When you’re starting your own RIA, you are most likely wearing every hat possible. You’re not only the financial planner, you’re the compliance officer, marketing manager, office administrator, bookkeeper, salesman, and technology director…just to name a few.
This is a great opportunity to get to know a little bit about each area of the business, but chances are, you started your RIA to work with clients.
Even though cash is limited, especially when you’re just starting out, outsourcing some of those hats can actually help you earn more money and do more of what you love in your business.
For instance, if you took just 5 hours of paperwork and administrative tasks off your plate each week, that opens up 20-25 hours of extra time each month to focus elsewhere. If you took that free time to bring on one or two extra clients for the month, your investment in outsourcing will pay for itself in no time.
Let’s say you’ve made the decision to bring on a virtual assistant (“VA”) to help out around the office. The next logical question is, what kind of tasks can I give them?
This is the question we get most often from our clients, so we put together a list of 10 things you can outsource to your VA right away.
1. Scheduling Appointments
This is probably one of the easiest tasks you can outsource to a VA to get started. It’s also a task that most likely eats up a lot of your time dealing with clients or prospects.
Give your VA access to your calendar and let them go back and forth with the client to find the best meeting time possible. Your VA can also help gather helpful information from the client prior to your next meeting.
Extra Tip: If you don’t want to hire a VA for this job, try using an online meeting scheduling app!
2. Managing Prospects
Virtual Assistants can also be a great help when it comes to managing prospects. A well-trained VA can help filter through some of the inquiries you receive from interested customers to make sure you don’t spend time on someone that is clearly not your ideal client.
Even if you enjoy staying hands-on during this process, a VA can help prompt you to follow up with prospects that may be on the fence or are slow in getting requested documents back to you.
Extra Tip: Setting up recurring tasks in your CRM can be a great way for you to prompt yourself to follow up with a prospect.
3. New Client Onboarding
Having your VA assist with onboarding a new client is a common task that we’re often asked to help with as well. When a new prospect tells you they are ready to sign on the dotted line, hand them over to your VA who will help manage the paperwork.
A VA can help send out paperwork to the client for signature, answer basic questions, and make sure all the documentation is securely stored in your CRM or document management tool.
Extra Tip: Standardize your onboarding process as much as possible. Document the process so anyone you hire for help can follow the process over and over again to deliver a consistent, professional experience to your clients.
4. Opening or Closing Client’s Investment Accounts
If you’re bringing on an investment management client, chances are there will be a number of forms to be filled out with the custodian in order to open an account and transfer funds.
A VA can help with these tasks, but expect to spend a little extra time training your VA to make sure the client experience is flawless. Mistakes can happen with anyone, but you want to minimize the amount of time your client has to make corrections or sign new forms.
Extra Tip: It helps if your VA has some understanding of the financial industry, or at least commonly used terms. This can help speed up the training process.
5. Transpose Recorded Meetings into Notes and Action Items
Here’s a task not many financial advisors consider giving to their VA, but it could make a huge difference when meeting with clients.
If you meet with your clients virtually using a web conferencing tool such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, or GoToMeeting, these tools normally give you the ability to record the audio and/or video from your meeting. Instead of taking notes, record your meetings, and have your VA write up the meeting notes and action items.
Imagine focusing on the client or prospect during your meetings instead of writing down notes. You might be able to cover topics on a much deeper level!
Extra Tip: Even if you don’t have a VA transpose your meeting notes, recording your meetings can still be a great tip! Video and audio recordings capture every word, so there is no need to worry about losing a key piece of information.
6. Basic Bookkeeping
Making sure your bank accounts are reconciled or recording expenses can be a tedious task for most advisors. Hiring a VA to help with the bookkeeping can help keep these tasks off your plate.
Chances are, your VA is probably not an accountant, but documenting your normal procedures for basic bookkeeping can help your assistant reconcile and categorize your expenses just as you like.
Extra Tip: Xero and QuickBooks are two of the most popular online accounting systems on the market today, and they both offer FREE certification training. If you think your VA might be able to help, have them complete the online training courses first.
7. Event Planning Support
“Event Planning” can mean different things for different people, but the general idea here is that your VA can help with the logistical planning.
For example, if you want to host a webinar, your VA can schedule the webinar, create and upload your slides, help draft communication to clients or prospects, and even help moderate the discussion during your presentation.
For “on-site” events, a VA can help book your travel or secure a room for the seminar location.
Extra Tip: TripIt is a great app to keep track of all your travel itineraries! Your VA can also use it to send updates on trip changes.
8. Social Media Management
Social media can be a double-edged sword for many advisors. You know you should have some type of social presence, but it can require daily upkeep to maintain a following.
Outsourcing your social media activities is another common task to outsource to a VA. Your VA may not be a marketing expert, but they can help make sure your posts are scheduled, messages are answered, and mentions from clients or other advisors are acknowledged.
I also consider social media management to include proofreading blog posts, publishing on WordPress, or even writing show notes from your latest podcast.
Extra Tip: You can use programs like HootSuite or MeetEdgar to automatically schedule your social media posts for the week. Spending a few hours to plot out your posts for the week can help save you some time and energy from thinking about it on a daily basis.
9. Building Workflows and Procedures
Documenting operating procedures in a new business is most likely to be the can that gets kicked down the road, further and further. It’s often not until an advisor goes to hire a new associate that they realize they probably should start writing down their SOPs.
A VA can help write these procedures, even if it’s limited to the tasks you ask them to do.
For our clients, we offer to help document all their procedures because we feel they are so important for every RIA to have. If you have a process-oriented VA (like we are!), they can even help suggest improvements to your processes or technology.
Extra Tip: Try onboarding your VA as if they were a client, you can get great, unbiased feedback this way!
Now that you are spending more of your time focusing on growing your business, you might find that you need to bring on an associate planner to your practice.
Trying to source candidates, review resumes, and scheduling interviews can be extremely time-consuming. The good news is that these tasks are also easy to outsource to your VA!
Extra Tip: LinkedIn can be a great place to find candidates for your job openings. Make sure you are connecting with as many people as you can!
Remember, it’s OK to start slow when working with a virtual assistant. There is a certain amount of trust that needs to be established between both parties, and you want to make sure you work well together.
Gradually increase responsibilities and only outsource what you feel comfortable outsourcing. If you just love doing bookkeeping, or simply don’t trust anyone but yourself and a CPA to touch your books, then don’t outsource.