In general, I’m not a big risk taker. In fact, the biggest risk I’ve ever taken was to leave my corporate job 17 years ago and become a business owner.
Every day, business owners make difficult choices. It comes with the territory of creating something all our own. One of the biggest risks we take when our load becomes too big is to hire help.
As a virtual assistant, I know how beneficial it is for a client to hand off their time stealing tasks so they can grow into their creativity. It took a while for the business owner part of my brain to catch up and recognize I had hit that point in my business. When it did, holy cow was I scared!
Even knowing how freeing it could be to hand off the things that no longer jazzed me, I still hesitated. All the questions potential clients considered before coming to me started running through my head. Once again I was faced with a risky decision.
Could I let go of my perfectionism?
Could I release my need for control and delegate tasks?
Did I even have enough work to hand off?
Could I afford it?
For my mental health and in order for my business to grow, I took the risk!
It was the best thing I ever did!.
Standing on the client side of the client/VA relationship has been an interesting learning curve and super informative. I now understand how much of a risk it took for my clients to step out of their comfort zone and let me into their business.
It doesn’t matter how awesome a VA is, the relationship begins and is directed by the client. The trust level grows slowly as each side opens up to the experience and limits the risk.
Working with another person, most likely someone you don’t know, can be scary. There’s no way to know if anything they say is true until you’re in the middle of a project. Risky.
No matter how detailed the interview process, you’re handing over sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers. You’re entrusting your brand and reputation to the finished product of any task you hand off. Risky.
There is always the chance that you’ll end up spending more time training or fixing mistakes than freeing up your time. Risky.
Trust is always risky.
There are some ways to mitigate your risk…
- Work with someone you know or comes as a referral: Most potential clients who come to me are usually referrals. We’ve engaged in some way, through networking events or social media. There is a level of established connection that gives a feeling of comfort for them to reach out and ask questions. When looking for a virtual assistant, reach out to your community and get referrals.
- Get clear on what qualities you are looking for in a support person: Many times potential clients focus so much on their task list, they don’t consider more important aspects of what they really need. Do you have systems in place or do you need someone to help you create those systems? Finding someone to do a task isn’t the risky part. It’s more risky to believe you are hiring a competent VA who can do everything you asked, only to discover she needs more hand holding than you expected.
- Start slow and build trust: A VA is like any employee. It’s okay to start with a trial period to feel each other out. Start with easy, not critical projects to see how those get handled. Build from there or gracefully end the relationship. Taking a risk on someone doesn’t mean the relationship is set in stone. You both have the right to walk away if the return isn’t what you expected.
The risk I see most potential clients take isn’t hiring a VA, but going into the process blind on how to find the right fit. Risking their business on cheap help because someone advised them to outsource to the lowest price. Don’t get me wrong there are wonderful, low-cost options for support out there. However, the cheaper you go, the more work you need to do upfront. No one seems to share that!
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that if you’re gonna take the risk of letting somebody into your business, then you should do the hard work to discover what it is you actually need and then finding the person.
My next blog will give you some pointers on how to do that. For now, let me ask you:
❓If you are currently working with a VA:
- What things did you consider before hiring your VA?
- What questions did you ask yourself? What fears did you have?
- What is the one thing you wish you’d asked when hiring a VA but you didn’t?
❓If you aren’t currently working with a VA but are thinking about it:
- What is holding you back?
- What do you feel you need to learn to take the risk?
In business there are risks worth taking. What is one risk you took that was worth it?