Managing virtual assistants: Imagining more possibilities

When it comes to finding people for my outsourcing team, I’m like a 5-year-old in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. There are so many people with so many great talents, and I want to tap all of them.

I find it amazing that I can trade my money (which really represents my time and energy) for someone else’s time and energy. For example, the image below took one of my illustrators 4 hours to make based on a photo, for a total cost of around USD 45. This is not an amount to sneeze at, for sure, but considering how long it would’ve taken me and how badly I would’ve drawn it myself, it’s not a bad trade-off either.

That’s so much better than my stick figures. =) Now my personal outsourcing team includes someone who types faster than I do (she’s an excellent transcriptionist) and several illustrators who can beat me in a drawing competition even with their eyes closed.

I delegate many clerical tasks, taking it as an opportunity to think about and document my processes. But the times I really enjoy delegating something to someone is when I can tap their strengths at things that I find it difficult to do, and they do things that surprise and delight me. My team doesn’t just save me time, they teach me so many things along the way, and they help me imagine even more possibilities.

There’s something powerful in here, and I’m looking forward to learning how to make the most of it. =)

  • http://imlovinggreen.blogspot.com/ mich

    Hi sacha, i am very interested to work as a virtual assistant. Please contact me if you need one. Thank you

  • Jason Varmazis

    The concept of assistants is really nothing new. There was a time that even entry level professionals had access to assistants for making travel plans, preparing presentations, completing expenses and other administration tasks etc. Back then it was understood that it was wasteful to use a professionals time to complete such tasks, and that assistants that specialized in such tasks could complete them more efficiently. Now with the mantra of cost cutting and web self serve, assistants are often only available to Directors and up in most organizations. Front line professionals waste time completing administrivia instead of doing real work. Of course employers hope that these tasks will be done on the laptop from home outside business hours, and guess what, they are usually correct.

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    True – clerical assistants have been around for a while. Delegating to people who are better than you are has been around for ages, too. (Tailors, carpenters, plumbers, etc.) With mass production and self-serve systems, most people don’t think of finding someone who can do the work, but it turns out to be pretty fun (and surprisingly educational) to do so.

  • http://www.daysstories.blogspot.com mom

    Is that possible – someone who types faster than you? :)

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    I know! Isn’t that awesome? =)

  • http://www.fullcirc.com Nancy White

    I’d love recommendations on illustrators. I can always use more in my network. And transcriptionists too. My favorite company /person retired and I have not found a good replacement.

  • http://coevolving.com David Ing

    I like your stick figures! (I have a preference for vector graphics over bitmap graphics … unless we go all of the way to photographs!)