7 Reasons You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant

If you have followed my journey from corporate CEO to full-time writer and speaker, you know I am a big advocate of using virtual assistants. I couldn’t survive without mine.

But I have noticed that many of my fellow entrepreneurs are reluctant to take the plunge. So often they don’t get the help they need because they think hiring a full-time, physical assistant is their only option.That’s what I thought too. However, this is usually not the best option—at least not at the beginning. Perhaps ever.

In his new e-book, Bryan Miles, CEO of eaHelp.com, explains why. He provides 9 Reasons to Rethink Your Approach to Staffing:

  1. It takes forever to find the right person
  2. Employees cost more than their salary
  3. You have to find a place to put people
  4. You need to keep the people you have busy
  5. Availability isn’t the same as competency
  6. Employees don’t really work eight hours a day
  7. Firing people is a hassle
  8. Your personnel budget is suffocating your margin for growth
  9. An affair will cost you more than you think

You can download this new e-book for free or, if you want it on your Kindle, buy it here. (It’s only $2.99.) You should also follow Bryan on Twitter. He is THE authority on cloud staffing and virtual workforces.

Granted, Bryan is biased. He co-founded a company that provides virtual assistant services to businesses and non-profit organizations, including churches. I am biased too since my virtual assistant, Tricia, works for his company.

However, I think he is right. Too often, we think that full-time, physical staffing is our only option. It’s not.

I’m convinced that virtual assistants are the future. Tricia has worked for me, fifteen hours a week, since last August. Honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Many successful entrepreneurs I know are following suit.

You might need to consider hiring a virtual assistant if:

  1. You feel overwhelmed with your workload.
  2. You need help digging out from the administrative pile.
  3. You know you could really “move the needle” if you could focus more on what you and only you can do.
  4. You want to be more productive and less stressed.
  5. You know you need help but can’t afford someone full-time.
  6. You don’t want the hassle of recruiting, hiring, and training a physical assistant.
  7. You want—and need—more margin in your life.

What can an virtual assistant do for you?

Anything that does not require her physical presence.

Practically speaking, this means she can:

  • Screen your e-mail and respond on your behalf
  • Schedule and confirm your appointments
  • Book your travel arrangements
  • Make calls on your behalf
  • Perform miscellaneous research
  • Fill out expense reports and track reimbursements
  • Create invoices and post payments
  • Manage any projects you don’t want to handle

The truth is that most of my professional relationships today are virtual. I’ll bet many of yours are as well.

Almost all of my business transactions are conducted via e-mail and occasionally phone. It really doesn’t matter where my assistant is located. No one knows the difference.

All they know is that I have a sharp, responsive assistant who helps them get what they need when they need it. What I know is that I have a trusted business partner who frees me up to do what I do best. Maybe it’s time to consider hiring one for yourself.

Question: What has kept you from hiring a virtual assistant? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    At this point, I would say cost is a primary factor and scalability is another factor in why I haven’t hired a virtual assistant yet.  Maybe someday….  I can see where this would be extremely useful as the blog becomes bigger, starts generating revenue, and requires much more attention.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The scalability is one of my principle reasons for doing it. It is hard to scale real employees in fractions of units. With a virtual assistant who is part of a larger pool of assistants, you can buy the hours you need.

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

        What is the ball park cost on something like this, and what to you believe would be the minimum hours to start using such an assistant?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          For a domestic (i.e., American) assistant, you are looking at $20–35 per hour. But that is “all in.” That includes payroll taxes, equipment, rent—everything. You can get one internationally for as little as $8.00 an hour. I tried that a few years ago and it did not work for me. I would rather pay more and have one that understands my culture and speaks perfect English.

          • Laura Rike

            Not all VA’s charge that much! My range is $10-15 and I have over 9+ years of experience!! Just have to find the right person but you shouldn’t have to outsource to a non-English speaking assistant just to save a few bucks. ;-)

            Laura Rike
            http://laurarike.com

      • http://www.virtualassistant-usa.com Karen Coltun, Virtual A

        Great article Michael. I am a virtual assistant, and as I have also worked in major corporations, I totally see the value in this work.
        http://www.virtualassistant-usa.com
        Karen Coltun, VA

    • Klaire

       
      There is nothing wrong in waiting. But hey, isn’t it bad to feel that you have neglected something good all through the reason of waiting. and yes, chances are there are still lots and lots of opportunity at the future, but hey again :) we are not getting any younger. Hiring VA is one safe risk you should ought to take :)

  • http://1minutedailyword.com/ Steve Martin

    I’ve never considered it.

    But it makes a lot of sense. Which is the main reason that I probably won’t do it.  :D

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Steve… I don’t get it?

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    An affair can cost you more than you think, and a virtual assistant can do anything that doesn’t require her physical presence? Having an affair doesn’t require anyone’s physical presence these days. People have online affairs all the time, you know,  sending little pictures and clips back and forth and having virtual trysts via Skype. 

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

    I recently had the privilege of meeting with Bryan in person. We had a great conversation about both of our businesses. He asked me some tough questions that have helped me channel my current business endeavors.

    Ironically, even though I have lead teams for most of my career, I never had a direct assistant. 

    I have worked with a few VA’s. It definitely requires new habits to delegate the right stuff, so you can concentrate on your priorities.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Craig! A guy like you, virtual assistants seem like the way to go!

      PS – I’ll be in touch soon. We need to touch base!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.livermore Rebecca Haley Livermore

       Craig, it is an adjustment, for sure. I’ve had a couple of clients who haven’t known how to use a VA. One thing that has helped with those if that I’ve had them throughout the day jot down anything they could have delegated to someone, had they thought about it. Before they know it, they have a huge list of things to delegate. So I would recommend you do a similar exercise so that if you do decide to work with a VA again you will know exactly what things to pass off right from the start. Other things will come up naturally, as you develop a relationship with the person and know what she is capable of, and she (or he) will also be able to offer suggestions as your working relationship deepens.

    • Tricia Welte

      Craig, Let’s talk.  We’d be happy to fill you in on the many ways a Virtual EA can assist you!

    • Bryan Miles

      Grateful for your words Craig … it was awesome to meet you & connect. You know, when the time is right … I’ll help you however I can.

  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Michael, I am also biased because I am also using Bryan’s company.  Just like many others, I struggled with the decision to hire an assistant for years.  I had multiple reasons, but going virtual changed that.  

    Now, I have a checklist of items that Liz (my EA) is responsible for on a regular schedule.  From accounting reports and market share spreadsheets to training presentations and newsletters, Liz takes the tough work.  This frees me to do the thinking and leading that I am better suited to do.  It also frees me to work on my blog!
    She is only working on a 5 hour per week schedule right now, but I see that changing in the future.  While I have not spent a lot of time analyzing the savings, I am guessing she has saved me at least 150% of the time she is spending.  And her time costs less than mine, if I am doing my job.

    I am a huge advocate of the virtual assistant, and specifically eaHelp.com.  Their professionalism is top notch and they are sincerely interested in making it work for you. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That has been my experience with eaHelp too. Awesome company.

    • http://twitter.com/bryanmiles Bryan Miles

      Chris! Thanks so much for your words! We love serving you … and walking alongside you to free you up to do the things that only you can do! Grateful for you! Bryan

      • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

        Thanks Bryan!

        Chris Patton

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    I am not in a position yet where this is needed.  But I see the need coming.  

    I will be looking into this more for one of my overwhelmed clients who needs to spend more time on what only he can do and less on the day to day stuff.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Dave…I’m curious: Do you have a “breaking point” pre-defined? I ask because I spent a lot of time saying, “I’ll get a virtual assistant…later!” when I needed one promptly.

      Certain not suggesting this is where you are. I just know that I would have saved myself heartache had I set a “busyness” level beforehand.

      • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

        That is a great question my friend. I do need to define a breaking point for this. I am not their yet. But putting a benchmark out is great advice. Looking backward now, where would you have done it?

  • http://radref.blogspot.co.uk/ Phil Wood

    I’m self-employed, content to earn my own keep. Until recently I wouldn’t have felt the need for assistance.  The growth and development of  ‘Walking Church’ (http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/stories/walkingchurch) has made me look again.  As it stands the main obstacle to hiring an assistant is financial.  Still, assistance would help me secure the finance.  I’m definitely having a Catch 22 moment here. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Years ago when I was in the automotive repair field, I often thought about opening my own repair shop. It worked great on paper until I factored in the cost of employees. I realized to make it work, I would have to scale the business large enough to hire at least three employees to make the numbers add up. There were so many variables, but the big cost was Workman’s Comp insurance. Instead of building a small business from the ground up, I would need to take out a big loan, create an extensive business plan, and go for it. I was never willing to take that risk.

    In today’s business climate, looking at a virtual assistant makes good sense, since the upfront costs are fixed. You just purchase the hours that you need. This will work in many different fields where a physical presence isn’t necessary.

    Unfortunately the government, especially here in California, has made it so tough to hire qualified employees, that most small businesses stay small. Using a VA may be the solution. Thanks for letting us know about your experience.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Workman’s Comp is a killer, as is insurance (liability/health). My husband owns his own business and has had a couple employees from time to time. However, he discovered it’s much more cost-effective to hire subcontractors rather than employees. I’m now considering a VA for his business, as it would free both of us.

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    We are in a particularly busy time at work, with a leadership transition in addition to new lines of business, as well as growth in the major line.  We could probably make use of another virtual assistant.

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    I have plenty of reasons for not having a Virtual Assistant. For one, I don’t have the money for it, nor do I have the workload/schedule to justify it. I’m also pretty sure my employer wouldn’t appreciate it.

    A couple years ago, I tried to convince my wife to let me hire a VA to do a job search for me. The job I was in was heading south quickly, and I knew the road was running out from under me. The job market where we live is still pretty bad, which is why I have to work 200 miles away from my wife and children right now and see them only every 2 weeks. I was hoping I could find somebody better at resumes and job searches than I am. I couldn’t convince her.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Like most business expenses, a VA doesn’t make much sense unless you see it as an investment that frees you up to make more money or be more effective.

      • Lisa

        That is my take on it as well.  I am lining up some projects and getting my website set to be able to have a VA handle this from anywhere on the east coast.  I am looking to hire one that is top notch with social media.  She can help get my message out there.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    I love this concept. It’s a win-win, for busy executives who need a little help, and for assistants who want the flexibility to be home with their kids.  And with Tricia as your example, I’m sure anyone who deals with you on a regular basis recognizes the brilliance of the idea.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Tricia does a fabulous job. She’s one of eaHelp’s best marketing strategies! 

      • Tricia Welte

        Thanks Michele and Kelly!  We have an army of talented EAs at eaHELP!

        • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

          Agreed – Tricia rocks!

      • http://twitter.com/bryanmiles Bryan Miles

        Oh no! They’re on to us! :)
        Yes, Tricia is a rock star.

  • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

    Could not agree more. While I didn’t go with Brian’s group, I find so much value in having a virtual assistant!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Justin, quick question – roughly how many hours of work do you off load to your VA? Just curious….

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.livermore Rebecca Haley Livermore

    You are right on the money here. I’m a VA, and I also have a VA to help me with my own workload. The thing that people don’t realize is how few hours you can hire a VA for. Some of my clients have me on a retainer of only 10 hours per month, so just a couple of hours per week, and yet I’m able to keep them on task and keep details from falling through the cracks. So as a VA who has a VA myself, I would say it definitely helps. 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Great testimonial, Rebecca. Thanks.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Thus far, what’s been holding me back from cloud staffing has been that the amount of applicable work for a virtual staffer has not yet reached critical mass – it’s on the bubble. 

    But for those days when the work crashes over into overwhelm, I wish I had the support. I think your post has finally made the decision for me. As always, thanks!

    • Tricia Welte

      Thanks Tor.  And like Mike said – it is scaleable for as little as 5 hours per week.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.livermore Rebecca Haley Livermore

         I think it can be less than 5 hours per week, depending on the company someone goes through, as I know a lot of VAs who have people on a retainer for as little as 10 hours per month.  Generally speaking, that will grow as your business grows, but it’s perfectly acceptable to start small.

      • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

        Great stuff – thanks Tricia!!

  • Kim Burton

    Michael, you have become my inspiration, as I am now transitioning out of teaching into something else that makes sense for my life!  Becoming  a VA has become my goal this past week.  Thanks for sharing your experiences!   The Miles Advisory Group is such an impressive company, and I appreciate their vision.

    • Tricia Welte

      Kim, we are always looking for qualified EAs :) – send us your resume!

      • Kim Burton

         Thanks, Tricia!  I look forward to sending it your way in just a few days.

  • Joel Quile

    Michael, do you have any experience with using a virtual EA to assist with your social media efforts? If so, how has it gone and what have you learned?

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      I would be interested in know about this solution/service as well.  Tricia? 

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        As Tricia mentioned, I do all this myself, because I enjoy the engagement and want to stay connected to my “tribe.” But it is worth considering.

    • Tricia Welte

      See my comment below. YES, social media is a great place for Virtual Assistance.  We have seen this as one of the most popular areas of engagement for a Virtual EA. Including but not limited to: WordPress blog scheduling & Editing, Twitter/HootSuite/ Buffer scheduling, FB updates, etc.

  • Marcia Ramsland

    I love my college age virtual assistant. We met once and seemed compatible, so I showed her how to upload my newsletter and blog posts and the goals of my ministry/business. She can only work Monday and Thursday so that is a plus to drive my own work to her by then. Deadlines are a win-win for both of us. P. S. I tried to turn my regular college assistant into a VA and it didn’t work because she wasn’t responsible about meeting deadlines outside of being here. Do a month trial and you will both know if it will work.

  • http://shellybrown.com/ Shelly Brown

    Ironically, I was sitting at Panera Bread, on my 3rd straight week of researching and compiling information on the possibility of launching my own VA business. With 20 years Administrative, Development and Leadership experience, and a very down job market, I am almost convinced that this is where I’m headed. Michael, your article and and all the comments were timely and gave me some valuable insight into where I’m headed. Thank you so much.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      In the meantime, I would recommend you connect with Bryan and EA Help.  They are great. 

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    I don’t think I’m there yet Michael, but after reading what you say and reading the Four Hour Work Week, I know when the time comes I won’t hestitate! I have four speaking events booked this year, I want to have 50 next year like you, I’ll need one then.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Yes you will!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      You’ll need that VA BEFORE you get to 50 speaking engagements. In fact, the VA may be a key to building that kind of platform.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I totally agree, Michele. Otherwise, you end up majoring in minor things.

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        Just booked my 4 event today! You might be right.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Excellent, Kimanzi. Way to go!

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          You’re rocking it Kimanzi! So excited to see your growth!

          • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

            I’m only going forward with support from friends like you brother!

  • Christine Leahy

    I’ve seen a similar post on the pros of hiring a virtual assistant here and although I usually find this blog to be exceptional, today I’m disheartened.  I guess I’m the only one (at least thus far) to make mention of the inappropriate and quite honestly offensive #9 reason to hire a virtual assistant.  If you missed it, the #9 reason is “An affair will cost you more than you think”.  Wow.  As a woman I’m offended and as a leader I’m offended.  I don’t suppose Bryan was referencing a male assistant having an affair with a female executive….
    Believe it or not not all women are interested in having affairs.  Perhaps, Bryan just believes that all men are interested in having affairs.  Either way, I suggest the next blog should discuss ways in which we can bring character back into the equation.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Thanks for your honesty, Christine. I can understand your offense, although I didn’t receive #9 the same as you. I don’t think it matters the gender or the position within the organization–anyone is susceptible, moreso when we’re putting in too many hours. Hiring a VA can help to alleviate the 60+ work week and free us to be more present and available to the most important relationships in our lives. I believe Bryan’s point was merely a caution.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m all for character. I’m not suggesting that an affair is inevitable. It’s not. But working intimately with another person creates the potential for trouble. I watched a good friend of mine fall into it this last year with his assistant. The devastation has been incalculable. Frankly, I’m still not over it.
      I don’t think Brian’s point was gender-specific.

    • Bryan Miles

      Appreciate your candor Christine … however, you assumed far too much in my words. My point was not gender-specific … you just took it that way. Fact is, I have been writing about this subject for a long time … beating the drum of awareness tied to affairs & proximity – eg http://www.magsays.com/2010/12/cheaper-than-an-affair.html. If you knew the people in our company, my heart, and our leaders … you would know that I am surrounded by women who lead our company everyday … and are equally as concerned about this as I am. And, I also deeply interested in protecting the families and kids that end up in the damage path of stupid adult decisions. That is what # 9 is all about.

  • http://www.barachurch.com/ Joel Quile

    Michael, do you have any experience with using a virtual EA to assist with your social media efforts? If so, how has it gone and what have you learned?

    • Tricia Welte

      Joel, while I do not help Michael with his social media (he loves it too much:)) … we  have numerous EAs at eaHELP who are specifically engaged with their cients for that reason alone and it is very successful. It is a perfect place to employee virtual assistance.

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    Michael, 
    What was the ‘tipping point’ for you? At what point was a virtual assistant no longer a ‘want’ but a ‘need’? Measuring that myself currently and I’d love to hear your experience.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great question. Anxious to hear what those who use a VA think! There is a certain amount of tension that we have to live with until we hit that breaking point when a VA is a must. Like building any business, you have to weight cost and need, but you also must be willing to invest in order to grow.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      To me, it came down to math. I know what my time is worth. When I found myself doing tasks that I could outsource more cheaply, I knew it was time. That freed me up to do more of only what I could do—and charge for.

      • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

        Thanks Michael. Very useful answer. I am finding that measuring the value of my time that is more challenging in these early days of my business, but I have a good sense of when I’ll be able to make the move to a VA. 

  • Sharon

    I agree, Michael.  I started with a Virtual Assistant over ten years ago, and it was the best.  Then, I went to full-time staff and found I was having to work twice as hard to manage and carry them.  Now, I’m back to a Virtual Assistant, and I have more control over my time and the dollars spent.  Glad it’s working out for you as well.  Sharon Spano

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    I almost skipped this post because summer is coming, so I won’t have any “teacher stuff” keeping me busy for a couple of months. I’ll be able to focus on my writing/speaking ministry. 

    But then I realized, this is the PERFECT opportunity for me to find and train a VA to help me in both my ministries: teaching and speaking!  Having someone to handle e-mail and phone calls would be well worth the investment. 

    I’m going to be coordinating a large event at our school next year, and just the thought of having someone helping with the details from the get-go is already a relief!

    • Bailey – eaHELP

       Cheri – Awesome foresight on your part to use this summer “break” as a preparation time for your impending ministries and projects! Please reach out to us (eaHELP) so we can explore how a Virtual EA can assist you and get you all set for next year and your many ventures….so exciting! bailey@eaHELP.com

  • Colleensreva

    Love your article Michael.  As I have a VA business, it is refreshing when someone besides myself can explain to others the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant!  Thank you very much

  • karenataylor

    As an Online Administrative Professional (a.k.a. Virtual Assistant) for established solopreneurs, my clients’ revenues increased within the first two months of working together. They use their extra time and energy to focus on their genius work and reclaim their personal lives.

    You need to delegate everything that doesn’t generate revenue such as calendar and email management, internet research, travel assistance, document creation/updating/formatting, proofreading / editing, etc.

    The average hourly rate for U.S. VAs is $30-$75; the range is dependent on the VAs’ knowledge, expertise, degrees and certifications. The value is in the ongoing administrative support; managing that aspect of your business so you can focus on what is most important to you. It’s not about transactional work.

    I recommend two sites to help you in your search:
    International Virtual Assistants Association: http://ivaa.site-ym.com/search/
    Administrative Consultants Association: http://administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/directory/

    My website is http://www.virtuallyondemand.net

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Thanks for sharing these resources, Karen.

  • http://thevirtualonlineassistant.com/ Nica Mandigma

    As  a virtual assistant, I find it really exciting that the people I consider as gurus like Michael hire virtual assistants.  The tasks he enumerated are just a few samples of what a virtual assistant can help you with. I’ve helped clients set up and maintain their WordPress sites, assist them in social media, and so much more. There are even those who have taken virtual assistance to another level by becoming online business managers.

    Granted,  it is rare that you will find the perfect VA on your first try. But I believe that the key here is to not be discouraged.  Just like anything else in life, finding your ideal VA is trial and error.  If you want to take less risk, go with a reputable VA company that has a pool of VAs to support you as your needs grow.

    • Tricia Welte

      Thanks Nica… you make a GREAT point!  The right fit or “match” in a Virtual EA is priority #1!  The skill set, communication style and availability (among other things) all need to be considered when matching the RIGHT EA for the client.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Nica. I have so much to learn. There’s much more I know I can outsource.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=635471094 Jon Muranko

    VA’s are awesome..   Great post..  downloading the book now.  Always looking for a sharp VA.

  • http://www.theemptyinbox.com/ Michael Hawkins

    Michael –

    While I do not have a need for a VA at this point, I can certainly appreciate the value they add.  Perhaps there will be a day when I can delegate administrative tasks to a virtual assistant while I spend my valuable time dreaming, creating, and generating income.

    FYI — Cliff Ravenscraft has a website (and podcast) that covers the subject of VAs.   Here’s the link for those that might be interested:

     http://www.virtualassistantpodcast.com/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have been listening to Cliff’s podcast. It is very thorough.

  • http://twitter.com/JanUdlock Jan Udlock

    Hi Michael,

    I want to thank you for sharing about virtual assistants. I had never heard about them until I read your blog post describing your VA. I write parenting articles for regional parenting magazines but have recently been hired to do some VA work by a writer.

    And surprisingly, I love the work because it’s fast paced and very detailed oriented. I’m also entrusted with some private information which is honoring and sobering. I hope to find more work in the future. (P.S. Can’t wait to buy your Platform book.)

    Jan

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Jan. I’m glad you are now working with a VA.

      • http://twitter.com/JanUdlock Jan Udlock

         I’m the VA. :)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Ah, yea, that’s what I meant. ;-)

  • Desiree M. Mondesir

    As the owner of my own virtual writing and editing company, Desired Assistance, I can most certainly attest to the veracity of this post as well as the benefit of virtual assisting.  It’s definitely a growing market that meets several growing needs, especially in the midst of recession.  I encourage people of all types to start their own businesses, in this case virtual assisting business or the like, and watch God bless them in the midst of the financial recession.  #neverseentherighteousforsaken

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Desiree, you have chosen an innovative industry!  VA’s are a win-win for both the VA and the client! 

  • http://twitter.com/calinvalean Calin

    Feel sorry to say it, but even your virtual assistant could not manage to get sent a book I “won” more than 6 months ago at a book giveaway.  And the communication during the attempt was pretty poor too.  I expected her to be more proactive, but in seems it was in vain.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I apologize, Calin. I believe you are in Romania, correct? We definitely had our challenges. The publisher told us this had been handled, so Tricia assumed that it was. We are back on the case. Again, I am so sorry that this happened.

      • http://twitter.com/calinvalean Calin

        Since you set the bar high, after I announced the delay I expected Tricia or the publisher to address the matter in a more detailed way and make a final follow up. On the other hand there are more important issues in the world than not receiving a book. :)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I appreciate your spirit. We want to get these details right.

          • http://twitter.com/calinvalean Calin

            I got contacted by your folks at Thomas Nelson, gave them the needed info so you may relax about the issue now. :) Thank you.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Great, Calin. I will have Tricia check back in a few weeks to make sure you got it. Thanks again for your patience.

          • Tricia Welte

            Thank you Calin & Michael. I’ll make a note to follow up with Calin in a few weeks

  • Rebecca

    On the flip side of this, what if you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant?  I would be very interested in the details of performing these services for someone else.  

    • Bailey – eaHELP

       Rebecca –

      We are always looking for qualified EA’s here at eaHELP! Check out our website…www.eaHELP.com for more info on submitting your resume and the process to be a VA.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    As time permits and your business is interfering with your personal/family time you know its time for a personal assistant. Its not that at that point for me yet, but it really can help you become more efficient.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Just echoing what you wrote here!

    Hiring VAs have been a great move for me and my business.

  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    I see a VA being a bit of a red flag from an internal control standpoint if you are having them do ANY accounting.  Maybe I’m just cautious, but having someone else fill out expense reports, create invoices and post payments from a remote location is not a good idea unless you are examining them VERY closely. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      What if the person is outside the door of your office? Or down the hall? Or in a nearby building? My point is that unless you are looking over their shoulder, there is not a lot of difference between outside the door and a thousand miles a way. The internal controls are basically the same. Thanks.

      • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

        Mike, I see where you are coming from. I think it really boils down to trust. In my experience, relationships are VERY different once you interact with someone face-to-face versus just online (or on the phone). Thanks!

  • Arthur J Gray

    I once worked as a high level exec for a religious non-profit. I had two assistants in the work I did. I became very comfortable with having that person close at hand whenever I needed them. I also did a lot of speaking and traveling. Since I am doing my own business now I have wondered how well this person would understand my preferences in how I like to schedule appointments, info I need when I am asked to speak, and the ever so particular travel preferences :) (Not to far in the back of the plane, aisle seats, no flying at night, etc) so I tend to do most of this myself. My projects are starting to increase in number so I am thinking I may need someone to help with these areas. Just not sure how much time I have to devote to bringing someone up to speed on my qwerks.

  • http://www.fieldofdebt.com/ Jen McDonough

    Michael, thank you for writing about this!! After having you answer my voicemail question the other day, I took the plunge and signed on with a VA as of 5/1/12.

    My family is extremely intentional with our time and money (we paid off over $146,000 worth of debt and paid $30,000 in cash for medical related expenses in 3 years)…your podcast and blog confirmed the value of hiring a VA.

    As a person just starting out with a new business, this is so cool as there is NO way I could hire a full-time person.

    VERY excited to be starting this new venture in life as a motivational storyteller and author.

    Thank you for your great podcasts and blogs!

    Keep Living Beyond Awesome.
    Jen McDonough

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jen. I think this will prove to be a great investment for you!

  • christo

    Hello Doctor! You were my last hope and after all the spell casters I tried before, you were my last chance, and you kept your promise! My wife wrote me such a touching letter last week! She wants to live with me and the kids again! I really feel I m living again! Thank you for making all this possible  This messiah contact freemercytemple@yahoo.com can help anyone! 

  • Christa Allan

    I think my problem is time-management.  While I’d love a VA, I fear it would only free me to find other ways to be disorganized…

  • http://twitter.com/mattwireman mattwireman

    Does anyone have an idea of how a virtual assistant could help a church planter? In other words, how would a virtual assistant help in research if they are remote (i.e. prospecting building space)? I see how this could IMMENSELY helpful–esp. considering that our plant could afford a full-time assistant. I am just trying to imagine how this could be helpful without being off-putting that the person is not able to be face to face with folks (and as they find out that you have hired someone not a part of the church). Does this make sense?

  • http://twitter.com/mattwireman mattwireman

    Does anyone have an idea of how a virtual assistant could help a church planter? In other words, how would a virtual assistant help in research if they are remote (i.e. prospecting building space)? I see how this could IMMENSELY helpful–esp. considering that our plant could afford a full-time assistant. I am just trying to imagine how this could be helpful without being off-putting that the person is not able to be face to face with folks (and as they find out that you have hired someone not a part of the church). Does this make sense?

  • http://www.secretstaff.com/ Noisyshellae

    Thanks for this wonderful article. Virtual assistants can leverage your business in a lot of way but still a lot of people do not realize that. Hopefully this could convince them to try out other option when it comes to choosing employees. We shouldn’t also forget VA could probably beneficial to you but it’s not for everybody. Make sure to think it over first before you hire one.  Nevertheless if you need one, don’t hesitate to get one and start getting things done.

  • http://twitter.com/WealthyFamilies WealthyFamilies

    I have struggled to understand what a VA could do for me, and I guess part of the problem is that I really am not exactly sure which tasks take the most time for me to accomplish. However, I’m TOTALLY committed to building a very successful business, and I realize I need to delegate some of the things that take my time away from my clients! I requested a proposal from EAHelp, and I’m also going to solicit competitive bids. Thanks for this gentle push!

  • Steve Poston

    Sounds like a great idea … Especially for those in a business setting … But I’m not sure of the viability of the arrangement for us in local church ministry … I might be able to reconcile my concerns about the lack of personal and relational connection between my assistant and church members… or that it seems the primary method for communication would need to be email which falls 3rd behind face to face conversation and phone calls as my preferred means of communication… But I’m not convinced on the cost … One commenter below stated that the average cost is $30-$75 an hour… Even on the low end, i don’t think most church ministries pay that much for ministry / administrative assistants … @ $30/ hour that mounts to over $60k a year for 40 hours… 10 hours for almost $16k… No matter how many hours you book, it seems like the rate is going to work out to be more than what a church ministry could do with someone onside…

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/ MicroSourcing

    Hiring a VA is only useful when you know how to delegate tasks and have clear but reasonable expectations from the VA. There are also tools and software like Time Doctor that you can use to make VA supervision easier. 

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  • Peter Practice

    An affair can cost you more than you think, and a virtual assistant can
    do anything that doesn’t require her physical presence? Having an affair
    doesn’t require anyone’s physical presence these days. People have
    online affairs all the time, you know, sending little pictures and clips
    back and forth and having virtual dates via Skype. 

  • http://www.theofficeescape.com Ella Pelayo

    Great insights and discussion going in this post. With my 5 years of experience as a virtual assistant, I still encounter a few people who are still hesitant in hiring a VA. Building trust and  getting confidence in working with a virtual assistant won’t come over night. That’s why it is helpful to do research before making your decision. If this is a first time to hire a VA, I would encourage you to go for multi-VA Companies who was able to build relationships with their clients already. In my experience, you will have to find a VA that will truly match your business needs.

  • http://OutsourceFactor.com/ Chris Umiastowski

    Hey Michael,

    I love this post.  I think a lot of people who write professionally don’t realize how affordable a VA can be if you hire someone offshore.   There are so many options from hiring a freelancer on oDesk, to hiring a part time person through an agency, or hiring your own employee to work for you full time.

    In the Philippines I’m finding that $400/month gets you a full time person who is intelligent, speaks and writes in fluent English, and depending on how you interview / filter, will be an organizational help to your business big time.

    Tim Ferriss’ book is really what got me thinking about the economics of this, and I’ve been using virtual staff for a few years now.  In fact, my partner and I created a site called OutsourceFactor.com as a free way to help people find their own VA.  But there are other great paid services too.  One guy I have never met but trust his quality of information is Chris Ducker from Virtual Staff Finder.  

    The trick is in setting up a culture where your VA knows what to do, reports into you regularly, and communicates well.  Then, always ALWAYS pay them on time.

    Chris Umiastowski
    Co-founder of OutsourceFactor.com

  • Dorley

    Affording an assistant is not an issue. I had a personal assistant for 5 and a half years along with a housekeeper. However, most of my needs vary daily and do require a lot of “hands on” organizing of the PILES AND PILES of paperwork that comes my way. We own multiple businesses that we built from the ground up, each with their own manager. 
    We have four children. We have a ranch with over 150 head of cattle and 17 horses.  We also travel extensively throughout the year and have tried to hire the perfect in-home worker in addition to another personal assistant– A NIGHTMARE. Not being ugly– but no one can even come close to the work ethic I am needing. We are highly ethical and moral people in every way, especially financially. 

  • http://twitter.com/familyp7 Phil

    Hi
    Michael I found hiring a VA a trust issue. How do you know you are getting what you need?  I wanted to write to you about the benefits of putting
    together a client welcome pack, which certainly helped me when hiring
    a virtual assistant. Really enjoyed your why hire a VA list, thanks. With gratitude
    Phil.

    A
    Client Welcome Pack

    How
    to Introduce a Client to Your Services? Use a Client welcome pack.

    How
    you welcome your customer is crucial, this is the virtual assistants
    chance to describe how they can perform at their best, once a new
    client has decided to hire a virtual assistant it is necessary to
    welcome the client in the perfect way. Providing a welcome pack is a
    useful tool to getting hired.

    Virtual
    assistants need to set firm criteria for a working relationship at
    the outset. These should include:

    1.
    About you or About Us

    Grab
    the clients attention, tell the client about you or your VA company,
    so clients can ensure they are hiring the right virtual assistant.
    Why did you become a virtual assistant? This is a question you can
    not afford to skip read:
    http://pro-virtual-assistant.com/va-resources/guide/why-did-you-decide-to-become-a-virtual-assistant/

    2.
    Services available

    Tell
    customers exactly how you can help them? What exact services can you
    provide and how are you computer literate, what programs do you
    routinely use? For example your services might be ghost writing to
    design in Microsoft Suite and Adobe Photoshop. Its best to be
    specific.

    If
    you are a company tell the client more generally what services you
    provide for example:

    “Hire
    Virtual Assistant is a VA Company that provides Virtual Assistant
    Services, VA Services, Virtual Administrative Assistant, Virtual
    Receptionist and Work From Home.”

    http://www.hire-virtual-assistant.co.uk/

    3.
    Your Values and Policies

    Give
    information about of all your guidelines so customers know exactly
    what to expect when they begin working with you. Demystify your
    working practice and how the client will work with you? (as
    appropriate).

    Benefits
    of Hiring a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Assistant Company

    Tell
    customers the advantages to dealing with you or your staff. What can
    you offer that no-one else can? give information on any additional
    value or service you can provide. Are you creative? How have you
    overcome problems in the past? Many sites provide reasons for
    hiring a virtual assistant this is a good explanatory post:
    http://www.hireyourvirtualassistant.com/blog/advantages-of-hiring-a-virtual-assistant-versus-a-full-time-employee/

    4.
    The Agreement Stage

    Tell
    customers what you want them to provide to you so the work can begin?
    How you want them to proceed? They may sign a working agreement or
    they may need to pay before the service is provided. This is unique
    to each agreement. There are many companies that send such policies
    out to clients Brickwork India is one example.
    http://www.brickworkindia.com/our-values/

    5.
    Contact information

    It
    is important to provide contact information. It is useful for it to
    be included at the top and bottom of the page. Name, address, Phone
    number, Fax, Email, Web Address are commonly displayed. However, many
    companies control how they receive their information for example
    directing fax to email.

    One
    more set of advice, if you do make a welcome pack keep it short and to the point so
    it doesn’t scare clients away. You can always provide links to your
    website for clients to read more if they so wish.

    Phil
    Edwards

    http://www.
    Family-Portrait-Poses.com

  • http://twitter.com/joshua_murry Joshua Murry

    Most of the business owners are really hesitant on hiring a virtual assistant but for me, it is necessary because we have to admit that we can’t run a business and do most of the things all at the same time. It would be too stressful. And also hiring an in-house assistant would be expensive that’s why I agree on outsourcing this kind of service.
    It is very cost effective but yes it is also risky because it is going to be very difficult to monitor your assistant’s productivity. But it just depends on the company where you hire your VA. Like on staff.com, they have an employee monitoring software to assure their clients that the staff they are going to hire, the work will be visible and transparent. If EA Help also have a time tracking tool, then there’s no reason for employers to worry.

  • http://twitter.com/Stan_AM Stan Miroshnik

    We’ve come up with an even better way to utilize virtual assistants by breaking work down into specific digital tasks. You submit a task via a simple one click interface, and you get a hyper specialized provider assigned to it immediately. So for word files, t will be an MS word expert, for graphics a photoshop expert, and so on.  No hassle of hiring, interviews, timezones – Ziptask.com IS the freelancer. This way your VA is even more virtual and you are always using 100% of capacity on an as needed basis. 

    Check it out at http://www.ziptask.com – a brilliant idea for digital tasks. 

  • Kshousewrightcook

    I
    don’t know how to make money doing what I love. Yes, there are a bazillion
    things to be done to make Miracle You Ministries fiscally stable and I either
    don’t know how, don’t have time, my brain injury keeps administrative tasks out
    of reach. I’m brilliant in what I do…I’m a total dud in practically
    everything else!

  • Vagail247

    this makes a lot of sense hiring a virtual assistant is an excellent idea when your a busy person.

  • http://www.jobiety.com/ Kash

    I am very much interested in hiring a virtual assistant but have two main hurdles to jump over. One, as someone has mentioned in the comments, is the trust issue. With all those identity theft and online scammings going on, its really hard to trust someone with your confidential information whom you have not met.

    Second is the issue of delegation. I am solo-
    preneur  for long and delegation is something I am not used to.

  • http://twitter.com/activeinterview Active Interview

    Michael,  What do you think about the idea of using video interviewing or skype to screen candidates for language skill level.   I.e. something like this   http://activeinterview.com/blog/2012/08/23/using-video-interviewing-to-hire-a-virtual-assistant/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think it’s a great idea. Thanks.

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  • Guest

    Typo in your 2nd list #3. FYI.

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  • Robin Willson

    Hire Dedicated virtual assistant @ $6.49 USD per Hour with understands US culture and perfect english Getassistantservices.com

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  • http://ideal-helper.com/ Francis

    I had to laugh at your 9th reason :)

    I am lucky not to worry about this one because the only non-virtual assistant I will ever have would be my girlfriend.

    What you really should learn to work with a virtual assistant in my opinion is that you learn to delegate. More importantly you learn how to not do everything yourself, which is a big secret in life. As you get more and more busy in your professional life, having the skillset of deciding ‘not to do yourself’ can literally save you years of your life.

    That’s one of the main lessons I have taken away from working together with virtual assistants.

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  • Lynne Siebrits

    This is great and I hope you don’t mind – I have copied a link to your blog and taken out two excerpts I would like to send out in a newsletter – would that be all right with you? (I haven’t sent the newsletter yet)! And by the way, if you ever need a good VA ……. Thanks so much for this article, Kind regards, Lynne Siebrits (Katlyn Virtual Assistants – http://www.katlyn.co.za) My email is katlynva@adept.co.za.

  • http://www.boltonstaffing.com/ Edsel Mendoza

    It really boils down to how open one is to the idea. I’ve read that one of the biggest reasons why some companies shy away from remote workers is because of so many negative assumptions about the concept, and the fact that it’s something new that’s challenging what is seen as the normal work environment.

    Other than that, you really provide all that’s needed to know in your article. Great job! The sixth factor to consider is one of the things we want companies to recognize; the traditional recruiting, hiring, and training process doesn’t need to take as long as it used to. Our company Bolton Staffing, for example, does all that to make sure clients don’t have to be hassled by getting a remote employee from us. Do check us out at http://www.boltonstaffing.com.

  • Scott Suddoth

    I am a manufacturers rep; and have gone back an forth on whether to hire an Administrative/Executive Assistant. I have a few concerns: 1) I travel quite a bit and I need to be able to call or e-mail someone on a moments notice to respond to customer inquiries, send information to customers, fill out sample forms, update targets, respond to emergency situations. I never know when this will be necessary; so one day might require quite a bit of activity and other days might be very slow…but I need someone on call from 8-5 M-F. 2) I will need to spend some time upfront training my EA on the specifics of my business and how things need to be handled; my concern is if I share a “pool” of EA’s, I would have to re-train them and not have the consistency needed. 3) An obvious concern is how to structure their fee with this scenario. They will not be able to set up blocks of time to work for me; there will certainly be times where they can do that, but they will also need to be available on a moments notice.
    What is your advice regarding my situation?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would discuss your situation with a reputable firm like eaHELP. I have two assistants with them, and they are superb. They might not be able to help you, but I’ll bet they can bring more clarity.

      • Scott Suddoth

        OK, thanks Michael.

    • http://www.eahelp.com/ Tricia Welte

      Scott, at eaHELP, we are set up to serve leaders who are exactly in your circumstance. They need flexible time, not scheduled time. They have days and weeks that workload is heavy and others are light. We base fee on hours per week, not on blocks of time or # of tasks. We’d be happy to review our model with you. You can reach me at tricia at eahelp dot com, and I’ll get you connected.

      • Scott Suddoth

        Tricia, thank you for your reply. I will contact you.

  • http://www.cloudstaff.com/downloads/assistants Armie Cabrera

    Thanks for sharing this very informative article. It is really helpful. Cheers!

  • http://www.process-box.com/ Clarissa Lucas

    A very informative article on the different reasons to hire a virtual assistant. Thank you for posting such a helpful article.

  • jackAustin

    Thank you for posting such a informative blog i like this blog and i want to subscribe it so can you please tell me when your blog gets updated.

  • jackAustin

    Thanks you for sharing such a informational blog. please tell me when your blogs gets updated i would like to read it. Best of luck

  • Anonymous

    That video included only young, attractive females as the virtual assistants. That alone turns me off from using their service. I am sold on the idea of using a virtual assistant, but I can’t support a company with a promotional video like that.

  • virtual assistant services

    This is such a great post. First of all, in order to become a competitive VA you must have the talent of writing a unique article coz basically ghost writing is the main task that you will do. The rest of the task can be learn through google or video blogs.

  • Ace

    I’m Ace Viray from Philippines, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate at STI College, San Fernando, Pampanga. Working as full-time virtual assistant with over 6 years administrative experience, in my fully equipped and dedicated home-office. I provide a wide range of administrative services including data entry, internet research, data management, web posting, social media marketing, email marketing, article and directories submission and other support services like email support, mailing list development and database management. Also have a knowledge in microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, html, google spreadsheet, desktop remote and various software. I can offer you with support for short-term and long-term basis and pride myself on delivering a high quality, fast, accurate and confidential services. Excellent skills with a flexible approach, good use of initiative and willing to learn any other skills required for the role. For more detail about me visit my pages http://aceviray.wordpress.com or http://acefire23.wix.com/myportfolio.

  • Poppy Morrison

    I read great reviews at Ideas Unlimited LLC so I decided to get their services and guess what, they never let me down. Awesome service, awesome support, great choice.

  • Daniel Lew

    I would like to recommend http://virtualhelper247.com/ they have helped grow my business tremendously!

  • https://www.perssist.com Albert Wang

    We just started an on-demand virtual assistant service called Perssist (www.perssist.com). We aim to be higher-quality than most services, while also being easy to use.

    Here’s our recent blog post on some criteria to use when selecting a va: http://blog.perssist.com/how-to-hire-a-virtual-assistant/

    Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on our service!