If you are a coach, chances are that you are a solopreneur. While that is an amazingly liberating experience and many people cherish the no-strings-attached business model, let’s face it, it can often get pretty challenging.
At this point, you start contemplating the idea of getting some additional help, an assistant, a secretary, or a virtual assistant. Chances are, your first reaction to that thought is to get jitters!
“They can’t do it the way I can!”
“I’ll have to keep explaining and checking them all the time, I might as well do it myself”
“These are simple tasks, do I really need to delegate them?!”
“Won’t it be expensive”
“Can I trust them with all my business info”
And probably many more similar thoughts that start weighing you down. Let’s sort them out, let’s figure it out together if it makes sense for you to invest in a VA.
Two Major Reasons Why People Hire VAs
Lack of Time:
Running a successful business requires you to be on top of a bunch of things to promote it – and if you are successfully doing it – you are already losing money!
Let me explain, let’s say you charge $100 hourly to coach your clients. This coaching skill of yours is earning you a hundred dollars for every hour you spend on coaching. But how many hours of the day or the week are you ACTUALLY spending on coaching?
Every hour of your working time that you are NOT spending on coaching, you are basically losing a hundred dollars!
Every business requires a ton of strategizing, promoting, scheduling, networking, and a bunch of miscellaneous tasks that never seem to end. And as a solopreneur, you do not get to escape this. In fact, you are more burdened by all these decisions and tasks, which quite often may leave you exhausted.
You only have so much time in a day, and if you are spending a big chunk of it on tasks that CAN be delegated in exchange to buy back your time – that’s the best investment you can make for your business.
Lack of Tech Know-How
Once you start scaling, running an online business can get pretty technical. Initially, you just posted on social, had a website and a calendar link. At this point, you probably don’t need much of help. But you don’t want to remain at that stage all the time. If you know you can help people transform, help people achieve results, help people with what they need – you need to and you should start scaling.
This is where you stop trading time for money and think of creating information products, start running membership sites, schedule group programs and catapult your revenue. But all this is achieved when you have enough leads to start converting into clients and this means you need to boost your online presence on steroids. THIS is where it starts to get technical.
Building lead magnets, delivering email drip sequences, writing blogs, SEO, Paid ads, building membership sites and the list goes on…
While it is possible and I personally know people who’ve done a bunch of those things WHILE running their coaching business, it may not be the most effective utilization of resources. You simply cannot invest enough time and energy to do those jobs well and you’d be losing your coaching hours if you keep spending time on all this.
Even in the unlikely event that you find all the tasks manageable yourself, the biggest two reasons that you might want to hire an assistant are efficiency and scalability.
Efficiency: The VA is trained and experienced to do the same task a bunch of times and is usually staying on top of the current trends.
Scalability: You will simply not dream and plan big enough if you are already tired of doing all the tech stuff for your business.
So, it is obvious that you need help. But the next question would be to get someone in-house or hire a remote VA. If you are a coach or a solopreneur, then chances are that your entire business, or most of it is online. And it would not be in your best interest to NOT get yourself shackled to a physical office, where an assistant comes in daily to help you. But if you cringe at tech, and only prefer face-to-face discussions and in-person meetings to get work done, then you are better off hiring someone to work for you at your office.
Most people these days crave the flexibility of being nomadic. Thanks to tech, you do not need to be physically tied to your business location more often than not and for those people, hiring a remote assistant makes complete sense.
In fact, it has been estimated that Hiring a VA over a full-time employee will save the business up to 78% of operating costs annually!
I have been a Technical Assistant / Systems Specialist for a couple of years now, working with coaches and solopreneurs and in this article, we will explore why it makes so much sense to get an assistant, what jobs you can assign them, how do you track their work, how much can they cost and when should you get yourself one.
This article will hopefully help you keep your hands and mind free to handle more of the work you love and create the impact you wish to make in the world by spending time doing what you love the most!
Who is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant can help coaches organize their lives, track their progress, and even provide feedback. They can make it easier to find information, plan events, and communicate with clients. These assistants can work remotely, making it possible for coaches to travel without sacrificing productivity. Yup, thanks to tools and technology, both of you can stay in constant touch and have elaborate work discussions without the hassle of you maintaining an office.
A virtual assistant(VA), also known as a digital personal assistant, is someone who works remotely and provides support to businesses and individuals. They are great for busy people looking to free up more time while focusing on what matters most.
But They Can’t Do It The Way I Can!
You’re right. They can’t and they probably won’t – and that’s fine.
You will notice that many of your tasks are NOT divine decrees that need to be followed to the tee. A few of them definitely are and you can be crystal clear about it. They will probably do a few things better than you and a few things worse than you. You just have to give them a bunch of tasks and assess the results. Plot down their strengths and weaknesses. Let them know what areas are non-negotiable and which areas you’d like them to improve upon.
I had a corporate job for over a decade and for a few years before quitting I was handling a team of more than a dozen people. I always observed how people really put in extra effort when they were asked for suggestions and improvements instead of just being handed a list of SOPs. The corporate world, unfortunately, had rigid boundaries which were hard to break and most of the ideas never reached fruition. But you can actually use their creativity, their ideas, and their inputs to improve your business.
It’s like having an extra member in your business and feeling like a team. An extra pair of eyeballs who is willing to proofread that email broadcast that will go out to 3,000 leads. A helping hand that will quickly fix the broken Zapier integration, while you finish the presentation to be given to the attendees, and the likes.
What can VAs do for Business and Life Coaches?
The term VA is often broadly used for someone who is assigned a bunch of simple tasks like managing your schedule, answering emails, booking meetings, and doing whatever else it takes to help you run your business smoothly.
If you are running a coaching business, you most likely have a website, social media presence, calendar scheduling, invoicing, group programs, membership site, lead magnet, email drip, CRM, etc.,
Based on your requirements, you can offload a bulk load of the above tasks to your assistant.
Here is a list of tasks that solopreneurs or coaches usually assign to virtual assistants:
Administrative tasks for VAs:
- Booking appointments
- Scheduling meetings
- Managing calendars
- Sending out reminders
- Customer service
- Data entry
- Organizing documents
- Transcribing audio/video files
- Travel Arrangements
- Bookkeeping and Expense tracking
- Handle Phone Calls
- Handle Potential Clients
Technical / Business related tasks for Virtual Assistants
- Writing articles
- Creating content
- Email marketing
- Social media management
- CRM management
- Running Campaigns & Promotions
- Tracking metrics
- Photo Editing
- Graphic design
- Website management
How much does a VA Cost?
Virtual assistants are typically paid hourly. There is a wide spectrum of hourly rates depending on tasks assigned, experience, location of the VA, and the skills needed for the job. Hourly rates may start from as low as $5 and can go up to $50 or higher.
The best way to decide the budget is to first analyze the kind of tasks you wish to assign the assistant. If the majority of the tasks are simple in nature like basic administrative tasks then you can accordingly expect hourly pricing of $5 – $15. But if you are running an online business with all the tech in place such as a website, a lead magnet, CRM, promotion campaigns, drip email marketing, content creation, social media, etc., then you would need to shell out more to hire a technically skilled assistant. These hourly rates can vary from $15 – $50 or higher based on their expertise and the skills offered.
Studies show that the average VA salary ranges from $400 to $5,600 per month. Like I said, the variation is huge, because it depends on a number of factors.
How do you keep track of virtual assistant hours?
Since these jobs are remote, it is understandable that you are concerned about tracking the work (hours of work spent on your work) when you hire someone as an assistant. But to a large part, even this is taken care of by technology. There are apps available that help you track not just the amount of time that the employee has put in, but also the productivity.
Productivity tracking apps
There are a bunch of tools available that help you monitor employee productivity. This is done by
- Auto-generating reports on the tasks completed regularly
- Taking captures of the employee’s screen at irregular intervals
- Limiting traffic to certain websites
- Tracking keyboard and mouse usage etc.,
Some examples include:
- Time Doctor
- TopTracker – this one is completely free
- WebWork Tracker
are some of the examples of such tools that allow you to track your employees/ VAs.
As a life coach or a business coach, maybe you are not comfortable with the idea of hiring a new member and then being responsible for handling them and tracking them, but think of it this way- as you dive deeper into your coaching business, do you really and permanently want to be shackled to the nitty-gritty of running your entire business or you had rather spend more time learning and implementing better coaching skills to improve your results.
The only way to create the maximum impact and be successful at your business is to make it scalable and it is ONLY going to scale when you have systems and processes in place that are handled by skilled people to get you the results that you wish to achieve.
Even if you classify yourself as an online coach, it is important to understand the amount of time and effort running a business demands.
Business coaches know this very well, they always stress Systemizing and Delegating your tasks to scale efficiently. Even though you are a solopreneur, you are still a business owner and in order for you to have time to run your business well, you need to understand the importance of delegating.
When is it time to get an assistant?
If you are starting a business, there will come a point where you will realize that you cannot handle everything alone. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the number of things you need to take care of and you might feel like you are losing control over your business. It is during this stage that you should consider getting an assistant.
Some signs that indicate you need a virtual assistant are:
- You are spending too much time doing admin stuff
- Your business is growing fast and you are finding it difficult to manage your time effectively
- You are feeling stressed because you don’t have enough time to focus on what matters most to you
- You are struggling to balance your personal and professional lives
- You are having trouble keeping up with emails
- You are constantly forgetting appointments
- You are finding it hard to keep track of your finances
- You are finding it hard to stay focused
- You are often late to meetings
- You are finding it difficult to meet deadlines
- You are struggling to maintain relationships with clients
- You are finding it challenging to build rapport with your clients
- You are finding it tough to grow your client base
- You are finding it tricky to market your services
- You find it hard to follow up on prospective clients
- You find it hard to get your ideal clients
- You are not on top of term contracts and client agreements
- You keep missing your business goals
So if you think, you have been diagnosed with any of the above symptoms, then perhaps you should consider getting yourself some additional help. If you’d like to hire a good VA, then you should consider reading my other blog posts.