As your business starts to grow, you might feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what needs to get done. Last week, we discussed systems, processes, getting organized, and thinking about what you can do to automate your business. This week, you’ll learn a simple solution for decreasing your workload and helping your business run smoother: hiring a virtual assistant (VA)!
Hiring a VA will not only free up important time to focus on scaling your business, but it also means that you can focus on the tasks that you actually enjoy doing. Today, you’ll learn the difference between hiring an in-person office assistant and a virtual assistant. I also share some examples of the tasks you can delegate to them and give my best tips for finding the right VA for your business. I also cover the benefits of working with an agency rather than an independent contractor and so much more!
What You’ll Learn On This Episode:
- [03:02] The differences between a VA and an office assistant, from overheads to taxes
- [04:49] Examples of the tasks you can delegate to your VA
- [08:24] The importance of hiring someone with the right skill set for the task
- [11:48] How to best onboard a VA
- [15:41] Tips for how to find a VA, including the benefits of working with an agency
- [18:58] Asha shares how working with VAs has helped her business run smoother
- [21:05] Why Asha suggests you reach out to a VA, even if you’re just getting started
- Learn more about the TRANSCEND Community
- Get the New Business Checklist for free
- Find a VA using Online Assistant Pro
Connect With Us:
- On Instagram | @ashawilkersonesq
- On Facebook | @ashawilkersonesq
- Connect with Asha on LinkedIn!
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel!
[0:01:46.1] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an Attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy. Here’s the thing: the wealth gap in America is consistently increasing and, while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle could change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth. I’ve run my own law firm for over 10 years and, in that time, I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in!
[0:02:32.1] AW: Hi there. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the Podcast. I’m again, excited and grateful that you are here to listen. This week’s episode is about getting yourself a VA ASAP. You just got to do it. Last week, we talked about systems and processes and getting organized, and thinking about the things that you can automate. I’m glad you’re already thinking about that. This week, I’m going to give you a solution to how you can make those things come true, and I think it starts with hiring a VA.
Let’s see, what is the difference between a virtual assistant and an assistant that you might have in the office? The biggest thing is that the virtual assistant is obviously virtual. They’re not sitting in your office which means, for you as a business owner, the overhead cost of hiring that assistance for your business is going to end up being less than if you have someone in your office.
Now, there are some tradeoffs, right? Some things you might need to have someone by your side to do and that’s perfectly fine, but for the task that you don’t need someone in the office to do, I strongly urge you to consider hiring a virtual assistant.
Another thing that is a big difference when you have someone who is virtual is that presumably – and if they don’t, you should make sure that they do have this – they should have their own company. Either you’re hiring an agency that provides virtual assistance or your virtual assistant is his or her or their own company.
What that allows you to do is to pay them as an independent contractor, business to business, instead of creating an employer-employee type of relationship. It could be the same task that you would ask of an assistant who is your employee. As long as they have their own business entity, then you are okay paying them as an independent contractor because it’s a business-to-business transaction.
[0:04:20.7] For those of you who have come to the conclusion that you are ready for some help, go ahead and get it! If you are concerned about the employment taxes and all of the responsibility that comes with onboarding an employee, I encourage you again to really take a hard look at getting a virtual assistant to help you.
Now, another question I get all the time is “Okay, great Asha, I’m running this business and I’ve got it all figured out, I don’t even know what I can give to a VA. What can they do for me?” I’m going to give you a few concrete examples where you can delegate some tasks to your VA.
The first area that you can delegate task then is the administrative and executive tasks. Anything that is admin work, like backend work. What do I have my VA do? I have her setup the registration pages for webinars and workshops. When we are done recording videos inside Transcend, she goes in there and posts them.
[0:05:14.1] Jess is fabulous by the way – to follow-up on phone calls or when people inquire about my legal services and it’s not something I do, I ask Jess to respond to those tasks. Jess also reminds me of the deadlines and the updates that are coming up. She has cleaned out my email inbox, has organized it, keeps track of my calendar. All of those things that are not particularly hard for me to do but now that I don’t have to do them, it frees up space for me to do the other things.
Because those tasks, while not super complicated, they just take time. If I can get my time back to do the things that actually produce income, that are income-producing tasks, then that’s definitely a win for me. I want you to think about in your business, what are the back end administrative or executive task that you could use some assistance with?
Maybe you’re getting ready to do a pop-up shop somewhere and somebody needs to coordinate with the organizer of the event. Guess what, if you can hand that off to somebody else and know that all of the documents are in place then that frees up sometime for you.
What about being a guest on a podcast? If you can have your VA coordinate to book you spots, Jess also does that for me as well, books me spots on other podcast where I’m a guest and make sure that all of that, the assets, the images, and the bio gets sent out. That frees up time so I don’t have to spend time looking to be a guest on other people’s podcast.
If you are a service based business provider, you can have your VA setup the onboarding process for bringing on a new client.
[0:06:40.9] You should be doing the contracting and setting up the initial documents but the person who can set that up in the process, the automation, can certainly be your virtual assistant. Just take a few moments to think about what are all the administrative and executive task that you can have someone do that are very important to your business but would free up some time for you if you didn’t have to do them?
The next area that is great for a VA, depending on a skillset is HR support, human resources support. If you have other areas where you have an employee or people working for you, then you can hire a VA with some HR skill to run the HR part of your business.
Whether that’s onboarding new employees, updating the compensation packages, doing payroll, keeping track of time cards for you, all of that stuff you can outsource to somebody who has a background in human resources. They can run background checks.
Now I will say this, not everyone can do this. You do want somebody who has a background in human resources, who is familiar with it, because the weight of the responsibility is ultimately going to fall on you if there is some missed step in the employment process.
You want someone who knows what to do for the HR task but there are plenty of people who do that, who know that area, and can assist you virtually. Think about that. Maybe if – even if you’re just hiring a couple of people to work a pop-up event or onboarding somebody because you’re going to have them be the graphic designer for a set of slides you’re doing for a workshop. Your VA could coordinate all of that for you so you don’t have to step in and do it yourself.
[0:08:24.4] The other area that I think is really important is digital media and marketing. A lot of VAs are really good at social media and create graphics, they’re content writers or can help write a newsletter.
Again, not everybody has all of these skillsets but these are different things, different task that you can outsource to someone virtually that will greatly free up time in your practice. Now, in my own situation, my VA sets up all of the emails to go. If you’re on my email list, if you’re not on it, go get on it, go to my website and go get on it.
Jess sets them all up and makes them look all pretty. I write the content for that and then she sets it up and makes it look good as it goes out to you and my other email subscribers. Some other VA’s will write the content on my captions for my podcast, for this one you’re listening to. If you see it on Instagram, which I hope you do, go over to Instagram, Asha Wilkerson ESQ give me a follow.
You will see some captions under the video snippets and the quote cards that come for my podcast and Jess has written those, we just transitioned, Jess is writing a little summary to let you know what’s in the video. That has greatly freed up time from my plate and just also, just taking the mental worry off of my list.
Now, I don’t have to think about, “Oh gosh, I got to write this thing” or “I’m late on this and let me hurry up and do it.” Jess really, really helps me out with that.
[0:09:49.2] AW: Hey, excuse me. Pardon the interruption. I know you were listening intently to the podcast but I just want to tell you that I’ve got this great checklist for you to download if you are a new business owner or even if you’re thinking about starting a new business. It’s called the New Business Checklist. It’s got 12 things that you need to know as a new business owner to help grow your business and make it ready for the wealth infusion that you’re going to have so then you can leave a financial legacy for your kids and your kid’s kids and your kid’s-kid’s kids. If you’re ready for that checklist, head on over to transcendthemembership.com/checklist and get it for free.
[0:10:28.9] AW: What else can they do? Sometimes they can setup ad campaigns if they are knowledgeable in this area. Remember, to get somebody who is knowledgeable in the areas that you need, but definitely know that you can get video editing done, you can get post created graphic design, ebook design, all of that stuff, how-to guides. You can give the content to your VA and then they can design it for you, freeing up your time and your space.
Another thing that is really good is website support. I know just enough about websites to be able to sort of fumble my way through it but when I found somebody to help me transition, I’m switching templates for my WordPress site and, if you know anything about that, you know exactly what I mean. Not super complicated but, again, also just stuff that – I’ve got a million other things to do, right?
I teach, I’m doing the podcast, I’m coaching inside Transcend, all of these other things that, once I create the content, I don’t want to have to spend the hours to update the website. I have another VA who does the website updating, make sure that all of the, what are they called? The plugins update correctly.
If something goes wrong and my website crashes, I don’t have to figure it out, I just ask my VA to do it. Think about that. If you are looking to update or even create landing pages, your VA can do that for you when you have an event coming up or a product or a service that you’re trying to sell. All of that stuff.
[0:11:48.0] Okay, next thing. How do you onboard a VA? This is the same process I would go through if you were trying to onboard an employee, part-time or full-time. Make a list of all of the tasks that need to get done in your business. If you are not sure what they are, I would say spend three or four days in your business, writing down everything that you do as you do it, not in a way that is going stress you out but just as a way that is taking notes.
What are you doing for three, four, five, six, seven days in your business? What are all the tasks that need to get done? Then once you create your list of tasks, I encourage you to put it into a chart, maybe a matrix where, on one side, I think it’s the Y axis, the vertical axis, axis, is the difficulty or the skill level that’s needed. If something is really challenging, it goes higher up on the Y axis and if it is not so difficult then it goes lower down on the Y axis.
But on the X axis, your horizontal line across your chart, you are going to put the things that you enjoy and the things that you need that you really need to do. Actually, let’s make the X axis the things that are really important in your business. Something might be high skilled but not very important, so that is going to go high up on the vertical line but close to that vertical line, not very far to the right on the X axis.
I hope my analogy is making sense, my visual set up is making sense. The point is that I want you to be able to rank these tasks by importance and also by the skill that is required to get them done and then after you have your list of tasks, by skill and by importance, I want you to go through and highlight or star all of the tasks that you want to do or that you have to do. Now, when you think about what you want to do, what do you enjoy?
[0:13:32.7] What’s in your zone of genius? What’s fun for you? What comes easily and naturally for you? Those are the tasks that you want to keep doing. Everything else, you want to be able to outsource. The other thing that you might have to do is the stuff that really needs to come from you. At the podcast for me, I can’t have someone – I can have a guest on my podcast but this podcast is me.
I can’t delegate that task to somebody else so I have to actually do the recordings of the podcast and I enjoy doing them so that’s great. That’s something I am going to keep but the video editing and the quote cards and all that stuff, heck no. I’m outsourcing that. I just want to talk to you all, share some information, have some fun and then have somebody else do the rest.
I have two different systems for that. I have a company that I use, it is a virtual company that cuts up the videos and creates the quote cards and then my VA actually goes and posts them to social media and write some captions when we need some captions. Let’s see, what else can you do? Really think about the stuff that actually has to be done by you. I think a lot of times, we think that things need to be done by us, like billing for example.
Is there a way that you can offload billing? Maybe it requires you to keep track of your time but I know that billing, especially if you all are consultants and business coaches takes up a lot of time if you are billing by the hour. Attorneys too, right? But get used to keeping track of your time as you go and make enough notes on it so that someone can come in behind you and generate a bill from what you have already noted.
[0:14:59.6] When you get used to keeping track of your time at the time that you were doing it, then billing doesn’t have to become this big huge weight, you know, this big huge process that you have to get through just to get paid, so figure out a system that works between you and your VA to make it easier for both you and for them so then now they can send out the bills and follow up if people are late on those payments.
Okay, so you got your list of tasks that you need to do, you rank them by skillset or by skill requirements and by importance and then you’ve highlighted the task that you want to keep and that you have to keep and then, everything else, think about how you can delegate to somebody else. Now that you have your tasks, how do you even go about finding a VA? I’m going to give a plug for my own virtual assistant, Veronica, who runs Online Assistant Pro.
She has a whole agency of VAs. I have been paired with Jess, was awesome. Shout out to Jess but remember when I talked about having help with website? Because I am using an agency, then I get access to the web developer just like I get access to my own personal VA and then Jess acts like the project manager. I tell Jess, I told Jess, “Hey, you know, do you know anyone who can do websites? I think it’s time for me to upgrade.”
Of course, Jess knows because this other VA is in her agency of VAs and then I got connected and then Jess acts like the project manager, so I am telling Jess what’s going on, and then Swami is doing the updates for me on the website. I don’t have to think about going back and forth individually because Jess is my main point of contact and she’s handling all the other tasks.
[0:16:40.0] If I need someone to design an eBook, I have that access within the agency. Online Assistant Pro, giving my plug a 110 percent, I have been with them for a year and the beauty again of using the agency is that I get access to everybody else and every other skillset within the agency that I might need. If I need to find a web designer, if I need to find a video editor, they already have them in their agency and all I have to do is communicate my need to Jess and Jess will find the right person.
Another benefit of going with an agency is that maybe you and your first VA don’t mesh that well or you need someone with a different skillset. You can go back to the same agency and say, “Hey, this is what worked, this is what didn’t. Do you have somebody else?” and that eliminates the time that you have to take to go and find somebody else completely starting over from scratch.
You also get, say in the same line, you get access to a bigger talent pool. Jess is really talented in the areas that she is working in but then, like I said, website design, Swami is talented in that area. Maybe I need like translation services and they have someone who could do that. If I need HR, they have someone in the community that can do that as well but I pay one company. I pay the same rate, no matter who I get, and it makes it much, much easier for me.
I encourage you, again, take a look at Online Assistant Pro. Google them, make an appointment with Veronica, and she will sit down and figure out what you need and who she has in her community. You can tell her that Asha sent you. Even if you’re not ready to sign up, give them a call, make an appointment just so you can see how you can benefit from using a VA in your business.
[0:18:16.9] Now, I also encourage you, you know, there are some other agencies that are out there, take a look at some other agencies as well if you want to but I encourage agencies more than individual person unless you already know the individual person because, again, you get access to more resources, more talent when you use an agency and you preserve that business-to-business payment, so you can do it as an independent contractor instead of putting yourself at risk for actually paying an employee like an independent contractor and then getting audited for however that could come up.
That’s a whole other podcast about how people get caught with employees, paying employees as contractors. Let me just double check to make sure I have told you everything that I want to tell you. The last thing is, I want to tell you about how VA services and Jess and Online Assistant Pros really just help make my business smoother. I have been working with Online Assistant Pro and Jess for a little over a year now.
I tell you, this stuff that have been taken off my plate and out of my mind, that is probably more significant to me than the stuff that is actually been taken off my plate is tremendous. Now, when I have an idea for a new workshop I tell Jess, “Hey, this is the date, here is the content that I want you to put on there,” and she gets into the backend of things and sets it up on Kartra for a landing page then through Zoom for the actual meeting, creates all the graphics, and makes sure that the email sequences are set up and ready to go.
I don’t even have to think about that. I give her some lead-time to do it, tell her the date that it needs to be done by and we work together to get it done. Social media, Jess has taken that. I drive the direction for that but I can’t stand posting on social media so I will write the content, she’ll create the graphics, put them up there, let me review them, and then we’re good to go.
[0:19:58.1] We set them out to go for the month. Reaching out to podcasts for when I want to be a guest on a podcast. Jess does all of that for me. Responding to phone calls that I haven’t picked up or if someone calls and wants me to do a particular thing, like family law, I don’t do family law. I have a list of resources that Jess has access to and she calls people back for me and tells them, “You know, Asha doesn’t do that but here is a list or someone that you can call to help you.”
That not only frees up my time that I don’t have to spend talking to someone who is not a potential client but it also leaves a good taste in the client’s mouth because I have been helpful to them and maybe when they need the services that I do provide, they’ll come back in my direction because I’ve been helpful already. I really suggest that you think about hiring a VA to get you started, even if it is just to set up your process.
Jess has also cleaned out my email inbox. She’s helped me set up the filters so that they can go to different folders so that my inbox isn’t super cluttered, I get what’s important. The other stuff goes into a folder that I can look at later. She puts videos on YouTube for me, all kinds of stuff. If you are looking, even if you are just getting started and you think you don’t have a big enough volume of work yet, I suggest still reaching out to a VA because they can setup your onboarding process.
They can help you get setup with the process for billing. They can help you get setup with your CRM, your client relationship manager, that is super important. There are tons of services out there and if we’re new on this side and haven’t done it, we might not know how to set that stuff or how we could be tagging people in the database to help us communicate with them later. A VA who is knowledgeable in that area can certainly help you do that.
[0:21:39.0] I hope that you have found this podcast useful for you today. I am really excited that you are here and growing and learning. If you have any questions for me, definitely let me know. You can find me on Instagram @ashawilkersonesq and if you have just started a business, go ahead and download my New Business Checklist. It gives you a checklist of 12 items that you need to pay attention to right after you have started your business. You can find that at transcendthemembership.com/checklist. All right, take care.
[END OF DISCUSSION]
[0:22:16.7] AW: Hey there. Thanks for listening. I really hope that you enjoyed the episode this week. I am so, so grateful to have you here and I hope that you are ready and feeling empowered to build your own business. You are needed, you are important, and I want to support you.
If you have just started a new business and you’re not sure what to do next, I’ve got a great checklist for you to download called The New Business Checklist. Head on over to transcendthemembership.com/checklist and put your name and your email into the box and you’ll get the checklist instantly.
Also, I want to ask you one more favor. If you want to interact with me on a daily basis, head on over to Instagram and follow my account @ashawilkersonesq on IG. I post on there daily, can’t wait to answer your questions and begin the conversation. Talk to you soon.
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