Here on the Virtual Done Well blog, we spend a lot of time sharing tips for effective outsourcing, so to ring the changes a little, we’re going to take a slightly different tack with this particular article.
Instead of focusing on the outsourcing process, we thought we’d offer some ideas to help you once you’ve established a successful relationship with a virtual assistant.
First of all of course, it’s important to know what a successful outsourcing arrangement looks like.
How Do You Know When you’re Successfully Outsourcing?
In fact, the signs of outsourcing success are not hard to spot. They look like blank slots in your diary…
No! Wait a minute… They ARE blank slots in your diary. So what are you going to do with them?
After all, the whole point of outsourcing is to save you time, but if you don’t make effective use of the time you gain, you’ll only devalue the efforts made to recruit, hire, onboard, and train your VA.
Of course there is a possibility that you’ll be shocked into immobility when you realise that you actually have some spare time. To avoid that happening, keep this article to hand. At the first sign of outsourcing success, consider implementing any or all of the following three ideas for productive use of your new-found free time.
1. Spend More Time with Your Family
Perhaps you’re surprised that we chose a domestic focus for our first suggestion. However, if you’re a solo entrepreneur or the founder of a fledgling business, there’s every probability that enterprise is taking precedence over family.
This is a common situation for new business-owners and one that’s been the ruin of more than a few family relationships. Moreover, if you don’t invest in your home and family life, it’s not only that part of your life that will suffer.
A lack of domestic contentment can put strain on everybody—yourself included—and can actually distract you from running your business effectively, regardless of how much time you spend in work-mode. So if you find yourself with some extra time gained through outsourcing, do yourself and your family a favour and spend a few more hours cultivating domestic bliss.
2. Put More Focus on Core Business Activity
Aside from making time for family, nothing is more important than investing yourself in your business. That’s exactly what you did when you decided to hire a virtual assistant. Once that decision starts to bear fruit (by providing you with free time), further investment opportunities become possible.
The types of investment we’re talking about here are those made in time and attention, rather than financial capital, and your core business activities are where you’ll get the most return.
For example, if you’re a solo freelancer, outsourcing tasks such as email management and invoicing will give you more hours to spend on billable activities—hence enabling you to increase business revenue. If you run a business with a small team of employees, you might use your extra time to coach and develop them in core competencies and disciplines.
3. Get More Strategic with Your Business
When you’re wearing a multitude of hats, putting out fires, running the front and the back office, and trying to keep up with family commitments too, there’s often little time left to think about the future and plan the growth of your business.
Of course business growth might not be your goal, but you still need to consider strategy to keep your enterprise alive and relevant—and those extra hours in your personal time-bank can help you do that.
Furthermore, if you do intend to pursue business growth, whether by achieving deeper market penetration, market development, or some similar strategy, you can use your extra free time to develop concrete plans and later, to implement them.
Make the Most of Your Outsourcing Investment
Whatever you do with the time gained through outsourcing, be sure to make the most of it. If you find you need more, evaluate the cost of increasing your virtual assistant’s hours (or hiring another VA) against the monetary value of your own time. It’s very possible that the result will favour an escalation in outsourcing.
If you haven’t hired a virtual assistant yet and you find yourself struggling to keep up with everything, the above ideas might just inspire you to take the first steps in outsourcing and buy back some time.
If none of these options appeals to you, well… you could spend your first saved hour or two thinking up some alternatives. If you should decide to do that, please do share your ideas and conclusions in our comments section below. We always value our readers’ input.