21 Time-Sucking Tasks To Stop Doing Immediately (And Outsource To Your VA)

21 Time-Sucking Tasks To Stop Doing Immediately (And Outsource To Your VA)

There are a lot of “should’s” and “supposed to’s” regularly bandied around in the online business world.

You’re supposed to be building your email list.

You should write guest posts.

You’re supposed to have an online course.

And while you’re at it you should probably charge more money.

etc. etc. …

The most critical “supposed to” in the superfast growth of my business was hiring a VA. I hired her about 8 months in out of sheer necessity. I was getting lots of leads from an ad I’d taken out on Copyhackers For Hire, but they needed to be screened. I was wasting time answering too many emails, getting on sales calls with potential clients who weren’t a good fit, and sometimes even taking those clients on anyways because I had a hard time saying no to money.

Enter Sandra.

I chose Sandra from Any Old Task because we already had a semblance of a working relationship. We knew each other from our local coworking community, and I liked the idea of working with someone local. (Still do.)

What exactly she was going to do for me, or if I could afford to have her on retainer, wasn’t super clear back then. My initial commitment was $500/month, which, at the time, felt like a lot. But the feeling of being unburdened made it worth the leap.

Almost instantly after hiring her I started making more money. I could take on more clients because I was no longer fiddling around with contracts, invoices, emails. The 10 hours a month I had her for was worth at least 20 of my time, because those things tended to pull me away from money-making activities and lose time multitasking.

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But what probably influenced my revenue, even more, was that she created space for me to grow. I didn’t just have more billable hours available, I had a foundation in place that allowed me to do more things. Scale my promotions. Build online courses with Sandra’s help. Set up quick one-off promos—some of which added multiple 5-figures to my bottom line.

My partner Jay and I call this “building a bigger bucket.” As in, put the infrastructure in place for money to flow in. And that’s where having a VA work with you in your business is the most impactful.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve slowly increased the number of hours my VA works for me – it’s usually somewhere between 20 and 30 – and expanded the types of tasks she handles far beyond the realm of email, though that’s still an important part of her work.

I’m writing this blog post because I see a lot of well-intentioned advice about hiring a VA, but I also see that many online business owners don’t really know what a VA is going to do for them, or how it will impact their revenue.

So here’s a peek at some of the most important tasks Sandra handles for me. I’ve ordered them in terms of what takes me the most time. (I really have no idea how time-consuming these tasks are for her. I just read her weekly reports to me and breathe a sigh of relief.)

Answering Emails

Obviously, you can’t outsource ALL of your email. And why would you? Email is one of my favourite things. Replies to my email newsletters are like little gifts I wouldn’t want anyone else unwrapping.

That said, I’m willing to bet you’re answering a lot of emails that don’t require your direct input. Here are some of the types of emails my VA handles for me:

  1. Inquiries from potential clients
  2. Customer service emails
  3. Anything billing/invoice related (lapsed payments, overdue payments from clients, etc.)
  4. Software subscriptions & renewal notices
  5. Scrub my email list when necessary
  6. Upload receipts to Receipt Bank

Sandra is the gatekeeper of my client schedule. When she gets an inquiry that looks like a good match, she’ll have me okay it in Slack, then schedule a sales call. If it doesn’t look like a good fit (not my ideal client, timeline is too tight, etc.), she’ll refer out to someone on my list of trusted people. This system keeps me from saying yes to projects just because they’re lucrative.

It sounds like I have a ton of new leads. I don’t. Maybe 2 or 3 per week. And there were even less than that when I hired her.

We sign up for software and subscriptions through Sandra’s email, so that she gets all the reminders and invoices, which she uploads to Receipt Bank for me. When something comes up for renewal, she’ll either renew if she sees we’re still using it (or more likely, do nothing, since everything auto-renews these days), or cancel it after running it by me to confirm.

Customer service inquiries or billing issues still land in my personal email from time to time, but I forward them to Sandra.

Managing My Calendar

I can’t think of anything more boring than exchanging emails to find a suitable time to meet a new client.

“How’s Tuesday at 10am PT for you?”

“I’ve got a dentist appointment that day. How about 12pm ET Thursday?”

Ugh. Shoot me. Sandra handles everything calendar related.

  1. Scheduling sales calls with potential new clients
  2. Scheduling meetings with existing clients
  3. Booking clients for full-day or half-day sessions
  4. Anything Acuity-related, including updating 24-hr and 15-min reminder emails, creating pretty links to public calendars, managing my availability, creating dedicated calendars for specific offerings (i.e. one-off sessions with my B-School group), and loads more

Implementing My Promotions

I used to do EVERYTHING myself for all of my promotions. From planning the promotion to creating sequences in ConvertKit to integrating software in Zapier, right down to editing button text. It was exhausting.

These days my promotions are 100x less stressful because Sandra and her team are doing everything behind the scenes. Of course, I’m still doing all the strategy, madly creating lists of things for her to do, and sending her messages that are probably pretty annoying (they usually start with “I forgot if I asked you to do this already, but…”).

  1. Scheduling webinars and getting the replay out
  2. Uploading all email sequences in ConvertKit, including
  3. managing tags and creating the tagging strategy with me
  4. Adding or updating links on my sales pages
  5. Creating checkout pages in SamCart
  6. Creating simple landing pages in Leadpages

Uploading Blog Posts & Email Newsletters

Transferring blog posts from Google Docs to WordPress is easily my most hated task. We use Wordable.io now, so it’s a lot less tedious. But even so, anything that requires me to log into WordPress is an instant “not doing it.”

I used to do everything WordPress-related. I built websites from scratch and spent hours making endless tweaks to my copy, pop-ups, forms, etc. Now I don’t even pop in to do something as simple as update my address. Nuh-uh, not doing it.

This is probably the most gratifying of anything I’ve outsourced. I would never, could never go back.

  1. Transferring blog posts from GDocs to WordPress via Wordable
  2. Reformatting the content as needed
  3. Adding tags, selecting categories, setting featured images, etc.
  4. Uploading weekly emails and adding tags
  5. Implementing small promotions that sometimes go with my emails

30-Second Tasks That Drain My Time And Make Me Want To Tear My Hair Out

This is probably where I get the best value from hiring a VA. Instead of constantly logging in and out of software, switching from task to task, and trying to juggle a million things, I simply transfer these small tasks onto Sandra’s plate.

It keeps me losing a ton of time on multitasking, which is huge. If I think of some small task that needs to be done while I’m in the middle of, say, writing a blog post, I send a Slack message to Sandra and ask her to do it instead.

There are an infinite number of 30-second tasks to be done when you’re running an online business. Sometimes it’s a simple as “make sure so-and-so is tagged as ____ in ConvertKit, so that she gets the reminder emails for ____” or “please check to make sure we billed client x for that extra email I did for her last week.”

All of that happens in Slack.

There’s so much I love about my relationship with my VA Sandra.

After working together for almost 2 years, she’s started anticipating my needs and doing things before I even ask her. We often joke about her being psychic.

Even better, she never judges me when I get crazy ideas or set ridiculously unattainable goals. Like the time I told her that I only want to work with famous people.

She could’ve judged me, called me shallow, or secretly told everyone in her office what a fame-whore I was but, true to form, she just asked, “How will I know if they’re famous?”

I really love that about her.

I got really lucky with Sandra. I don’t think everyone has this kind of luck the first time they try working with a VA. For some entrepreneurs I know it took a few tries to get it right.

But please trust me on this—it’s SO worth it. If you insist on doing everything yourself, you’re limiting how big you can grow. I’m certain of that.

Your Turn: What’s kept YOU from hiring a VA?

Is it putting up the money? Is it because you’re not sure what a VA will do for you? Give us a shout in the comments and let Sandra and I know.

Finally, Sandra occasionally has room for new clients. You can find her business Any Old Task by clicking the link, where you’ll find an easy booking link to schedule a call with her.

Tarzan Kay

I’m a launch strategist, copywriter and educator on all things money—earning it, growing it, and helping others get more of it.

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