So you’re ready to outsource? With Charlene IzereJun 30, 2020
From Virtual Assistant to Agency Owner in just over a year, Charlene Izere is a multi passionate entrepreneur who is an expert at all things business management systems. She‘s talking about one of my most requested topics, outsourcing, which is handing over a piece of your business to someone else so they can help you scale and grow.
How would you describe outsourcing for an online business owner?
Outsourcing is a relationship that you have with somebody who can take over a task, role or service that may not be in your zone of genius or that you don't have time for.
For a lot of entrepreneurs it's scary. When I hired our first contractor, I was terrified because my business means absolutely everything to me. I had all of these thoughts running through my mind like, what if I hire someone who isn’t ideal? However, every single investment that I've made by outsourcing, the return on investment has been absolutely priceless.
How do you know that you're ready to start giving tasks to somebody else?
When it feels like your brain has too many tabs open, it's time to outsource. What I mean by that is if you are finding yourself doing the tasks that are not in your zone of genius or tasks that you don’t actually enjoy, then it's time to outsource. Once you start to feel like your business is draining you, it's time to outsource and honestly, it was probably was time to outsource a month ago.
What is the difference between a VA and an OBM?
The biggest difference between VA and OBM is the level of work. OBM’s are planners and VA’s are doers.
An online business manager (OBM) focuses more on overseeing your business and creating a higher level strategy, whereas a virtual assistant (VA) is more task oriented, implementing everything that comes from the strategy.
Would you recommend an OBM to help create a business launch plan and a VA to execute the different tasks?
Yes, absolutely! Sometimes your OBM can also do VA work. If you are somebody who is not really sure how to strategize and how to create an effective launch, I definitely recommend an OBM. They can help see things that you might not be able to see, and then your VA will actually be able to implement all of that.
How do you know whether you need an OBM or a VA?
If you're somebody who really is ready to like scale, I definitely recommend an OBM. Scaling can get really messy and you need somebody who can strategize with you. A VA is just going to be doing the tasks so if you're not really sure what those tasks should be, then you need an OBM.
How do you figure out what tasks to give to your VA and which tasks to keep to yourself?
Before you hire a VA, start with a brain dump of everything you currently do, everything that needs to happen and what your day to day looks like.
I do not recommend handing it all off to a VA in the beginning. Start off with the tasks that take the most of your time, that are really not in your zone of genius, and that can free you up to do other things. Slowly but surely you can train your VA on those tasks.
However, please keep in mind that I mean you get what you pay for. Some more senior level VA’s who have more experience might not need as much training, but if you bring on somebody who's newer, it will take a lot more of your time to train them on the systems and processes of not only your business, but on systems and processes in general.
What’s the average range you can expect to pay for a VA?
For new VA’s anywhere between $12-$25 an hour. Keep in mind that this is a person who's going to need a lot more support and a lot more training from your end. On the other end of the scale, you can have anywhere from $50-$80 for more specialized and technical VA’s.
Really think about how much time you have to onboard this person. Because $25+ an hour might seem like a lot, but if you’ve got to spend all your time hand holding this person to teach them how to use different platforms as well as learn about your business, then investing in someone who is more expensive might be of more benefit to you and your business. f you’re scaling, then you definitely want some who can come in and who already knows how to use the systems in your business.
Is there a certain income amount you should be making before you start outsourcing?
There’s not necessarily a “recommended income” amount. However, if you're making 5k a month you can and you should be outsourcing. Honestly, even if you're making 2k, a month, you can still outsource bits and pieces.
Not all VA’s work hourly, some are value based and some are project based. So begin to think about some projects that you can have a VA come in and support you with like setting up your kajabi or setting up your email funnel. These little projects allow you to hire a VA to help you out without having that person on payroll every single month.
How do you find the right VA or OBM for your business?
Tap into your network, even if it's small. I always recommend that first before you start posting a job offer. Hiring someone based on another person’s experience will save you a lot of time because they’ve already vetted them.
Even if you have a very small community, ask your friends, ask the coach that you work with, ask within their Facebook group and don't be afraid to ask them who they work with and connect with those people as references as well.
What have been some of the biggest biggest wins you've seen in your clients through you and your team taking on a lot of their workload?
Time and money.
Which is what every business owner wants more of, right?
We give back our clients so much more time. They don't even realize until we start working with them, how much time they’re spending doing tedious tasks that don’t serve them. All of a sudden they have so much more time to hang out with their family or build the next best course.
To be honest, so many of our clients they just make way more money now. Once we build out the backend systems that a business really needs in order to scale and grow, for some of our clients, that growth is over a million dollars.
What would you say to someone who is afraid to invest in their business this way?
When you're scared that means you're ready. Investments are scary. They're meant to be scary because they're pushing you to your next level self. If you stay in your comfort zone you're missing out on so many opportunities, so many different clients and so many new things.
Investing in your business is like making magic and making moves. If there is fear, ask yourself where that fear is coming from. Is it the fact that you don't think you're in a position to invest? Do you really not have the infrastructure, or the capital to invest? OR are you just scared because you don't know what the outcome will be? If you're scared about the outcome just trust and believe that it will work out the way it's supposed to work out.
What interview questions do you recommend someone ask a potential VA or an OBM to figure out if they are a good fit for you and your business?
- What is your zone of genius?
- What systems do you use and are very familiar with?
- What is your communication style?
- Are you somebody who likes to likes to over communicate?
- Are you somebody who’s matter of fact?
- Do you like to have meetings every now and then or do you like to have a meeting scheduled on the books once a week
Understanding their communication style is important because as an entrepreneur and a CEO, you might see something completely different than your VA, and that's okay. What's most important is that you guys are able to communicate about it in a healthy way.
How were you able grow your business, Soulful Systems, so quickly and become one of the most known agencies in the online space?
Building incredible relationships with people in this space in a number of different capacities, whether it was guest coaching or whether it was connecting in the DMs, All the clients that we work with, I've built amazing relationships with them so until this point. Pretty much every single one of our clients has been referral based.
Honestly, no matter what you're doing, relationships are the key to success.
Even when I was doing fitness coaching, I found the most success when I started creating and building relationships in the DMs with folks before I decided to sell to them.
Within our agency it's always been about serving at the highest level, and bring that service from a place of soul, hence the name Soulful Systems. Everything is very systematized but in a way that feels so good to every single person involved, from our clients to our contractors.
What advice would you give to an online business owner who started out in network marketing and now wants to pivot into creating their own business?
Step one, just do it. You don't need to have everything planned out
Step two, tap into your current network. See who might benefit from your service. Check out your current client list and let them know that you’re pivoting into this new venture and would they be interested in working together on a project basis.
As female entrepreneurs, we always think that we need to have it all figured out all the time and that is not the case. The best thing you can do for yourself is:
- Believe in yourself
- Just do the damn thing