The term “Virtual Assistant” has been around for many years and is a more commonly known term with entrepreneurs. It is now time for an up level of the term. This term has lost meaning, it’s not all encompassing of what these people can do. They don’t assist, they support. Hence, the term we use: Virtual Support Specialist. We can get into specifics later, for now, let’s just focus on the facts. To keep it simple for Entrepreneurs, we used the term “Virtual Assistant” or “VA” for the sake of research.
I’m always interested in better understanding the mindset of Entrepreneurs, it’s never one size fits all. So, we asked a small group of Entrepreneurs within different industries some questions to better understand the struggles, the responses fascinated me.
Why do you (as Entrepreneurs) feel that you must do it all?
“Because I am the BOMB!”
“There is no money coming in yet so I can't afford not too.”
“Something only I can do... other things I outsource as much as possible.”
“It seems easier because I'm an in the moment person.”
“I don't always, but at times, my brand is at stake and people want to work directly with me.”
“It's probably a mix of trust and taking the time to train properly.”
“Because I am a DIY kinda gal and ultimately I know how I want things to be done.”
“Because I spent a lot on VAs and other programs which were expensive. Now I need to learn some of it.”
“I know what I can delegate but there are also tasks I have to do on my own, like creating partnerships and being the face of the company.”
“I don't feel that way, it's the time taken to train, interview etc.”
“Finances and not so great experience with VA in the past.”
Let's provide some clarity, Virtual Assistants can do your busy work, yes, AND they can also contribute to scaling your business. I noticed that perhaps the term Virtual Assistant isn’t an accurate description of what these VA’s can actually do. To which I asked:
In one sentence, describe your understanding of a Virtual Assistant.
"Someone who bugs me.”
“She helps me with all the stuff in WordPress I can't figure out.”
“Someone that can make my life easier. Someone I can trust and understands the needs of the company and is fully efficient, honest, smart and two steps ahead of the game.”
“Very high, I have one love how they take the work that I hate to do off my hands.”
“To assist me in doing the daily/weekly tasks necessary to keep my business running smoothly. I can serve my clients and be free to grow my reach & serve more people doing what I love.”
“Someone who remotely assists me with various tasks.”
“They help me complete tasks.”
“A professional who virtually provides administrative support and high-level tasks to clients.”
“A virtual assistant assists entrepreneurs with their business in a virtual realm with technology, customer assistance, and business admin.”
“Someone who helps with technology, but generally speaks above you.”
“Someone who can support Entrepreneurs with time-consuming tasks.”
“To Assist with task.”
“An individual who can perform administrative tasks without having to be physically present.”
“Someone who can assist me via the telephone, computer.”
I guess that simply stating tasks might be a little too ambiguous, but the general point is that a Virtual Assistant can keep the core of the business in check thus freeing up space for Entrepreneurs to grow. Whether you are an aspiring VA or an experienced one, there are a few core skills that most Entrepreneurs need help with, such as marketing, technology, administration and sales/customer service. Getting even more into specifics, here’s what they had to say:
What is one task or area of your business that you procrastinate in?
“SEO, Marketing, getting followers, and creating my online courses - I can't pick just one.”
“Copy writing, videos, putting myself out there.”
“Getting new clients.”
“Newsletters. Video posts & sales calls.”
“Showcasing my talents and features online....and sometimes, invoicing or putting together a proposal.”
“Newsletters. Video posts & sales calls.”
“None. I cure people of procrastination.”
“Organization, things move so quickly.”
“Filing and social media tasks.”
“Webinar funnels online marketing.”
It’s not necessary to know all these areas, but it is necessary to know where your strengths are. This is the best way to know what your specialization can be. It’s better to know the ins and outs of a particular area of personal interest rather than trying to learn all tools. You don’t want to fall in the category of, “master of none”. Perhaps you may know a fellow VA that might be able to co-create? Your services can compliment each other so you focus on doing what you love.
VA’s keep reading...it’s not all about knowing the tools but also being able to provide effective support. Here are some other great ways VA’s can provide ongoing support.
If you (as the Entrepreneur) could assign any task right this moment to someone, what would it be? Regardless of their skill level.
“Build my target tribe.”
“Marketing team / Strategy (email campaigns).”
“Help with Real community building on FB & LinkedIn.”
“reaching out to find new clients, or building my website up.”
“Building funnels and finding content.”
“Funnels, freebie creation graphically (not content) and website design.”
“Someone to teach me how to do another lead magnet.”
“Getting contracts in place.”
“Create an automatic welcome email, with login and upcoming dates to new sent to client when they sign up for group calls on my website.”
“Do Social Media projects.”
Now that we have a better understanding of what a VA can potentially do, we asked Entrepreneurs that have hired or are currently working with a VA the following:
How much did it impact your business getting a VA?
“I was able to get my site published.”
“Freed me to do my things.”
“When it was done right it was great.”
“I don't have to create graphics.”
“It definitely helped the workload. I don't know about the financial return generated yet.”
“OH MY GOSH! VA's are wonderful. I feel so blessed and honored to be working with amazing women.”
From the Entrepreneurs who have not yet worked with a VA...
What advice would you give a VA on starting their own business?
“Offer other start ups a chance to partner up - you split the profits on advertising and online courses etc.“
“Pick specific skills to master get clients on that then add more in later remember to outsource in your outsourcing business.”
“Clarity on your strengths & tell the truth on what you have expertise in.”
“Find my problem and know how to solve it.”
“Don't be shady.”
“Decide on a niche early on, always continue to learn and repeat your "why" during the down times.”
“Create strong branding visually and content-wise.”
“Don't talk down to people. Get to their level - and listen to them.”
“Just start. Understand the areas you're strong in and passionate about, and focus on those.”
“Don't take projects you either don't like doing or don't know how to do it.”
“People will accept your honesty but they don't want to pay for your learning curve.”
“Be professional in EVERYTHING you do, produce, create and pleasant.”
“If your target market is entrepreneurs, be conscious of pricing. You are trying to make a living, but we are trying to build a business.”
The real key to finding the best match for your sustainable growth is finding a Virtual Support Specialist that understands your vision and is passionate about the work they do for you. You want one that not only possesses the knowledge of the tools used to run your digital or service-based business, but also the passion in the particular project and ultimate vision of the company. This is the first step in bridging the gap.
If you’re struggling to understand how to delegate tasks, where to start, or just need help with some strategy...reach out and we will work through it together.