I invested $100,000 in virtual assistants to run my online eCom business, and from this experience, I've gotten some valuable insights...
First and foremost, I realized that achieving six figures in profit is attainable with the right business models on suitable platforms. However, if you want to consistently surpass this threshold without working yourself to exhaustion, outsourcing becomes a necessity.
Relying solely on outworking your competitors is a recipe for burnout. Therefore, if your business is generating a decent income, it might be the perfect moment to contemplate bringing someone on board to assist you.
This strategic move will enable you to maintain your productivity while freeing up your time to concentrate on overarching strategies and new opportunities for expansion. This aligns with the concept of "working on your business, not in it," and hiring is a direct solution to achieving that.
Nevertheless, it's essential to utilize the newfound time effectively. Hiring someone with the sole intention of indulging in leisure activities, like watching Netflix all day, may lead to undesirable consequences, where your business begins to decline while you incur unnecessary expenses.
Hiring and training individuals demands a significant investment of both time and money, particularly in the initial stages. However, the returns far outweigh the costs. It's crucial to allocate substantial upfront time to carefully vet potential candidates.
I have personally witnessed how a well-chosen hire can exponentially enhance your business's productivity, while a poor hire can cause significant setbacks and waste valuable time.
The key lesson here is to thoroughly test and interview numerous candidates before making a hiring decision. Rushing into hiring the first person you interview is not advisable. Instead, implement a strict vetting process to ensure that you bring the right person on board to help your business thrive. It’s worth spending more time in to get this right. Trust me!
Additionally, another valuable lesson I've learned is the distinction between being a leader and merely a boss. The role of a boss typically involves barking orders at employees without actively participating in the work, often resulting in a lack of likability and respect. On the contrary, a leader sets an example through action and willingly gets involved in the work alongside their team.
One essential tip I acquired while training my first employee was the importance of establishing systems and then hiring individuals to execute these systems. When you solely hire someone for a specific job, you become reliant on their presence, making your business vulnerable if they decide to quit, get sick, or something with them specifically changes.
But building a system that can be taught to others not only simplifies their understanding but also safeguards your business, as it becomes easier to find someone to implement the same system and replicate the results.
For example, I created a system where a virtual assistant could handle products from suppliers and integrate them into my Amazon catalog. This system covered everything from product research to pricing adjustments and stock monitoring, all without requiring my direct involvement. While they might have been slow to start, they progressively improved and now handle these tasks seamlessly.
It's vital not to base your business on mediocre talent and prioritize paying your employees more than the market average, as well. By doing so, you'll ensure their commitment, increased effort, and loyalty to your business. Offering competitive compensation makes you their top choice, as employees receiving standard pay may easily switch to better opportunities, wasting your time and resources (which will leave you at square one again).
Furthermore, it's crucial to be in a position to provide consistent work when bringing someone on board. Inconsistency can lead to employees seeking other opportunities or not prioritizing your tasks. If you're not prepared to hire someone full-time or close to it, it's advisable to delay the hiring process.
Another important thing to consider when hiring is seeking individuals who are hard-working and capable of solving problems independently. You don't want someone who constantly seeks your permission or guidance for every obstacle they encounter. Trusting your employees to operate autonomously while providing guidance and correcting mistakes as needed is the key to effective management.
Make no mistake, if it’s something big and important, checking in with you is totally expected…but if they’re stopping constantly to ask you how to do simple things, it defeats the purpose of outsourcing that task in the first place.
As an entrepreneur, your work habits are very different than when you become more of a manager that handles employees (be them in person or online Virtual assistants – like I use). Managing employees requires a different skill set and a bit more patience (which us Entrepreneurs can lack from time to time). But learning how to do this effectively and relinquish some control when you have two or more employees becomes absolutely necessary. And depending on your business's size and resources, bringing on a dedicated manager might be a wise choice to alleviate some of your responsibilities doing this.
I vividly remember the initial months after hiring my 3rd online VA; I was overwhelmed with managing all 3 of them, leaving little time for my own work. But you can solve this if you bring on a manager (and they can be an overseas VA as well).
That said, you shouldn’t really need an excessive number of virtual assistants. While some may boast about having numerous VAs, it often translates to a managerial headache. Instead, focus on acquiring a select few highly skilled VAs who can contribute significantly to your business's growth. A few good ones will outperform a bunch of mediocre ones EVERY single time (and it’s less for you to manage).
My business wouldn't have reached its current level if I hadn't taken the leap to outsource and build a strong team. If you're contemplating hiring someone, consider two primary questions: Can your business financially support full-time employees, and do you have the means to utilize the newfound time effectively?
If your answers to those are both yes. Then bringing someone on to help is a no brainer.
Want more insight on hiring/building a good team? I put all my best tips and tutorials on how you can do the same in my Hiring and Outsourcing Course