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Anyone who is familiar with our businesses will know that we are huge advocates of outsourcing outside of Australia and that I personally outsource hundreds of hours every month on tasks that we no longer complete in house.

We have a team of full time virtual assistants in the Philippines and I have many contractors I engage on everything from website design and build, right through to video transcription, presentation formatting and graphic design.

However, if you are going to successfully incorporate outsourcing into your business as a sustainable, long term solution then there are a few things you need to consider first:

1. You need to know what tasks you are going to outsource; start by making a list of all the transactional based tasks you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis

2. What type of virtual assistant do you need? Are you looking for a general assistant, someone to manage your social media or a website developer?

3. Do you require someone on a part time, full time or ad hoc basis?

4. What systems are you going to use to share documents and file correspondence? Have you got these systems in place?

5. How are you going to train your virtual assistants? Have you taken the time to document your processes or record a screen shot video on how to complete the tasks?

6. How are you going to communicate with your virtual assistant and am I able to make the time commitment to train them?

7. Are you ready to delegate tasks to an assistant without micromanaging them?

I have heard so many stories where colleagues have taken the plunge and hired their first virtual assistant, but they haven’t taken the time to ensure they have ticked all the boxes on my list above. It has been of no surprise to me to learn that their attempt to recruit a virtual assistant was a complete failure!

You also need to understand that there is no ‘super’ virtual assistant who is like a magic pill that you can just hire and all your problems will be solved. Hiring a virtual assistant is no different to hiring an employee as you still need to invest time in them, build relationships with them and trust that they have the skills to deliver the outcomes you want to achieve.

You have got to take a long term approach towards successfully integrating virtual assistants into your business. If you have never worked with a contractor off shore before, I would suggest that you start small on a low risk project, like a logo, banner or template design.

There is also the question around how much you should pay. Once you gain more experience in outsourcing this becomes easier to gauge. My advice for first timers is to research other similar job listings on sites like odesk, or elance. Remember, like most things in life, you do get what you pay for. Successful outsourcing is not always about finding the cheapest contractor!

To learn more about how to outsource effectively offshore, take a look at our online coaching program for consultants. Within our coaching program, I have created an entire module around hiring virtual assistants and outsourcing, where I will share all of our knowledge, tools, templates and experiences with you.