Today’s way of working is more flexible than ever. Of course, there are still many people who work in the public or private sector, in a more traditional way however there is increasing growth in so called solopreneurs and microbusinesses.
According to the Office for National Statistics, London has seen one of the largest rises in people who are self-employed; the number of people in self-employment as a percentage of the labour force grew from 13 per cent in 2001 to 17.4 per cent in 2016. More people are choosing to work for themselves, either as a result of redundancy and they want to do something completely different or because they want more control over their work-life balance.
Business growth and development relies heavily on good old fashioned hard work, but for significant and sustainable growth to occur, business owners must also work intelligently and efficiently. With so many different tasks to take care of, it can be very difficult for a business to grow if a solopreneur or microbusiness owner is trying to do everything themselves.
Business models are also ever changing, the increasing power of the internet and technology continually evolving has enabled people to work remotely or virtually. This has been a major factor in the growth of the Virtual Assistant (VA) industry.
How to work more intelligently and efficiently
Many business owners can get caught up in the day to day operations of a business that they don’t have the time to think about the strategy of the business. They end up firefighting, focusing on the urgent instead of the important.
Many of the tasks within your business can be outsourced to a Virtual Assistant without costing a fortune. Often business owners outsource the tasks that they least enjoy, or they do not have the skills to do. This will free up time so that you can focus on what you went into business for and growing your business.
What can I outsource to a VA?
One of the main reasons business owners struggle to grow their business is because they are wearing too many hats. This can be a downward spiral for both the business and your work life balance, if not addressed.
The main reason why business owners procrastinate with outsourcing is they don’t know what specifically to delegate.
There are many VA’s with varying skills. Ensure you find one that can fulfil the tasks you wish to delegate.
Here is an idea of the types of tasks you could delegate to a VA (this list is not exhaustive):
- Email Management/Filtering)
- Following up with clients/customers (sending thank you and other reminder emails)
- Calendar Management
- File Management (organizing files using Dropbox etc)
- Database building (eg. updating email or contact lists on your CRM)
- Research on certain topics for blogposts, newsletters or others
- Hotel and Flight Booking
- Creating basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, deliverables, sales)
- Preparing Slideshows (Powerpoint Presentations)
- Recruitment (source for other team members like writers or graphic artists)
- Set-up Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube)
- Manage and update Social Media Accounts
- Basic Bookkeeping
- Small project management
Why a VA is cost effective
Cost is a major factor for why solopreneurs and microbusinesses delay employing staff. It can be very time consuming and extremely costly, there are many factors to consider; recruitment; contracts; legalities; to name but a few.
Increasingly, London microbusiness owners are hiring a Virtual Assistant to help with their business support.
Office space is a premium in London and many business owners are choosing not to rent offices or if they do, have minimal space. A VA works virtually from their own home office, therefore nor further office space is necessary.
A VA is self-employed and takes care of their own tax, NI and pension plan. There is no holiday, sick or maternity pay to consider. A VA is responsible for all their own equipment, subscriptions, memberships, and they are insured and registered with the Information Commissioners Office (for General Data Protection Registration) and HMRC (for Anti Money Laundering).
There are no hidden extras and you only pay for the hours that the VA works on your business.
So, why not?
It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to set up your own business and become self-employed. It also takes lot of grit. No doubt there will have been tough times. However, if you are now at the stage where you would like to grow your business, there are only a few ways you can do this – by taking on staff, or outsourcing.
If you decide that outsourcing is the way forward for your business, there are many ways in which a business can utilise the skills that a Virtual Assistant can offer. There are tasks within every business that can be outsourced to a Virtual Assistant – no matter what the line of business or where the VA is based.