How do you know when it's time to hire a Virtual Assistant for your blog? We share some tips to help you determine if it's time to hire some help for your blog, including a PDF of exercises you can use to help you decide which tasks are better off in somebody else's hands.
One of the biggest challenges we face as food bloggers is finding time to do all the things we need to do to keep our blog running smoothly. It's more than just creating content.
There's SEO, social media, invoicing, tech support, the never-ending pit of email, and all the day to day administrative tasks that need to get done.
Let's face it... you probably started blogging because you love food, you love sharing it and you love creating content. All that other stuff can make you grumpy, tired, leads to a general feeling of burnout and like you never seem to move forward.
It would be really nice if you just had some help, wouldn't it?
Maybe it's time to consider hiring a Virtual Assistant or VA.
So how do you know when it's time to take the plunge and hire somebody?
(please note, this post is geared towards food bloggers working towards earning a part-time or full time income from their blog)
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Before you know if it's time to hire a VA, let's talk about what they do.
The short answer is they can do everything if you want them to IF you find the right assistant (and you have the right budget)!
Here's a list of some things a VA can do. You can find somebody who can take one of these tasks off your plate, or all of them, or something in between.
- managing your pinterest account: pinning, scheduling and possibly even creating pinterest graphics for you
- managing all your social media
- invoicing for sponsored campaigns
- handling routine emails and brand/agency pitches
- creating recipe roundups
- helping with SEO for your posts
- doing content audits and updates on old content
- writing newsletters
- researching potential content ideas
- copy editing your content
- editing photos, videos or podcasts
- help you create systems and processes to be more efficient
Some VAs specialize in only one or two tasks like Pinterest management or video editing, while others can take on any task you give them.
So let's get started figuring out if it's time to hire somebody.
At it's core, deciding whether to hire somebody comes down to two things:
- Can you afford to hire somebody and can you afford not to hire somebody?
- How much is your time worth to you?
Do You Know How Much Your Time Is Worth To Your Business?
One of the first things to think about if you're feeling pressed for time and overwhelmed by tasks and wondering if you should hire somebody or better yet, if you can afford to hire somebody is... how much your time is worth to your business. Do you know?
If you don't and you're earning an income from your blog or running your blog as a business, you need to figure that out.
Do You Know How Much Your Time Is Worth to You?
How much is your time worth to you? Is it worth paying somebody $20 a week to work on your pinterest account for an hour so you can have a parent/kid date with each of your children once or twice a month?
This concept is known as "buying your time". Time is our most valuable resource and it's finite and non-renewable. We each get 24 hours a day. We can't stockpile time, we can't save it for a rainy day, and we can't press pause so we can get everything done and still go to our daughter's school concert or a friend's birthday party.
If you want more time with your family or friends or for other things you love, you need to buy it back. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is one way to do that.
Determining the Value of Your Tasks
Every task we do has a value and an ROI (Return on Investment).
Some tasks in your business can be done by anyone, and some can only be done by you. You are the one who determines which is which but, you must realize you can't do everything - at least not forever - without eventually burning out.
You need to figure out the value of all the tasks you do and that value can be measured in lots of different ways including how much you love the task, how much income the task generates and how much it would cost to have somebody else do if for you.
We've put a couple of exercises in a PDF that you can download to help you determine the value of your tasks.
Are You Ready To Hire A VA? The Mental Hurdle
Once you've figured out what your time is worth to your business and to you and then determined which of your tasks only you can do and which can be done, at a reasonable cost, by others, it's time to decide if you're ready to hire a VA.
Even if you know you can afford it, delegating tasks to somebody can be daunting, especially if you've always worked for yourself, or never been in a career position where delegation and training was part of your job or if... umm... well maybe you just like to be in control of all the things!
It's Just Faster If I Do It Myself And Nobody Can Do It My Way
This is a big reason so many of us hold off on getting help - they feel they don't have time to show anyone what to do.
Training somebody to take on tasks and do them the way you like them done takes an initial time investment. But it's well worth it.
You don't want to hire a Virtual Assistant the week before you go on vacation. That's a disaster waiting to happen. The best time to hire is when you have a slow down in your schedule and can free up some time - for three reasons:
- it can take some time to find the right person
- you'll want to set aside time initially to bring them up to speed on your business and brand
- you'll want to set aside time to meet with them regularly for the first few months to discuss (constructively) any concerns you have and to get their feedback as well
If you get an experienced VA, be open to hearing their ideas on how they like to do things - they probably have some great systems in place that may be more efficient or productive than what you're doing. We can all learn from each other.
Your Blog is Your Baby
Nobody will ever care as much about your business as you do. That's a fact. And it can be scary to give up control, even of something small, to somebody else. It's a difficult hurdle to get over but if you start small with one or two minor tasks, you can quickly see just how liberating it can be.
Our first hire was hard. So was our second. But once we saw how well these fabulous people did and how much they helped our business grow, it became easier and easier to give up tasks that frankly, we didn't enjoy (bookkeeping anyone? I am so glad there are people who love to do bookkeeping!) or that we flat out sucked at. Giving those tasks to people who love them, who are much better, faster and efficient at them than we are has been wonderful and increased our productivity.
Ultimately, you want to hire people who can do just that - make your life better, easier, more productive and more profitable. It may seem counter-intuitive to think that paying people can make your business more profitable but, if you do it right and get the right people on board, that's exactly what will happen.
So... are you ready to hire a Virtual Assistant?
Stay tuned - our next resource post will be full of tips on how to actually find and hire the right Virtual Assistant for your blog!