3 Tasks to Delegate to Your Virtual Assistant

receptionist © by Petras Gagilas (2009)

Entrepreneurs are usually control freaks. "It's my baby!" exclaim countless budding entrepreneurs of their businesses. However, a desire to make everything perfect, combined with a fear of letting go of complete control, can sometimes hold a startup back.

I did it all wrong when I launched my first online community. I spent countless hours sending direct emails, building databases of contacts and getting bogged down in day-to-day demands. Yet after hiring a virtual assistant, I found myself with many more hours each day to focus on the strategic direction and overall health of my business.

At first, it's scary to give up control, but over the past few years, my virtual assistant has built up a list of over thirty tasks—some of them daily—that she is responsible for. Hiring a virtual assistant is probably the reason why I haven't gone insane as Wall Street Oasis has grown.

If you're considering hiring a VA but aren't sure what responsibilities you're ready to let go of, here are three important tasks my virtual assistant does that frees up my day for other endeavors:

  1. Conducting Correspondence. I used to keep track of people for Resume Reviews and check to make sure if they could take on a client. This was often stressful, time-consuming and tough to keep organized. Now, my virtual assistant is in charge of this process that requires tons of team correspondence—without involving me. Outsourcing this task saves me 5-10 hours per week.
  2. Promoting Content. While I try to stay actively involved in my community on a day-to-day basis, sometimes I don't have time to review every discussion and promote the most interesting and relevant discussions to the home page. Without fail, my virtual assistant promotes the best discussions to the home page and is able to identify the "hot topics" just as I would. Giving her the additional responsibility has delivered great results...and saving me another 5-10 hours per week.
  3. Monitoring Spammers. Even with a strict spam filter, manual spammers still get through on the site. We use crowdsourcing techniques that allow readers to report suspected spam, whichare queued into a list for someone to review. With a simple set of guidelines, my VA spends ten minutes a day to clean up the forums from any unwanted spam that has been flagged. Outsourcing this manual process saves me 1-2 hours per week.

These are only three of the primary tasks that my VA helps me with on a daily basis. I strongly suggest that you outsource any repetitive task that you find yourself doing, assuming you can't automate it (an even better option).  Stop holding onto the reins so tightly, let someone else handle the day-to-day tasks, and give yourself time figure out how you're going to lead your business to profitability. You'll be surprised how many opportunities turn up when you take your head out of the weeds.

Patrick Curtis founded and runs two popular online communities: WallStreetOasis.com for finance professionals, and jdOasis.com for legal professionals.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.

3 Responses to 3 Tasks to Delegate to Your Virtual Assistant

  1. Tina Hudson says:

    Patrick its is really refreshing to read this article and that Young Entrepreneur's have foresight to use our industry and know from the outset that its great business sense.

  2. Meg Stewart says:

    If your CFO (the money guy) was having difficulty seeing the value of bringing on a virtual assistant to support C-suite management, what kind of discussion would you have that would point out or additionally measure the value for the company in paying a VA salary?

    • Meg, just saw this question. If the "money guy" can't see it makes sense to hire competent people at $3/hour then I don't know what to tell you. If you can't add $3/hour worth of value to your business then there is something wrong. You'd be shocked at how many competent / bright people there are out there that are willing to work as independent contractors for whatever repetitive task you find yourself doing or anything that is eating up your time. Next time you find yourself with a free hour, do yourself a favor and go hire one off of elance.com or odesk.com for just something simple to start, like building a database or contact list. Good luck!

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