Think You Can’t Afford an Online Business Manager or VA? Maybe You Can

Hiring an online business manager (OBM) or virtual assistant is a big decision, but could you be overthinking the financial side of it? This is a question only you can ultimately answer. 

Having said that, if you keep getting stuck on the question of, “How much is a virtual assistant,” maybe you should look into the answer. You may have thought about hiring an online manager, virtual assistant or VA team for a while now. Even so, you’re having trouble taking the final step of following through. 

Perhaps you’re struggling with several hidden fears or doubts that could be holding you back from a positive decision. Here are a few thoughts if you’re experiencing some worries over the virtual assistant price tag.

It Could Be Time to Scale Your Company

If it’s time to grow, that old saying, “You have to spend money to make money” is applicable here. Having fears about overspending certainly is a healthy trait to have as a business leader or owner. At the same time, playing it too safe may hurt your profits down the road.

“Ask most entrepreneurs and they’ll say they waited too long to get help — and that while waiting too long might have saved money, it also slowed the growth of their companies,” says Craig Bloem in his Inc. article entitled 4 Things You Must Spend Money on as a New Business.

You need the resources to grow your business to the next level. And sometimes that means spending money on talent now so your results can improve later. If your intuition tells you it’s time to grow, now could be the right time to get the virtual support you need.

Your Discomfort Could Be a Clue

Weigh this one carefully. You generally don’t want to go against your ‘gut feeling’. Still, business growth is rarely comfortable. If you feel discomfort at the idea of hiring a VA or OBM, that could be because courage is needed at the moment. You have to make the right decision in your discomfort.

Much like a middle school boy who goes through a major growth spurt may need new shoes and clothes, you may need to make adjustments for business growth. Sure getting ‘clothes and shoes’ is costly, uncomfortable and inconvenient now. However, ‘staying in those old clothes’ will eventually be even more so.

Sometimes, it just comes down to which discomfort you’d rather have. The ever-increasing discomfort of staying where you’re at or the discomfort of accommodating growth.

Perhaps You Can’t Afford to Pass on a Virtual Support

Have you lost too much time mired in the details when you could’ve been at the helm of your business? Deep down, you know you need to be looking at the big picture and casting the vision for your company. 

Your reality may look much different though. You find your day taken up with managing people and projects. You also get bogged down with pushing papers, paying bills, social media and sending yet another email. And your greatest potential is taking a hit as a result.

You’re Thinking in the Framework of Your Current Finances

You may be looking at how much you have to work with monetarily and figure it’s a ‘no go’. Part of that could be because you’re thinking of your finances where they’re at now instead of imagining how they could improve with virtual support. That added productivity may easily pay for the virtual assistant help you decide on.

You Could Be Thinking Too All-Or-Nothing

In other words, a major barrier you may be facing is you think you have to ‘go all out’ or go home when it comes to virtual support. You have to either do the VA or online manager thing super big or not at all. We all can be prone to all-or-nothing thinking at times, but it’s not always helpful.

For instance, you can always start small with virtual help and build up more support over time. This is a great strategy to try initially in some situations. As your company continues to grow, you can add additional VA help as you need it.

How Can an Online Business Manager, VA or Virtual Team Help?

At Smart to Finish, that’s a question we love to answer. And since every company is a little different, so is the solution. The virtual assistant skills and services we offer are many as well.

The best way to find out the specifics is to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us. We can accommodate most budgets and work hard to be the best virtual assistant company money can buy. We look forward to meeting you and sharing about the benefits of a virtual assistant, VA team or manager online!

Looking for the Cheapest and Best Virtual Assistant? Why It’ll Cost You More

Many businesses search high and low for the best virtual assistant at basement rates. You know, the genie-in-the-bottle type who’ll offer ‘dollar menu’ prices while magically transforming your fledgling or thriving business into an empire. Although that sounds like a match made in heaven, you’ll pay more in the long run.

Think this is just a gimmick to get you to pay more for virtual assistant services? With all the ads out there for nearly ‘free’ virtual assistants, it’s not surprising if you’re tempted to believe that. The myth is that ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to other areas of life. The virtual assistant industry, however, is somehow magically exempt.

Just Google ‘cheap virtual assistant’ and see what turns up. And while the shoestring budget route may seem alluring, you’d better have some migraine medicine handy (and deep pockets readily available). Here’s why you’ll pay more for cheap VA services.

Mass Job Platforms Make Client/Virtual Assistant Communication Clunky

Communication is key when it comes to getting the most out of your virtual assistant experience. The most qualified virtual assistant or virtual team in the world will disappoint if the tasks needed aren’t properly understood and carried out. 

Many businesses rush to mass job platforms notorious for offering VA help at cheap rates. But because mass job platforms often thrive on keeping your VA’s identity a secret, inferior communication can result. Also, the interfaces can be poorly suited for optimal mutual understanding. The process can also feel less personal. In the end, the quality of your work can suffer.

Finding a ‘Deal’ Takes A lot of Time

The reality is there are a few good VAs out there at cheap prices. The problem is, you may have to work with a dozen (or more) VAs before you find one who can deliver what you desire.

You’ll also lose a lot of time you could’ve spent with your family, keeping healthy or pursuing your greater life purpose. And time will always be more valuable than money.

While it’s easy to think going cheap is a good idea, it really isn’t. Think about all of those hours you’ll spend looking for a ‘cheap’ virtual assistant. Then, think of all the money you’ll likely spend on VAs who don’t work out. And once you finally find the ‘perfect’ virtual assistant, they could be gone. Here’s why.

The Good VAs Don’t Charge Pennies for Long

Why might your ‘perfect’ and ‘cheap’ virtual assistant be gone once you’ve finally hit ‘pay dirt’? Because quality VAs don’t get into the profession to pay half of their bills while helping businesses pay all of theirs. 

Sure, a talented VA may take a few low-paying gigs at first to sharpen their skills. But they’ll quickly move on to greener pastures as soon as the right opportunity comes along. Good VAs know the value they provide and look for clients who recognize what they have to offer.

If Your VA Isn’t Paid Fairly, Their Work Will Suffer

Sometimes businesses forget something. Virtual assistants, like everyone else, need stability to function well. They do their best work when they’re treated fairly. Paying a virtual assistant way below fair pay will mean they’ll be more focused on their finances (or lack thereof) than your business needs.

It also means they won’t be able to spend as much time on your project. At the lowest rates, cutting corners or even pirating work to turn some semblance of a profit is a concern too. Virtual assistant scams abound at the lowest paying levels.

The Best Virtual Assistant Company Has High-Quality Standards

In summary, cheap virtual support coupled with high-quality virtual assistance skills is largely a farce. You almost certainly won’t get the best work your company needs and deserves if you look for ‘bargains’.

In his “Entrepreneur” article entitled Don’t Be the Cheapest, Be the Best, Mike Templeman shares that, “People are willing to pay for quality.” 

At Smart to Finish, we agree with Templeman. Our goal is to be the best at what we do. We aren’t competing with our competitors on price (someone will always be cheaper). 

Instead, our virtual support team strives for excellence and to be the best VA service money can buy. We possess strong communication skills and are experts at a wide variety of tasks to ensure your business achieves its fullest potential.

Whether you need a single virtual assistant, a virtual team or an online business manager, we can deliver the best for you. If you’d like to learn more, you can reach out to us for a free 30-minute consultation

The benefits of a virtual assistant are many. Whether you’ve been asking yourself, “How much is a virtual assistant,” or, “What is a virtual assistant and what do they do,” we can provide solid answers. 

Tired of Juggling Private Contractors? A Virtual Assistant Team Can Help

Tired of Juggling Private Contractors? A Virtual Assistant Team Can Help

If you’re like many businesses, not all the tasks you need completed are done in-house. This could be due to temporary staff shortages, the need for extra help during a product launch or the need for specialized skills.

Hiring freelancers is a great way to get help from on-demand experts but it can be challenging to manage private contractors once you have several working for you. That’s where a virtual assistant team can help.

“Having a VA team can be the best thing you’ve ever done for your business,” says Melissa Smith in her article for Medium entitled, 7 Tips to Build the Best Virtual Assistant Team.

Here are a few key ways a virtual assistant team can solve the multiple private contractor challenge.

Project Unity

Working with several contractors on projects that overlap can sometimes be like trying to make different jigsaw puzzles fit together in a coherent manner. Private contractors may not always agree with the same plan of action or meld well.

Working with a virtual assistant team can eliminate a lot of needless frustration. You’ll have a team of virtual assistants working together on different aspects of a project and communicating with each other along the way. You can also have your own online manager through the virtual assistant company to oversee your project.

They’ll connect the dots so you don’t have to. This also provides accountability and encouragement for each team member to give their best to the larger, overarching project.

More Convenient Payments

Paying your hourly employees tends to be more automatic than paying your contractors. With your hourly employees, there’s consistency. With your private contractors, things can be quite sporadic.

Making payments to contractors from different companies can be easy to overlook with all the other demands you face each day. Making a bunch of additional payments can also turn into a time drain.

Hiring a team of virtual assistants from the same company can streamline this process. Not only is it easier to make payments, but it’s also far easier to keep track of your spending, helping you to stay within your budget.

Could a Virtual Assistant Team Be the Answer to Your Outsourcing Needs?

At Smart to Finish, we’re committed to being the best virtual assistant team available. We can complete a surprising variety of tasks for you, freeing up your time and helping you build revenue. Our team can even be your online business manager.

If you’d like to learn how our virtual assistant services can help to build your business dreams, feel free to reach out to us. Whether you need an online manager for your hourly employees and contractors, marketing help, extra support for a product launch, or more, Smart to Finish is here for you. We’ll provide a free 30-miute consultation to discuss how we could best make a positive difference in your business.

What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant

What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant

You’re finally sold on the value of getting help for your business from a virtual assistant. While that may seem like the end of the discussion, it’s actually just the beginning. The
type of support you receive could make the difference between excellent results and a bunch of work you’ll have to fix later on.

How can you keep from getting burned? First, go with a reputable virtual assistant company. Secondly, give it a try in small doses to start to see if it’s a good fit. Beyond that, there are some characteristics to look for to help you decide if you’ve found a “winner.” Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider how to find a virtual assistant.

Honesty

When it comes to intellectual property, integrity is everything. You need a remote administrative assistant or virtual assistant you have complete confidence in. The alternative is far too risky. You need a good idea of when work will be delivered and what specifically will be delivered per your agreement. You also need to know your private information will be kept confidential and safe.

Versatility

These days, the sheer number of different tasks waiting to be completed at your business can be overwhelming. For instance, successful marketing strategies for businesses have grown more complex. You typically see the best results from a blend of different strategies.

The best virtual assistant will possess a variety of skills. Also, going back to the honesty trait, your virtual assistant should be transparent when they’re not skilled in a specific task you need accomplished.

This is why it’s great to work with a virtual assistant team where the company culture exhibits the traits you’re looking for. That way, you’ll be able to get help from different virtual assistants based on their skill sets. The end result will turn out much better.

Professional Rates

It won’t take you long in your virtual assistant search to find cheap rates. Why not shop for a drastic bargain? Because your results will almost certainly suffer if you do. Those low-ball virtual assistant companies have to make money somehow and that means cutting corners.

The best-case-scenario is you could end up with poor quality work. The worst? You might receive pirated “work” that places you in legal trouble, have sensitive information stolen from your company or a dishonest accounting of hours worked.

Do professional rates always mean you’ve found a great fit. No. But they’re usually a good indicator that your virtual assistant cares enough about great results to charge realistic rates.

Friendliness

It’s not just about completing your to-do list with your virtual assistant. That process should also be enjoyable and feel like a team effort. Human interactions affect us all either positively or negatively. For that reason, choose someone who’s friendly as your virtual assistant.

In her Entrepreneur article, Ten Qualities You Need to Keep Your Virtual Assistant Clients Happy, Shelby Larson shares the following advice to virtual assistants about friendliness:

“Having rapport with your clients will take you further than you could imagine.”

Could Hiring a Virtual Assistant Benefit Your Business?

At Smart to Finish, we work tirelessly to be the best virtual assistant and virtual assistant team available. We can be your manager online, overseeing a variety of administrative tasks.

Could you use some help with your business? Whether you need an online business manager, a virtual marketing assistant or more, we have you covered. Our virtual assistant company can complete a variety of tasks to ensure your business continues to thrive.

Are you interested in what we can do for you? Feel free to get in touch to set up a 30-minute free consultation with us.

What is Laissez-Faire Leadership and Its Benefits?

What is Laissez-Faire Leadership and Its Benefits?

Laissez-faire leadership can be a scary venture for a business (especially initially). It can feel like you’re a passenger on the plane you own while somebody else flies the aircraft. Sure, you can get many other essential tasks done while someone else operates the controls, but what if the pilot goofs up? Those who conquer this fear of failure, can reap many benefits for their business along the way by taking this approach, however. Just what is the laissez-faire leadership style and why should you care? In honor of National Delegation Day (coming up on August 28th), let’s go a little more in-depth on the topic.

What is the Laissez-Faire Leadership Style?

Also known as the delegating leadership style or free-reign leadership, this model only gives guidance to staff that’s deemed the most necessary. The belief is employees will do their best work if they’re free to find their unique solutions to challenges and work demands. The laissez-faire leader can experience a number of positive results. What are some benefits of delegative leadership? Let’s take a look.

Makes Sense When Your Staff has the Skills Needed for Success

Back to that airplane analogy, you’ll feel far more comfortable handing the controls over to someone who knows what they’re doing. This can be a tough balance because there will always be more skills your staff could learn. There needs to be some established trust before the laissez-faire approach will work. This is a great leadership style to use when you hire known experts (or up-and-coming ones). The best approach is to allow them to solve problems you can’t. Sure, provide some accountability, but you don’t want to cramp their style either.

Creative Fields are a Great Place to Use Laissez Faire Leadership

Delegative leadership doesn’t work best in all scenarios. And there are certain settings where laissez-faire leaders will thrive better than in others. For example, creative fields such as ones that deal with design tend to operate better under a laissez-faire model. In her article for Very Well Mind entitled, “What is Laissez-Faire Leadership?,” Kendra Cherry shares the following: “Working in a creative field where people tend to be highly motivated, skilled, creative, and dedicated to their work can be conducive to obtaining good results with this style.”

Works Well When Your Projects Are at the Right Stage

Although laissez faire means “hands-off”, to say it should be completely that way in your business would be an exaggeration. A better description is that it’s generally meant to be hands-off. To be successful in your business, you may need to employ different leadership styles at different times. For instance, the start of a project may require more direction and oversight. However, once you get further into that same project, you may get more satisfying results by giving a lot more autonomy to your staff.

Could a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Assistant Team Help Your Business?

In conclusion, the laissez-faire leadership style works great when your business is dealing with proven experts. When used correctly in an appropriate setting, you can also drastically increase your company’s productivity and quality of services. At Smart to Finish, our team of virtual assistants can provide excellent results with minimal supervision, freeing you up to complete those essential tasks. We can also do the delegating for you if you’re short on time. If you’re curious about how we could help your business grow, feel free to reach out to us. We also offer free 30-minute consultations.
Delegating Tasks: 3 Signs Your Business Needs More of It

Delegating Tasks: 3 Signs Your Business Needs More of It

Is your company delegating tasks enough of the time? With National Delegation Day coming up on August 28th, now is a great time to re-evaluate how you’re doing. And there’s no better day than today if you want to learn how to delegate better.

In his business.com article entitled, “Delegate or Die—The Only Way to Grow Your Business,” Harrison Rogers shares the following:

“While it takes time and effort, delegating effectively will empower you to be more productive and grow your business. Your staff will gain new opportunities to develop their skills while contributing to the success of the company.”

Although over-delegation comes with its inherent risks, not delegating enough in your business will also result in some troubling symptoms. What are signs you need to delegate work more often? Here are some to consider.

Unusually High Stress Levels at Your Company

Stress is an unavoidable aspect of any business pursuit. Yet properly managed stress isn’t always bad. It can push those at your business to excel even further than they initially thought they could.

How do you gauge if your stress levels are too high? A valuable question to ask would be, “Is the amount of stress at my organization challenging my employees to do even better or is it breaking them down instead?”

If you’re unsure of the answer, it wouldn’t hurt to do an anonymous survey to get everyone’s perspective. It could tell you whether the “engine” of your company is running properly or if it’s overheating.

More sick days than normal, poor morale and a general lack of contentment are some signs to watch out for. Also, gauge how overwhelmed your employees generally feel. If you’re in the danger zone stress-wise, it could be an indicator that you’re not delegating enough or properly.

Although it can seem costly to delegate since mistakes could initially be made, it’ll likely cost you far more in the long run if you don’t. Employee turnover and customer dissatisfaction can burden even the best businesses in these situations. Speaking of costly mistakes, they tend to happen more frequently when there isn’t enough delegating taking place.

Costly Mistakes are Happening too Frequently

Mistakes happen at any business. However, if it seems like you’ve had more than your fair share of costly blunders lately, this could be another sign you need to delegate responsibility more often.

Customers or clients receiving work they’re unhappy with, missed deadlines or skewed numbers are a few common signs of employees that are maxed out. Many of these shortcomings may have little to do with the competence of your staff. Instead, they could have more to do with everyone being stretched too thin.

You Don’t Trust Your Employees

“No one can do that task as good as me,” you say. That may be true, but are the bigger tasks you need done getting neglected because the many smaller ones? If so, it may be a great time to practice effective delegation.

A few hours of training now could save you hundreds of hours in the future (not to mention, a lot of money). Plus, you may be pleasantly surprised by what happens when you give trust to your employees more. They’ll likely feel empowered and return the trust as evidenced by increased productivity.

Could Your Business Use Some Help with Delegating Tasks?

If so, you don’t have to let the negative results of past delegation shortfalls erode the effectiveness of your company’s future any longer. What is delegation when it comes to a remote assistant? Our team of virtual assistants at Smart to Finish can help you reach your business goals in a variety of ways.

Not only can you delegate tasks to us. We can also help you with the delegation process. Sometimes, all you need is someone outside of your business to give you a fresh perspective about what’s going on. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, feel free to get in touch. We also offer a free 30-minute consultations.