As your VA business starts to grow, things get busy.
It can be tempting to add team members to your business in an effort to grow faster or to manage your growth rate.
But there is a right time and place, and a right way to add subcontractors to your business.
Many Virtual Assistants don’t think about the structure that needs to be in place to bring in others to their business – and flying by the seat of your pants is definitely not the best way to get started with subcontractors or team members.
Here are five mistakes VAs make when adding subcontractors to their business (and how to avoid them!).
Not enough experience.
If you have been in business for less than a year, it’s not a good idea to grow past just doing the client work yourself. There are many things that you need to work out as a business owner, and waiting at least a couple of years before you bring new people in is a better plan. A lot of VAs get anxious in the beginning stages of their business about building a huge team, and while that is a great longer-term goal, it is best to work with your clients directly and make sure that you develop the best customer service possible before expanding your team.
Not enough profit margin.
Are you charging enough to be able to pay someone else? If you haven’t built your rates using a team model, you might struggle with what you can afford to pay subcontractors and still make a profit. Of course, you still have to do the admin part of the business, too, so remember your rates now have to pay yourself and the subcontractor. You need to adjust your rates accordingly before you decide to bring in team members so that you can pay a good rate to those doing the work and still cover yourself, too.
No back-up ability or oversight expertise.
Some VAs think it is a good idea to bring people on to their team who can provide services other than those they know how to do themselves. For instance, a general VA might talk about bringing a social media expert in to handle that service for their clients. This is not usually a good idea because if you can’t do the work the sub is doing, you should not be offering it to your clients. Remember that the client is hiring you and your company – and when you don’t have the expertise to provide the skill that is going under your company name, it can end badly.
No standard way of doing things.
Having procedures and processes in place is essential before you bring anyone in to do work for your clients. You have to hold everyone to the same standard of work that you provide for your clients. That means they have to do things your way. There are often many ways to do things, so you need to be sure to detail your procedures for every task for anyone that will be providing work for your clients. This takes some time to produce, but once you have it in place, then you can have people follow your procedures and the sub can keep them updated as necessary.
No management skills.
If you are not good at project management, it is not a good idea to bring subcontractors onto your team. When you bring others in to do the work, you will end up doing less VA work and more admin and management. You will need to oversee what everyone else is working on, keep them on task, keep their billable time on track, and verify that everything is being done to your standards. It is very different from working on your own and can lead to a lot more headaches than a lot of VAs think.
So, is it a bad idea to expand your business to hire subcontractors? Of course not. If you have an established business, are a good manager, and have your procedures and rates set up well and ready to go, it can be a really great way to grow your business well without it leading to burnout for you. Many hands make light work.
Just make sure you do the work first to get your business ready to bring new people in!
Tracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.