There is A LOT that goes into a blog business. 99% of the time, it’s way more than we realized before we started our blogs. In the beginning, you have to do the job of probably 4 or 5 different people all by yourself–because you’re not making any money yet to pay someone to do those jobs.
For the first few years of my business, I kinda disagreed with the saying “You have to spend money to make money”…because I hardly had to spend any money. And then I learned there’s only so far you can go on your own. The more you grow, the more things there are that need to be done. And when you’re stuck in the day-to-day tasks, you don’t have time to devote to your big picture and new ideas.
This is when it’s time to get help. The help doesn’t necessarily have to be a person in the beginning, in some areas there are tools or software programs that can even be more efficient and more affordable than hiring a person.
I wrote a blog post a while back about how I use the client management service Dubsado. Once I got it set up, it started saving me on average 8 hours a week on things I was previously doing manually. If I hired a person to do all that, it would cost at least $500 a month instead it’s only costing $35 a month–and I have an entire day back each week. Now Dubsado is built for service based businesses, not necessarily bloggers, that example was just to show you how much of a difference “outsourcing” to a software or service can make too.
Today I want to help you go through your own blogging business and see if you’re ready to get help, and then show you how it’s not nearly as daunting–or expensive–as it seems. It’s made such a huge difference for my businesses, and I know it will for yours too when you’re ready.
DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE TO SEE IF YOU’RE READY TO OUTSOURCE
How to decide if you’re ready to hire a virtual assistant for your blog:
- Write down everything you do for your blog.
Grab a blank piece of paper (or download the free workbook!) and list every single task you perform for your blogging business–from keyword research to shopping, to recipe creation, image editing, optimizing the SEO of your post, promoting it on social media, bookkeeping, everything you do.
- Go through that list and circle everything you don’t enjoy doing (these are higher-priority tasks to outsource if you can because these are the ones that we procrastinate on, that slow down our momentum, and just suck the fun out of our businesses.
- Go through the list again and underline or star all the things you don’t mind doing, but they take time you could be spending elsewhere. These are still good to outsource if possible, but not as high of a priority as the ones you really don’t like doing.
- On the next page of your workbook, you’ll see three columns. Write down each of those tasks that you don’t like in the first column. (If you don’t have the workbook, grab two more pieces of paper and just write down all the tasks, one per row.)
- In the next column, next to each task, brainstorm who or what you could delegate each task to. Also think hard and decide if the task even needs to be done at all or if it’s just busy work that isn’t actually bringing results for you. If that’s the case, just cross it off. If you find later that you want to come back to it, you can!
Otherwise, write down the possibilities! For example, if you really don’t like creating Pinterest and Instagram graphics for your blog posts, that’s something you could outsource to a VA. If the problem is just that it takes you too long to make them, you could hire a VA to create a set of templates where you just swap out the images and text for each post, that could make the weekly process much faster for you.
If it’s actual pinning on Pinterest you don’t like, you could use a service like Tailwind to at least simplify and seriously speed up your Pinterest marketing, or you could hire someone to manage your Pinterest account for you.
Sometimes there are things on the list that take us way more time than they need to too. For example, if you struggle with knowing what to post on social media so it takes forever to decide, you could hire a consultant who will help you come up with a plan. That would eliminate the stressing and decision-making and you’d be done in a fraction of the time.
- In the last column, check whether each task would be a one-time task or ongoing.
For example, if you hired someone to create social media templates, that’s a one-time task. If you wanted them to make the graphics for each post for you, that would be ongoing help.
Repeat for all the items that you starred on the first page–the ones you don’t mind doing, but you don’t necessarily need to do yourself.
Once you have everything you do listed out on paper, you’re probably going to start feeling better already.
Two things might happen: you might see your list and think it’s all totally doable if you just re-structure your work day and maybe batch like tasks together so there’s less jumping around and therefore less down-time. The thought of some services or automations might be enough for you to feel like you can handle it all.
Or, if you look at that list of things you don’t like doing and you feel super relieved just at the thought of getting rid of them–it’s probably time to hire help so you can spend your energy on growing and leveling up.
If that’s where you’re at, on the last page of your workbook (or another blank page) write down all the things you would like to outsource. Start with the most important tasks and then write down what the next step is. Give yourself an action item for each one, like “Ask for an Instagram consultant recommendation on Facebook.” Then write out the next step after that, like “Book call with consultant.”
Then for the ongoing tasks you’d like to hire out, your action steps might be “Book call with VA” then “Record screencast of how task is done.”
I know the thought of delegating can really be daunting. For me it seemed like it would take more time to show someone what I wanted done than to just do it myself. I heard a tip from the fantastic business coach Ashley Gartland and it has saved me so much time and since I started applying it: the next time you’re doing a task you’d like to outsource, record your screen as you’re doing it. It will save SO much explanation and written instructions (which–from experience–can take me sometimes an hour to put together, while the video takes zero extra time…it’s just hitting record and saying out loud what I’m doing as I’m doing it). You can use the free tool Loom at loom.com to make them super fast and easy.
DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE TO SEE IF YOU’RE READY TO OUTSOURCE
The workbook that walks you through all this has a Google Sheets version so you can add links to your videos or anything else right there in the document. Then when you’re ready to hire it all out, just send your new assistant the document.
What to outsource to a blogging virtual assistant:
- Doing keyword research and coming up with blog post ideas
- Creating and managing your content calendar
- Blog post research to include facts and helpful tips
- Creating pages like Resources, Work With Me, or a custom Instagram landing page
- Moderating and replying to comments
- Image editing and optimizing
- Proofreading and editing posts
- Updating old posts
- Adding internal links
- Helping with SEO optimization
- SEO research with a tool like Ubersuggest or SEMRush
- Fixing errors and making blog improvements based on SEO tool results
- Monthly stat tracking
- Scheduling–either your events and appointments, or your whole work day.
My assistant created a time-blocking schedule for me in my Google calendar and now I get notifications when its time for me to switch tasks
- Organizing your inbox
Things like creating filters so newsletters stay out of your main inbox
- Screening emails that come in from your blog
- Sending canned emails for frequently asked questions that come via email
- WordPress updates
- WordPress plugin research and setup
- Preparing and sending newsletters–you could just write your personal paragraph and send it to your assistant who could format it, attach your latest blog post, Pinterest images, and then schedule it to send.
- Creating content upgrades or opt-ins to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
- Creating your email welcome series or sales funnel
- Adding sign-up forms or popups to your blog
- Creating a content calendar for social media
- Social media posting
- Creating Pinterest and Instagram graphics
- Uploading videos to YouTube
Things to outsource with software or one-time services:
- Instagram and Pinterest scheduling with Tailwind.
- Transcribing podcasts or videos into show notes or blog posts (I have used and really liked Rev.com)
- If you sell services, a management system like Dubsado is a HUGE help in automating everything for you for much less than hiring an assistant
- If you schedule a lot of appointments, a service like Calendly or Acuity can also be a replace a virtual assistant at a fraction of the monthly cost
- A service like FreshBooks is great for automating bookkeeping and saving MANY hours.
Pin this episode to come back to it later!
(And to help your blogging friends out too.)