Looking to Outsource in Your VA Business? Plan Ahead to Keep Yourself Sane

When you started your virtual assistant business you had a plan, a business plan. You gave your plan a lot of thought, shared it with family and friends for feedback and just generally polished it to a fine sheen. Your perfect business plan very likely mentioned something about future expansion. Now is the time to put those plans in place.

The best time to think about expanding your business is before it actually happens. Then, you can put your plan into action much more quickly and seamlessly. Part of expanding is outsourcing.

Now you are ready for a virtual assistance team. You began your business as a team of one, but now you are happily getting too busy to maintain your business as a one-man or one-woman show. To keep moving upward, you’ll need others to make it happen.

Choosing your Virtual Assistance Team

The team will be comprised mostly of other virtual assistants. These aren’t just any virtual assistants – they think like you do and have a similar work ethic. Just like your clients did with you, you’ll want to do some research and interviewing to find just the right people.

You may have already thought about what jobs you will outsource. Keeping it simple is a good way to start until you get a feel for how the team will work together. Interviewing is only the first step. Keep in mind that you may want to outsource more complicated and time intensive tasks as you grow more comfortable with your team. Look for a variety of skills in the people that you choose for your team. The more skills that they have, the more useful they will turn out to be to you and the more hours they will be able to plan on setting aside each week and month for your work.

But, keep in mind that skill sets are not the only important thing on your laundry list of team member attributes. Responsiveness is also critical. No matter what the skill level of your new team member is, if you can't depend on this person or you spend what seems to be an unreasonable amount of time chasing them down, this is not a good fit. This is where your research and interviewing come in. Once you have interviewed your potential new team member, it is absolutely vital that you also interview people who have worked with them, either as a client or as another virtual service professional.

Starting off on the Right Foot

Get all of your ducks in a row from the beginning. This includes contracts, agreements and instructions. Each virtual assistant will need a contract that spells out, but is not limited to: pay per hour, pay schedule, job description. Agreements between you and your subcontracting VAs stipulating confidentiality and non-compete clauses are essential. You don’t want to be fleeced for your client list right under your nose.

Written instructions about how to do what you ask avoids as many mistakes as possible later. Even though your subcontractors know how to write a report, they don’t know how you write reports for your clients. Pleasing your clients is the important part here.

In order to avoid time wasting back and forth exchanges, take the time to build your business manual where you have documented just how you approach specific tasks such as social media marketing, article submissions, teleseminars and conference calls etc., so you don't have to re-build these instructions for each new client or each new team member. Simply change out the clients name and login instructions and voila!

Crossing all the T's

One “T” in particular is taxes. You are not just responsible for yourself but others who work for you. Hiring subcontractors is considered freelancing. This is another area that needs to be specified in any contracts with your team. As a subcontractor, they will be responsible for their own taxes and insurance. What you will provide (for American workers) is a 1099-MISC form for them that specify what you pay them so that they can use it to file their taxes.

The cost of subcontracting will figure into your hourly or per project rate for your clients. The last thing you want to do is undercut yourself because you are paying your contractors more than you are getting paid yourself.

Planning ahead for business growth will make you healthy, wealthy and wise.

Author's Bio: 

Denise Griffitts

Virtual Assistance Industry Expert

Web Developer - Your Office On The Web

Serial Online Entrepreneur - Denise Griffitts.com

Host of "Your Partner In Success" Radio Show