May 4, 2009

Getting started with virtual assistance

May 4, 2009 - Categories: delegation

When people ask me about virtual assistance, I usually start off with a few stories about things my assistants do, like:

My reasons for experimenting with virtual assistance are to:

I use Timesvr for 15-minute tasks and well-specified processes, and I work with virtual assistants I hired through oDesk for more specialized skills or more extended projects. Definitely worth the experiment, and quite affordable considering what you can learn and how you can help yourself and other people grow. =)

To get started:

  1. Make a list of things you do and things that you’ve been meaning to do.
  2. Identify things you frequently forget to do, don’t like doing, or can delegate to someone else easily.
  3. Set aside some money in your budget for outsourcing. Timesvr costs USD 69 + tax a month, and oDesk virtual assistants can go from USD 3 – USD 20 or more per hour. The virtual assistants I work with generally charge about USD 5 per hour, with specialized skills like illustration costing more.
  4. Try to estimate how much time it would take to complete each of those tasks. If your list has a large number of 15-30 minute tasks on it, consider signing up for Timesvr. If you have extended projects or projects that need specialized skills, consider posting on oDesk. You might even try both.
  5. Try a few small tasks. Timesvr has a free 3-day trial, and you can hire people on oDesk on an as-needed basis (< 10 hours a week, with no charges if you don’t assign them work).
  6. Think about your processes and your outsourcing experiences, and look for ways to improve. You can ask experienced assistants to help you learn, too. For example, I have Timesvr e-mail me a list of sample tasks every day.
  7. Lather, rinse, repeat. =)

Resources for people getting started:

My experiences

Processes

Check out my blog category about managing virtual assistants, and feel free to ask questions or share your experiences through comments or e-mail!

Weekly report: Week ending May 3, 2009

May 4, 2009 - Categories: weekly

From last week’s plans:

I also:

Next week: