Ever feel like you’re doing everything?  

Whether it’s in your business or in your job, the to-do list never seems to get smaller.  

You’re wearing so many hats due to the range of different tasks you need to do everyday, yet you never seem to be moving the needle to where you want to be.  

A few years ago when I started my first business I didn't know anything about running a business and was handling everything myself. Design, development, marketing, customer support, shipping... it was crazy. I was not leveraging my time at all which meant I'd essentially created a job for myself, not a business.

“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!” - Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited

So what changed?  

Like many entrepreneurs in my generation, The 4-Hour Workweek was my first glimpse into the world of virtual staff and seeing how powerful leveraging a virtual assistant could be. One way to escape the minutiae is to hire someone to pick up on all the balls you’re holding so that you can start leveraging your time better. This isn’t black magic - it’s taking advantage of our global economy by hiring a virtual assistant.  

For the past 2 years, I have been working with my virtual assistant on an average of 10-20 hours per week. It’s less time when things are slower and more when I have more going on. For example, in regards to my last Kickstarter project, I had my assistant do a lot of the organization of the fulfillment, send backer details to the warehouse, contact backers about their orders, etc. It saved me so much time and headache.  

These days I’m actively running 3 businesses/projects, an online store, this blog and BestSelf . Without having a virtual team this would be impossible.  

If you’d never thought of it before, here’s some reasons you may consider a virtual assistant:

  • You hate administrative tasks and would like to minimize time spent on this
  • You’re doing a lot of repetitive tasks on a daily basis
  • You can’t afford to hire someone full-time
  • You know you need help but don’t want to deal with hiring someone that you may have to physically recruit, interview, train, and manage
  • You’d like to feel less stressed and more productive
             

There’s an awesome feeling when you start working with a VA: you wake up, and the things you assigned yesterday are done! Maybe you take a day off of work. Things still get accomplished! That’s freedom.  

I consider myself a creative type, so paperwork and administration really weigh me down and cause me to procrastinate. Because of this, I delegate as much as I can to someone else.  

Virtual assistants come with different skillsets. It’s not a one size fits all person that will be able to do any task you assign them. For example, I can’t hire someone that will do video editing, write blog posts, and design web graphics. Just like you have your skills and things you enjoy doing, so do they. This is why the first person you hire should be a general virtual assistant which helps you with more general tasks that help you buy more time in your day.  

When you first start considering a virtual assistant, it’s hard to really establish tasks that they should do. What tasks can you outsource?

Here’s some examples of tasks a virtual assistant can do:

  • Screen your e-mail and respond on your behalf
  • Complete miscellaneous research for projects
  • Create and send invoices
  • Booking appointments/travel
  • Creating basic reports
  • Preparing slideshows
  • Manage and update social media accounts
  • Following up with clients/customers (sending thank you and other reminder emails)
  • Managing your Blog
                     

For an example of how I use my VA, here’s some specific tasks I have him do frequently:  

  • Create new products in Shopify and update existing listings
  • Track wholesale/dropship sales and create invoices
  • Track customer service issues for Calm The Ham
  • Run monthly reports
  • Create discount codes and set up sales
  • Update my blog with posts (Just like this one)  

I would personally advise most people to get a virtual assistant for the experience of learning the power of delegation. I know that I used to be terrible at it. I wanted to do everything myself, thinking ‘only I could do it right.’ Meanwhile for as little as $3 an hour (yes… really) I learned how to delegate and bought my time back.  

Now that you have some ideas on the types of tasks you can get them to do, where do we find these awesome people? I use Upwork (formerly odesk). I post on both and then weed out the people that don’t fit.  

We’ll cover that topic next post, where I’ll go into detail on how to find great people that will give you the time and attention to detail that you need at a reasonable price.  

Your assignment for now is to take some time and start listing all the tasks you think you could use help with. A great way to start this is simply starting to list out the things you do each day for a week. From there, it’ll be easier to figure out what tasks can be outsourced.  

Then we can start creating a great job posting to find the right person.  

We’ll also go over exact job templates and Standard Operating Procedures I use with my virtual team (this will save you a bunch of time) so you can get started right away.