Real Life with Virtual Assistants… Why You Need One (or More)?

February 3, 2015


Do You Ever Sleep?

I get this question all the time … “When do you sleep? You are everywhere!” I do get around a bit; between speeches, masterminds and networking, I attend upwards of 20 events per month. I am constantly posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ about all of these meetings. I also send multiple emails each week. I co-host a Blogtalk Radio show every Monday and two podcasts per week. Tack on 2-4 webinars each week, and you have a busy schedule.

My Secret Weapon

Girl Using virtual PC Touch Screen

I have help in the form of Virtual Assistants. There is Kay from Boston (who is wicked haad coor), and manages, books and sets up my BlogTalk Radio show. There is Bev from England, who manages my email marketing, and Kristi from California who proofreads these blogs to make them look perfect. Then, there is Christina from Buffalo, who helps me re-write client website content. These four have helped me become uber efficient, and save me countless hours per week.

I have often heard it said, that if you don’t have an assistant, then you ARE the assistant. Even if you have an office assistant, they may not have the skill sets that match some of the tasks you need done.

How To Find A Virtual Assistant

There are many websites that can assist you in finding the help you need. Some of which include:,,, or Virtual Assistant agencies like OB1 Agency. Here are some tips when looking to fill a VA position:

  1. Tightly Define The Task(s) – You have to be super clear on what you want a VA to do for you and your company. If you post “Looking for help with writing”, you will have just inherited a full time job sorting through responses. Posting something more specific like “Looking for a writer specializing in proofreading blogs. Must have experience with using and editing WordPress blogs. Prefer people based in the United States. Pay rate is $ 15-$ 25 per hour and should not exceed 2 hours per blog to proof. This may include additional proofreading and editing of WordPress Pages and past blogs. I prefer someone who is professional, works on an Apple Mac and can work with quick turn around times”, and you will have a much more targeted list of potential VAs.
  2. Get Your Tech Synched – Make sure you are clear on the platforms and technology you want your Virtual Assistant to have working knowledge of. Just because someone is PC based, does not mean they are using Windows 3.1 or a beta version of Windows 10, if that is what you require. If you work on a Mac, specify requirements for Pages or Office for Mac. Make sure if you are giving them access to your website(s), that you or your tech support create a special username and password to access your site(s) with contributor or editor access only (not admin or super user). That way, if you need to make a change at any time, they don’t have complete access to your account.
  3. Pick and Choose – As you start getting emails, you need to begin narrowing down the field to two or three top prospects. Next, get references and some sample work if that applies. Picking the right Virtual Assistant is all about intuition and communication styles. There is no perfect formula or methodology, just do your best to find a fit based on your needs and style.

P.S. Make sure you respond to all who did not get the job to let them know you appreciate their efforts, and will keep them in mind for future projects. It’s always good to have a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out the way you hoped it would.

How to Make The Most of a Virtual Assistant(s)

  1. Strengths & Weaknesses – Start out by doing a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, and make a list of the tasks you like and hate to do. This will show you areas where a VA can be a huge help. I have to write for various reasons, but I suck at proofreading. Since hiring my VA Kristi, I have had writer friends compliment me on how much better my blogs have become.
  2. Choose Wisely – The best way to find a great VA is to ask people in your network if they have a VA that might fit your needs, and hopefully has the bandwidth to take on additional projects. Next best is to work with an agency who trains and vets VAs. This may be a bit more expensive, but I have learned the hard way and have had to pay twice for bad work. Finally, if you are going to go the website, freelance route, spend time reading through the replies. If you can, give multiple VAs a try. In the case of blog proofing, you could have each potential VA edit old blogs (with different usernames and passwords) to see how their skills, timeliness and communication skills compare to each other.
  3. Go & Grow – Finally, give using a VA a shot. Try it for a while, and see how it works for you and your business. If it’s taking you more time to manage the project and the VA than it would take doing it yourself, try another VA. Hopefully, it will be a success, and then you can find other projects or tasks that will help you save more time or make more money! I can tell you from personal experience, the more you get to use Virtual Assistants, the more you will see opportunities to help you grow your business through task oriented outsourcing.

Final Thoughts

In his book, “The 4 Hour Work Week,” Tim Ferriss talks at length about how Virtual Assistants help him to live that lifestyle. I am not quite sure that you could do the same, but I can tell you that by using VAs, I have more time to work on my business, while spending less time IN my business. Remember, if you are not using an assistant, you ARE the assistant.

I would love to hear your experiences, comments and feedback. I would especially love to hear any tips and insights from any of you who work as Virtual Assistants!

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