Outsourcing to a VA – How to Simplify Bringing on Freelance Admin Support
by Natalia Sanders
I’m Natalia, owner of Clear Desk VA. I’m a VA, an OBM and VA Mentor and I live in the south west of England with my husband and two young daughters. Since starting my business two years ago, I’ve supported lots of female founders with bringing on freelance admin support – whether that be delivered by myself of by matching them with a fantastic Done For You service provider.
Here I want to share my Top Ten Tips for bringing on freelance admin support to help you consider how to outsource effectively. I speak on my podcast ‘Clear Desk Podcast’ all about the outsourcing topic and I know that a lot of biz owners feel the fear about bringing on any external support, so I hope these tips are helpful for you:
1. Be clear on exactly what it is you want someone to do for you
To do this, start by making a list of everything you do in your business that someone else could do, such as a repetitive task like social media scheduling, invoicing or inbox and calendar management.
2. Create a process for the task
Write down every step in the task that you’ve identified and make a note of any digital tools or resources that someone would need to complete it for you.
3. Enter your digital passwords into a secure sharing vault,
such as LastPass.com so that you’re ready to email a freelancer your access details securely.
4. Take a think about your budget
The average hourly rate for a UK VA is £27 per hour and, as you can imagine, within that there is plenty of variety and scope depending on their experience and specialisms.
5. Speak to your business network / pals and ask for recommendations
Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find excellent, reputable freelance admin support and, often, I have found most of my amazing clients through recommendations. Pop a post on the Mama Tribe Members group or similar and compile a list of people to contact. Extra tip on this point: try to steer away from the larger Facebook networking groups – often I really feel for business owners who are seeking support, but their post receives 400+ comments in the thread! The irony being, of course, that they need a VA to be able to sift through them!! Start small and speak to your closest biz pals for advice and suggestions first, the Mama Tribe Service Directory is a fab place to start.
6. Work on your mindset and address any fears you may have
It can be understandably scary when you start to outsource but I would recommend spending some time focusing on what you will gain from the process: picture yourself with more time to focus on the parts of your business that create growth and light you up, and how wonderful it will feel when you know other tasks are completed to an excellent standard.
7. Set yourself a 3 month review period
I always say to clients that hiring a VA shouldn’t feel like taking out a mortgage; set a 3 month review so that you both have time to get to know how each other works and get into a groove. Remember that a 10 hour retainer for a VA per month is the equivalent of 1.5 office days so it can take time to find your rhythm but, after 3 months, you should have a feeling of whether it’s working for you both and it’s always reassuring to have that check-in time.
8. Consider what your own boundaries are and write them down
Knowing before you have that discovery call with a VA exactly what your boundaries are – around things like how they can contact you; when you available; how they can access things – makes the on-boarding process so much easier.
9. Provide clear instructions
When you’ve drafted your workflow or process for a task, remember that someone has never done it before and might need a couple of extra pointers. I’d recommend that you save the process as a template so that anyone could literally pick it up and continue with it. Clear instructions are really important and will save you having to explain anything twice!
10. Don’t be the bottle neck!
You may have heard this phrase on social media but it is a really vital one! Often a VA, or other freelance support, cannot move forward with a task because they are waiting for a business owner to approve something, perhaps proof read or ‘OK’ a task. If you’ve been clear about your boundaries and when your admin support can expect to hear back from you then this shouldn’t be an issue, but you ought to be prepared to have to contribute to or check some of their work, especially at the start. It’s worth blocking off some time in your diary for this until you get in a rhythm of it, you’ll find everything runs much smoother if you do.
I hope they’re helpful. Hit me up if you’d like anymore support – you can find me on @cleardeskva on Instagram or I always reply personally to emails: email@example.com
If you would like to learn more about how Natalia can help you then join us LIVE on Instagram at 8 pm on the 21st October when we will be talking with her!