“I am feeling overwhelmed and need a Virtual Assistant, but I just can’t afford one right now.”
I hear this frequently. But If you keep using the excuse that you can’t afford one, you will likely never be able to afford one. Why? Because there is only so much you can do to grow your business alone. There aren’t enough hours in your day for you to complete all of the “office work” and still focus enough time on revenue-generating activities. You may say you can work all day with your clients and then spend your evenings and weekends doing all your office work. When you keep doing this all the time on an ongoing basis, you’re going to get burnt out and that’s not a healthy result for you or for your business.
You ask a virtual assistant how much she or he charges an hour and the virtual assistant says they charge $40 an hour. You say you can’t afford that. Why? Because you think a virtual assistant works a 35-hour workweek. That is not true. You can use the services of a virtual assistant only as you need to and you don’t have any payroll obligations and employee benefits and you don't have to provide office space and equipment.
I’ll explain exactly how you can afford a virtual assistant in just a moment, but first I have a few questions for you to think over.
Do you have tasks on your to-do list that are carried over from one day to the next all the time and are just not getting done?
Are there consequences of not completing those tasks?
Are you turning away new clients because you simply don’t have enough time in your schedule to take on more billable work?
Do you feel overwhelmed because there just aren’t enough hours in your day to get everything done yourself?
Do you procrastinate on projects or tasks because you don’t have the skills and/or knowledge to use a certain computer application or because you don’t look forward to doing those projects or tasks?
If you can answer “yes” to all or any of these questions, these are very good reasons why you need to outsource or delegate that office work to a virtual assistant.
Make a list of these projects and tasks that are on your to do list and are not billable work including those that are constantly carried over from day to day.
Now write down how much time you spend on those projects or tasks.
Take a look at tasks that aren’t crossed off your to do list. Why are they still on your to do list?
You will see how many hours you are spending on office work and be able to figure out how much money you would make if you could use that time for billable work by reading through this example.
When you spend 3 or 4 hours on a project or task that a virtual assistant could get done in 1 or 2 hours, that’s 3 or 4 hours of your time not spent on billable work for your clients.
How much is your time worth? What do you charge per hour for the work you do?
Now calculate the following:
What is your hourly rate? $_______
How much revenue are you losing when you do office work yourself for 4 hours? $_______
When you spend that 4 hours of your time working with your clients and your virtual assistant is working on your office work, you are not only increasing your productivity but also generating more revenues for your business even when you pay your virtual assistant for the number of hours she or he spends on your office work.
When you outsource work to your virtual assistant and pay $40 an hour to get the work done, your virtual assistant completes the work in 2 hours. That’s $40 x 2 hours = $80
Now let’s say you charge your clients $100 an hour for work you do for them. While your virtual assistant is doing your office work for 2 hours and you are working with your clients on billable work for 2 hours, here’s what happens:
You earn $200 for 2 hours of billable work; you pay your virtual assistant $80 for 2 hours of work. And that's not all. If your virtual assistant does the work in 2 hours that would have taken you 4 hours to do, you just made another $200 from spending another 2 hours on your own billable work. Your total profit is $400 for 4 hours of work while you pay your virtual assistant $80 for the 2 hours it took for your virtual assistant to do the work.
$100 x 4 hours of your time = $400
$40 x 2 hours it took your virtual assistant to do the work = $80
Your profit: $400 - $80 = $320
So you see: You just gained $320 for your business because you spent 4 hours of your time on billable work instead of doing office work.
One other thing: You outsource work to your virtual assistant only when you need to.
For example, let’s say you outsource work today that takes your virtual assistant 4 hours to do and last week you outsourced work that took your virtual assistant 5 hours to do. You are paying your virtual assistant $40 an hour. Over a 2-week period, you pay your virtual assistant $40 x 9 hours = $360 while you still earn $100 an hour every day.
Let’s say you work 7 or 8 hours a day. Now calculate how much you would earn over a 2-week period while you pay a virtual assistant $360 for the work you just outsourced.
You can use the services of your virtual assistant on an “as need” basis. As an independent business support specialist and business owner, your virtual assistant also works with you on a monthly service retainer basis or a one-time project basis. When you have a virtual assistant who works with you on a monthly service retainer basis, this means you pay to use the services of a virtual assistant for a specific number of hours per month, usually at a discounted hourly rate.
So the next time you say you can’t afford a virtual assistant, consider how much your time is worth and how much you would pay a virtual assistant. Follow the steps in this blog to calculate how much you are paid per hour and how much you would pay per hour to a virtual assistant and how many hours per month would you need to use the services of a virtual assistant. You may find that you CAN afford to outsource to a virtual assistant after all.
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