How to let it go - and be better for it
The biggest part of being a virtual admin is being able to demonstrate the value to a client in that very simple phrase:
Let it go
And, no, not the trademarked Disney one (sorry to all those parents with kids singing that endlessly!).
When you start a business, it's often just you - maybe you have a business partner, or maybe you are using the skills of your partner at home to help get through stuff like packing orders, running to the post office, answering emails, photographing product, working out how to get that picture onto your website and social media...and so the list goes on.
And, as a startup, sure - you can't afford another person to do all that stuff. That's for big business.
But as you grow (and you will!), so does your business admin. And those *cough* systems you were using to simply get through the early days just aren't going to be sustainable. You still aren't at the point that having a staff member is viable. But you are at the point where you simply can't do it all - well, not and have any life at all anymore (do you even remember what sleep is at this point?)!
So what's the solution (if you have been around here before, I'm pretty sure you know the answer!)?
A virtual administrator. A GOOD virtual administrator, who can come in, help you get that to-do list done, and take it all in and help put some systems, processes and programs in place for you to help make it easier after they are gone!
Think of a virtual admin as your business fairy godmother (yes, another Disney-like reference!).
How to figure out what to let go
This is actually a lot harder than it sounds. Sure, you have piles of things you aren't getting to. And yes, a lot of those things you don't even really want to be doing - they aren't fun or even clearly linked to the reason you started your business.
But, let someone else do it? Are you insane?! They are MINE. They are important for MY business. How on earth can I just throw them at someone else, and feel like I'm even in charge anymore? I suppose you think I should just get someone else in to make my products too and run my store too, huh?
Of course not.
But for a VA, being able to demonstrate the value we bring can sometimes be hard. It can be even harder to suggest items that we could do for you, as you are intrinsically connected to everything in your business, from woah to go.
Let's start with a really simple step. There are 2 parts to this stage:
Get a pen and a notepad. Keep these with you at ALL times
Every time you are doing something in your business that is NOT something you LOVE about your business, write it down. Even just a single word.
After a week or so, grab yourself a cuppa (or something stronger - trust me, no judgement here!), and look at that list.
That is a list of things that are taking your joy. They are probably all very necessary, but they don't 'spark joy' (to make use of an over-quoted phrase from last year).
What can you do about that? Well, let's think about it. We know you could get a VA in, but how do you choose what to hand over? How much is enough? Is this something that is even going to sit well with you and your business?
Let's give it a shot.
Some VAs are happy to do a small task as a trial, often in return for a testimonial/review after the task is completed. Others will take a single task at a discounted introductory rate, so you can see how they work, how they fit with you, and whether you are comfortable with the concept.
Both of these are try before you buy style options.
Worst case scenario is that you get a task done, but you aren't entirely happy with it. You either provide a review or pay a small fee, and that's that. You can look around for someone else and repeat the trial concept, or keep going as you are for a while longer, while you do more research until you find a solution that sits well with you.
Best case scenario (and the one that does seem to be common) is that you get a job off your to-do list faster than you would have gotten it done anyway, for a small fee (or even no fee at all). You like the person, and you now have 2 options - you can do another task and build the relationship, or you can have a chat with them about taking them on in a bigger way.
See? A fairy godmother (of sorts!).
So, while I know you are busy, and I know the idea of someone else touching your stuff makes you nervous, I would have to say - give it a go. Make your trial task something little, that isn't urgent and has other dependencies in your business. Make it one of the things on your "Gee, I'd love to have the time to organise .... for my business" list (yeah, I know you have one of those lists - we all do!).
And let me know how letting it go works for you!
Marianne Tansley is the owner and operator of Thrive Admin Services, a virtual admin (VA) offering executive administration support to professionals and businesses, specialising in providing common-sense, practical support to ease your workload. She has over 20 years' experience in all levels of administration, from reception to C-Suite 1:1 Executive Assistant roles. When she's not being your business' 'glue', she loves to spend time with her husband and dog, and to spend time cooking and baking for her loved ones. She also loves a good fairytale (Disney or not!).