Here’s how it goes.
Somebody with a fantastic idea and all the skills necessary to make it into a huge success, goes to a coach for help bringing it to life. They work together and craft an amazing product or offer, with high impact and a clear set of outcomes and both the coach and the client part ways perfectly happy with how the process went.
But sometimes something strange happens.
The person with the great idea is torn – she feels a combination of confusion and guilt. On the one hand, she feels confused because she has this great idea, she invested in it, she now has a great product, so why is nothing happening? On the other hand, she knows exactly why – and that’s where the guilt comes in – she didn’t MAKE anything happen.
No list-building, no blogging, no social media, no outreach to potential clients or customers, no visibility, no consistency.
Her offering is fantastic, but nobody knows about it because despite having great ideas, she doesn’t have enough time or know-how to do all the social media scheduling and audience growth, how to identify leads on LinkedIn or Instagram, how to write an optimised blog post or resize an image so it doesn’t take 8 seconds to appear on screen.
Either make the time to learn and implement all the boring stuff (because yeah, it is boring – I’m not going to lie to you here!) or – and there is ZERO SHAME HERE – get help.
You don’t have to do this on your own.
Lots of us are working a full time job while trying to launch a new business, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to learn every single thing, AND implement it.
Simply put: if you haven’t go the time to do it yourself, throw money at it.
If you are holding down a full time job and/or family and trying to launch something new, or if you already have your hands full with 1:1 clients and want to launch a course, or create and sell a planner (ahem), or add any new offering to what you are doing already, if you believe in it, invest in it.
That doesn’t have to mean signing up for a $5k money mindset program that you’ll never use, or yet another template bundle on Creative Market (although I have a list of pretty sweet ones in the works if you’re interested…).
So what does that look like?
Hiring a VA for the first time
I am a firm believer in knowing how to do something yourself, but I also recognise that there are only so many hours in the day, and if you have kids, or work long hours (or both) you will never get your idea up and running until there is time for you to do that ConvertKit course, or finish all those modules in the Pinterest thing you signed up for 18 months ago and never used.
So maybe now is the time for you to hire your first VA.
There are several different ways you could do this.
Firstly, if you go on some of the big Facebook groups for female entrepreneurs, you will notice straight away that there are LOTS of VA’s out there, some specialising in a particular niche, such as social media or blogging, and others offering a more general “if it needs to be done, I’ll do it” service.
Some offer pay by the hour, but many offer monthly packages, which is great because then you can plan how much work to hand over to her and fair, because she needs to plan her income just like you do.
How much this costs depends ona combination of their experience and their aspirations. I would expect to pay a minimum of $800+ for 10 hours a week, probably more if they’re based in the US or UK.
As the rates get higher, the VA might start tipping into OBM or Online Business Manager territory, which can be perfect if you are inexperienced because she will know almost more about your needs than you will, and be experienced enough to anticipate what’s coming up in your business, which can be incredibly useful.
Secondly, you could look on a platform like UpWork. UpWork is a hiring platform where you post a job, and service providers from all over the world pitch for it. If you post a job looking for a VA you can expect to get about 20 – 30 pitches, or more, from people ranging from high level personal assistants with many years of experienc to complete beginners, and everybody in between, including some agencies.
How much should I pay my VA?
You will get some unbelievably low quotes if you post a job on UpWork – as low as $3 an hour, but even in the Philippines that is terribly low – TOO low , and there is little or no chance that the person is going to be qualified to support you effectively in your business. It is absolutely not worth exploiting somebody’s poverty or lack of professional experience to try to save a few dollars here. Don’t be that person.
Naturally the person’s location does determine roughly how much they can charge though, and this can work in your favour. A highly experienced and intuitive VA in the Phillipines can change $30 an hour and do really well financially, while that sort of money might not go very far in the UK or parts of the US for a freelancer who has to manage her own tax, pension and admin. Again, don’t exploit this. But do be aware that if your budget is $30 an hour, you will get somebody really top-notch in the Philippines AND know that she is being well paid for her work.
There’s a balance between paying somebody fairly and well, and sticking to your own budget. Look at several different pricing packages, and determine what is realistic for that person’s skills and location.
If you think somebody is a great fit for you but they’re too expensive, ask if they have a package with fewer hours per month, but don’t try to bargain down their rate. You don’t do that in Nordstrom, so don’t do it with a VA.
Starting work with a VA
When you start working with a VA, know what you want her to do and communicate it clearly to her.
For instance, have a very clear list of weekly tasks that you would like her to take charge of but then ask her if there is anything she would add to it to make it go more effectively. If she is any good at her job, she should be able to spot opportunities to make the work more effective and impactful.
Ask her what she needs from you to make this work more smoothly, and then provide it.
She can’t do her job if you don’t send her access to to your different platforms promptly, for instance. Setting up Standard Operating Procedures might seem like something that only more developed businesses do, but they can really make your relationship clearer and more effective from the very start if you have a clear procedure for every task from posting to your blog to onboarding a new client.
Why do I need a VA?
If you have faith in your business idea, but you don’t have the time to dedicate to the nuts and bolts of making it happen – running your website, blogging, social media, snding weekly emails to your list – or you don’t know how and don’t want to learn – then you need help.
There is almost zero point in bringing in your husband’s sister’s dog-walker’s daughter who is starting college in the fall and wants to earn some pocket money. You will waste money pointlessly and end up spending as much time showing her what to do as she will (not) doing it. If you are going to bring in help, bring in somebody who knows how to deliver this help professionally and will spot the gaps in your business where she can make the most impact.
It doesn’t matter if she (or he) lives in Madison or Manila so long as they are experienced and communicative. A good VA will help every aspect of your business run more smoothly, and then you can focus your attention where it really matters – your product, your service and your customers.
If you have a project, product or service that you want to get up and running this year, and you want expert support to to help you build a resilient and robust multi-stream business, apply to join The Resilient Business now while doors are open.