How to Create Standard Operating Procedures for Virtual Assistants
It's the best way to ensure freedom in your business with repeatable results.
Most entrepreneurs started their business because they want "freedom." Sadly, most have created a job for themselves. Therefore, the idea that entrepreneurs are the only people crazy enough to work 80 hours a week so they don't have to spend 40 hours a week working for someone else is true.
The key to freedom in your business is your ability to delegate. In order to achieve the vaunted "work-life balance" you must have a life. But to achieve and and every wish, you must be willing to put in the work. This is why knowing how to properly delegate and create standard operating procedures (SOPs) is critical for your future.
Like most entrepreneurs building a business, I didn't initially create documention or SOPs. But now that I've discovered their value, I call them Freedom Recipes. While over the years I've been labeled "The King of Outsourcing," in reality, I'm just good at giving the right people the right instructions.
Time is a really valuable commodity. As a business owner, you likely always say, “If I only had more time, I would be able to make better decisions, efficiently manage my business and have a life.” It’s essential for entrepreneurs to learn how to leverage their time and delegate the things that are holding them back. Unfortunately, we are also notorious for having a hard time getting out of our own way.
The Freedom Recipe is how we escape doing everything ourselves and have absolute peace of mind that business can continue without us. With a great Freedom Recipe, you can delegate your tasks to achieve repeatable success without having to spend much effort after you delegate it.
You're probably thinking, "But SOPs (aka Freedom Recipes) are boring!" I get you. Nobody wakes up in the morning saying, “Woohoo! I am excited to read a standard operating procedure today!” If you know someone who’s like this, send them my way. They would be very helpful for my business, but they are a rare and exotic breed of unicorn.
When people think about an SOP, they envision a boring step-by-step guide or manual on how to operate some machinery in a factory. This is why I use the term Freedom Recipe, because they are really recipes for freedom for business owners. And no, Freedom Recipes are not synonymous with voluminous guides.
There are two key factors to Freedom Recipes
1. Yes, it’s true. They really create freedom. If you or one of your employees get sick or can’t come to work, your business doesn't have to stop.
2. The word “recipe.” Think of the Freedom Recipes as a cookbook. The only way for you to delegate things consistently and repeatedly, with reliability, is by creating step-by-step procedures of your processes.
Freedom Recipes create repeatable results
As long as you are able to hire the right team member for the role, your Freedom Recipes will achieve repeatable results. Think of it like your favorite cake recipe in a cookbook — it should come out the same way every time you bake it.
Think you don’t have time?
Many entrepreneurs say that they “don’t have time” to delegate. They think of the cumbersome process of creating documentation and wasting a bunch of time training. That is a lie.
You just do what you normally do
You’re doing the work every day already. Next time, pop your favorite screen-recording app and start doing what you normally do. This time, just describe what you are doing in an instructional format to document the process. Then, share it with your virtual assistant.
The final test
Most people think that they are great at creating Freedom Recipes, but that’s usually not the case. We’re biased because we already know what we’re doing. The best way to test your Freedom Recipe is to have somebody who doesn’t have any clue how to do what you’re doing. This is the best person to check your procedures because they don't have bias. If there are gaps in your Freedom Recipes, that person will find them for sure.
So stop looking to the sky to find that star. Quit wishing that things will improve for your business. Stop making excuses and find solutions instead. Start making plans for the journey ahead. Recognize all the minor accomplishments which lead towards your ultimate goals. Finally, stop doing it all yourself. Create repeated results through Freedom Recipes.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor