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How Interior Designers Put Their Back Office on Autopilot With Remote Virtual Assistants

“You’re really good at this. You should do that for a living!”

How many creatives have heard that from someone and decided to take them up on their advice? Why not make a business out of your creative and artistic skills? It sounds like a solid win.

Here’s the tricky part: as an interior designer, it’s easy to let your creative business become more about business than creating.

Your office tasks can take over, and you either struggle to manage it all or find yourself contracting out the creative design and focusing on handling administration.

Creative people are healthiest when they can create, not when they respond to 400 emails from vendors. While it feels like this kind of busy work is a sign of a healthy growing business, it can be the opposite for business owners who are wired to design and create.

Why Freeing Up Your Time Builds Your Business

Consider that most small business owners work an average of 50 hours a week (even though they really only want to work about 40). They spend about 16 hours a week on administrative tasks. Workers who get to be creative are the happiest workers. When you’re happy, you’re up to 13% more productive

Now, if you’re a creative person whose dream it is to run a creative business, like interior design, you know you’re happiest and most fulfilled when you get to do the actual designing. Creating a dream interior for a client is much more fulfilling than hammering out invoices or scheduling meetings. And you crave that creative rush you get when working on a project, solving problems, and flexing your design muscles.

It’s great when it works.

But chances are pretty good that as your business grows, you’re spending a significant amount of time on non-creative work to keep up. It’s easy to get into a rut and turn your client projects into a standardized set of solutions instead of seeing each one as a unique opportunity to shine.

If you could free up your time and off-load those administrative tasks to someone else, you’d be able to give full focus to your clients. You’d have time to stay on top of the latest interior design trends. You could let those creative juices flow. You’d be able to bring the latest and greatest to every job.

But instead, you’re answering emails.

Virtual Assistants Should Run Your Back Office

There are three reasons you’re still handling all those pesky admin tasks instead of delegating them to a remote virtual assistant:

  1. You don’t think you could trust anyone to take them on.
  2. You don’t have the time or budget to hire another employee.
  3. You don’t understand the importance or value of your time.

Let’s take a look and see how a remote virtual assistant is the solution to each of these.

You can trust your remote virtual assistant.

A virtual assistant is a high trust position. They’re going to be in your email and talking to clients. You absolutely have to trust them or you’ll never fully delegate all of the admin tasks you should.

What makes you more likely to trust someone?

  • They are highly skilled and experienced, and you know they’re competent.
  • They have verifiable high work and ethical standards.
  • They have a similar work style and personality to you, and that familiarity makes it easier to trust them.

One of the ways we help our clients quickly build trust with our team members is that we only hire the best. Out of tens of thousands of applications, we pick the most skilled and experienced. Each team member is carefully vetted and backed by our guarantee.

Then, we take time to carefully match you with a team member based on personality and work style. We know that matters for success and for a long working relationship, but also for trust.

You can hire quickly within your budget.

Hiring help is notoriously expensive and time-consuming, which is why people try to put off doing it as long as they can. It can take months, and cost thousands. Job postings, recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, and then payroll and benefits—if you’re busy, it’s the last thing you want to deal with.

To get around that hiring mess, you have a couple of options:

  • Temp agency or staffing agency
  • Independent contractor or freelancer
  • Remote virtual assistant service

Maybe you don’t know which hiring approach to take. The pros seem similar. You get someone quickly and you have some flexibility in the cost. But there are a few catches.

A temp agency could get you someone quickly, but the employees they provide are generally on-site employees, not virtual. You’re restricted to local talent. How they vet their employees varies, though you can ask for someone different if the original placement doesn’t work out.

Independent contractors take time to find. Once you have someone you like to work with, you need to be careful that you stay compliant with employment laws. You can’t treat an independent contractor like an employee or you’ll run into legal trouble. 

A remote virtual assistant service can provide someone for you quickly, but there are a couple of catches. Some services assign an assistant from a pool of workers rather than carefully matching you. Some provide you with independent contractors, so the burden of compliance is still on you. Plus, if the assistant lives in another city or state, you have to follow any applicable laws for their location.

Our approach is to make all of our team members our own employees so you never worry about compliance or employment laws. You contact us, we find the perfect match no matter where they are located, you get an incredibly talented team member, and you pay based on a monthly subscription instead of a contract. That means you can change the hours your remote virtual assistant works for you based on what you actually need.

Your time is incredibly valuable.

We said earlier that most small business owners work about 50 hours a week (often more), even though they only want to work about 40. This is a time management problem.

Have you ever stopped to calculate the value of your time? The value of peace of mind? Or what the ROI would be if you saved time and didn’t spend so much time on admin tasks? 

Until you see your time as valuable in tangible terms, it’s easy to dismiss how much you waste on things that aren’t strategically growing your business.

There’s an interesting story of several CEOs trying to solve a creative group challenge, and while they did okay on their own, their performance increased significantly once an admin assistant was introduced into the team. Why?

It’s about facilitation. 

Your remote virtual assistant is great at managing the information bombarding you, prioritizing what you need to deal with, and in general, protecting your time

You already know you should save money. You should also save time, and with a remote virtual assistant, you can save a lot of it by delegating email, research, meeting schedules, customer service, payroll, invoicing, bookkeeping, and so on.

Frankly, if the majority of your time isn’t spent on actual design activity, you need a virtual assistant.

Are you convinced, yet? Wouldn’t you like to get back to being creative, and all the reasons you started your interior design business in the first place? We’d love to have a conversation with you and help set you on that path. In a short amount of time, you can start saving time.

About the author Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Boldly. She's passionate about helping Businesses, Organizations and Executives increase productivity and move their work forward with the right skills and resources. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working remotely, she’s been leading her entire team on a virtual basis for the past decade.

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