How To Use A Virtual Assistant To Scale Your eCommerce Business
Thinking you can do it all yourself will slow progress on your business growth plan, resulting in zero time for strategic thinking and believe me, it will leave you stressed and disorganised. As Founder and CEO of your product based business, isn't it about time you got some help with all that admin?
When it comes to growing a product-based business, for most of my business coaching clients it's very clearly a juggling act to get everything done. Many struggle to "let go" of control and learning to delegate is one of the hardest skill for many to conquer.
However, if you are serious about achieving your business growth plan, you need to ensure that you are resourcing your business appropriately - and yes, that does mean getting YOU some support as Founder and CEO, as well as building your core team.
Recognising when it's time to delegate tasks so that you can focus on parts of the job you do best, is a vital skill to master. There are some elements of growing a product based business that, in the early stages, only you as Founder and CEO can really do - the brand development, the major sales account pitches, investor funding rounds, the telling of the story and all the PR that goes with it.
These tasks are all, absolutely, a great use of your time - all of these activities will move your company forward in big bold steps... but what about the smaller "busy" work? the bookkeeping, managing your email inbox, responding to general enquiries? All those $20 per hour type jobs?
No - you shouldn't be doing those. It's a poor use of your most vital resource in your business - YOU!
This is where getting you some help comes in - because for all those other tasks on your massive list of things to do - a virtual assistant is the perfect person to help free you up to scale your business.
Our aim? To get you working ON your business, not IN your business.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who works from a remote location. They do the job that an admin assistant or personal assistant does but from their own home. You may find virtual assistants described as a VA.
You can use them for administrative work, to manage calendars, appointments or for routine led work like social media management.
Virtual assistants can specialise in different areas too. Some may excel at marketing tasks, whereas others are great with simple bookkeeping. A virtual assistant takes place of a traditional one by being able to complete the work online from any location world-wide. For example, at the moment I personally have 2 virtual assistants, one based in the UK and one based in South Africa, covering a variety of tasks for me over different time zones.
Why Virtual Assistants Are Great
Start delegating to a virtual assistant and you will find that you:
- start hitting and exceeding your business growth goals,
- spend time on important strategic growth planning and thinking
- feel focused on the right things AND organised
- you'll have time for the people that matter - whether that's family or major customers
For early stage Founders and CEOs of product based businesses, delegating to a Virtual assistant works really well as you can hire one at a flexible cost.
With a traditional assistant, you often have to employ someone onto your payroll and pay them to be in your office during full office hours. Yet, you only need to pay the virtual assistant for the hours they spend working on your tasks. These can be flexible hours, as you grow your ecommerce business the workload may differ week by week, so this cuts down office costs and helps you keep the cashflow tight.
Virtual assistants in my experience are often multi-talented, many specialising in different areas. Some are skilled and trained in certain software and some are experts in research or customer services.
You will find some even do core marketing work such as social media management as part of their role, as well as marketing execution tasks such setting up and sending out weekly newsletters.
How You Can Use A Virtual Assistant To Grow
So now I have you sold on why you need one to power up your ecommerce business growth, what's stopping you? It's usually this - I hear my clients say this all the time ...."I get it, but honestly I don’t know what I would have a Virtual Assistant do !”
And that is exactly why I wanted to share my list of all the things you could hand off to a VA - these are things I used my own VA's for when growing my ecommerce business:
- Source Images for Investment and Retailer Pitch Decks
- Proofread PDF Assets, website copy, sales pages or blogs
- Organise and Manage Product Information - product images, descriptions, video content etc.
- Organise and Manage your team file storage
- Test and set up team collaboration software
- Finding freelancers to hire for projects
- Set up customer newsletters ready for your review
- Researching keywords and topics
- Support you and attendees during Live Webinars / Pitches / Trade Shows / Presentations
- Manage Members-Only Facebook Groups
- Researching the competition / industry
- Manage Testimonials and Reviews
- Being a problem solver
- Keeping your calendar updated
- Updating your social media channels
- Interacting with major account customers (setting up appointments, follow-ups etc.)
- Making online purchases
- Ordering business cards, and any other physical products you need for shows, pop ups and PR stunts or product launch events
- Researching and booking travel
- Transcribing your online videos or re-purposing existing content into new formats
Knowing Your Rate Per Hour As A Business Owner
If you worked out your rate per hour as a business owner, you would be shocked to find out it is probably more than you realise. You are a pro in your own business, skilled and knowledgeable in your field. That is why you should be delegating and outsourcing ANY job that is below your own cost per hour.
Think of how long emails take to check and reply to, you may have wasted an hour or two JUST TODAY on emails alone.
Yet, this could be time for you to be using your skills to pitch into major account customers or work on strategic business growth projects. This is when a virtual assistant would be perfect; they can take charge of your emails for less than it costs you per hour. This frees up time for you to be able to take on more work, and driving more sales for your business.
Have a think about what other tasks waste your valuable time - and what action you should be taking to re-prioritise the no. 1 top resource (that's you!) for your business. Just remember pretty much everything can be outsourced to a virtual assistant within reason.
Where To Find Some Great Virtual Assistants
It couldn’t be easier to find virtual assistants online as there are many websites you can look at. Be sure to check reviews and recommendations and consider a trial period.
- Referrals - Ideally you are looking for a Virtual Assistant with a proven track record, someone who shares your values and gets the pace of running your ecommerce business. Reach out to your network and see if people you already know, admire and respect can refer a suitable Virtual Assistant for you.
- Linked In. This great for building business connections and growing your network. Linked In is also a great resource to find those in the field you need. You can search for Virtual Assistants on this platform and view their profile.
- All Day PA.com This is a great service you can use if you need your calls, emails or social media monitoring. They can take down messages, transfer the call to you or take part in Live web chat for your website. All this is covered for you 24/7.
- PocketReceptionist.co.uk This site is an affordable way of hiring a PA to help handle your phone calls. They are UK office based receptionists that record and handle your calls in a friendly and professional manner. This site has some fantastic reviews.
- Call diversion services - Many companies offer a telephone receptionist for a very low cost day rate. With the package, incoming calls are diverted and answered for you 24/7. This frees up time for you to focus on other aspects of your business.
Make It Happen In Your Business
To grow a product based business we need you focused on what you do best. A virtual assistant is a great way of outsourcing the work that is under your pay grade as Founder and CEO.
It is impossible to juggle everything growing a product based business takes so please don't even try. Share those tasks with a virtual assistant who will actually enjoy getting them done for you! You can either hire one to simply handle your calls and web chat. Or you could hire someone to do more thorough work or focus on a specific project, really taking the edge off your workload.
- Write down 5 work tasks you really don't like doing or activities that take up a significant chunk of your time each day. Can any of these be given to another person to do? If not why not? Are you SURE you really can't delegate it... I bet you can. It's time to let go and allow someone else to help you with the heavy lifting.
- Once you have your list of possible jobs a VA could help you with - lets find you a good one. Start with referrals from connections on Linkedin, post a message asking your connections for recommendations and see what comes up for you.
- In addition contact a few of the professional VA service companies like AllDayPA or Time etc. and see what service packages they offer.
- Start small - simply delegating 1 task or a couple of hours a week until you get comfortable, then when you start to see the magic of delegating, scale up and delegate some more!
- If you would like to talk to a female business coach about what's holding you back from achieving more in your business, please schedule a free call to find out how our business coaching programs can help you grow your business faster than you are doing today.
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