Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

March 15, 2021

When starting a business, it’s common to do every task that your new company demands yourself. Whether to save money, to learn every aspect of the operations…or simply because it doesn’t occur to you to do otherwise, many business owners double as the tea boy, the cleaner, the bookkeeper, the PR expert, the marketing guru, the delivery/pick up gal, the receptionist, the HR representative and the salesperson—and these tasks you carry out on top of making/delivering the product or service you offer. There’s little wonder, looking at that list, that new business owners work much more than an average 40-hour week.

And once your business becomes established, you may find that your time is even more stretched. There’ll likely be more orders and enquiries for what you offer, and further opportunities to take advantage of as your network and customer base continue to grow.

If you were to continue along this path, you’d be heading for burnout.

Constant firefighting, i.e. doing everything in-house by your own fair hands and only managing to meet the needs of your customers with no time for anything else, means that your business will barely grow.

If you’re spending a few hours each week balancing your receipts, organising your diary and cleaning the office loo, for example, you’re effectively wasting time that could be better spent driving more enquiries to your business and delivering more of your product/service. Without being disparaging, anyone could clean your loo and there are plenty of people who could balance your receipts, but if you have a clear USP, it’s likely that you will be the only person who can deliver your offering.

Outsourcing the tasks that can be carried out by someone else to a virtual assistant is a wise move for any entrepreneur. Doing so could free up many hours each week for you to work on your business as opposed to working within it. Time you’d normally spent on menial tasks can be spent strategising, making new contacts, innovating, and searching for opportunities—things that will help your business grow rather than stagnate.

Your time is worth more. Outsourcing tasks of a certain value will make a huge impact to your bottom line if you use the freed up time on expanding your business—doing all those things you’ve always planned to do, but which you never have the time to implement. Just think how fast your business could grow!

Sometimes, it’s not that a business owner doesn’t understand the sheer value of a virtual assistant, they just struggle to think of tasks they could outsource to these professionals that would make any meaningful impact in their business.

The answer to that is: practically everything that’s not associated with the delivery of your product or service.

Examples include:
• Database/CRM management
• Social media, blog management, the creation of marketing content
• Personal errands (e.g. buying gifts for loved ones, booking flights/hotels, etc.)
• Arranging client appointments and diary management
• Organising/filing paperwork
• Book-keeping
• Call management, dealing with enquiries and following-up with clients
• Setting up automated emails/autoresponders/chatbot content
• Staff management, HR admin and recruitment
• Creating presentations
• Data entry tasks
• Project management
• Processing returns and managing orders
• Research tasks and lead generation
• Taking minutes and transcribing audio
• Website management and listing your products on various platforms

Some virtual assistants focus on a certain sector/industry or they specialise by offering specific tasks; however, others offer a more generalised, all-encompassing service.

Think about it: you don’t have to worry about employing someone and all the rigmarole that goes with this, such as tax implications, holiday entitlement, etc. You pay only for the time the virtual assistant spends on your work.

Neither do you have to think about where they will be housed when working for you; though they may need to spend a little training time with you, the work they carry out will likely be done off-site.

A virtual assistant will work with your business during famine and feast. Though you may purchase a specific number of hours each month from your virtual assistant, they will, of course, try and accommodate extra hours if you need more help during the month.

The majority of virtual assistants will have had a wealth of training and hold experience of many disciplines during their career. Their clients benefit from this mine of information, and probably advice and support for their businesses above and beyond the VA’s role.

A virtual assistant will be able to hit the ground running with just a little insight into the way you work and around what you offer.

Scaling up your business requires outsourcing—there’s no other way to do it. You can’t triple your output and remain the chief cook and bottle-washer within your business. Even if you’re happy with the size of your company as it is, do you really want to be working 70+ hours a week? What about your work/life balance and your health further down the line?

Hiring a virtual assistant is a wise move for anyone in business and the key to success for companies of all shapes and sizes. Why not have a chat with me to see what I could bring to your business and the pressure I could relieve?

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