Once you’ve been a VA for long enough, you’ll get to a point where you may feel stuck and unable to scale, this is when subcontracting is a great idea. Turning your one person VA business into a multi-person agency is a shared dream for many VAs. This is the secret sauce to growing your biz to 5, 10, and even $20k months!
Let’s dive into the magic of subcontracting!
Subcontracting, in very short, is when you bring other virtual assistants onto your team and outsource some of your work to them. This work could be your own, but it’s more likely to be your clients. Work that is outside your area of expertise or that simply doesn’t appeal to you is perfect for outsourcing to a trusty subcontracted VA and allows you focus more closely on client acquisition, retention and communications.
Bringing other people onto your team lets you become a more full-service business. When you subcontract to one, two, three, or more VAs, you’ll be expanding what services potential clients and customers can get from you, without having to learn those skills yourself.
Bringing subcontractors on will help your business grow larger and increase your brand’s reputation. Not only this, you’ll be among the 25% of smart VAs who understand that subcontracting is a natural stepping stone to scale.
Are you ready to grow your team?
How Do You Manage Your Subcontractors?
Make sure you let your clients know that you’re outsourcing some (or all) of their work and give them a method to communicate directly with your subcontractors. Not only is this good practice to be transparent, but also gives your clients peace of mind that they have a contact in your absence.
You should also make sure everyone on your team has a way to communicate with you and each other — this is where something like Basecamp or Slack comes in really handy!
Above all, be super open, honest, and transparent with the entire workflow and systems, keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on, and what the current jobs and expectations are. Stay in contact on a daily basis and I’d recommend having at least one monthly meeting call. Make sure you go over the amazing things that have happened since you last spoke, positive reinforcement will need to be part of your ritual as a project manager. You can then go into the next month’s plans, goals and where improvements can be made – make sure you listen to your team’s opinions and ideas too! They WANT to be more involved, so let them!
THE FEEL-GOOD FACTOR
One thing I like to do when I hire new people is to get them to do a fun meet and greet with the rest of the team where we all share weird facts about ourselves and generally have a good time. I also get them to take the Love Languages test, often thought just for romantic relationships but can be applied to everything in our lives. It helps determine how a person gives and receives ‘love’ – or what I like to call ‘How they like to bestow good vibes on others and how they feel valued best’ – do they need words of affirmation often? Do they need gifts? Do they need quality time?
Knowing these things can help you create a team that is watertight – sending out little gifts every so often (like an amazon gift card, a book you’ve been talking about etc) can be fab for a gifts person. An annual in -person meeting could be great to satisfy the quality time people and a ‘YOU’RE FREAKING AWESOME’ message of encouragement can work wonders for the words of affirmation folk – and just about anyone for that matter.
BILLING & PAYMENTS FOR CLIENTS & SUBCONTRACTORS
Your clients will pay hourly on retainer, or based on a given set of services to be completed each month. Your VAs will bill you at the end of the month based on how many hours they’ve worked (have them keep track in a program like Toggl) or agreed upon project rates.
Every two weeks, have your subcontractors provide you with a breakdown of how many hours they’ve worked and on what projects so you can update your clients.
As the project manager, the majority of your time will be devoted to meetings, calls, strategy, and offering support to both your clients and subcontractors. Keep your hourly rate reasonable and give out loads of hours to your subcontracted virtual assistants. This helps keep you competitive in your field while also being able to take on a larger number of clients and projects.
The standard rate to pay your subcontractors is anywhere between $12 – $25 USD an hour. Remember that it’s less than what you’d ordinarily make as a VA because all the searching, networking, and onboarding is something YOU do, as the managing VA, therefore saving the subcontractors time, energy, and effort finding their own clients.
Since you’ll probably be paying your subcontractors different rates based on what services and skillsets they’re providing, it’ll be important that everyone signs non-disclosure agreements. In part so they’re not sharing their rate with anyone else, but also to keep yours and your client’s information secure.
Remember: You need to pay your subcontracted virtual assistants for the work they’ve completed even if a client contract ends or they don’t pay! That’s why you’ll really need to do your due diligence in the hiring stage.
Are you ready?
Start looking for subcontractors before you feel 100% ready – remember the snowball effect!
You likely already know people who would be the perfect additions to your team, so talk to them, learn what their skill set and services are, and start this process.
Guaranteed you won’t look back.