I’ve come to realize for quite some time that it can be very hard to scale a solo business. Sometimes I think about this at 1 a.m. while working on a client project. Or reviewing my to-do list first thing in the morning while chugging down some coffee.
Fortunately I love what I do. Plus, I do enjoy working late at night—after my wife and our two small girls have gone to bed (wow the house is quiet!). It’s always been a naturally-productive period of time for me.
But many times, I find myself covered up with work and behind on projects. And there are all the hats you have to juggle as a solo business owner. Those are not enjoyable moments. After all, I left the 9-5 world to get away from that stress, right?
So for a while now, I’ve been working to transition to more of a small design studio, working to outsource more and focusing on the higher-level tasks and marketing. Like most things, it’s a work-in-progress.
I really enjoy working from home and I have no desire for a downtown office and staff to manage. But there are many tasks that I can sub out to someone else so I can leverage my time to focus on what is best overall for my business (and most profitable).
For example, I strongly dislike bookkeeping. My right brain will look for anything more enjoyable to do instead—you know, like digging ditches or walking across hot ashes. So I now have a Virtual Assistant who specializes in bookkeeping to manage everything—except for invoicing and crediting payments, which I gladly handle with Freshbooks. I can’t tell you how much stress that alone has lifted.
Virtual Assistants have gained a lot of press from books like The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Of course, really, you’re just hiring another freelancer, or subcontractor, but I guess the term Virtual Assistant has become a bit of a buzzword.
Regardless, you can find V.A.s who will handle general administrative work like appointment scheduling, research, and email / phone screening. Or you can find ones who specialize in social media, shopping cart set up or other specialty niches. You can go with other solo practicioners or you can find a team of V.A.s.
It really comes down to looking at what tasks you would be better served to outsource to someone else and find someone (or a firm) to handle them. The time you free up by outsourcing everyday tasks will be much better spent on marketing or higher-level creative work.
What about you—have you hired, or considered hiring, a Virtual Assistant? Please share your experiences here.
Listen to BTW: [audio:http://iliseb.audioacrobat.com/download/822b2ee3-1550-0a9f-de19-d5604635ce6d.mp3] Here’s one place to find virtual assistants — Assistu.com