I finally did it! I hired a Virtual Assistant!
Lesson learned - don't wait so long to hire a virtual assistant!
Outsourcing to a virtual assistant of any kind - general assistant, graphic designer, web designer, transcriptionist, etc. is key to taking your coaching business to the next level as it allows you to stay focused on your Zone of Genius. AND it doesn't have to cost you and arm and a leg. I've had my VA on board now for about a month, and she is AWESOME!
Sources for Outsourcing to VAs
Online Jobs - This services posts jobs for workers in the Philippines. This is the resource I used to hire my VA and that I have used now for 3 other projects. I was hesitant to use this service because I thought I needed to hire someone full-time, but that is not the case at all.
I've hired someone for approx 20 hours/week at $3/hour and I've also hired 3 other people for various projects like transcription, website build, and graphic design. There is a $29/month fee to post jobs here. You simply post a job description, say how much you are paying (and you can indicate hourly or a price for the whole project) and then people start to submit their applications. In some cases, I asked them to submit a sample of work and I used that to pre-screen applicants. Once I found 2-3 people I liked, I hopped on Skype, interviewed them, and hired the first person who met the requirements and whom I felt good about.
Fiverr - is another resource where you can hire VAs. Everything is $5. I've used them for transcription (you want to get a quick sample before hiring someone for a big project), infographics and SEO.
UpWork - is another site where you can hire VAs for projects. In this case, you agree to a price - they will usually tell you what their hourly rate is. I've done one project through Elance that was a technical website project.
Fancy Hands - is a way to hire an assistant... without having to hire an assistant. You pay a monthly subscription fee and with that you get a certain number of tasks you can outsource to their team. In this case, you don't hire a particular person. This works well for things like research, or putting something into Excel, or finding the best hotel prices in NYC.
Task Rabbit - TaskRabbit is a slightly different kind of outsourcing service. This is if you need a real live person to do something for you. I once used them to sit at my house and wait for a furniture delivery while I was away. You can hire them to run errands, do tasks, put together the furniture you bought at Ikea, etc. You pay by the job and agree to the price with the worker.
When you hire a virtual assistant, here is a list of tasks you can outsource.
- Email Management/Filtering
- Setting up Autoresponders (Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse)
- Booking appointments with clients
- Following up with clients(sending out thank you emails, happy birthday emails etc.)
- Processing and posting webinars, audios from teleseminars, or uploading and optimizing videos to YouTube or other Video Hosting service.
- Calendar Management
- File Management (organizing files using Dropbox etc)
- Database building (eg. updating email or contact lists on your CRM)
- Research on certain topics for blogposts, newsletters or others
- Personal errands (purchasing gifts for loved ones/family members online, researching for the best vacation spots, etc)
- Hotel and Flight Booking
- Transcription (transcribing voicemail, video or audio, podcasts etc.)
- Taking down minutes of meetings
- Creating basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, deliverables, sales)
- Preparing Slideshows (Powerpoint Presentations)
- Liaison between you and other team members
- Recruitment (source for other team members like writers or graphic artists)
- Set-up Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube)
- Manage and update Social Media Accounts
- Manage your Blog (Basic WordPress Skills)
- Publish posts on your Blog (content you provided)
- Filter and reply to comments on your blog
- Customer Support
- Blog commenting (your VA can comment on other blog posts to increase links to your site - make sure english skills are where you want them to be before outsourcing this.
- Participating in discussion forums or message boards (to promote your site/service)
What has been your experience with virtual assistants? Have you used them? What services have you used? What tasks have you outsourced? What kinds of tasks would you like to outsource, but perhaps not sure your should or can?
Takeaway - Hire a virtual assistant BEFORE you think you're ready. Then outsource as much as you can. The benefits to your business will be enormous.
Have fun outsourcing :)