Making the decision to outsource and hire a Freelance Personal Assistant (a Virtual Assistant) is one of the biggest decisions you’re likely to make for your business. Especially the first time.
You’ve come to realise that you just can’t get it all done on your own AND make sure you’re still spending time with the most important people in your life… your family 👨👨👧👧.
You’re burning the candle 🕯 at both ends. You’re fed up of pulling an all-nighter because you wanted to go and watch *insert extracurricular activity here* on Saturday morning. You want to be there for your family and help with dinner 🥗, homework, you name it … you want to do it!
You’ve FINALLY realised that there is a solution and that you want help. It’s probably the hardest part of the process. It’s not failure! It’s bravery and realising that to succeed you must ensure you’re not spread too thin. It’s personal growth and it’s your WOW moment!
Don’t get me wrong, though. It can be totally scary and overwhelming. To think that, on top of getting your work done and trying to spend some time with your family, you’re also going to have to find someone and let them into your business, your mecca, your inner sanctum.
Someone is going to see behind the scenes of your business and, yes, that’s bloody scary!
However, once you’ve made the decision to get some help, you can rest knowing that you’re on the right track. You will learn and develop and continue to outsource over many years. You’ll also develop some amazing business relationships along the way too.
Looking forward is great, but don’t forget to live in the present. Nothing happens overnight and if you rush into this outsourcing deal-y, you’ll find things can fall apart very quickly, leaving a bitter taste in your memory that will haunt you for years 👻.
I’m not trying to scare you, I’m trying to help you see that setting solid foundations will pay off!
I have 7 tips for you to customise your outsourcing strategy. Make the most of your new Freelance PA and develop a long-lasting and successful business connection.
Are you ready? The only way to move is forward…
1. Set Clear Goals.
This tip is twofold. You need two clear goals here:
a. What are you hoping to achieve by outsourcing?
Are you wanting to be able to take Saturday morning off to go watch the kid’s footy 🏉 match? Do you need to free up your time so you can grow the business 📈? Do you just need some extras assistance getting a new project underway?
It’s important that you know what you want to achieve so that you can understand how best your new assistant can help.
b. What do you want your new assistant to be able to do unsupervised? This might sound a little odd, no one knows everything right from the start, but what do you want your new assistant to be able to do unsupervised by the end of a 7, 30 or 90 day period 📅?
Having this in mind will help you both ensure that you work efficiently together. It will help you both stay on track.
2. Instruction is key.
One of the most common reasons a new assistant doesn’t work out is due to unclear instruction being provided.
I’m not having a dig at you 🤨, you’re just not used to giving instruction to anyone but you and you know how to do everything within your business. You’re the master, your new assistant is your apprentice 👩🏼🏫 and will need time to learn, and more detailed instructions than you’re used to giving.
You need to start thinking about the tasks your new assistant may need to do for you and begin creating an operations manual. Look, it can take a little bit of your time, I’m not going to lie, but I can guarantee you’ll be well rewarded with fewer mistakes and questions needing to be asked.
Your manual might be a simple one-page document detailing contact details and canned responses to emails or it could be a 20 page document detailing business colours, fonts and document layouts right through to your coffee ☕ order and preferred airlines 🛫.
If the thought of creating an operations manual scares the be-jesus out of you, that’s OK, it’s actually one of the services I provide. I’ll create an operations manual as I learn the ropes.
This helps me two-fold too. It means I need to ask you less questions as we move forward, but it also means I have a guide for anyone else who might come on-board further down the line.
3. Pick the right person.
This kind of sounds obvious but the quality of the service provided by your assistant is only as good as the person providing it. You need someone who is flexible and willing to mold to your needs. Don't get overwhelmed with the fancy, super-visual stuff, actually look and listen to what's being said. For more tips on this take a look at questions 1 and 2 in this blog.
Any assistant with an understanding of good service will engage in at least one 1:1 conversation and provide you with a detailed proposal, personalised to your needs.
You should not be moving forward until you’re completely confident that you’ve found the right person to fit with your needs, your family, and your business.
And, don’t forget, just like with any hiring role, you can always ask for references or testimonials.
4. Tools of the trade.
Choosing the apps, tools and programs you’re going to use can help speed up the process of communicating with, and training, your new assistant. Some things to consider are:
Tasks Management – Asana? Trello? My personal favourite is ClickUp. It’s been described as a combination of Asana and Trello and, being relatively new, it’s regularly updated and there are some great features on the horizon.
On the job training – screen sharing and video chat are going to be crucial in communicating and training your new assistant. Find something you’re comfortable with and get ready to be wowed.
One of the things you should also keep in mind, especially if you’re still new to this techy stuff … ASK! Your new assistant will already have systems in place and have in-depth knowledge from running their own business. Recommendations for systems may even come in the proposal and, from one professional to another, should be at least considered.
5. Test the waters.
As you know, this is a big decision. If you’re still trying to understand what it is you really need, that’s OK. Why don’t you discuss a trial run?
Hell, depending on the amount of work you’re needing, this may come in the proposal. This is a two-way relationship and your new assistant may want to give you and tryout too!
A trial can be whatever you both think will work best. It could be a set time ⏳ where your assistant will carry out all necessary tasks or it might be a set time working on just a few of the most important tasks. Take some time to figure out what’s going to help you make a long-term decision 🤔 moving forward and suggest that.
It’s a common feeling to want to spread the risk. It’s bloody scary working with someone you don’t know, who you won’t see on a daily basis!
Are you ready to move forward but just need that one last test? How about a 50/50 bill payment for the first week/month? You pay 50% upfront 💸 and the rest upon completion of the agreed period of time? It’s not unheard of.
I’ve had some very successful business relationships built on this 50/50 billing. That knowledge that you’re both risking something can really ease the mind and assist in building trust.
6. Patience is a virtue!
It’s also a godsend when you’re starting out with a new assistant. As with any new job it can take a while to get settled in.
During the early stages of your new business relationship give tasks one at a time, manage the task to ensure all questions can be answered, or pain points are solved, before moving onto the next.
Provide clear instructions, be polite and understanding. Don’t forget that there was a time when you didn’t know how to do ‘that’ either!
7. Respect goes a long way.
This is probably the most important tip I have for you, and why I left it to last.
Remember to treat others how you wish them to treat you.
A Freelance PA is not just an employee, they are also a business owner with their own life, goals and dreams.
Great works 🖼 can truly be achieved when you show respect and kindness to each other.
Don’t think of it as an employee/employer relationship, thinks of it as a partnership. You’re both going to help each other through to achieve goals and dreams.
You’re going to get more time with your family and isn’t that, ultimately, the true goal 🥅 here?
So, there you have it, my 7 tips to customise your outsourcing strategy.
I know I keep saying this, but believe me, I know, it’s a super scary prospect. You may find your workload actually increases a little bit before you begin to reap the benefits of this massive decision but, it truly will benefit you.
Source: Google Review
If you’d like to have a chat with me about how I can help you get your workload under control and you spending more, valuable time with your family simply click here and book in a Getting to Know You Call.
I cannot wait to discuss your needs and get to work.