To Virtual Assistant Or Not To…Oh Wait No OBM, No PM — What Do You Need?!

To hire a Virtual Assistant or not — what do you need? With so many options in the business support world, it’s understandable why you might get confused about who you actually need. So, with a lot of the roles within the business support world.

There’s kind of an overlap.

And sometimes it can be really really difficult to understand where the differences come in and what support you actually need in your business. This then ends up with people hiring the wrong kinds of support. Because they just weren’t very clear on what they actually needed in the first place. So, that’s what I wanted to talk about in this blog this week, and it’s something that I am super, super passionate about. Because as you know, when I run my agency. I am all about hiring the right team at the right time.

To Virtual Assistant Or Not To...Oh Wait No OBM, No PM - What Do You Need?!

I know many people will say, you should hire before you’re ready, and to an extent that’s true. But a lot of the time people hire, way before they’re ready. And there’s a really fine line between being ready and making the jump, that’s actually not right for you and it’s not the right time.

Now, you might be saying, what is the right time then.

For me the right time for someone to hire a team is when they have exhausted all other options. So, the other options that I firmly believe should happen before you hire a team are:

  • You have documented your processes and set up your systems in a usable way
  • Clear on the strategies that you are using, and the return that those strategies are bringing to you and your business — So you were tracking your metrics and you know that when you outsource this particular thing. You’re going to get a return on your investment from investing in a team member
  • You have looked at the automation side

So many people can get stuck in this cycle of creating these really complicated funnels, when they’re new in business, and it’s really overwhelming.

So I always like to say, especially when you’re starting out or you’re quite new in business. To keep things simple. Use minimal software to create the biggest impact with your software! So making sure that you are purchasing, only the right software and the software that it’s going to have multiple uses. Effectively, this works really really well, so rather than going out and spending £40 a month on one piece of software that does a particular purpose within your business. But you already have software that you pay for that could do that same thing, making sure that you were utilising the software that you already have before you’re going out and purchasing additional software.

And then also making sure that you have pushed your automation to the limits.

This might scare you, but if you don’t like tech if automation is just a swear word to you then look at hiring someone to do that for you. It will be a one off project where they can streamline what’s happening in your business. They can document what’s happening in each process, and how that works.

Then they can also make suggestions to automate it. And if you don’t want to do that, or you don’t want to be hands on with the automating. You can then pay them to set it up for you. That works really really well because then you’re not going to be paying a monthly fee to someone that’s able to be automated. So making sure that you have exhausted all the other options, is really, really important.

I think once you have exhausted those options that is then the right time.

If you still feel that you have no time, you need some help, then you can clearly see what’s bringing you a return and what you are going to continue doing. When you outsource this to someone that you’re going to be in a comfortable position to know that you are going to get more work from outsourcing this particular thing. And you don’t need to start massive, I think when you outsource, you can just you can outsource say for 10 hours a month or something. 10 hours a month can make a huge difference to you and your business. So making sure that you are looking at all the options, and is the right time for you is really really important. But anyhow, now that we’ve established that it’s the right time for you. What next, who do you need?

Now, in the business support world you will hear terms like, Director of Operations, online business manager, project manager, virtual assistant, unicorn virtual assistant an accounting virtual assistant.

What the frick do you need, and this is something that so many people come to me about and they say. I don’t understand what all these different roles do, and I don’t understand what I need. And therefore, do anything because they simply are confused and overwhelmed.

That’s where I’m coming in this week, I want to get rid of that overwhelm, get rid of that confusion. And literally lay out typical responsibilities for each role, so you can see who you need, and what you need.

An online business manager is someone that manages the operations. It’s someone that can manage your team, it’s someone that can manage your projects. Someone that can be the in between person of you and your team. Now, an online business manager is generally a monthly support person, it’s not a one off piece of support.

It’s a monthly support person and this person will be able to take your vision and your objectives and your goals, and lay out a strategic plan that can be executed to get you there. Now, online business managers are not what we call the doers. They are the managers, so they manage your team. They will come up, and generate the strategic ideas and planning to get you to your desired goal.

But they will then execute that plan through your team. So, you will then have say a team of virtual assistants, a tech support, a marketing manager, a Content Manager etc. Although you’re not necessarily going to have all these roles. But you will have a team that will be able to execute that particular thing that the business manager is putting together for you.

Those who have really confused, an online business manager and a project manager. A project manager manages the projects, they don’t manage the operations they manage the projects. And with this, it’s generally that they will manage the bigger project. So as an example here, you will have your online business manager that is working monthly within your team, and then you will have.

You have a big launch coming up. Your business manager that’s managing the team and managing the pieces that are day to day in your business, and a project manager will come on board to help you manage your launch project. So they will manage all those parts within your launch. Now, this isn’t to say that an Online Business Manager cannot do that, because they can.

But when you have a business where the day to day operations are super super busy.

Sometimes you need that additional help in the form of a project manager. And they are purely there for this specific project, so they are not necessarily monthly support. As you see it unless you have monthly projects which, you know, some people do. If you don’t, Project managers will come in to manage a specific project. And this could also be other things like, if you’re changing up your offices, for instance. Or you’re doing a rebrand, if you’re doing a rebrand of your full business you will hire a project manager. To help you with the rebrand. Hope that makes sense.

For me, I believe that there is a gap between the virtual assistant space, and the business manager space. That for me is a hybrid virtual assistant. Now, you might be saying, What’s a hybrid virtual assistant? This is a role that I’ve created, because I found that there’s a huge gap between not only the financial aspect between hiring a virtual assistant and a business manager.

It’s kind of, at minimum, double the price of a virtual assistant but sometimes actually even triple the price. Sometimes clients don’t need a full on business manager that’s managing and they need a little bit more than a virtual assistant doing the implementing. This hybrid virtual assistant is about being able to generate ideas, but be able to implement it. So, a client says to them, oh I would really like to put together this email campaign. Rather than the client having to set out points of how to achieve that email campaign, as they would for more of a virtual assistant role, you will be able to say, Okay, perfect.

So, shall we do seven emails, and we will put this in each of the emails, and we will put that and the time between the emails will be two days, and what are we going to sell on these emails.

So, the business manager, the business owner can kind of give you the answers, and they can say yes or no. But ultimately, you’re giving them ideas to create the plan, whereas the business manager will create the plan for them. You’re giving the business owner the ideas to create that plan. Hope that makes sense.

It’s kind of that middle ground of business management and virtual assistants, and it creates more of a hybrid role, and in all honesty, I find that actually, more and more clients need this hybrid role, not a virtual assistant or a business manager.

So that’s where I kind of sit with that middle role

That I think it’s something that’s really really needed in this space, and for some people, I think, it causes a lot of confusion because when you have someone that is able to do this as kind of a hybrid virtual assistant.

If you were to move on, or leave, the client really struggles to find someone that’s going to do it for you, because they’ve kind of had you eventually the system whereas actually, you’re not really a virtual assistant, you’re, you’re kind of this middle person in between. And I also find that actually from our point of view, from a virtual assistant’s point of view, it creates that stepping stone to be able to create your personal development.

So, for some virtual assistants, jumping from being a virtual assistant to a business manager is huge, and it can be so scary. But creating this middle ground of someone being able to slowly step into a business management shoes, I think, is really, really helpful.

Now, I think, when it comes to virtual assistants. People will often throw around the term unicorn VA, and ultimately, you know, that’s fine but actually what they’re expecting of this unicorn VA is too. It’s too much. Basically, in my eyes. The unicorn VA is more of a generalist, VA, and that’s someone that can do things, as opposed to they can kind of get involved with different things but they’re not essentially an expert at that thing.

Whereas, a specialist virtual assistant specialises in this particular thing, but they still do the virtual assistant stuff. Now, you will probably have heard me say, and probably moan about virtual assistants, and not accountants, they are not graphic designers. So when you say, I need a graphic designer VA. Do you need a VA or do you need a graphic designer?

Now that’s not to say that a virtual assistant can not specialise in this particular role.

So, if you are a virtual assistant and you want to specialise in graphic design, but you’re still happy to do the other things that the virtual assistant does it, eg calendar management, for instance, then yes, you are a virtual assistant, but you’re a virtual assistant specialises in graphic design or that specialises in creativity, or that specialises in helping graphic designers, you know, he’s kind of looking at the broader picture around what you are as a title, as opposed to what you kind of think you are so making sure that when you are looking for a virtual assistant if you are looking for a setting.

But do you need someone that’s actually not specialising in virtual assistant, an actual expert.

That is a Content Manager for instance, because they’re two very separate roles, because a Content Manager wouldn’t do the tasks of a virtual assistant. And if you have a virtual assistant that specialises in content management, they’re going to have the expertise there, but you’re going to get more of a varied role from them so it’s making sure that when you’re looking at these speciality is that you were being really, really clear on the responsibilities, and where that actually falls.

And this is a unicorn VA because I think it’s just been thrown around and misread as being an expert at everything. No, but effectively a VI, as kind of a unicorn he’s more of a generalist VA, and generally they will be the ones that will need a bit of direction when it comes to putting together certain things, and this isn’t to say that they’re not amazing at what they do because they absolutely are.

But, it’s making sure that you are getting the right level of support for what you need, and with more general VA s, they’re going to need a bit more lead in, because they’re not going to be experts in a particular field, so they’re not going to be able to necessarily generate you the ideas that you need.

They could probably say, Well maybe we could do it this way, but they’re not going to know that inside out, because, let’s face it, you cannot be an expert in everything. And that’s not just in the business support world that’s in every industry, you cannot be an expert at everything, you know, I’ve tried, I would love nothing more than to be an expert in everything.

But ultimately, it’s impossible.

And that’s why you have more of these specialised roles, but actually what you were looking for is a general VA that’s happy to figure things out, and to work things out, and to get involved in different things because when you have certain specialties, it might be that actually.

So, as an example here, there could be a virtual assistant that is happy to do all your organising side of things so more like a PA, but then they want nothing to do with, they hate tech, they don’t want anything to do with tech, and you get frustrated because you think that a VA is going to be able to do all of this for you. Whereas, you could have a VA that’s more of a generalist VA that does this, organising PA kind of style, but we’re also happy to get involved in the tech side.

Now, that’s where we’re getting at here is making sure that you are hiring the right people, but then you’re also hiring for the right skill sets.

So if you do want someone that’s across the board that can kind of dip in and out of different things and not necessarily be an expert at it, but they’re happy to dip in and dip out, then this unicorn va could be for you.

But if you are looking for more of a speciality, more of kind of an IDS generating or, or, you know something along those lines, then actually you probably need more of a specialist VA, but actually if you want more of the strategic thinking and planning, then you probably want the hybrid VA.

And if you want someone that can manage all these VA s and team members, and that can pull everything together and make sure that everything is staying on track in your business and be the kind of centre person for everyone’s getting in touch with, then you need a business manager.

And if you have a big project coming up that you are going through for a client or you know any, any kind of project, that’s not necessarily an ongoing project.

It could be that you want a project manager. So I think it’s really really important to get clear on these roles before you look at hiring, because that’s ultimately why when people hire people they hire the wrong people, because it’s just not very clear in who they need and what their responsibilities are, essentially, so I hope that has really really helped you.

If you have got any questions at all about hiring the right people hiring at the right time, maybe you’re even asking yourself, Is it the right time for me, do I need to be looking at hiring support or this there’s something else I can be doing, or maybe you’re fretting because you feel that you need to hire support, but you don’t have the financials there to do it, whatever that may be, I am offering one to one sessions where we will go through between 60 and 90 minutes we will go through where you are specific around the hiring team or who you need, or what’s the best route to go down.

So if you’re interested in those, then get in touch, I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, I’ve got tonnes of blogs that will help you and help you get on your way to really figuring out how to create the business of your dreams without the overwhelm and the burnout.