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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.