FutureProofing: If The Next 5 Years Is Like The Last 5 Years What Should You Be Doing Now? — Ask Yourself These Questions If You Are Wondering About Hiring A VA.
I can vouch for the fact that hiring an assistant can be a great way to gently and flexibly grow your coaching business. It gives you freedom to do more of what you love and relieve yourself of tasks that you don’t like or aren’t good at. If you do it smart that person can even help you make more money! Getting a return on your investment is a wonderful feeling! However, don’t jump into that whole process without without first asking yourself these questions. Just know that making a good choice can halve your work and making the wrong choice of person can double it!
1. What kind of person would I like to work with?
Do you want someone who is just starting out so you can train them in the way you like things done or do you want someone with experience who can just run with a job until it’s complete? Do you want someone in the same time zone? Do you want someone who will work only for you or are you willing to work with a freelancer and share their time with other clients?
2. Can I afford an assistant?
If you’re overburdened with your own work and business isn’t moving forward, hiring an assistant is a smart move. Look at your books and realistically determine a budget for this assistant and stick to it. Keep in mind, the more experienced and capable the assistant, the larger the hourly freelance rate. But also bear in mind that it is totally realistic to hire someone for just a few hours per month (3–5 hours) which for most is do-able. Just that amount of time of dedicated help will shift the needle in your coaching business. I have found it amazing just how that bit of help builds momentum for me and then how I can gradually increase the hours as work and money begin to flow.
With my mentees I find that most can cut out a few monthly subscriptions that they had forgotten about or which aren’t serving them well and that frees up enough money for a few hours of assistance.
3. What tasks will my assistant take over?
Know ahead of time what tasks you need to delegate so you can determine in the interview if this is the right assistant for the job. Walking into an agreement with a “I’ll get you a list of tasks in a few days” attitude is bound to fail. Just as you want to find the perfect help, the VA wants to know you — their client — is serious about their business and will forward clear tasks on a consistent basis.
The two most important tasks that can be worked on in any business are Marketing and Production. I am not counting actual client time because obviously only you can do that. On the whole you will also do a lot of the production too — new programmes, a gift of a workbook or checklist for old clients and so on.
Which means it is good to look at routine marketing tasks for your assistant. Having them post regularly on social media, or set up the scheduling for your drip campaigns on Facebook, loading up your blogs as soon as you’ve written them, turning articles into Infographics with free templates on Canva then loading them into your Pinterest business account… These are typical tasks I would pass on to start with and move to more complex sales tasks later when I had gauged the assistant’s competence.
Tips for the Interview Process
When you interview candidates, listen for their level of professionalism and if they care for their clients’ businesses as much as their own. There’s quite a difference between an assistant who is watching the clock and one who resonates with your vision for your own business and wants to help you. Even in a virtual setting, you’ll want a professional who will always complete a project within the deadline rather than one who gives you one excuse after another as to why it’s not done yet.
By the way, if you happen to get someone like that because they interview well but perform poorly — immediately finish the contract and move onto someone new. Don’t waste time or money. They are too valuable and the right people are out there. Which reminds me, also make the initial contracts to work time limited and include performance deadlines. That way you can withdraw quickly if it isn’t working out. I have hired and fired someone within a day for that very reason. Brilliant interview — then lousy attitude and performance on the first task. Gone!
Virtual assistants are certainly used to being interviewed and expect to have to step up to keep their clients and there are many available — so there is no need to be stuck with anybody mediocre. This is too important.
I have been through several versions of having help in my coaching business; from full time through to VA’s on limited time contracts/month, from experts who cost more but do the job fast, to first timers who can be trained to my own systems…. Each has advantages — and disadvantages. And a huge amount depends on the person you pick and the vibe of trust between you. So asking yourself careful questions to ascertain what YOU want and need first is vital. If you need a hand with this give me a shout as I have a lot of guidelines and checklists to help you think it through. Many of them are in the Academy Library and I can point you to the most relevant free ones. Or you can do one of my Prep in a Weekend workshops to hit the ground running. Just reach out. Let’s do this thing.
This article is part of my July series on FutureProofing Your Coaching Business … so watch this space for more ideas and support.
if you would like to learn more about the FutureProof for Coaches Blueprint, our weekend workshops and our Toolkits for Coaches come and join us in the Sage Academy.
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