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Outsource or DIY? 6 Signs It's Time for Virtual Assistance for Your Business When you start feeling overwhelmed and can't focus on strategic work, it's time to outsource non-core tasks to virtual assistants.

By Murali Nethi

Key Takeaways

  • As cool as it is being a one-person team at first, there comes a time when growth means getting additional support.
  • If your time is increasingly spent on low-level, repetitive tasks at the expense of strategic work, it's likely a sign your business needs assistance to thrive.
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So you've started your own company from home doing whatever you're passionate about, like making YouTube videos or selling handmade jewelry online. That's awesome! It can be satisfying to build something with your own two hands. But as customers and orders start piling in, you find you don't have enough hours to keep up.

That's where outsourcing, or getting help from virtual assistants (VAs), comes in. As cool as it is being a one-person team at first, there comes a time when growth means getting additional support. But how do you know when that time has arrived? Here are a few signs it may be worth outsourcing some tasks rather than trying to do everything solo:

1. You're working long hours — but not being efficient

We've all been there — it's midnight, and you've been glued to your laptop for hours doing social media posts, data entry, or customer service. While dedication is great, constant long days aren't sustainable and may lower your productivity. When you find yourself wasting time redoing work because you're overtired, it's a sign your efforts could be better spent focusing on higher-level tasks.

Related: This Is the No. 1 Skill You Must Master to Succeed at Work in 2024, According to a Tech CEO

2. Tasks are piling up

If you open your to-do list and it feels never-ending, that's a hint you may need to offload some work. Are invoices, emails, orders, or other administrative things starting to stack up because you don't have time to keep up? Outsourcing mundane yet necessary tasks can help you get back on track.

3. You're spending too much time on low-value work

As business owners, our limited hours are best spent on work that drives growth and revenue, such as product design, marketing strategies, partnership deals, etc. But it's easy to get bogged down doing data entry, social media posting, or customer service replies that don't lever your unique talents. VAs allow you to delegate commodity tasks and focus on the work only you can do.

Related: Wasted Employee Time Adds Up: Here's How to Fix It

4. You're not able to commit fully to new opportunities

If a promising partnership or project comes your way, but you have to turn it down due to being too swamped already, that's an issue. Not taking worthwhile chances can limit your growth. By outsourcing mundane work, you free up precious time and mental bandwidth to seize any opportunities that come your way.

5. Your work-life balance is suffering

While passion for your business is great, constantly working long hours isn't healthy or sustainable long-term. Are you missing out on family time, friend commitments, or hobbies and interests because you're chained to your laptop? Outsourcing gives back some of your personal life so you don't burn out.

Related: Too Many Responsibilities? This Simple Life Hack Will Help You Reclaim Your Life

6. You can't take a vacation without panicking

If taking even a few days off causes you anxiety about falling behind, it's evident you need support. Business owners deserve downtime to rest and unwind so they can stay fresh. VA help means you don't have to work alone.

So, in summary — if your time is increasingly spent on low-level, repetitive tasks at the expense of strategic work, it's likely a sign your business needs assistance to thrive. The good news is high-quality, cost-effective virtual help from places worldwide has made outsourcing more accessible than ever for solopreneurs and small businesses alike.

But how do you know what exactly to outsource and how to find and manage virtual help? Here are a few guidelines:

  1. Assess Your Workflow and Define Outsourceable Tasks — Take a step back to analyze how you currently spend your days. What repetitive jobs could a VA handle, such as data entry, customer service, and social media posting? Make a list of tangible, clearly outlined tasks that don't require your unique expertise.

  2. Consider Costs vs Your Hourly Rate — Calculate how much your own time is worth per hour based on your desired salary. VA labor rates are generally far lower, so determine if outsourcing could save you money in the long run.

  3. Research VA Companies and Online Marketplaces — Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and LinkedIn provide profiles of hundreds of VAs worldwide with different specialties, languages, and rates. Read reviews to find out trustworthy freelancers.

  4. Be Ultra-Clear in Your Job Description — Whether you post on a marketplace or directly hire, leave no room for confusion by writing out very precisely what's required, including examples, templates, schedules, and style guidelines, if applicable. Clear communication upfront prevents misunderstandings down the line.

  5. Try out Candidates on a Small Scale. First — Before committing to an ongoing role, assign small, contained projects to vet candidates and see their skills, work ethic, and communication in action. Pay for these trials so they're treated as real work.

  6. Use Project Management Software — Whether it's Trello, Asana, or your own CRM, digitally tracking tasks helps ensure smooth delegation and collaboration. VAs should check in regularly through these tools rather than loose email threads.

  7. Maintain Open Communication — As the boss from afar, be available by phone or video call for any questions from VAs. Praise a job done well so they stay motivated while constructively addressing any issues. Maintaining good communication ensures quality control on their end, too.

If you feel your business has outgrown solo DIY efforts and you're ready to bring on supportive help, consider signing up FREE for Hana Retail as your retail POS system today. It could be just what you need to gain back valuable time and focus on high-level growth without the hassle of finding and managing outsourced talent on your own.

Murali Nethi

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO & Founder

Murali K. Nethi is the founder and CEO of SnapBlooms, a flower-delivery marketplace. His 24-plus-year background in enterprise architecture and IT allows him to explore business solutions in the retail industry.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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