Authored by Melissa Haddad on Oct 01 2019
I recently had someone reach out to me on Facebook Messenger inquiring about my services as I was recommended to her in a group when she posted asking for VA work. When I replied back to thank her for reaching out to me, she asked, “Are you looking for part time or full time work?” I was very confused and as I continued through the discussion, I began to understand that she was looking for an employee, not a Virtual Assistant.
A Virtual Assistant is a business owner who provides various administrative services to other business owners, such as yourself, and usually works from their own home office. An employee (part-time or full-time) usually works your office and works for wages or salary and within Canada, there are Employment Standards that you, as the employer, would have to follow.
There are benefits for with either option, it simply depends on your needs, however often enough I have found that they are not prepared to hire an employee and actually need a VA. The key is knowing whether you ready to hire a VA or an employee and to prepare yourself for either option. Here are 5 things for you to prepare before hiring a Virtual Assistant or an employee.
- Ready, set, go. You have a lot of work that you have to complete on a daily basis. You have to service your clients, which means you are working in your business and you have to work on business development to bring in new business. Working in and on your business, will keep you very busy and likely feeling overwhelmed. This is when you want to get things ready and set up to move forward with getting help from a VA. Put a list together of all of those tasks that take away from making revenue. For example, your bookkeeping, you may feel that you need to do it because only you know what everything is, however a bookkeeper has the expertise to know what everything is and where to allocate each business expense. If there is something questionable or unclear, trust that they will ask you for confirmation. By making a list of tasks, you are that much closer to getting time back to do other things that you are passionate about and that you enjoy.
- General or expertise? Once you make your list, you will be able to understand if you need a VA with a specific expertise or if you need general assistance only. As mentioned above example, if you needed a bookkeeper, you would want someone who focuses on bookkeeping instead of someone who can figure it out. If you needed a logo or marketing materials prepared, you’d want a graphic designer to ensure you get what you want. You may consider more than one VA or a company, such as Efficient Business Solutions, that has a team of experts in various fields.
- Document your systems and processes. Before you hire a part-time or full-time employee, you need to know that you have enough to keep them productive for a 4 - 8 hours every day. An employee is a seriously big investment and you want to ensure that they are not sitting around wasting time costing you money. If you take the time with your VA first to develop and document your processes, you will be able to know when you get to the point of needing to hire an employee, you will not have to worry about how to keep them productive.
- Consider the costs and your budget. Hiring a VA in North America will cost you anywhere between $200 CAD to $2,000 CAD per month, which is a very large range I know, however it goes back to whether you need general admin or an expert. It also depends on how many hours per month you need and the rate of the VA. In my experience, on average, a high-end VA with expertise charges $40-$75 per hour and a general admin VA charges between $20 - $35 per hour. An employee tends to cost $15-$25 per hour ($1,200 to $3,750 per month), plus taxes, plus benefits, plus vacation days, plus sick days, plus insurance, etc. You really need to understand the costs associated with either option as well as your budget. You wouldn’t want to move forward and hire either a VA or an employee and have to cancel the contract or lay-off the employee due to cash flow issues.
- Learn to delegate and manage. In order to grow and scale up your business, hiring help is how you can accomplish this. If this is your first business, chances are you have never had to delegate or manage others. Delegating is a vital part of growing your business as it allow you to focus on tasks that will build. This is something that is learned by trust, however, how can you learn to trust if you don’t delegate work to someone to see how well they can do it? Management is about planning, organizing and communicating expectations and workflow to those that you are delegating to. This is something that takes practice and as long as you hire the right person or people that fit your business culture and your personality, your learning curve will be much shorter.
In my experience as a Virtual Assistant, when I started working with a business owner who hadn’t completed these 5 things, I found that the partnership dissolved early. I would start working with them initially because I had many recommendations to help them organize and grow their business, however, I found that I ended up working against the grain, meaning they were not ready and it was feeling like we were in a delegating “tug of war”. Some folks aren’t as ready to grow as they thought they were.
I now find, if a business owner has a strong foundation and has already given a lot of thought and preparation into hiring someone to help them in their business, they are ready for a long-term relationship. I am here to support them and do whatever it takes! There is a mutual respect and understanding and they trust that I got them covered. Contact me for a Discovery Call and learn how we can help you grow your business.