As a small business owner you are involved in all aspects of your business from bookkeeping and marketing to customer service. At some point you realize that it is no longer possible to do it all and still grow your business. How do you know when it's time to stop trying to do it all yourself? How do you determine what work to outsource and what to continue to do yourself? What if you're concerned about the financial investment?

First, have a look at the following checklist to determine if outsourcing is what you need now.

You know it's time to outsource when:
-You're burned out from working too many hours a day and too many days a week
-You feel like you can't take time away from your business and you don't (and friends and family are noticing this too)
-You are spending less time on your core revenue generating and business building tasks and it's costing you money
-Key administrative functions that keep your business running are not getting completed

If this sounds like you then it's time to hire someone. But first it's important to get clear about what you need help with. Here are some general guidelines.

Do outsource:
-The work that supports and builds ongoing relationships with your clients
-The back end work that contributes to the growth of your business, generates profits and passive streams of income

Some examples of these tasks are:
-Newsletter creation i.e. the formatting, set up and distribution; you supply the content
-Setting up and managing your shopping cart i.e. putting 'buy' buttons on your web site
-Creating/Managing your website
-Posting to your blog
-Handling customer support
-Article submissions
-Graphic design

As the business owner, you should continue to:
-Do the things that will help grow your business and the things you enjoy
-Speak with potential clients, attend networking events
-Plan and create your next product or service

How do you know if outsourcing makes financial sense?

You can determine what your hourly rate would be by dividing your monthly profits by the number of hours worked and compare that to the rate that you would be paying to outsource. Remember that it may take you twice as long as a Virtual Assistant to complete some of the tasks that you want to outsource.

What do I do next?

Now that you know what your needs are you can start looking for a reputable Virtual Assistant. Someone who will become a partner in your success and someone you will work with long term for a mutually beneficial working relationship. You may want to check with fellow business owners you know and respect for referrals. Do any clients or colleagues know of someone who might be able to help? You can also find assistants through VA associations, forums and social media sites.

You need to be willing to let go of the control and give them your trust. After the initial learning curve your assistant will know your business well enough to work proactively with little or no direction from you. When you outsource and stop trying to do it all yourself, you'll have the potential to become more productive, offer more services, increase revenue and grow your business to become more profitable.

Author's Bio: 

As a Business Support Specialist, Jennifer Hazlett provides offsite administrative help from her home based office to business owners with a multitude of office management and technical tasks, giving clients the expertise they need and more time to focus on growing their business. Sign up at Jennifer's website, Alternate Admin for your complimentary report "101 Ways to Boost Business with a Virtual Assistant".