Updated: Jun 3
Recently, I had an unfortunate experience when I found a virtual assistance service that proved to be a significant letdown. I was referred to this program by a business owner who had more success with it and decided to give it a try. At the time, my business was particularly busy and I was really hoping the virtual assistant program would become my saving grace. As most small business owners know, it is both difficult to ask for help and to find someone who can help.
In this blog post, I want to the benefits of what I learned and the solution to the business problem. Lucky for you business owners, SS loves to share what we learned and why I decided to train employees instead hopes of helping other small business owners.
How It Started with Finding the Virtual Assistant Program
The beginning of the program made me feel confident in how finding a virtual assistant could help my business grow. During the consultation, I was told about how the program managed the employee and would help keep me in the loop on project updates. I had to invest a lot of time in the set-up, but I thought the investment would maximize my efforts down the road. My investment included setting up a project management system, sharing my business and marketing plans, sharing my branding information and providing other content via the project management system. I assigned some tasks to the virtual assistant that were completed on time and things were starting off smoothly!
Where It Went Wrong With Finding a Virtual Assistant
The Frustration of Ineffective Virtual Assistance: As things got busier, I wasn't watching for project updates from my virtual assistant as much as I knew my tasks had been assigned and I hoped these tasks were being taken care of. One of the benefits of hiring this company, or so I thought, was that the employee would be managed by their supervisors. There were 5 people on my project boards, plus me! Somehow, deadlines were consistently missed, projects were left incomplete, and the overall quality of work fell far short of expectations. Overall, the venture had many more complications than solutions.
The Need for Qualified Employees: Determined to find a more reliable solution, I decided to invest in hiring qualified employees who could handle the administrative and design work in-house. It became clear that having a dedicated team of professionals was essential to ensure timely project completion and maintain the desired level of quality. While the initial investment required time and resources, I realized that the long-term benefits outweighed the risks associated with outsourcing to a virtual assistance service. I started on my way to developing job descriptions for at least two people in order to help with our workload.
Building a Reliable and Trustworthy Team: Investing in employees not only resolved the issues I faced with finding the virtual assistant service but also allowed me to build a reliable and trustworthy team. By carefully selecting individuals who possessed the right skills and work ethic, I created a cohesive and dedicated workforce. This sense of camaraderie and shared vision fostered a work environment where everyone was committed to achieving common goals, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity.
what Happened Next?
Next, the work started over. I recycled the information that I gathered for the Virtual Assistant and started making updates to my business SOPs. I rewrote my business processes, such as my consultation, proposal, initial start-up, and other steps, in a virtual notebook. In this notes is the key to performing almost every detail of my process.
When finding the right people who could be a part of the SS team, we searched for individuals who are passionate, willing to learn and able to grow. We understood these roles needed to be filled by people who could think innovatively and work collaboratively. Most importantly, from my perspective, as a business owner, I needed to know that I could trust this new team with my life. I look at my business as my life's collective work and those who are a part of this community must understand how contributions reflect on my overall vision for the future.
The fun part happened... we multiplied! We have a well-rounded team of four marketing professionals who contribute to Stack Strategies Co.
Robert's been partnering with SS since January of 2021 assisting with branding, website and business building projects. Robert has partnered with SS on some of our favorite projects and continues to expand our reach pursuing unique business opportunities for our company.
Sydney started training with SS in the fall of 2022 learning the in-depth details behind Travefy and email marketing along with other various marketing systems we support. She, now, takes on project creation independently and is launching her own email marketing program with SS!
Hope started working part-time as an Administrative Assistant and has quickly proven her effectiveness for helping our company run smoothly while managing behind-the-scenes critical roles. She's always up to handle any challenge!
What Can You Learn From This?
In the true spirit of the Stack Strategies Marketing Blog, we hope that you can always take away educational tips based on our experience as a digital marketing company. Here are some key take aways from our experience...
Get started by identifying at least 10 tasks that you could assign to a person. These tasks must be able to be learned (based on your guidance and/or online research). Some of these tasks should be re-occurring.
Draft step-by-step directions on how to perform these tasks. We call these Standard Operating Procedures.
Save links to videos about completing these tasks.
Write a draft of a job description, position goals, and review terms.
Prepare an NDA and other needed contracts for employment.
Consider what this role's title would be and how much you would be willing to compensate this person.
Remember, you get what you pay for, in terms of quality. Good employees are usually motivated by compensation.
Consider how you will pay this person. For example, I had to upgrade my QuickBooks subscription to pay contractors.
Be ready to teach, manage, and provide contractive criticism. Good managers check-in more than assigning and reviewing.
Keep learning about being a good manager and leader. Don't stop.
From one business owner to another, I'm happy we have each other to stick together! Finding a virtual assistant may have proved to be a mistake, but I am happy to have found new opportunities that are worthwhile.
It's the not-so-good-days that make the good days even better! Have a great week everyone.
Stack Strategies Co. is an online digital marketing company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Stack Strategies creates custom WIX websites, travel agent websites with Travefy, and email email automation and digital tools on a variety of platforms! SS leads the way in small business marketing by sharing tips and tricks on our Behind the Strategies Marketing Blog. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Alignable for business-building inspiration. Or contact SS for your next project!