by Ali Brown
While many business-owners have difficulty delegating work, at a certain point it becomes necessary to move the business forward. Hiring an assistant can help you run things more efficiently, letting you focus on the big picture as your assistant takes care of administrative tasks. Some companies hire admins to work on-site, but many others are using virtual assistants to take care of tasks like scheduling or invoicing remotely.
Here are five signs that you need an assistant.
1. You forget to perform tasks like updating your website or confirming appointments. Sure, the world keeps turning even if your website hasn't been updated or a few appointments get missed. But think how much better off your business could be if you didn't have to think about these tasks or feel guilty for forgetting them! An assistant can easily be trained to help with marketing or scheduling so that these business functions always happen when they should.
2. You waste time looking for lost documents or emails. In addition to your time spent performing menial tasks, losing an invoice or accidently deleting an email costs you even more time! If you're so frazzled that this happens on a regular basis, then it's time to hire help. An assistant will ensure that you stay on top of invoicing and filing so that you don't miss payments or make costly administrative mistakes.
3. You don't have time to see family or friends. Every entrepreneur needs some downtime to relax and recharge. Spending time with family and friends is a great way to do this, so if you find yourself skipping out on brunches or birthday parties in favor of work, then it's probably time to reprioritize. Hiring an assistant, even one who works just a few hours a week, frees you up to focus on what matters. And having time for yourself and the people you care about will also benefit your business, because you'll be refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.
4. Your billable rate is higher than an assistant. Hopefully this is the case for most business-owners. Let's say that you bill client at $100/hour and an assistant bills you $20/hour. Rather than taking time away from your paying clients to send out invoices or book appointments, pay an assistant her $20/hour while you earn $100/hour from your clients. Even after you pay your assistant, you'll still bring in $80/hour that you otherwise wouldn't have time to earn. So when you think about it mathematically, hiring an assistant makes a lot of sense (and cents)!
5. You've been putting off tasks that you dislike. Most of us have tasks we dread doing, such as filing, following up on overdue invoices, or balancing the books. Imagine if *poof* all those ugly little tasks magically got done so you could spend time on more important tasks (because, let's face it, many of us waste time procrastinating on these sorts of tasks anyway).
It doesn't take a fairy godmother or a magic wand. All it takes is a little legwork to find someone you trust to get the job done. Once you decide to hire an assistant, you can ask your colleagues for recommendations or log into websites such as IVAA.org (the International Virtual Assistants Association) to start your search.
© 2009 Ali International, LLC
Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur and Inc. 500 CEO Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com