I could write this entire post as an ode to my Virtual Assistant (VA). I hired her when I knew I needed help, although I didn’t think I could really afford it and was worried that I wouldn’t have enough work to keep her busy enough to want to keep working with me. I was not totally confident in my boss skills; I’m a recovering people pleaser, but I slip every now and then.
In truth, I’d had a VA before, and it went poorly. I didn’t hold boundaries. She didn’t do work. I paid her anyway. I genuinely liked her as a person, just not as a worker. Sheesh. Eventually I had to fire her, which felt like every break-up I’ve ever instigated plus feeling guilty about taking away someone’s livelihood. So I don’t recommend hiring without a lot of thought.
I often bring up the idea of outsourcing with my consulting clients. I have a whole course on it in the Abundance Party. Therapists are often resistant for all of the same reasons I was resistant: money, unsure what to hand over, not knowing how to manage.
So let’s do a shallow dive into each of these issues, shall we?
What to Hand Over
Think about it like this: what do you actually need to be doing in your business? Answering phones? No. Loading blog posts? No. Scheduling out social media posts? No. Checking your email? No.
Is it easy to hand those things over when you can do them yourself? No.
Here’s a concrete example of a VA bringing in more money to your practice: answering the phone when it rings instead of returning a message increases the likelihood of someone scheduling with you. If you have clients mostly back to back, that’s not going to happen.
Here are a few ideas for what you could take off your plate:
- Answering phones
- Returning voicemails
- Checking and answering emails
- Loading blog/vlog posts
- Scheduling out social media posts
- Keeping QuickBooks or other financial software updated
All we really need to do is the therapy, the charting, and possibly the videos we may do as a part of marketing. Most everything else could be handled by someone else, allowing you to cross the things you hate or aren’t good at off your list and see more of the clients you enjoy.
It’s hard to part with money we’ve worked hard to make. My goal in encouraging outsourcing is to bring in more money—not just to your business but to your personal bank account, too.
One new weekly client would likely cover the cost of someone doing all these things for you.
If you only have a few clients right now, it’s probably not the time to hire someone. But you can start documenting your processes to help on-board a VA later.
If you’re super busy, it’s going to take some time to train someone, so there will be a bump in expenses before you’re likely to see a bump in revenue. It’s an investment, and one it behooves you to do right.
You need management training. Being a good therapist has nothing to do with how good a manager you are. That’s part of what makes some agencies so toxic. I would contend that most of us suffer from being too “nice,” aka boundary-less, when it comes to management. For more on this topic, I recommend Zoey Holguin at The Therapist Leader.
Hopefully this has given you a starting point to seriously consider hiring a VA. A great VA can be truly practice- and life-changing.* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.