How a VA can save you money
Start by looking at it as an investment – and what return you can get from that investment.
Yes, hiring a VA has costs with it (as much as I’d love to work for free, alas, sadly I also have bills to pay); however, you should look at it as an investment rather than a cost. How much can you charge for your time if you are not working in your business? What could you do with your day if you could have an hour back each day?
This is the most obvious way that I save clients’ money. I free up their time on those necessary but ultimately time-consuming tasks. From document formatting, email management, sorting through expense receipts, to more skilled tasks such as bookkeeping and design work, these are the jobs we know need to be done, but all too often get pushed to the bottom of the pile. My clients get to actually tick items off their to-do-list, making what’s left more manageable. They also get at least an hour a day back, which they can invest either in themselves or on the business, instead of being tied up in it. Win, win.
However, as a general rule, when people start to look for a VA, they’re normally at a point when they really need help. As entrepreneurs, we are all guilty of it. I’ve written and re-written content for a press piece before, spent hours on it, before finally giving in and outsourcing the job to a copywriter. Not only did they get my tone of voice, but also said exactly what I was trying to ineptly say much more eloquently. That’s their job and most importantly their skill set.
It is often quite possible that by the time you start to think about outsourcing, other tasks may have been overlooked or slipped through the net. Here are some other, less obvious ways that I have managed to save clients money:
1 Inbox detox
This doesn’t sound like the most obvious place to start for money saving, but you’d be surprised. I’ve found renewals that clients didn’t think they were still subscribed to, historic domain names that they no longer wanted or needed (this saved one client over £800 in a month!). Even by organising, filing, and filtering what’s been kept to date, will save you time (and therefore money) when you next need to lay your hands on a specific email or attachment.
2 Sorting through expenses and bookkeeping
If this is a task you put off time and time again, then look to outsource it. If you’ve got months’ worth of accounts to go through, then how can you be sure that your clients have all paid you? The short answer is you can’t. I recently found historic invoices from almost nine-months ago that were unpaid for one client. Getting paid shouldn’t be like a mini lottery win as and when you reconcile your accounts. Trust me it especially won’t feel like a lottery win if you have to chase for that payment. You should know what you have coming in (or at least what to expect) each month.
3 Investing time in checking and pricing annual renewals
Ever just renewed a policy because the price seemed okay? By investing time in comparing things like insurance, broadband, and other service providers you can not only ensure you’re paying the best price but also getting the right package and therefore best value. Has any element of your business changed in the last year? Are you offering a new service or no longer offering one? After making a quick call to a landscape gardeners’ insurance broker, her insurance went down by over £300 a year, because she was no longer offering a service that required working at a height of more than 10 metres. If you don’t have the time, ask your VA if they can help you.
4 Review of systems and tech
What tech, apps and subscriptions services do you use? How many did you research before picking one and how recent was that? I covered this recently in 3 Top Tips for Working with a VA Effectively and although I’m not hugely techy, I went through the systems I use on a regular basis. By regular, I mean either daily or weekly. There were over fifty! Now, I am not professing to be an expert in all of those BUT, I know the benefits of Mailerlite over MailChimp or Lastpass over Dashlane. I’ve got experience of actually using them, knowledge of their benefits, often in both the free and paid versions. There is nothing wrong in using a system recommended by a friend, but unless that friend is involved in your business, then it’s hard for them to know the full picture. Your VA often has a clearer insight into this and can often recommend a slight tweak or change of package, that can improve the way you’re currently working and potentially save you money too.
So, just like with other aspects of your business, don’t look at the black and white of the costs alone, look at the whole picture. Work out what it is you want or need help with, and then work out what your return of investment will be when you have that support.
Not sure if you are ready yet? Check out my blog How do you know if you’re ready to work with a VA? to find out.