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  • Writer's pictureAmber McCormack

Build Your Practice with a Virtual Assistant

How to Plan for Growth


“Failing to plan is planning to fail" – Alan Lakein

Imagine... It's 4pm Friday and you've just said goodbye to your last client before heading off for a week-long holiday. You close your laptop, switch the office lights off, breathe deep and walk out, KNOWING you have nothing to worry about this week. Your VA has it handled.


Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) or online service professional (OSP) is a major step in growing your practice, and building a business to support you for years to come. With an OSP or VA taking over the parts of your business you don't love, you can do more (or less if you're on the path to burnout). They give you more time to plan and strategize, and more room to scale. The key to hiring and working with a VA successfully is to plan well.


If you need help finding your perfect VA, download my FREE report: 5 Essentials to Find Your IDEAL VA


What Can You Outsource?

Really the question should be "what do you WANT to outsource?"


Every day you complete a huge variety of tasks just to keep your practice running, definitely more than you realise. Now is the time. Pay attention to your biggest time drains, the activities that you hate (social media anyone?), or ones you simply aren't great at (bookkeeping? Just saying..).


Once you have your list, split them up into tasks that can or should be delegated:

  1. Easy tasks - a monkey could almost do them, so why are you?

  2. Tasks you don't enjoy - formatting blog posts, chasing overdue payments, returning emails etc.

  3. Weak skills - if you aren't great at something, outsource it. Handing it over to an experienced OSP can save you time, sanity and money.

  4. Time drains - daily activities that should "only take 10 minutes" but for some reason, always seem to take much longer... hand them over!

Then finally, decide which ones you would like to hand over now, and which ones you would like to hand over in the future. For example, you may data entry tasks you can get rid of now but also plan to hand over your social media or blog writing to someone in the future.


You need to clarify which tasks you’ll outsource so you can find a qualified person to handle them. This will determine the skills and experience you’re looking for.


Still unsure what you can outsource to your VA? then download our FREE guide: 73 Tasks to Outsource IMMEDIATELY


Starting Well

When you first hire an OSP or VA, you’ll need to onboard them. This is the process of kicking off your relationship and getting them started.


It includes:

  • Sharing the important core values and vision of your business so that they’re on the same page.

  • Getting to know each other personally, and as equals, so your relationship gets started on the right foot.

  • Training them, your ideal VA should already be experienced in your industry, and hopefully, in the software you use, but they do not yet know how YOU work. You will need to teach them how to interact with your clients, any words or phrases you do/don't use, your invoicing schedule or timeframes for responding to enquiries etc.

  • Following up with your VA to make sure they don’t have any issues and providing them with constructive feedback.

This process is important at the beginning of your relationship with your VA, but you won’t need to continue after the first few months or so (though it never hurts to give feedback). What’s important here is to have everything planned and in place before you hire them.


Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!


Before hiring an online service provider or virtual assistant, you’ll need to agree on a communication plan for working together. This includes any tools you’ll use, such as a project management software program or special platform for communicating.


Since you’re working together virtually, you’ll have to choose a method and frequency for communicating with your VA. Even if they know what to do and the work is going smoothly, it’s good to touch base regularly and see if they’re having any issues. There may also be changes you need to tell them about.


It's also important to remember that your ideal VA is not your employee. They're business owners in their own rights and will have certain communication pathways and timeframes for responding to your requests. Some VAs might be ok with SMS messages, others might encourage contact during certain times only. It is important to establish these boundaries early in the onboarding process.


Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Finally, there’s a certain mindset you need in order to outsource virtually. There are always risks involved since you’ll be handing over some aspects of your business to someone else. During the process of hiring and working with a VA, keep in mind the benefits of this working relationship and the future growth it will enable.


With the right plan in place and people around you, you too can reach your business goals, spend time with friends and family guilt-free and love your private practice again.


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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