The thought of outsourcing tasks in your business may well bring you out in a cold sweat! But what if I told you that outsourcing can actually reduce anxiety and help you feel MORE in control, not less?
As an anxious entrepreneur myself, I held off outsourcing for many years. I just couldn’t face giving up control of tasks and here are my (unfounded) reasons…
- Fear that someone else wouldn’t do the task as well as me
- I’d justified in my mind that by the time I had explained what I needed doing, I could have done it myself
- That I would be wasting my money when I’m the best person for the job
- I would be ‘giving away’ part of my business (my business baby!)
- Outsourcing would be stressful and time consuming
- The person wouldn’t do it right then I’d have to redo it all myself anyway
“If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.”Lee Kuan Yew
Also, my perfectionism really got in the way. For example, I would take longer than average to write blog posts and newsletters because I would keep checking my work over and over again, worrying that it wasn’t good enough.
The thought of giving up hugely important tasks (in my mind) to someone else made me feel really anxious.
If you can relate to the above, here’s a gentle message to say “it’s time to let go”.
It’s time to stop with the excuses, release some of those fears and take some baby steps towards being a more organised and productive entrepreneur. Outsourcing is one of the most important things you can do to become more successful.
And if you have anxiety, outsourcing can be incredibly freeing; giving you a feeling of relief, control (good control), and reassurance that what you need to do is being done…by someone else. To get started, let’s talk about how a Virtual Assistant (VA) can help you.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
“A Virtual Assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a Virtual Office Assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office…Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses…” definition courtesy of Wikipedia
So in other words, a VA can be an absolute Godsend to entrepreneurs, providing general office support or help to complete specified tasks.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Recognise your strengths/weaknesses and consider outsourcing frustrating or time consuming jobs to a Virtual Assistant. An experienced VA can complete a task in less than half the time you take to do it yourself…and maybe produce better quality work too.
The result = a job well done, a less stressed and more productive you – win win!
Many of my fears were around someone else not being able to do the job as well as I could (self-importance at work there) but a VA probably knows a better/faster/more effective way of doing things. Once a VA knows your expectations for the tasks they are completing, they’ll know the standards you expect, and may well exceed them.
Can You Afford a Virtual Assistant?
One of the things I was worried about would be that I couldn’t afford to pay for a Virtual Assistant and if you’re reading this, you’ve probably thought the same.
VA rates vary considerably. I’ve paid £10 an hour and I’ve paid £30 an hour. What you pay depends on the skill level, expertise and experience of the person you choose along with the tasks you want to outsource. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around £20 per hour. You can sometimes negotiate discounts for long term work contracts.
It’s worth starting small. Try using the services of a VA for just an hour a week to begin with, then gradually increase the amount of tasks you outsource. Once you can see the true value of outsourcing, you’ll wonder why it took you so long!
It’s completely OK and safe for you to outsource; it doesn’t mean you’re lazy, greedy, or have a superiority complex. It not only makes great business sense but can do wonders for your stress levels.
5 Reasons Why Outsourcing Will Help Your Anxiety (& Business)
- You’re struggling. If you’re struggling with anxiety and overwhelm and it’s affecting your productivity at work, outsourcing can help relieve some of your everyday business stressors, giving you more time to focus on what’s important (this includes self-care)
- There are tasks which you dislike. When you have tasks on your to do list that you just don’t want to do, they invariably get left. Those tasks then start to become more and more daunting…bigger and scarier, so they get left longer and longer. The result is you end up feeling like you want to run away and hide. A Virtual Assistant can do the jobs that you don’t like. Hate sales calls? Choose a VA who loves them!
- There are tasks you *think* you suck at. No shame in this, for me it’s accounting. When you’re doing tasks that you think you suck at (which you probably don’t, it could be your inner critic telling you that…but that’s for another blog post) it brings you ZERO joy. Why do things which make you feel stressed and miserable? Pass it lovingly to a VA who can do the jobs you love to hate.
- You’re feeling stressed about time. Your ‘to do’ list is growing rapidly and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done. Lack (or perceived lack) of time is a huge cause of stress and anxiety. A VA can help you prioritise your workload and will take on tasks, so you can free up some time to work on other projects.
- You aren’t meeting your business goals. When you’re tied up with day-to-day admin tasks, the likelihood of achieving your goals is remote because you’re working IN your business, rather than ON it. A VA can take on the daily tasks which are keeping you stuck, giving you more time to chase your dreams and goals.
20 Things You Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant
Here are 20 ideas for tasks you could outsource to get you started:
- File management
- Managing your social media account(s)
- Filling up your social media automation with relevant content
- Writing/scheduling blog posts and articles
- Creating graphics to share on social media
- Managing your email inbox
- Taking your office calls
- Designing posters and flyers
- Email marketing and autoresponders
- Basic/advanced SEO work
- Event planning
- Diary/appointment management
- Personal errands such as researching and booking a holiday
- Creating presentations
- Sales calls/lead follow up
- Proofreading eBooks, content etc.
- Creating reports from data such as sales, revenue and other data
- Audio and video editing
- Liaising with team members, staff, or joint venture partners
Hopefully by now you’re beginning to see how a VA can help you in your own business, especially if you’re struggling with anxiety and overwhelm because of your ever increasing commitments, projects and tasks.
Here are some tips on finding the right Virtual Assistant for you and your business:
- Get recommendations. Put the word out in business Facebook groups, your peers or at networking events.
- Check skills. Some VA’s may be experts in email management, others social media etc. It’s worth ensuring your VA has experience in the tasks you want to outsource.
- Search online. Try sites such as People Per Hour or Upwork (read reviews and feedback).
- Start small. Consider hiring a VA for just one hour a week (or less) initially to see how it goes.
- Ask for examples. A good VA will be able to provide examples of their work and should have reviews, testimonials or case studies for you to look through.
- Be clear and concise. Ensure your VA is clear about your expectations and provide detailed bullet points about each task you’re planning to outsource.
- Get it in writing. Your Virtual Assistant should provide a contract of work which gives you both peace of mind and security.
- Communicate. Virtual Assistant doesn’t mean virtual reality! Have a Zoom conversation or phone call so you can get to know your VA. Connections are vital and will help you feel confident that you’re doing the right thing.
- Keep going. As you get more comfortable with outsourcing and can see the benefits it brings to your business and anxiety levels, how about hiring a website designer, copywriter or SEO expert? You could even outsource personal/household stuff including hiring a cleaner or gardener.
What are your views on outsourcing and do you have tips to share? Comment below.