where the emotional value of a virtual assistant comes to the fore. You see, as our founder himself would be pleased to tell you, and as many of our clients have attested, a VA can spare you from going through the negative aspects of the year two, three, and four phases that we discussed in the section above.
Unlike hiring regular employees to support your business as it grows, virtual assistants can be engaged at a fraction of the price. Of course, they will require a little training, but once trained, they can unburden you of many of those menial but essential tasks involved in running your business.
What Would You Do With an Extra 10-20 hours of Free Time?
Just imagine if you could be relieved of commitments that take up your time but don’t add tangible value to your business. How great would it be to find yourself with three extra hours per day, or 10 to 20 hours per week?
What could you do with those saved hours? Would you…
- Catch up on sleep?
- Blow off steam at the gym?
- Consolidate the hours into holiday time and take some extra weeks off each year?
- Spend time with loved ones?
- Reconnect with a pastime or hobby that you used to enjoy before you lost control of your life to the demands of your business?
Well, you don’t have to wonder, because you can realise the benefits and take advantage of them, at a very reasonable price—affordable even for a business on a shoestring budget.
Is Your Emotional Wellbeing Worth $7 an Hour?
Ask any business owner who has gone through burnout if they would have spent $300 (AUD) per week to avoid the consequences, and we think you’ll find that they would say “yes” unequivocally. That’s the approximate cost of a highly skilled virtual assistant working remotely out of a low-cost country such as the Philippines.
For that rate, you get a VA who can take on many of your administrative tasks—those jobs that tie you up for hours every week—with minimal training. He or she will already have the necessary skills and experience, and will only need familiarisation with your business and its ways of working.
Your VA may even be better at many of those admin tasks than you are, so where you might spend ten hours, your VA might achieve the same output in fewer.
Whether that’s the case or not, though, you’ll undoubtedly end up with a lot more time on your hands. By devoting just some of that time to yourself and your family instead of your business, your quality of life can improve no end as a result—and that, we’re sure you will agree, is invaluable.
Good Health (or Here’s to Your Virtual Assistant)
Yes, we think you’ll have cause to raise your glass in a toast to your virtual assistant(s) after a few months of working with them. But it will be your good health you are celebrating, as much as that of your impressive new business assets.
We don’t need to go into too much detail here. Those same business phases that we talked about earlier take a toll on physical health in addition to emotional wellbeing.
Burnouts and breakdowns are detrimental to health, and as a wise man once said, nobody ever lay on their deathbed wishing they’d spent more hours at work (well, some may have, but if so, we’re sure they wouldn’t have meant spending more hours at work for the sake of it).
That same low rate per hour discussed above, and those same saved hours of your time, will do as much for your physical health prospects as your work-life balance and emotional wellbeing. That’s what we call the physical value of a virtual assistant, and again, it’s not something you can put a price on, but for sure, it’s worth a lot.
It All Adds Up to a Little More Control
If you’ve been running your business for more than a year or two, unless you have been very fortunate, you can probably relate to some of the emotional and physical issues touched on so far in this post. In short, it is common for business owners to feel that control of their lives has slipped away to some degree.
That feeling of lost control only contributes to the other downsides of building a business, such as tiredness, waning motivation, and lost family and “me” time.
Hiring a virtual assistant is an excellent way to get some of the control back, simply by having more time to spend on value-adding activities in your business and your interests outside of the workplace.
You can gain that control for around $7 per hour, a lot less than you would need to pay for a part-time employee, even at minimum wage. Lest you feel concerned that such a low rate is akin to slave labour, you should know that $7 per hour is well above the average salary in a country like the Philippines, where some of the best and brightest virtual assistants ply their trade.
Indeed, that’s precisely why the Philippines is such an excellent source of VAs, because remote working for overseas businesses typically pays more than local employment, and it beats the more disruptive alternative of moving overseas to work and sending money home.
A Recap Before We Move on
As this is a relatively long post, it might be worth a quick review of what we have established so far before we move on. So here’s a recap of the main points:
- Building a business is hard work, involving long hours and requiring you to wear many business hats.
- For many business owners, hiring local help is not an affordable option. As a result, the business owner must keep up with all the different business minutiae while also managing the core product or service provision.
- A virtual assistant can provide the support necessary to enable a business owner to spend less time on non-value-adding tasks, gain more time for friends, family, and self, and in turn, stave off emotional and physical health problems.
These benefits alone should give you pause to wonder why you soldier on, work too many hours, wear too many hats, and get closer to burnout, when you could have a professional assistant on hand, full-time, to ease the pressure.
However, we haven’t even gotten started on the financial value of a virtual assistant. That value can be substantial and comes in addition to the emotional and physical benefits that we’ve been discussing so far. So let’s explore it now.
What Value Do You Place on Your Time?
While emotional and physical value is not quantifiable, financial value is, but to understand the monetary value of a virtual assistant, you first need to place a value on your time. In other words, how much do you consider to be a reasonable hourly rate for your work?
For a typical business owner, $200 per hour would not be an unreasonable figure today. Still, to value your time at $200 per hour, you need to utilise that time solely for executing high-value activities like sales, service delivery, planning, training, and hiring.
If you want to do that, you need to offload the low-value jobs such as email management, chasing payments, booking travel, managing your diary, creating social media posts, and similar. These are the $7 per hour tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant to free up your high-value time.
If you look at the possibilities solely from this perspective, gaining 10 to 20 hours per week equates to saving up to $3,850. However, that’s only the beginning of the potential monetary value offered by a virtual assistant.
How to Spend Your High-Value Time
Let’s turn now, to how you might spend those hours you save by delegating low-value tasks to a VA. We recommend that you spend some of them on yourself, some on marketing your business, and some on making sales.
Assuming you follow that advice, and you spend 3 hours per week, out of those your VA has saved you, on turning sales leads into prospects, you should be able to land up to 50 new prospects per year.
If only a third of those, say, around 17, actually become clients, and each one is worth, for argument’s sake, $5,000 per annum, you’ve added around $35,000 to your top line. Your VA will probably have cost you something like $12,000 to $15,000, while working full time for the year, and:
- You’ve made an additional $35,000 in sales
- To generate that extra revenue, you’ve only used a third of the time your VA saved you
- You’ve been able to spend more time enjoying life outside of your business
Of course, you have to have a sufficient quantity of leads to land those 50 prospects we mentioned—and here too, your VA can be a source of substantial value, by using his/her time and skills to bring leads to your business.
A VA for Lead Capture? Why Not?
If your VA has saved you 20 hours, and is hired by you on a full-time basis, he or she should have around another 20 hours of unused time.
What if you train your VA to spend that time capturing leads for your business? Would it be unreasonable to assume that would amount to at least five new leads per month? Probably not, right?
That’s another 50 to 60 potential $5,000 clients, captured for around $7 per hour. Suddenly that additional $35,000 in sales looks even more achievable—and perhaps a lot more besides.
That’s the financial value of a virtual assistant. When you add it to the emotional and physical value that we covered previously, is there any way you can afford not to start searching for your first VA right away?
It’s Never Too Soon, or Too Late, to Tap into VA Value
If your business is in its first year, it might be too early, or now might be the perfect time to act, before you start losing control of your life and sinking deeper into the life of a workaholic, as so many small-business owners do.
If you’re already beyond the first year and into the second, third, or fourth, and you recognise the symptoms of stagnation and overwork that we highlighted earlier, a virtual assistant will probably be a metaphorical lifesaver—a source of competent support that might otherwise be out of reach.
It’s never too early to start gaining time back with help from a virtual assistant, and never too late either, although delays only leave money on the table.
If you value your health, emotional wellbeing, and of course, your business growth and success, there’s no questioning the value of a VA in helping you secure those things. Therefore, the sooner you hire, the sooner you can reap the benefits.
To Access VA Value Fast, Engage a Provider
There are several ways to find and hire a virtual assistant. However, to save yourself some legwork and secure assurances of reliable, continuous cover, there’s no better way than to engage a company like Virtual Done Well that employs VAs and manages them in a stable, well-equipped office environment.
We can match you to a suitable virtual assistant without fuss, saving you hours, or even days, in the search for the right person.
Once hired, you’ll have the confidence that your VA has the tools and is backed by the infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted support for your business, and will not be subject to stoppages through computer malfunctions, power cuts, or internet interruptions.
And finally, you’ll know that your virtual assistant is receiving a fair salary and working in conditions befitting a professional service provider, with holidays and other benefits that are transparent and appropriate.
Now that you know the value of a virtual assistant, we’d be surprised if you’re not ready to learn more about the realities and practicalities of working with one.
To do that, get in touch with one of our managers today—we’ll be pleased to answer your questions and, if you’re ready to access the value of a Virtual Done Well VA, to start the process of matching you with a suitable candidate.