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The other day, a reader asked me how do you know when it’s time to hire a VA?

My answer:

When the pain of inaction becomes too great.

Not when you launch a new project, not the first moment you feel resistance, and not because some expert says you need to.

Like I touched on last month, my latest “hire” was for a podcast editing service. After spending hours editing each episode for 2.5 years — and now with a newborn in the house — the pain of inaction became too great.

And the same has been true for just about every hire I’ve made.

when to hire

When you start to dread the task (warning signs include relentless procrastination), or think of all the things you SHOULD be doing instead, that’s a good indicator the pain is getting to the point of needing relief.

Where I’ve seen people run into trouble is in “pre-medicating”; or hiring too early. Their revenue didn’t yet justify the expense and the business model didn’t yet justify the investment.

They were excited and energized (and perhaps had budget to burn) and wanted to follow someone else’s prescription for success.

But they hadn’t felt the pain.

The pain makes you a better manager because you can tell your prospective hire exactly “where it hurts” and get the help you need.

If you don’t feel it, it’s really hard to describe the role you envision for your virtual assistant.

Your Turn

I’m curious, do you hire more to resolve “bleeding neck” problems or more for “nice to have” solutions?

(I’m definitely more on the bleeding neck side; and end up wasting time and money on the “nice to have” roles.)

In your experience, what was the tipping point that led to hiring your first VA?


  1. Best answer ever to a question I also get quite a bit. I think it’s ok to start outsourcing earlier than you might think if you also have a plan for pumping up the ROI on your outsourcing. Most folks don’t devote those newly freed hours to activities that pay for the freelancer. Once you ROI everything else is gravy. You can spend that golden time on whatever you want.

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