Stacey Brice who runs AssistU, a virtual assistant registry and training business,hosted Tuesday Open Mic night at Liz Strauss's blog to bust the myths people have about virtual assistants. I have to admit, I've thought some of the myths that Stacey lists:
- A VA will never do things as well as I do.
- I can’t afford a VA.
- I should work with an $8/hour VA oversees–I’ll get more bang for my buck.
- I don’t think the virtual thing would work–I need to be with someone face-to-face.
- I should have a bunch of VAs who specialize–no one can do it all for me.
At the same time, life is busy and I can't tell you the number of times I wish I had someone to delegate to. We have already outsourced tax preparation and house cleaning but what about hings like clothes and grocery shopping, investment research, proactive social calendar management, car maintenance, contact list consolidation not to mention "Can someone take these hand drawn slides and get them into PowerPoint and looking PowerFull?
So, once in awhile, when I feel just too far behind, I wonder, would a virtual assistant help? How would they help? What would it cost?
Reading through all the comments it looks like you should expect to pay between $20 and $50 an hour and most likely over $30 an hour. Your best bet is probably someone who has good general contracting and investigating skills because no one person will be able to do it all but that's okay so long as they can find someone who does. And, it sounds super simple, but, you have to be able to articulate what you need.
In addition to harried office professionals there's a growing need for virtual assistants because of the rise in off-site professionals and work-at-home professionals. Another site, Virtual Assistant, targets just this market.
If you want to be your own general contractor, Elance is a great resource for a variety of skill sets from Legal, Engineering, Sales and Finance to Web Design, Programming, Writing and Administrative support.
Tasks Every Day has a great video of how you would use a virtual assistant in a business. Fim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Work Week, experimented with outsourcing his whole life and shares the adventure with us on his blog.
Looks like a good market. But all 3 of these models have 1 common problem: the search and match problem. With so many listings how do I find the right person for me with the right skills for the job. Guess you'll just have to interview them:)