So apparently I struck a nerve not too long ago, I responded to a friend’s message about needing an assistant.
I replied to her “Why don’t you get a virtual one?”
She responded positively to the message, so I sent her the information. Not too long afterwards, I got several requests for Virtual Assistant information, so I figured I’d better explain what I’ve got going with it.
I was inspired to find a Virtual Assistant by one of my heroes, Tim Ferriss, author of the “4-Hour WorkWeek”. If you can pickup that book, he outlines his resources on when and where he goes for outsourcing. Having one is awesome, but it takes some getting used to, having someone who says ‘Yes Sir’ and is happy to take your calls.
I’m just going to summarize what I personally use here in this post and why.
1. Ask Sunday – http://www.asksunday.com/
This website is the most comprehensive as far as VA’s go. They are based in New York. You can sign up for a per task assignments, or get a dedicated VA. I used to have a dedicated one, but I retain the per-task queue just in case. These assistants can also even manage your Social Media and online presences if you want them to! They also have a free trial on the site as well. They can be reached by phone and email. 15 Requests in 30 days is only $37 dollars!
2. Concierge Unlimited – http://www.conciergeunlimited.com
This company is local to Chicago, IL and it’s the reason why I don’t have a fulltime VA anymore. The service is complimentary for my building, and if you work downtown, you may have an agreement with a similar company. If not, check with your building manager to see if they have some kind of agreement with a similar company.
I usually have my virtual assistant there do research on events, restaurants, and hotels. She also sets appointments for me, and do a little bit of management. Right now she’s the only thing keeping me sane about my birthday party.
3. eLance – http://www.elance.com
If there are projects that are oddball (like for example, setting up websites, etc.) I use eLance. Here you can post potential projects and have other people bid on them. I went through a few VAs to find the right one. Some people will bid your projects as low at $5/hr.
There are also some fulltime solutions, provided you have the cash. My friend is at http://www.virtualhires.com and they can provide a full staff for $600 a month. I also hear good thigns about http://www.mysavvyva.com/ as well, and she’s on twitter.
A few tips.
1. Be careful with your information
Tim Ferriss mentions in his book that if you have to share passwords, make sure that you’ve changed it before you give it to them, or even better, give them a separate account to which you can block access. Same with financials. I like the AskSunday site because it’s based here, but once you go off the grid you have to be careful. Using PayPal is awesome for this.
2. Interview your VA
I made it a must that my VAs can speak and write English. I don’t want to deal with a translator or a task master of any sort.
3. Try before you buy
Send them smaller tasks at first to see how they handle them first and how your communication goes. It’s best not to be in crisis mode when having to reach out to someone for help.