How I Built a 6-figure Drop Shipping Business Using Virtual Assistants
Are you looking to get out of the day to day of your business operations so you can work on growth and scaling, but don’t know where to start?
In this post, I’m going to share with you my journey on how I built a six-figure drop-shipping business utilizing virtual assistants.
From automating tedious processes, to sourcing and managing a team of virtual assistants, I’ll provide insight into what worked for me and lessons learned along the way.
With a well thought-out plan and execution anyone can take their business to the next level by leveraging virtual assistant services.
Make the move from working in your business to working on your business.
So come along with me as I share my story on the road to financial freedom!
Why I Decided To Outsource (and so should you!)
When I decided to get into the drop shipping game, I knew it would involve a lot of hard work and dedication.
But after months of many hours of late nights and early mornings juggling a day job, 3 kids and a marriage, the business to my surprise started to take off.
But, there was a problem.
I was completely overwhelmed with all of the tasks that needed to be done on a daily basis in order for my business to stay afloat.
That’s when I decided to outsource these tedious, time consuming tasks.
That’s when I discovered the world of virtual assistants through some research.
I realised I could outsource time-consuming tasks like order fulfilment, financials tracking, customer service, product research and product updates – all while freeing up my own time so that I can focus on growing and scaling my business.
By leveraging virtual assistant services, not only do you save yourself countless hours but you also benefit from increased productivity and efficiency.
Virtual assistants are cost-effective, reliable and highly skilled professionals who make sure that each task is completed on time and with accuracy. Plus they can provide valuable insights and feedback which can help drive your business in the right direction.
Afterall, what small online business has the time, resources and money to manage a local employee with pay, benefits, tax etc. None!
How I Decided On What Activities To Outsource
Deciding what tasks to outsource for any business is a difficult decision.
We all think the tasks we perform on a day to day basis are unique to us and cannot be replicated.
But that’s not the case. All we need to do is commit to spending the time documenting the process.
For me it was daunting thinking about writing an SOP for the tasks. That’s when I found a tool called Loom and I started recording the processes of the tasks I wanted to outsource which became more intuitive for my eventual VA’s to learn the tasks.
I first focused on core activities that would have the largest impact on my business. The tasks were:
- Customer service,
- Product research,
- Order fulfilment & tracking
- Financial tracking.
These tasks accounted for about 80% of my daily activities for the business and in my eyes were “working in the business” vs “working on the business”
So, I went ahead and started filming each of the tasks using Loom so I could share with my soon to be Virtual Assistant.
Pro Tip #1
Once you hire your first VA, have them take your recorded videos for each task and turn them into a documented Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This way, if a VA leaves your team and you need to backfill them, you have both the video and the documentation for them to follow during training.
How I Actually Built My Team Of Virtual Assistants
When I decided to hire my first Virtual Assistant, my first step was to pick an appropriate platform for sourcing potential candidates.
After doing my research, I chose onlinejobs.ph for its ability to quickly match qualified candidates with job listings.
Onlinejobs.ph has a free plan and a Pro plan. In order to get the best results and make my search quick I signed up for the Pro version which was $69 for a month, cancel at any time.
I then went ahead and created my first job posting (I’ve posted 13 since). I included a compelling job title (Virtual Assistant For a Growing E-comm business), the job description outlining the tasks and experience required and added the skills needed.
PRO TIP #2
The onlinejobs.ph platform has a high volume of candidates and a lot of these candidates will mass-apply to jobs. To prevent receiving non-tailored applications to your role I advise to put in the job posting that they must Provide their favorite color (or drink, food. Whatever) in the subject line and that they must address the job tasks with their experience in their application and provide desired hourly rate. You can then go ahead and filter out the detailed candidates from the mass appliers.
Finally, after emailing and interviewing several candidates, I selected the 3 best candidates and offered them a trial with my business.
After a successful trial for all 3 candidates I decided to keep all 3 VA’s. I divided the taks up for each of them and they each got an hour of work per day to start and as the business grew their hours increased.
Pro Tip #3
It is good practice to have more than 1 VA work for you so then if 1 leaves you can have that work picked up by one of your other VA’s while you find a replacement.
How I Manage My Team For High Performance
Managing a team of virtual assistants requires planning and consistent communication.
To ensure my team meets deadlines and delivers high quality work, I rely on Trello for task management and also to store the links to the Loom videos and SOP’s. It’s literally a one stop shop for managing my team and their performance.
With Trello, I can assign tasks to individual team members and set deadlines. It also allows me to quickly check the status of each task, which helps keep everyone accountable.
However, if you’re on a budget and just starting out, Google Sheets can also be used for this, although it will be more manual but a good way to get you started.
For paying my VA’s I use Wise and PayPal depending on their preference. Wise has lower fees than Paypal, however PayPal is a more common platform.
My VA’s send me an itemized invoice each week on a Friday with their hours and calculated pay. Once I’ve reviewed and agreed with the invoice I go ahead and pay.
Pro Tip #4
Always make sure you pay on time and cover most of the fee’s that the platform charges for the payments. Afterall, if they’re only working an hour or so a day the fees from these platforms can account for up to 10% of their total pay.
Your Turn: Actionable Next Steps
If you truly are interested in stepping out of working in your business to start working on your business then you need to start outsourcing and the best way is through building a capable team of Virtual Assistants.
I urge you to review your business operations and tasks and define where you can use a VA, then go and at least hire and trial some candidates to fulfil this work for you.
Afterall, how can you be working on growing and scaling your business if you’re the bottleneck completing all the day to day and not working on tasks that will actually scale your business?
Here are my results since having VA’s vs the same months the year before without VA’s:
Don’t know where to start with an online business, checkout these 109 side hustles for 2023.
Josh Salkeld is the founder of joshsalkeld.com and multiple 6 Figure E-commerce brands.
Josh has a background in Executive Management & Sales and has closed over $500 Million of industrial sales over his career.
He empowers aspiring entrepreneurs to create and scale online businesses so they can leave their day job and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.