PRACTICAL ADVICE is a regularly appearing column in the RPA Journal. Elizabeth Tobin, JD; Certified Resonance Repatterning® Practitioner answers your questions about creating a thriving Resonance Repatterning practice. If you have a question that you would like answered or if you would like to share your views about any of the topics discussed here, we welcome your comments.
Q: What is a Virtual Assistant and how can one help me?
A few years ago I went to a seminar and the trainer said, “If you want to play a bigger game, you’ve got to have a bigger team.” Hearing these words was a big wake-up call for me because as a pioneer in using Resonance Repatterning® remote distance healing proxy groups to facilitate personal and global transformation, I have a big vision for my practice. I always knew that I’d have to hire help if I wanted to truly manifest this vision, but I was reluctant to take that next step. When I heard these words, I knew it was time for me to take a leap of faith and hire a virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant (VA) works as an independent contractor remotely from their location, not in your office. Virtual assistants can handle a range of tasks including bookkeeping, billing, customer service, social media networking, updating your website and database, search engine optimization, etc. There are a number of ways you can engage a virtual assistant. Your VA can be a solo-preneur who has a select group of clients that she works with for a set number of hours every month. There are outsourcing firms where you give them your tasks and they then farm out the work to their stable of associates. Both of these options require a contract where you pay for a set number of hours per month, month after month. There are also sites like elance.com where you can find people on a task by task basis, instead of having an ongoing monthly contract.
I have to admit that taking on a VA was a big leap of faith for me. My first assistant was a college kid who was eager during the interview and said that he knew all about marketing and web 2.0. But I soon discovered that he didn’t have the attention to detail that my business requires. Any savings I thought I was realizing due to his low hourly rate were quickly expended on the high number of hours it took him to correctly complete a task. Needless to say I was relieved when a couple of months later he emailed me saying that he no longer had time to work for me.
After that experience, I spent months researching outsourcing companies and sites like Elance. I realized that I was getting stuck in analysis paralysis, so I repatterned my fears and limiting beliefs, and got clear on what I wanted. I decided that I didn’t want to always be putting out bids and interviewing people. I wanted to build an ongoing relationship with a competent and trustworthy professional who would get to know me, my business, my systems, and the tasks involved. But I also wanted some flexibility in being able to add more hours if I had a big project one month, and carry over hours if I didn’t use them all the following month. I may be paying a higher hourly rate, but the continuity of relationship that I have with my VA is worth it to me. Now that we’ve been working together for about a year I don’t need to spend much time explaining to her what I need done.
In addition to the expense, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take the lead and delegate effectively. In order to make the most of my VA I have to give her tasks in advance to allow enough time so she can plan her work week. It took me a while to get over my resistance to this because I was used to flying by the seat of my pants. But as a result I’ve had to get more organized, do advance planning and manage my time better. I now have more time to devote to the things that I am the expert at in my business. I’m doing a lot more writing — articles, e-books, blog posts, social media, etc. I used to dread writing because I was always under pressure to get it done. Now I actually enjoy it because I have the time, and the more I write the easier it flows. Since hiring my VA I’m averaging about 2 radio interviews a month, developing new joint ventures, using social media more, and I now have an active affiliate program.
I’ve developed new skills that I wouldn’t of have had the opportunity to develop had I stayed going it alone. Rather than feeling bogged down by administrative details, I am able to do the creative tasks that I love and this keeps me energized. In short, I would say that building your team is a way to not only grow your business, but to grow yourself.
Elizabeth Tobin, JD is a Certified Resonance Repatterning® Practitioner who earns her livelihood through her full-time Resonance Repatterning practice. Geographically based in Boston, MA, Elizabeth serves an international clientele with individual telephone and skype sessions, proxy groups and live workshops. Visit her website at http://LizTobin.com