Are you a busy virtual assistant? A “people pleaser” who can’t say no?

In my first blog post for “Are You a Busy VA?”, I would like to address the fear of delegating.

I met some dynamic, hard-working virtual assistants last week at the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) Summit, many of whom complained about working late into the night, unable to focus enough on each client, and lacking time for their families. Many were particularly worried about how they would care for elderly parents if something serious happened to them and they were forced to put their business on hold.

Good virtual assistants are dedicated service providers, acting as their clients’ partners, and when a client asks them to do something, they make sure to get it done! This is what makes us so valuable, but a lot of us overwork ourselves in order to do this. Sometimes we’re afraid of losing clients or alienating them; sometimes we’ve set up unreasonable expectations on our clients’ parts in the first place; other times we’re working for “Type A” clients who work themselves too hard.

When I suggested that some of the VAs at the conference that they might consider using subcontractors to get some of the overtime off their plates, they expressed concern that they might not have enough work for a sub during the slow times, and fretted about having to give away the tasks and client contact they enjoy.

The answer is: Don’t give anything up! Use subcontractors occasionally for some of the tasks you do, even when you can do them yourself, and you’ll have a ready-made pool of reliable helpers you can use when things get overwhelming.

By delegating specific projects to other Virtual Assistants when things are calm, you are not losing income. Instead, for a small initial investment, you’re gaining the opportunity to determine the breadth of other virtual assistants’ skills, how well you work together, how knowledgeable they are, and how well they meet deadlines. In the meantime, you can stay just as involved as you like with the clients you care about and jobs you enjoy. You can be flexible, dipping in and out of the picture whenever you want to, picking up the slack when things are slow. And when you’re faced with more than you can handle, your subs are just a phone call or e-mail away.

Need a tried-and-true sub? I work with some great ones–call me!

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