This is the first in a series of posts featuring small business owners' suggestions for things you can do to be successful in 2010.
Do you do the work of 10 people in your business, then complain that there aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done? It kind of makes me think of Hoarders, the cable television show that examines how accumulating stuff you don't need can ruin your life. Eventually, the stuff controls you instead of the other way around.
The same thing can happen in business. When we hoard all the work for ourselves, we can eventually become the servant of our business instead of the other way around. Joan Morais, pictured above with one of her students, helps people launch and manage successful cosmetics businesses. Joan has avoided becoming a small business hoarder. Maybe her story can help you avoid it too!
Joan is a certified aromatherapist and product formulator who owns Fairfield, California-based Joan Morais, Inc., a company that formulates cosmetics for spas and beauty companies, and teaches people how to make natural skin, body and hair products. Joan also leads the How To Make Natural Body Care Products Group at our social networking site. Pictured above with Comfort, who traveled from Africa to learn from her, Joan's plans for 2010 include expanding e-learning opportunities so she can reach more people and cut back on the time she spends away from home. Here's what Joan said she did this year to expand her business, and how you can do it too.
- This year, I … hired a virtual assistant, based on a recommendation I received from Donna Maria during a personal consultation earlier this year.
- This was a great move for me because … my virtual assistant (VA) took over time consuming administrating tasks that were strangling my productivity. This freed me to do what I do best: formulate, consult and teach classes. My assistant fields all my emails and matches the needs of others whether it be a manual, class or private consultation in order to help them learn natural product making. She also manages my online newsletter, conducts research, assists coordinating online classes, compiles sales reports, puts my manuals in book format and other miscellaneous work that can be done long distance via the computer.
- 2010 is a great time for you to hire a VA because … lots of people are looking for jobs, and you could find a VA right under your nose. In my case, it turned out to be my oldest daughter. She was finishing her Masters Program and couldn’t take a full time 8-5 job. It was an excellent fit.I spoke with a few potential candidates on Twitter, so if you don't have a friend or family option, Tweeting your need is a good place to start. I pay my VA $15 an hour. It's the smartest money I spend!
- Tips and resources to get you started … The best advice I can offer is to find a VA by word of mouth or via you close friends and family members. Look for a trustworthy, self-motivated, proactive person who can take action steps that are best for you and your company. Once you find a match, get out of the way and let him or her do the job. Provide oversight, but don't micro-manage.
It's Never Too Late
If you are naturally good at delegating, hiring a VA is probably one of the first things you did when you started your business. But even if you waited a little longer than you think you should have to consider getting a VA, it's not too late! The new year is a great time to focus on your strengths and leave the tasks you don't have to do, or are not good at, to someone else.
Question: Do you have small business hoarder tendencies? Do you think Joan's story and advice to hire a VA can help you increase the productivity and profitability of your business in 2010?