There is a difference between pursuing the ultimate vision of your business and doing all of what is needed to allow your business to reach that goal. Filing financial statements and finding time in your day for a meeting aren’t making a large contribution to your big picture goals, but they are necessary evils of being an entrepreneur. I am confident of my skills and the value I provide others, but scheduling and organization, unfortunately, are not among them.
Virtual assistant Ginger Elliott stated in a recent interview, “Your favorite entrepreneurs, the people you look up to – those people are known for their expertise, they’re not known for how they email or schedule.” Just as I help entrepreneurs with their writing, because for most of them, this is not among their top skills -- virtual assistants can provide much needed help in other areas that are important to the success of your business, but not worth the opportunity cost of allocating your time away from other tasks to do them. How can we grow the important areas of our business when we are struggling for 10 hours a week on financial tasks or scheduling.
Not every solopreneur needs an assistant, but as we grow, we need help. To be a leader, you have to have people to lead. To grow a business, you have to have talent. To maximize your ability and fully utilize your skills, you’re going to need help. When there’s more to do than you can handle, it might be time to start your search.
Q: When would you advise an entrepreneur to consider hiring a virtual assistant?
A: As soon as an entrepreneur recognizes they are being challenged to find enough time for big picture activities.
When asked of the benefits a personal assistant can offer to an entrepreneur, Ginger replied, “You’re going to get more time to focus on your big picture tasks. When you’re a one-man or one-woman show, you’re doing everything, and it’s really easy to get bogged down by activities that aren’t providing the most value to yourself or your clients.”
Finding a Virtual Assistant
“The most important thing when looking for a quality virtual assistant is integrity.” Two other traits Ginger stresses that are vital for the success of a virtual assistant serving entrepreneurs are great communication skills, and a proactive habit to follow-through. “Things happen so fast in an entrepreneurial world that you need someone who can recognize that a comment like “it would be great if…” is a hidden call to action.”
Q: Based on your experience and expertise, what’s your best piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
A: Don’t schedule your own stuff. Entrepreneurs are great at lots of things, but in my experience, they aren’t the best at scheduling, and that’s probably the first thing you should task your assistant with.
Finding the right assistant is key, and you’ll want to look for someone with integrity, great communication skills, and follow through. Hiring an assistant can increase your productivity and help free up your time to focus on more important parts of your business. It’s not a necessity for most entrepreneurs, but it can make a big overall impact by allowing you to pursue your passion and your vision for your business.
To find out more about virtual assistants, Ginger recommends checking out theInternational Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). Visit GingerElliott.com and follow her on Twitter @GingerBElliott.
Looking for more on this topic? Learn 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistantfrom Entrepreneur.
Tomorrow’s Post: Are Entrepreneurs Courageous? Hear the responses of six entrepreneurs on why they think courage is or is not part of being an entrepreneur.
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Michael Luchies is the Founder of TrepRep, Director of Content Programming forPursuit, Interview Editor for Under30CEO, Entrepreneurship Lecturer at Illinois State University, TEW 2 contributor, and writer of all things entrepreneurship. Connect with Michael on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.