Why Are You Doing
By Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen"
One problem I often
see with solo professionals is that their businesses aren't growing
because they're simply not making enough time to do it!
It's not that they
don't understand the value of those efforts, or they don't WANT to
make the time. It's that they're simply trying to do too much by themselves.
They're so busy running their business that they're not working ON
Are You Spending
All Your Time on the Little Stuff?
Owning your own business
requires wearing a lot of hats. But it seems that when many people
leave their jobs to "go solo," they think they must work
completely solo as well. They insist on doing everything themselves
-- even tasks they know darn well they're not good at.
They try in vain
to design their own Web sites and brochures, write their own sales
copy, process their own orders, manage their own mailing list, personally
respond to every customer call and e-mail, ship their own products,
and more. Pretty soon they're running around like that proverbial
What eventually happens
is their love for their work -- the reason they started their own
business in the first place -- drowns in a flood of administrative
trivia. Suddenly one morning they wake up feeling burnt out and without
that positive, creative energy they used to have.
When this happened
to me a few years ago, I was lucky to learn about virtual assistants
(VAs). VAs are freelancers who take care of all that "busy work"
for entrepreneurs like us. Because VAs are independent themselves,
they work on an as-needed basis from their own homes or offices, saving
you the cost and hassle of hiring a regular office assistant.
I now have two VAs
-- Liz, who lives in Boston, and Julie, who lives in Iowa. And I can't
live without them!
What Could YOU Delegate
to a VA?
During next week,
keep a log of all your activities. Then sit down and review it. Decide
which activities are truly ones that only you can do and which you
For example, here
are some of the tasks I delegate to my VAs:
* Responding to customer e-mails and phone calls
* Scheduling business and personal appointments and interviews
* Bookkeeping: invoicing clients, receiving and paying bills, reconciling
bank statements, tracking expenses and tax records, working with my
accountant (This was my favorite to delegate!)
* Internet research and fact checking
* Planning my travel for speaking engagements and seminars
* Maintaining my e-zine and customer mailing lists
* Managing my e-zine ad sales
* Handling registrations for my teleclasses/workshops
* Maintaining my Web site (copy edits, additions)
* Creating sales reports
* Shipping customer orders and shipping products to anywhere I'm speaking.
* Submitting my articles to other publishers and article sites
* Placing ads in publications and at Web sites.
* Formatting e-books, creating PDF files, and sending out for printing.
* Designing PowerPoint presentations
And I don't stop
there. Liz and Julie have also been happy to help me with personal
stuff like researching vacations, shopping around for car insurance,
and reminding me of birthdays and other important dates. Thanks to
these two amazing gals, I save my time and energy only for my "genius
Worried You Don't
Have the Budget?
The good news is
you're not hiring your VA full time. A VA only charges you for the
hours she actually works. Although VA rates may be more than you'd
pay an administrative employee (usually $30-50 per hour), you don't
have the added expenses of employee benefits, office space, and equipment.
You're also getting someone who has years of experience, who loves
what she does, who already has her own desk, chair, computer, software,
fax, phone, stapler, and pens, and who's ready to leap in and start
work as soon as you are.
Keep in mind that
having a VA will IMMENSELY free up your time to focus on the stuff
that matters: marketing and growing your business, developing bold
new product ideas and income streams, and servicing your larger clients.
You'll think much bigger and will have much more creative energy.
I guarantee it!
Look for a VA That
Matches Your Needs
If you're looking
for a long-term partner who is committed to helping you succeed (and
I was), look for someone who's graduated from a VA training program
such as AssistU (www.AssistU.com).
That's where I found both Liz and Julie, and I highly recommend it.
Another resource is the International Virtual Assistants Association.
Don't wait until
it's too late! Most people put off hiring a VA until they "hit
the wall." Things like overdue bills, a messy office, late projects,
and unreturned phone calls add up until their business almost collapses.
Take action NOW and
at least learn more about getting some help. It will be a big relief,
(See my program "How
to Find, Hire, and Work With Your First Assistant" at www.ezinequeen.com/assistanttele.htm
Alexandria K. Brown
WANT TO USE THIS
ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include
this blurb with it: Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown, "The
E-zine Queen," is creator of the award-winning 'Boost Business
With Your Own E-zine' system. To learn more about this step-by-step
program, and to sign up for her FREE how-to articles and FREE audio
class, visit www.EzineQueen.com