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  • Writer's pictureAmber McCormack

Hiring a Virtual Assistant: The Right Mindset to Start Outsourcing


You need help. You KNOW it... But you don't know where to start... Don't worry, I've got you covered.


Most solo practitioners start growing their private practice by hiring an experienced, Online Service Professional (OSP) or specialist Virtual Assistant (VA). This can be a huge step for any entrepreneur, but certainly for those unsure if they'll really get the help they need.


This might be your first move towards scaling up your practice, but it means giving up some control over your business. If you’re thinking about taking this crucial step, you need to develop the right mindset first.


If you need help working out what tasks to send your perfect VA, download my checklist: 73 Tasks to Outsource IMMEDIATELY



Let it go, let it go


When hiring a VA or OSP you're not giving away the keys to the kingdom, but you ARE letting go of some parts of your business, even if it’s just a handful of tasks, and this can be frightening.


Until now your practice has been your baby. You’ve done everything yourself to keep it growing so it’s easy to understand why outsourcing can be unnerving... But, all children grow up. It's time to let it go.


The best way to overcome this fear is to focus on the positive. Think about the immediate benefits of outsourcing parts of your practice. For example, how would you feel knowing you no longer need to spend time chasing overdue invoices, or replying to new enquiries?


It's a great idea to remember your VA is likely a small business owner, with a different set of skills than yourself. If you find the RIGHT business partner, you'll work together to grow BOTH businesses.


Download my free report to learn how to find your perfect VA.


You can also limit the fear by being careful about what you hand over, to whom and by being realistic in your timeframes. Start by hiring an expert OSP or VA you trust, can build a rapport with, and start slowly.


“Think of hiring a VA as buying yourself more time. You pay for the VA's skills and expertise, and in return gain more time to focus on higher priorities."


Money Makes The World Go 'Round

Yes, hiring a virtual assistant costs money. If this took you by surprise... maybe you're not ready to hire someone just yet.


How much does it cost? Well, that depends entirely on what you need. It will always be cheaper to hire someone at $30p/h for data entry, but if you're paying $45p/h for an experienced online practice manager... I'd be concerned. It's not a good idea to cut corners, if you pay as little as possible, it’s only natural that you’ll get what you pay for.


One way to limit this risk is by allocating a budget you can afford. Work out the numbers beforehand, and decide what tasks suit that price range and whether you need someone ongoing for a number of months, or if you have an ad hoc project you need completed. Hiring a virtual assistant, if done right, will earn you greater profits in the future.


One way to adjust your mindset is to think of hiring a VA as buying yourself more time. You pay for the VA's skills and expertise, and in return gain more time to focus on other priorities.



But I Don't Want to Manage People


One mindset challenge that many solo practitioners face is that they don’t want to become managers. Until now you’ve only had to manage yourself and, for some of us, that alone is a monumental challenge!


But now you have someone working in your practice, dealing with your clients, reading your emails... and seeing all the little 'things' you've let slide.


As confronting as that sounds, working with an OSP or VA isn’t the same as managing a busy office. First of all, as the name suggests, they're "online" or “virtual.” You give the VA tasks to do and check in regularly to see how they’re doing. Setting up expectations around regular contact, and giving clear deadlines is critical. Especially early in your working partnership. But, if you have hired an experienced professional, and onboarding is finished, they’ll require little management, and the investment you make in training will pay off with the time you gain.



What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

You may have heard horror stories about virtual assistants who caused terrible headaches for other businesses. Especially the first time, hiring a VA isn’t easy and there are many things that CAN go wrong.


While it’s true that it’s a complex process to bring someone into every aspect of your practice, you can overcome the risks by being prepared. Carefully consider the jobs you need done, search for the right person, and prepare a good training and onboarding process to get them on track.


Remember to set clear expectations. When expectations do not align, disappointments in the relationship occur. Speak openly about your expectations and listen to your VA if they feel these need to be revised. Be realistic about time and money. Ask yourself, how long does it really take to do those tasks? How long do you think it should take someone else? Does that seem reasonable?


Now, VAs are not for everyone and it's important to recognize this early on. Be honest with yourself, are you okay with the tasks being done a little differently? Are you willing to train your IDEAL VA in your business practices? And are you open to giving and receiving feedback from another business owner?


Yes? then you're READY to find your ideal VA!


Remember, no matter who you choose, they are never going to be you, but it also helps to realise that a bad VA experience isn’t a business-ending event but a learning opportunity.


Want to learn how to hire the right VA and get started growing your business? Grab my FREE report here:

Talk soon,


Amber


 

Amber McCormack is an Online Practice Manager and Business Coach as well as the

photograph of Amber from IVY Business Services

CEO and Founder of IVY Business Services. She is an avid mental health advocate, wife, and mother to three young girls.


Amber specialises in supporting mental health professionals, with a particular interest in Equine and Animal Assisted Therapies. Her passion is helping her clients reach their goals in life and business with her honest, no-nonsense approach. Amber has over 20 years of corporate administration experience and holds qualifications in Management, Project Management and Recordkeeping.

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