The first days, months, and years in the life of a startup are a wild ride—lock that in as fact. Business models evolve. Working styles change. Ideas live and die. Even the people who contribute during a company’s earliest days can change like the weather.
At Zirtual, we’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of founders during this exciting period in their lives. I used to wonder, at a time when so little is constant, why are these founders jumping to work with a virtual assistant? What benefit does a virtual assistant — yet another new element — add during the most unpredictable of days?
What I’ve learned is that these people are dialed in to a few crucial ideas. These key insights underscore the immense value a VA provides, specifically for early stage business founders.
- You need to be 100% comfortable with delegation. If your business is going to succeed, delegation will forever play an active role in your life. As founder you’ll participate in a constant cycle of identifying what needs to be done and delegating those tasks into the right hands. It’s important to master this skill from the very beginning of your business’s young life. Working with a virtual assistant allows you to practice, hone and dominate this skill.
- You can never do enough research. Never, ever. There will always be new discoveries in your industry, new competitors opening their doors and new whiskey bars nearby at which to unwind. For this reason alone you could justify having ten virtual assistants.
- Getting meetings is tough. People are busy. Investors, potential partners and future employees all have a lot going on. It often takes an extra ping (or four) to make something important happen. Your pride and your sanity will be happy you have an assistant to do all that pinging.
- You need access to honest, no strings attached, guilt-free feedback. You will move through iteration after iteration with your products, but there are only so many times you can pick the brains of your friends, colleagues and family members. Cash in on this feedback only when it’s most important. Use the available, honest and consistent feedback of your virtual assistant to help develop your ideas… and then present them to the rest of the world.
- Your personal life deserves a shot. Perhaps the greatest victim in a startup endeavor is its founder’s personal life. With a virtual assistant, you give your personal life a fighting chance. The beauty of a VA (versus in-house help) is that you’re free to ask for help in whatever area you need it most: personal or professional. Your virtual assistant can help you book a holiday vacation just as readily as a business trip. Your virtual assistant can help you keep up with friends and family and make sure you fit these important people into your schedule. Ask your friends in the corporate world — they may not even have this luxury!
- Having one, constant thing in your startup life will be more comforting than you can imagine. While you’re on the wildest ride of your life, it’s nice to know that at least one thing will remain constant. Your business might go from a product to a service overnight, and it could take you from California to New York to Tokyo in a week. Your virtual assistant, however, will be around and providing the same, reliable help.