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How to Find a Virtual Assistant

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Since I mentioned hiring a virtual assistant on Monday, I've been a steady stream of e-mail.... "How do you find a virtual assistant?" is the common question. If a few people are taking time out of their day to ask me, there are probably a number who are curious and just too Lazy to write me.

I'm going to start off with my experience, which is probably not the answer everyone is looking for... I have a friend who referred me. I suppose that's how most jobs are filled. Still I have some advice if I didn't get that introduction, I'd look into these two services.

  • Elance it - Elance.com has a number of people willing to help you. I employ a writer from there for side projects.
  • Ask Sunday - Ask Sunday is a site that is more research-oriented. They are offering more tasks recently, but it's still not just a free-form which I use. So while I've been tempted to get a subscription from time to time, I haven't pulled the trigger.

The biggest key to a successful relationship with a virtual assistant is... the relationship. You have to know what you can and can not ask. Keep your assistant happy and he/she will keep you happy.

Posted on July 8, 2009.

This post deals with: ... and focuses on:

Productivity

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14 Responses to “How to Find a Virtual Assistant”

  1. Flexo says:

    I’m getting to the point where I’m seriously considering a virtual assistant…. not necessarily for writing, but for practically everything in my life other than writing.

  2. Liz says:

    We provide a free recruitment service for clients looking for a Virtual Assistant. Similar to a regular recruitment agency, we obtain a detailed brief from you and then match your needs with our 165+ virtual assistants. We then provide you with a few profiles of suitable candidates for you to choose from.

    Free, risk free and all our virtual assistants are bound by a code of conduct that is montoried by a professional standards panel, sign a deed of confidentiality with each of their clients and negotiate rates independently.

  3. Single Maria says:

    Thanks for the post. Do it really help you? As for me I dont believe in power of such things. You can do it all by yourself without any assistants. Its silly. Everything is in your hands.

  4. @ Maria – it depends on the value of your time vs. the cost you’re paying the person. With the irons Lazy has in the fire, it’s quite possible that he comes out ahead by hiring someone to perform these tasks so that he can focus his own time on high profit jobs.

    As a very extreme example, I doubt that Warren Buffet puts new shingles on his roof when they are needed. Could he does this and save a few bucks? Sure – but it’s not a very efficient use of his time. His time is much better spent researching companies that Berkshire Hathaway can buy.

    There you go, Lazy. You’ve been mentioned in the same breath with Warren Buffet.

  5. Referrals are often a good way to ensure you get good services.

    What amazes me is how many still don’t know about all the Virtual Assistant networks out there. They show up in Google searches.

    Many of these VA networks have membership criteria for their VA members and run a Request for Proposal (RFP) or jobleads service for clients who just fill out a form for what they want and then suitable VAs respond to it. No cost involved in using these services and you get good quality VAs making contact with you.

    I have exactly that type of service on my own site with Virtual Assistants available in 18 countries. The VA will liaise with the client and advise their rates and turnaround time once they have a good idea of what’s involved with the job.

  6. Great point! The biggest key is the relationship, it creates the basis of a successful Client/VA team.

    To find the perfect Virtual Assistant for you make sure you ask the people in your network. Ask your Facebook friends or ask on Twitter, you might just find exactly who you are looking for. A referral from someone you know and trust is a valuable piece of information.

    Make sure you take the time to ask questions about their work style and their communication style. In the end these 2 questions are just as important as their skills and experience.

  7. SEO Assistant says:

    Its nice to have a virtual assistant so that you can change any ideas or sharing ideas.helping each other.Treat your assistant as your family.

  8. Dawn Lane says:

    As Kathie mentions there are a number of places to look for a VA; however, referal is by far the best method of finding the VA for you.

    The ‘agencies’ mentioned earlier like Elance and Ask Sunday, may be cheap but not necessarily the best way to outsource your business administration. Many of the people available from these sites are based in countries where English is not necessarily their first language and the cultural differences may affect the way your request for work is carried out.

    There are many VAs in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada etc where you will pay more per hour/monthly retainer to work with you, but they are all (generally) running their own businesses, have worked as PA/EA in the corporate world and therefore are very experienced not only in the administration side of things but also are business savvy, and it is this which could be more useful to your business than just cheap outsourced typing.

    Dawn

  9. Kosmo makes an important point – whether it’s worth hiring a VA or not does depend on what you could do with the time you save.

    But it’s also worth considering that it will take a professional administrator a lot less time to complete the task in the first place – and it will be to a higher standard.

    My advice when looking for a VA would be this: there are plenty of them around – choose one with the appropriate skills (obviously) but also someone you can work with closely and build up a lasting business relationship with.

    That way you’ll both succeed!

  10. Amanda says:

    As Kathie mentioned, referrals are good source for client. U usually get clients from current clients.

    Amanda
    Virtual Assistant :-)

  11. Tim Ferriss wrote a lot about how he used virtual assistants for different parts of his life. This post on his blog includes links to several resources to finding them.

    http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/12/06/the-personal-outsourcing-olympics-bangalore-butler-or-american-assistant/

    Tim may take the concept further than most people but definitely opens up the field of ideas.

    Just think of a VA as an actual assistant who simply telecommutes :) This may help you with understanding how it fits in your life and business.

    I will say from people I have talked to and my own experience, the better defined the task the better the end result. Don’t give wide open vague task requests. Give specific ones and your success will be greater.

  12. Except Tim mentions none of the VA networks. Many of these were around long before the sources he mentions and they are dedicated to the professionalism of the industry and ensuring that members have the skills, knowledge, experience and expertise of what’s required for clients. A good VA does not need training in how to do things – just how the client likes to operate.

  13. Virginia McKinney says:

    I agree with Kathie, a good VA is a professional who follows a strict code of ethics, has the skills, knowledge and expertise along with experience to help clients meet their goals. The best VA networking sites offer RFP posting where a person can post their requests and get responses from several qualified VAs.

  14. Ralph Thornel says:

    Ask Sunday is a scam. They take your money automatically but avoid your emails, phone calls and task requests – they try to put you off as long as they can. Buyer really beware. They will seriously waste your time.

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