Hire a Virtual Assistant
For years, I always looked forward to summer. It was the time of the year when I would get to experience life as I saw on the travel and leisure channel. Whether it was going on a wine-tasting escapade at Napa Valley, feasting on fresh lobsters at Maine, reliving history in Vietnam or planning a back packing trip around Europe, summer was more than just vacation time. It was the time of the year for me to drop everything and just breathe!
Outsource your work and go on your Dream Vacation
The last three years have been busy but rewarding. Globalization is lowering trade barriers and creating opportunities in new markets. Competition is becoming tighter and you have to compete with other businesses and entrepreneurs all across the globe for a slice of that market of 6 billion consumers. Everyone is scrambling to buy the latest technologies to make them do more work at a faster and more efficient rate.
In this age of mobile technology, the work place has become more convenient. Previously, the laptop was a symbol of mobile technology, nowadays we see people tapping away on a tablet. People are getting work done on their smart phones. These portable “offspring” of digital technology can allow you to bring your workplace while running with the bulls at Pamplona, Spain or shooting the rapids in Canada.
Not for me!
A vacation is not just time off from work. It is a sabbatical. It is the one time of the year to escape the rigors of work, commune with the world and rediscover who I am. While I subscribe to Branson’s philosophy on business development, I also subscribe to Tim Ferris’ philosophy of designing your lifestyle.
Ferris used to work 14 hour days until he realized he was missing out of life. It was a question of productivity. Was he getting out as much as he was putting into his work? Other schools of thought echoed the same paradigm on effort and return on investment.
The objective is to achieve balance in life.
How do you grow a business by doing less work?
The answer is to delegate work. In business the appropriate phrase is to outsource services.
Outsourcing involves transferring or assigning specific services to contracted third parties. It offers the advantages of lower costs and if your service provider is from another part of the world where time differentials exist, the ability to manage your business round the clock.
For small business owners, work is outsourced to online freelancers or Virtual Assistants.
You can assign organizational tasks such as e-mail correspondence, calendar scheduling, data entry, social media marketing, personal assistant services and limited research to your virtual assistant or VA. You can also assemble a virtual management team that can do bookkeeping and other work that requires more specialized skill. The virtual team will allow you to keep track of your business without being heavily involved in the daily processes.
Before hiring a Virtual Assistant or setting up a virtual team, here are a few points for you to consider:
- Qualify, select and hire the VA at least three months before you go on vacation. All people regardless of experience will go through a learning curve and one quarter is usually enough time to get their competencies at an appreciable level. It will also give you enough time to be familiar with their work habits and replace anyone who is not right-fit.
- Test their capabilities and state of readiness by taking a few short days away from work. Recreating the conditions of the workplace when you are not available will present the best vantage point to design a virtual workflow.
- Create a manual or set of guidelines for your virtual team to follow. These include clear instructions on protocol and processes covering frequent issues. A day in the week must be designated where the virtual team can update you with developments at work.
We put in time and effort at our enterprise because we want to succeed. Quantity of hours spent at work doesn’t equate to better productivity. It should always be quality.
Next summer, I plan to go on an African Safari. I am confident my Virtual Assistant has my best interests at hand.
I only hope I can say the same thing about the lions!