Starting a new business is exciting—and exhausting too, right? It’s no surprise that many startups don’t have enough revenue coming in each month to hire employees right from the start. When you’re in the planning stages, flying solo may not seem like that big of a deal because you’re certain that your will to succeed will carry you through.
How long did it take for reality to set in?
Those everyday tasks that are crucial to operations can really bog you down quickly. If your normal work day lasts long into the night, you’ll likely be kissing your social life goodbye until you get things under control. On top of that, if you’re spending all your time trying to man every position, you can’t find any time to focus on scaling your business.
All Work and No Play Wears You Down
You don’t want to get stuck in a rut that you can’t get out of because your business will eventually fail. There’s also the fact that being in a constant state of exhaustion is bad for your health. Moreover, having no time to spend with family and friends plays a negative part in this scenario too because it affects your personal and business relationships and your health as well.
Robert Nickell founded Rocket Station because he found himself in your shoes once. “When I started my first business, it wasn’t long before I was completely overwhelmed. I was so busy trying to keep up with the day to day task management that I couldn’t find enough time to properly focus on scaling my business,” he said.
There was no way the budget included setting up an actual office space and hiring employees, but he knew something had to give. Nickell had heard about other entrepreneurs who began moving forward after hiring virtual assistants to manage day-to-day operations. He knew that was the missing link that he needed to strengthen his company.
Discovering the Process Took Trial and Error
Nickell admits that things didn’t go very smoothly in the beginning. “At first, all I managed to do was create even more work for myself. I hired my VA, handed over the tasks I wanted completed, and because I made sure they had experience in the field, I assumed that would be that—it wasn’t. Things weren’t being done correctly, and so I was still up until the wee hours of the morning fixing the mistakes.”
He didn’t give up on his dream to make virtual assistants work though. He knew it was the key to freeing up his time so that he could grow the business. “I finally realized that just because I made sure my VAs had experience when I hired them, they didn’t know my specific process for completing the work. So I took the time to document exactly what I wanted done and we tried again. It still didn’t hit the mark.”
After several false starts, Robert finally sat down and documented every single step he took to complete a task. And when he says every step of the process, he means everything—to the point of specifying “press enter!”
Once he did that, he saw things change for the better immediately. It spawned Robert’s idea to start Rocket Station and the company has grown to be a dynamic force in the remote workforce industry.
You Can Soar to New Heights
Nickell believes that any task that can be completed over the phone or on a computer can be handled by virtual assistants. “The rule applies across the board,” Nickell said. “It doesn’t matter what type of industry you’re in. VAs are just as valuable to a real estate investor as they are to an agent working for a larger corporation. The secret to making it work is to get all your processes documented and stored in a place where they are readily accessible.”
It can take a while to get that process completed, but once it’s finished, Nickell says you’re almost ready to start the hiring process. The first step being to create an ad that includes all the qualities that you’re looking for in the successful candidate.
Make sure you include the following:
● A detailed list of duties
● The skill set you expect them to possess
● Personality traits that fit your culture
“You want to be very specific when you write your ad because you’ll be far more likely to hire the right person for the job the first time.” Nickell advised. “Business owners understand how costly it is having to train and then re-train someone for the same position. It cuts your profit margin and slows down productivity which is the opposite direction of where you want to be heading.”
It’s typical for the average company to lose between 1% to 2.5% of their total revenue during the time it takes to hire a new employee and bring them up to speed. If you have to continually repeat the process, it begins to drain your profits pretty quickly.
According to Nickell, you should map out your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) before actually placing your ad too. That’s because managing virtual employees can be a bit of a challenge and you want to be able to define success in a way that promotes growth.
He explained that your KPIs allow you to communicate more effectively, realize where you need to tweak your process, and your VAs will better perform their tasks. Of course, the fact that you don’t have to incur the expense of providing a physical location is a huge factor in this equation too.
Until fairly recently, many business owners thought that hiring a virtual assistant to handle simple tasks, such as an email campaign or calendar management, was the extent of their value. That theory has been blown out of the water because the remote workforce continues to grow exponentially—and there’s no end in sight.