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12 Jan 24-7-365 – Make the Numbers Work For You With a Virtual Assistant

Every single person, from CEOs of large corporations to the fledgling entrepreneur, has one thing in common. All have exactly the same amount of time: 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and 365 days per year. While the CEO has a multi-layered staff to enable him to make the most of his allotted time, what about the sole proprietor or small business owner?

No one will dispute that starting a business or venturing out on your own requires a substantial time commitment. In fact, that’s how many successful CEO began. However, there is a point of diminishing return on the time you spend starting and growing your business. There is a point at which your time commitments and sacrifices begin to add up, creating a “something’s gotta give” scenario. Either you devote every waking moment to your efforts or accept the fact that you don’t have time to leverage your expertise and grow your business. Neither choice leads to success, does it? In reality, those aren’t your only two choices.

There are only 168 hours in any given week. Typically, the sole proprietor devotes sixty of those hours to the business. Another sixty hours are devoted to sleeping, eating and other physical needs. That only leaves 48 hours for family and personal time (community, religious and other similar activities). Without administrative help, the sixty hours for business can easily grow to eighty or more, so where does the entrepreneur “borrow” the extra twenty from? Generally, it’s either from sleep or personal time, and neither is a long-term solution.

What are some of the tasks that cause sixty hours to grow to eighty? They include things like answering the phone, scheduling appointments, maintaining data bases, administrative work, bookkeeping and research. Many, if not all, of these tasks can be delegated, but to whom?

You could hire either full- or part-time help, but that’s an expensive option. Granted, you’d get to maintain complete control and dictate how the work is to be done; however, you’d also have to contend with salaries, benefits, work space, and keeping an employee fully occupied to make the hire worthwhile. It’s an option many sole proprietors simply can’t afford.

There is another solution: the virtual assistant (VA). When using a VA, you continue to maintain control and dictate how the work is to be done. Although the VA’s hourly wage is typically higher than what you’d pay an employee, you are free from the hassles of payroll, benefits, and withholding taxes. There is no time spent reviewing resumes, hiring, firing or the need to provide work space and a computer. Unlike having an employee, you don’t pay the VA for breaks, lunch or time off. Most importantly, however, while you pay only for the hours you use, you get 40 hours per week coverage. What’s more, VAs are entrepreneurs like you, so they share a lot of your thinking, attitudes and approaches to success.

It probably sounds too good to be true. There is a catch. A VA might cost somewhat more per hour than full-time hourly employees, and because VAs work for several clients, it may be a good idea for you to plan projects ahead of time. Admittedly, that’s not the worst thing that could happen. Planning ahead leads to organization and time saved, and saving your valuable time is the single greatest benefit of the virtual assistant.

The hours you save by delegating various administrative business tasks to a VA are huge. Think about what you can do with twenty extra hours a week: spend more time with your family, get a better night’s sleep, market and prospect for new clients to grow your business… and be more successful. Now isn’t that exactly why you went in to business in the first place?

Philip Sorace

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