So I’ve been asking twitter about virtual assistants, the type of people who work remotely on very specific tasks that take away the pain. Perhaps I jest when I say pain, though I’m not sure I do really. When you’re juggling multiple projects it really does make sense to call on additional help in order to free up precious time. I have used VAs on a variety of projects and when you think about it it makes a great deal of sense. It makes sense for a number of reasons the main ones really are that you get some specialism along with a guaranteed output specific to your brief at your deadline.
I really do believe that as a business grows it is fundamentally important that you can begin to delegate the technical aspects of particular roles and this is where I find the VAs very useful. So I’m not talking about a virtual assistant that processes all of my communications, emails and handles telephone calls.
No, what I’m talking about is outsourcing very specific tasks. Tasks that can be done remotely by somebody other than myself, and most importantly, at a lower cost than my own consultancy time.
Let’s say that my business is making sausage rolls, of course it isn’t, but let’s use that as an example. For me to run a successful sausage roll making business I need to start by making delicious sausage rolls. I also need to make sure I can market my sausage rolls, have quality assurance in place, actually sell them to people and somehow package them. I’d also need to be able to do the accounts and ensure that my premises is clean and tidy and serviceable. So once I know how to do all of the specific tasks I can find an employee for each specific task. A maker, a seller, a cleaner, an accountant etc. The point is that once I know what the actual task is I can simply find somebody suitable for that very specific task.
Of course in a bricks and mortar business like sausage roll making this is called employing people. In the virtual world, which is where my business operates, I can utilise virtual assistants, or if you like, outsourced employees.
I mean this isn’t rocket science, I’ve been using outsourced experts for many years and my choice usually comes down to a few key things.
1. Cost (Mumbai is cheaper than London, Boston may also be)
2. Efficiency (if I’m paying for 1 hour of work I expect quite a lot of return for that)
3. Ability to understand my brief without unnecessary thinking on their part (this is what I need please do it in the time I set you) – take a taxi driver, I want to go from A to B – don’t take me to C.
4. Have superior skills to my own -more efficient than me at this task and in many cases have skills I do not process.
These are my four key elements and when VAs have those items covered they usually get my repeat business.
What about you, do you use VAs? Maybe you are one?
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