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April 10, 2007

How to Hire Some Help (a Virtual Assistant) and Give Yourself a Raise

"There's no way I can hire anyone to do what I do. No one can do it as well as I can."

Do you resemble the person who utters that remark? If so, you've got much in common with most other business owners in the world. We never think that anyone else will give something the time, attention, and dedication that we will. And, you're right, to some degree.  No one cares as much about your business as you do. However, if you don't choose to delegate those things that prevent you from engaging in business development, marketing, and sales activities, you won't be in business very long.
 
Whether you're just starting out in real estate or have been in business for awhile, the thought of bringing on a support team member can be daunting, and you wonder, "How can I bring in someone else when it's just going to increase my expenses?"  You need to make the shift to seeing this cost as an investment in your business, rather than as an expense, and let go of the need to be in control.  

I recently read about a recent industry statistic, which stated that for every additional support team member employed in a small professional services firm, the firm experienced a 40% increase in gross revenues. Why does this increase occur? Because your support team takes work away from you, which allows you to focus on increasing revenues -- either by making more sales or working on the marketing systems that will lead to more sales.

I realize this sounds overly simplistic. If you want to increase your revenues by 40%, simply employ someone on your support team. Of course, it is not that simple in reality.  Hiring a support team requires you to trust your own judgment and ability to use this extra time to generate more revenues.

And that's the key here -- if you hire a support person and keep doing what you're doing, the concept won't work. You have to hire the person and ensure that you're taking on the role of business development.  The best way to illustrate this is to look at your "lost opportunity" costs. Say, for example, you're a marketing consultant, and you charge $175 per hour.  Yesterday, your ACT! database was malfunctioning, and it took you seven hours to fix the problem and do the mail merge and printing and mailing of your sales letter to the new list of 100 prospective customers that you just purchased. Do you realize that seven hours really cost you $1,225? How? Your hourly rate of $175/hour multiplied by the number of hours it took you to do this task (7) equals $1,225.

What would have been more effective? Finding a great virtual Assistant to do this for you in half the time for a portion of your hourly fee, if you had hired the expertise of a masterfully skilled Virtual Assistant charging $45/hour, for example, my guess is that she probably could have completed the project in a portion of the time, say four hours, for a final cost to you of $180. Big cost savings over the $1,225 it cost you to do the same project. With that project off your plate, you then have the time to go out seeking more $175/hour opportunities.

Amazing, isn't it? For a $180 investment, for example, you now have the time to complete the marketing proposal for a new homes development. A week later, the builder of the new homes project calls and tells you that they've accepted the proposal valued at $100,000 in income over the course of the year. Would you have had time to complete that proposal if you had not handed off this ACT database project?  Perhaps, but I bet it would have forced you to work late into the night to complete it.

What Can A Virtual Assistant Do For Me?
  • Answer the telephone
  • Forward calls
  • Take messages
  • Create web sites
  • Make appointments
  • Fill out necessary forms
  • Deliver information and forms
  • Make and deliver copies of a public record
  • Write and place advertising in the newspaper and other forms of publication
  • Type forms
  • Perform company bookkeeping
  • Arrange for and oversee repairs
  • Collect demographic information
  • Solicit interest in engaging the services of your business
  • Make cold calls
  • Make follow up calls
  • Organize meetings
  • Perform clerical duties
  • Hand out preprinted information
  • Distribute company information
  • Deliver paperwork
  • Contact management
  • Drip marketing campaigns
  • Personal tasks such as ordering groceries or making flight arrangements
  • Many other duties too numerous to mention here
What operational aspects of your business could you delegate to someone else? If you had extra time, how could you increase the revenues of your business? Give these questions strong consideration you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

(Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online.)
 

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