If you’re like most of us, you never have enough time to do all of the tasks that are required of an author and entrepreneur. My friend in San Diego says “Entrepreneurs are lucky, they only have to work half the time and it’s their choice which half of the day they work.”
I truly believe the advent of virtual assistants is one of the greatest resources created in the past ten years. We don’t have to do every task ourselves and in fact, if we can hire it out for under $200 an hour, we should not do the task. Especially when we take the time to do marketing, sales or relationship building tasks instead of doing the outsourced task.
Some of the tasks I have learned to hire out include bookkeeping, cleaning up email, typing, social media, approach calls, book marketing tasks, graphic design. membership site marketing, database building, speaking engagement queries, transferring audio files to text, video clips, video editing, joint venture and affiliate approaches, website maintenance and even writing. There is no limit to what you can job out and if you focus your time on revenue generating activity your business will grow exponentially.
You’ll want to write out a detailed description of what you want the VA to accomplish. How much time will it take? What skills do they need to have? How much experience do they need? How many hours a week do you need them to work? How is it best for you to work with the VA, by phone, email or Skype? Be sure to ask for references and be sure to call each of at least three of the references. Check their website to verify their professionalism and set up a couple of hurdles to see what their response time is such as returning your email or phone call.
Selecting a virtual assistant is trickier than deciding what to hire out. What I have found is to create a spreadsheet of all the tasks I somehow never get around to doing. I record every speaking engagement I do and have those transferred to text files to see what new material I might be able to use for a book, blog post or even an inspiration for a new project. The VA I use for that task is different from the one I use to create social media activity. It seems each VA has specific tasks they are good at doing and I receive much better results by using one who excels and has a great deal of experience in the task at hand.
Start out with a ten hour agreement and be sure every detail is in writing. Define exactly what is confidential and be sure they sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your intellectual property. Most VAs expect to be paid in advance, so you don’t want to commit to too many hours until you’re comfortable with your working relationship. Be sure your agreement spells out they are independent contractors and are fully responsible for taxes.
I have used as many as three or four VAs at time depending on what projects I’m working on. I use several websites such as elance and freelance as a resource to find new VAs. There are thousands of resources which offer lists. The average is between $7 and $15 an hour. One site which has been a great resource is fiverr. For five dollars, you can find someone to do almost any task you might need.
It is a great feeling to know I have work being accomplished where ever I am and whatever I am doing. I especially appreciate getting the tasks complete when I know they are tasks I tend to avoid.