No two businesses are alike, and no two people are either, so it’s difficult to say “When X happens, hire a Virtual Assistant.” Some people will tell you to hire one immediately even if you're just starting your business. Others will tell you to wait until you're bringing in a profit. So, basically it's more of a personal preference and what you feel is right for you. However, there are definitely some telltale signs that you need to start outsourcing.
1. You can't keep up with email. You find yourself spending more and more time every day checking and answering email. You respond to someone asking about your services – because obviously it's important to connect with your prospects too and answer their questions – and then suddenly you find that you've lost 30 minutes of time going back and forth in an email conversation with them. It's time to hand this off to a VA who can answer for you or point them to (or create) a FAQ section on your website.
2. You spend hours trying to figure out how to do a single task. For an example, let's say you're not familiar with setting up an opt-in page, list, follow-up autoresponders, etc. You know it needs to be done so you decide to learn how to do it yourself. But after several hours of trying to figure things out you're not any closer to finishing the project that you were in the first place…and you're frustrated! Here’s a test you can use to determine if you should learn a skill or outsource it:
Will you have to do this task repeatedly? If so, it pays to learn it. If not, outsource it.
Do you want to learn how to do the task just because you love to learn (and have the time)? If so, go for it. If not, outsource it.
3. You're making little mistakes like spelling and grammar errors. Now, generally speaking this isn't a huge deal. After all, we're all human and it's normal to send out content to a mailing list or publish something on the web that has an error here and there. However if you're making more and more common mistakes like spelling/grammar errors, or forgetting to add that link, then it's time to bring on a VA and have them check this for you.
4. You find yourself not having time for family and friends. Probably one of the reasons you started your business in the first place was so you had more freedom to spend time with your friends and family. So, if you are at a place where you're 'chained' to your computer and find yourself saying no to family outings or lunch dates with friends, it's time to lighten your load and hire a VA.
5. You're behind on invoicing. You're so focused on running your business and making sure to devote your time to your clients so you can give them above and beyond what they expect, that you forget to send this month's invoices. Then you realise the cash flow seems to be on the scarce side. If you had a VA, you wouldn’t have to worry about it, and could concentrate on supporting your clients instead.
There are many other signs that would also suggest it's time to bring a VA into your business, but these are five of the most common. And if you haven't reached any of these places in your business, look at them as a 'warning' sign and hire a VA before you get to these points. You’ll be happy you did.