In today’s changing world of photography there are so many new business strategies and technologies it can seem impossible to stay ahead of the competition. This article discusses the option of hiring a virtual assistant and how it could help transform your photography business.
But without the proper approach, being a photography business owner can mean burnout, heavy financial pressures, and stress.
Luckily, the right tools can make any business venture a success if you know how to use them. All of us who own and operate our own photography businesses know it can be difficult to keep it all together. We are constantly jumping between different roles – one minute we are the photographer, the next the editor, then the sales person, then the accountant, then the admin assistant etc etc etc
Let’s face it – no matter what stage you are at, you probably need an assistant. Or at the very least, some outsourcing skills to help out.
Why Should You Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant or Outsourcing Certain Skills and Tasks For Your Business?
Do any of these issues sound familiar in your personal life, and in the health of your business?
- You’re Close To Burn Out
- You Can’t Take a Vacation
- Your Business Isn’t Bringing In Any Income Without You There
- You’re Losing Your Competitive Edge
- You’ve Lost Sight of the Competition
- Your Business Growth has Stalled
- You Are Working 24/7
- You Can’t Manage All Your Work
- You’re Wasting Time on Small Tasks
- You’re Out of Your Comfort Zone on Needed Skills
- You’re Ready to Scream
If that sound like you, it might be time to hire some virtual assistant support.
What Are The Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant?
Too many small business owners keep a small business mindset. For success, it’s time to abandon small thinking.
Think big. Corporate leaders use outsourced services to deploy rapid services and stay competitive all the time.
You can too. Virtual assistant support can give you your life back, and you might be surprised at the cost – which of course is tax deductible.
It can also help you make more money while your company grows.
Defining the Value of Virtual Support
There is a saying in business:
If your business can’t operate without you, you don’t own a business. Your business owns you.
Too many entrepreneurs with incredible executive skills are spending their time on administrative tasks. It’s like hiring a world class race car driver to pedal a tricycle around the neighborhood.
If you’re paying yourself to do administrative work, you have the wrong person for the job.
Easy To Find Virtual Assistant Skills Surround Us
Talent matching platforms on the internet allow the best of both worlds for small business owners. There are a number of freelance and outsourcing sites to help you find and manage the talent you need.
Platforms like Skype, Facetime, Slack, and others make it easy for small business owners and entrepreneurs to manage and keep in contact with your virtual support partners.
Surround yourself with Skilled Staff by Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Not only are virtual assistant skills easy to find and manage if you know how, they are also incredibly talented. These are skilled professionals who can help you drive your business to the next level.
Remember, the best leaders don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. If you can apply this ethos to your photography business imagine where it might take you?
Just as we photographers go to great lengths to ensure we deliver and amazing product, so do professionals in other trades – so take advantage of it by hiring a virtual assistant with other skills that complement yours.
If you are worried you won’t find great skilled professionals to make your business run even better, consider the statistics:
As of 2016, the number of self-employed people has risen to nearly 5 million in the UK. This number is rapidly approaching the number of people who work in the public sector.
In the United States, approximately 54 million people are now freelance workers. This number represents nearly 1/3 of all workers.
The outsourced model works for virtual assistant skills. You won’t just be able to focus on your core business and talents:
You will also be getting expert support from professionals.
Drive Efficiencies With Virtual Assistance
With virtual assistant skills, your needs are scalable in real time. You can grow along with the needs of your clients and customers.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about heavy employment costs and staff headaches. You have all the benefits of scalable, skilled workforce and none of the financial or legal liability.
You won’t only be saving your own time and money with hiring assistants that are virtual. You can also continue to drive efficiencies and save money.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find using assistants is like managing any other subcontracted service. You can get competing bids based on price, service quality and need.
And just like with any subcontracted services, you can build relationships that work and change providers while your needs, price points, and costs change.
So When Should You Get a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistant skills can range from the most menial administrative tasks to highly skilled business needs. I suggest you start small.
And if you would rather use a single point of contact to start you can hire a person with virtual assistant skills to handle your administrative tasks immediately.
A single individual with virtual assistant skills can act much like an administrator in a brick and mortar office. They can manage your schedule, email inbox, social media posts, marketing, and communications with clients.
And just like all other aspects of virtual assistant skills, they are scalable. You can even hire a virtual assistant for just an hour a week if need be.
Your Competition Is Set To Exploit Virtual Assistant Skills
Finally, you can’t afford not to hire a virtual assistant. Beyond the benefit to your bottom line and your personal sanity, the help available in the digital marketplace gives small business owners a competitive edge.
You can either use that edge to your benefit or demise.
A recent study showed that 54 percent of the talent in businesses in 2016 was made up of traditional workers. By the close of 2017 that percentage is expected to decrease to 41 percent.
In addition, 95 percent of organizations today consider their virtual or contingent workforce to be vital to their overall business success and growth. Nearly 70 percent of businesses expect to increase their use of virtual employees and freelance work in the future.
What tasks can I outsource to a Virtual Assistant or outsourced service supplier?
Here’s a list of just some of the many tasks that can be outsourced by hiring a Virtual Assistant or to an outsourcing company:-
This is extremely time consuming – in my own photography business I outsourced the basic exposure check and colour correction for all my weddings – this left the creative final edit still within my control, but saved me hours of time. The company I used was Roundcolour.com but there are many many companies out there offering these services
Social Media management can suck hours out of your day if you are not careful and it can be very difficult to quantify the return on investment – a good virtual assistant can easily take over this as one of their many tasks. Alternatively you can use a social media posting service like Buffer.com to post automatically on your behalf.
You could hire your own webmaster to manage your website, or you could use a service like ours at MyPhotoCTO.com where we can look after your website for you and even implement new features for your website. Full details of our service can be found here.
If you are a new photography business, getting your branding right is vital and professional help can go a long way and can provide great value for money and return on investment – we outline how we went about creating the brand for MyPhotoCTO in this article.
Marketing is one area that can benefit hugely from professional help – a good marketing assistant can transform your business and they can work for you on a part time basis for just a few days per month – try Upwork.com to find the right person for your business.
Trying to run a business like a one man band will result in exactly what a one man band does – it looks impressive at first but you soon realise how much of a juggling act is going on in the background – don’t be a jack of all trades. Hiring a virtual assistant is one of the best things you can do for your business.
Your competition is already using virtual assistants to grow their photography businesses. Don’t let them leave you behind.