I’ve had a virtual assistant since before I even needed one, however, most of the work she was doing were just tasks that I had emailed her with. She was helping with a good part of my blog, but everything was under my direction. There are at least 4 common mistakes you make when outsourcing and I was really making all of them. I was too busy trying to stay in control of the workload, I wasn’t paying attention to the value of my own time, I wasn’t giving my assistant enough breathing room to make her own decisions and I failed to offer incentives. Things were fine, but my business’ growth was limited and I hadn’t even realised.
After some personal drama, I was in a pretty bad headspace and traveling around Asia. I went to Myanmar with a good friend for 10 days. I knew there wouldn’t be much Internet access and so I wouldn’t be able to work well, so I started thinking about how I could remove myself from the process. I increased my Virtual Assistant’s pay, gave her a commission based weekly bonus and set off into a new country, hoping that my blog wouldn’t explode in my absence.
It didn’t, in fact, my income didn’t really change that much while I was on holiday.
I could not work and make a similar income as before? Game changer.
Now I have an abundance of free time for new projects, reading books, learning Spanish and hanging with friends.
It can be hard to see what common mistakes you make when outsourcing when you’re in the thick of it, or emotionally invested in your business. Learn from my mistakes and continue reading to see the 4 common mistakes you make when outsourcing.
1. Trying to Stay in Control
When you try to stay in control of certain aspects of your business, you’re potentially slowing down the entire process. For example, I used to check my blog emails, forward relevant information on to my VA and then she would send it back to me. With the time zone differences, a simple thing could easily take three days instead of her being able to resolve it in a matter of minutes. I was wasting both of our times, making things less efficient and stopping my business from growing. It took a long time to let go of the control, but once I did it transformed my business.
2. Ignoring the Value of Your Own Time
When you’re self made, especially in the online world, it can be hard to value your own time. You may think to yourself, oh this will only take me an hour to complete, so I’ll just get it done. Well, that hour is an hour you could have otherwise spent on growth rather than just sustaining your business. If you spend that hour thinking of ways to improve your business, find more clients or improve your social media reach, that’s often an hour better spent than just checking emails.
3. Not Giving Your Assistant Some Breathing Room
Your assistant is likely going to do things differently to you, and for some of us that can create feelings of anxiety or insecurity. It’s important to give your assistant clear guidelines, but also give them some flexibility to decide things on their own. If you try to be too controlling with everything, you might find yourself spending more time answering their questions than you’d spend actually doing the work yourself. Make clear guidelines, offer some flexibility and hire someone you trust enough to make educated choices in your absence. It will save you a lot of stress.
4. Failing to Offer Incentives
I found my virtual assistant in the Philippines, which means that she has a general lower cost of living than where I’m from. As such, I was able to hire her for a very affordable sum of $2.50 per hour. After some time her hourly base rate increased to $5 per hour. Now I also pay her incentives and bonuses. It’s important to me that when I’m earning well, she is too. With that taken into consideration, she earns now on-average above $10 per hour. Since I started offering her incentives, I noticed that my business started to perform better too.
Are there any common mistakes you make when outsourcing? Any that you have had to overcome?