Why isn’t my VA saving me time?

by Yasmin McGlashan on 26th Sep 2023

Why you need to outsource, before you need to outsource. 

Now, firstly I want to clear something up that may seem a little misleading. My team and I 100% save our clients time - lots of time. But in the very early days of working together, it can actually seem like the opposite. 


Getting set up

I suspect it’s the same in many businesses - if you hire a cleaner, you’re probably going to need to walk them through what needs doing and where you keep things; a dog walker might want to come over and meet your pooch before taking them out for the first time; an accountant might need to get you set up on their systems before they can take over the finances. Even when you’ve done that, there are always going to be moments when you realise you haven’t explained something correctly or that an extra task needs doing. 

It’s the same for us - the first few weeks can be a bit hectic with needing passwords or access codes, kick off meetings to get to know each other and learning how each of us works. Things that might seem obvious to you might need to be explained to us - the intricacies of a payroll system, how to reference things on your accounting software or even something as simple as your preference to not use emojis in your social media posts. 

If we’re doing social media for you then there might need to be a discovery call to talk about your brand, your voice and the types of posts you like, and we’ll always ask you to approve a small number of posts first to make sure we’re on the right track - it’s much easier to make changes to a couple of posts than it is to make changes to a month (or more) of posts!

Each client is different, and we understand that. But it also means that getting to grips with how you like things done can take a little bit of time. However we’ll learn it, and we’ll learn it fast. 


This is why I’m a big advocate for outsourcing before you really feel like you need to outsource. 

Can you imagine hitting a busy period in your business and then needing to add in the extra work of getting set up with us? If you know that your business tends to be seasonal, start working with us a month or two before you’ll need us - that way when you don’t have the time, we’ll be in the swing of things and know exactly what you need. It also means that if for any reason, we’ve not fully understood what you’re asking of us, we can get everything ironed out before your workload increases. 

If your business isn’t seasonal, but instead it tends to ebb and flow, it can be really useful to make use of our ‘pick up put down’ services. Once we’ve worked with you, we know what you need and how you like things done. While you may not actually really need us at the time, it’s going to make things so much easier if you do need us in the future if we already know what we’re doing and you can just send us an email with what you need done. Even though you might not need our services at that moment, the money you spend to get us up to speed with your business will be invaluable when you actually do need us to be able to hit the ground running. 

But we’ve been working together a while…

There are other reasons that you might not feel like your VA is saving you time - let’s run through some of the most common ones that my team and I see.

  • They’re not a specialist - as in most areas, VA’s tend to specialise in a particular area. Some are dynamite at diary management, some specialise in admin, some are great at tech, others are marketing masters. It can be really useful to think about what you need your VA to do, and then do some research about where their strengths lie, and what areas of business they particularly focus on. If you need someone to bring your social media up to scratch, don’t hire a VA who specialises in finances!
  • Lack of clear communication - VA’s are good, but we’re not mind readers (yet…). We know that you’re the only one who knows your business inside and out, so we need you to be clear when you’re telling us what needs doing and how it needs to be done. The more detail you can give us at the start, the less we’re doing to have to go back and forth checking details or getting you to approve content. A little extra time in the early stages will save you a lot of time down the line!
  • You can’t let go - we’ve worked with hundreds of business owners, and we understand how important your business is to you. We also understand that handing over control for the first time is hard, and that when you’re trusting someone you don’t really know, it can be even harder to do. However you need to trust that we know what we’re doing and let us do it! If having us on board is only going to add to your workload because you feel that you need to double check everything we’re doing, make lots of changes or even do it again once we’ve done it, then it might not be time to bring a VA on board. We’re here to make your life easier and micromanaging doesn’t help anyone.


If you’ve just signed with a VA, or you’re concerned about whether or not we’re actually going to be able to make your life easier - know that we absolutely will. Our entire purpose is to do exactly that! Just don’t expect it to be instant - work with us, give us the time to do your business justice and before you know it, you’ll feel like you’ve got an extra hour in the day!


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