My Experience Using a Virtual Assistant

I left my role as CEO of Thomas Nelson in April 2011. I thought I could get by without an assistant. Boy, was I wrong.

As a result of greater focus on writing, my blog traffic spiked and my comment load doubled. I started getting more email. I had to book my own travel. I soon felt overwhelmed.

Initially, I thought I’d hire a part-time assistant. I even created a job description and sent it to several people I thought might know of someone. A few people applied.

But then I started counting the cost:

  • Where would I put them, since I work out of my house?
  • Would I have to supply my assistant with a computer? a cell phone? other equipment?
  • Did I want to pay payroll taxes and keep up with the paperwork?

So, I switched gears and considered a virtual assistant (a “VA”). I re-read Tim Ferriss’s excellent chapter on virtual assistants in The 4-Hour Work Week (see Chapter 8).

I had hired a “VA” a few years ago while I was still at Thomas Nelson. I did this more as an experiment than anything else. I hired someone in another country for about $10 an hour. It was cheap, but the service was disappointing. I decided this time that I would hire someone domestically.

I posted on Twitter that I was looking for a virtual assistant. Within an hour, Bryan Miles of eaHELP.com responded. We talked by phone a few minutes later.

I was impressed by Bryan’s responsiveness, personal values, and operating philosophy. After considering a few other options, I decided to give his firm a try.

Bryan assigned Tricia to my account. I was immediately impressed with her. She has worked for me since August, and I couldn’t be happier. People I interact with, assume that we are working out of the same office. She has her own michaelhyatt.com email address. I routinely get compliments on her responsiveness and efficiency.

Here’s what she does:

  • She screens my email. She checks my main email accounts, handles what she can, and “redirects” the messages that require my personal attention to my private account. She has reduced my email load by 90 percent.
  • She books my travel. She handles all the details, including airline reservations, hotels, car rental, etc. She sets up a trip in TripIt, so I have everything I need in one place.
  • She makes calls on my behalf. She makes appointments (both personal and professional), confirms my appointments, checks my voice mail, and follows up as needed.
  • She manages my calendar. Almost nothing gets on my calendar unless it passes through her first. We have agreed together that I will only accept appointments on two afternoons a week, and she works to stay within those boundaries.
  • She handles other projects as needed. I continue to turn over more and more to her. For example, she recently screened all the people who had applied to be a community leader on my site. She and my manager, Joy, ended up picking the final ten I appointed.

Basically, Tricia can do anything that doesn’t require her physical presence.

I started using her for five hours a week and quickly went to fifteen. I found that I was so much more productive that it was well-worth the additional investment.

Tricia has now become such a partner in my business that I no longer even think of her as virtual. She’s just one of my teammates—and a very valuable one at that.

Question: Have you ever considered hiring a virtual assistant? What would it make possible for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://frankviola.org/ Frank Viola

    Thanks, Michael. This is helpful. I have a good friend who has a VA that he raves about, and I’ve always wondered what they did. Now I have an idea . . .

    • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

      I agree.  Thanks for the information.  I’m not ready for this type of service yet, but I might be someday.

      I know I have often wondered to myself, “I could be more productive with another one of me.”  But I’m sure that would add other complications.  A virtual assistant may be just the answer to relieve some of the work volume.  Thanks!

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

        If you want a great visualization of this concept (another one of you), then you need to watch Multiplicity with Michael Keaton. I think it came out back in the mid 90’s, but it was absolutely hilarious!

        You are right about complications!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I loved that movie! One of my favorites.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I love that movie!

    • http://www.whatisleadership.tv/ Kenneth Acha

      I’m grateful for the information because I am actually currently looking for a VA… this is very timely

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

        Based on your multiple roles/responsibilities, it looks like you need one! Let us know how it works out for you, Kenneth.

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Wow! Coach, pastor, physician, speaker, blogger? I think a VA will come in handy for you :)

      • Amy Pogrund

        Are you still looking for a VA? I’d love to help! Shoot me an email at amypogrund@gmail.com and we can talk!

      • http://www.facebook.com/darrlynnt Darrlynn Turner

        I am a VA, email me if you need assistance darrlynnt@gmail.com

        • Mike Banks

          Hello Darrlynn,

          What are your areas of expertise?
          Do you charge by the hour, by the task, by the month?
          Please respond to strannayabanks@yahoo.com if you are interested.
          Thanks

          • TJHall

            Mike,
            I have 14+ years of admin experience in the corp world and am now a VA. If you are still looking for a VA, email me and we can talk!
            Thanks!
            Tara
            77tjhall@gmail.com

          • Bryan Miles

            Mike – please check out our company at http://www.eaHELP.com – have you reached out to us?

          • http://andrewpasaporte.com/ Andrew Pasaporte

            Hi Bryan, was wondering if there are any job opportunities for me at eaHELP. I’m currently independent but used to work for another VA company. andrew@andrewpasaporte.com

          • hwgang

            I checked out your company. In your *intro* video, the *first six words* on camera are: “Our mission is to glorify god….”.

            Seriously???

            Alienating someone so completely in only six words is efficient, indeed. That’s a helluva an elevator sentence. No professionalism there.

    • Bailey

      Frank – feel free to eM me if you would like more info on eaHELP. My eM address is bailey@eahelp.com. Thanks and I hope to be in-touch!

  • http://twitter.com/RenaissanceKate Kate Hash

    I’ve been considering this for a little while now…might have to seriously start looking in to it!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s worth trying, especially if you can free yourself to do more of what you do best.

      • http://twitter.com/godvertiser Kenny Jahng

        The best place to start is things that you can “systematize” — routines, repetitive tasks, praxis that you can map out with decision trees and leave a bucket for escalating and bringing to your attention for personal direction.

    • Bailey

      Kate – I would love to connect you with Bryan to discuss how eaHELP can solve your specific VA needs. My email address is bailey@eahelp.com. Please feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in the next step.

  • http://frankviola.org/ Frank Viola

    I forgot to add . . . transcribing spoken audios to a document (like Word). If anyone knows a VA whom they can recommend for this specific task, please let me know.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I used Ginger Schell for a big transcription project. She was fantastic!

      • http://frankviola.org/ Frank Viola

        Excellent. Thanks, Michael! I’ll contact Ginger.

        • Bob Sorensen

          Frank,

          You may also want to consider help from ODesk to do your transcription.  A test on a six minute audio file has generated positive results. For comparison purposes it looks like the cost will be about $1 per minute of transcribed audio.

          • kkcoolj

            Actually, I have had audio mp3’s transcribed via oDesk for anywhere from $0.25–$0.65 per minute of audio multiple times.  The key is to make sure you find someone with high English scores (vocab, spelling, etc) as well as specific transcription experience vs. a generic admin.

    • http://www.facebook.com/darrlynnt Darrlynn Turner

      darrlynnt@gmail.com. I can help you

    • murtaza

      Amazon mech turks would be the most cost effective.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    I read a similar post you wrote some time back. The results appear to be rewarding. 

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    The concept is the ability to focus on what is really important and become more efficient. Airline tickets are important, but spending too much time on those takes away from the real work.

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      I can see the benefit of having a VA. It would be nice to only focus on the tasks that really need my attention.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree.  But there is so much that I have to do myself that I wonder just what I could pass off easily…

        • Barby

          You have to be open and willing to let someone take the reigns on something in order for the relationship to work.  If you find the right person, and your confidence in them grows you will wonder how you ever did without them. 

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I completely understand.  I just don’t know if I would be able to utilize a VA to the fullest extent right now…

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

      I absolutely agree, Jeremy. Those kinds of tasks can easily take up 90% of a day, leaving little leftover for doing what you love or are truly good at.

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

    Michael, based on your earlier post about this very idea, I made the decision to look into this service.  I am a small business owner with roughly 100 employees, but I have never had an assistant.  In fact, for several reasons, I have avoided the thought.

    After reading what you had to say about the benefits of this type of service, I also contacted Bryan and Shannon Miles with eahelp.com.  Just as you said, they took the time and energy necessary to make me comfortable with the idea.  I signed up.

    I just started in November, so it is a little early to give a full review, but I like what I have seen so far!  We skype at least once a week while I teach Liz (my VA) how to do the various reports I used to do on my own.  She learns quickly and I do not have to show her a second time…huge for me!

    I foresee this allowing me to carve out more time to be the Christian business owner I want to be.  I will also have more time for my blog (always a good thing!).  I really appreciate you going into such detail about your experience.  Without you doing so, I would never have made the leap!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing your story, Chris. They do a great job screening and then training their people.

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

        That is so true!  As Bryan and Shannon described their screening process, I became concerned they would turn the same process on me!

        I knew I would not make the cut!

    • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

      Chris, this is insightful. I look forward to further reports on how the VA arrangement is working for you.

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

        I have not done so yet, but I guess I need to do a post on it soon!

    • Bryan Miles

      Thanks for the kind words Chris! Grateful for you … and the opportunity to serve you!

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

        Thanks Bryan!  You guys have truly earned it.  Everyone representing your company has been nothing but professional and proactively helpful!

        Keep it up!

        • Jim Martin

          Chris, your post was helpful.  I appreciate you taking the time to describe how you processed this opportunity and how this has worked for you practically.

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      Thanks for the details about this process. It is very informative to read about. I’m glad to hear that the decision is working for you!

    • Dianne Bioco

      Great to hear that, Chris!
      I am a VA from Philippines as well.

      -Dianne-

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    Ironically, I ended up hiring myself out as a virtual assistant. Ha ha!! It may be only temporary, but it seems to work well as I get some experience with bloggers and what works for them and can apply it to my own blog. I currently have just 2 clients and work about 6 hours per week.
    As a home school mother, that is plenty for me! I have ALWAYS been the administrative type — even though I love to write, I am a very detail oriented person as well. Though my blog is growing, it’s not yet in a state that is unmanageable for me.

    So, maybe in the future I’ll be hiring someone, rather than hiring myself out! :)

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      Thanks for sharing about the other side of the coin! I’m glad to hear it is working out for you now. 

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

      What a great idea, Christin! I’m sure you’re learning so much being on that side of blogging. Curious … what’s your biggest take-away so far?

      • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

        Though I am still rather new to it all, so far my biggest take away is that I am a part of a team of people aiming for the same goal. I may not have been the “master mind” behind the ideas, but I still feel a part of something great.
        I firmly believe that God gifts us with specific talents and rather than try to be someone else, we should embrace who we are — even if that means working behind the scenes. You simply fall into place and work REALLY well at what you were gifted to do. For me, it’s encouraging others, technical/administrative work, and writing/editing. These are the places I feel “at home”.
        Dreaming up things is just not my forte! ;)

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

          I love that, Christin. Often we wish for another person’s talents, rather than operating fully within the bounds of our own.

      • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

        On a bit more practical level, I’m learning new ways to expose my blog to new readers and advertisers. Still picking up on some of the particular details, but overall, I think it’s a win-win. :)

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

          When you get those details, be sure to share your “insider information” with the rest of us. ;)

    • http://undergodsmightyhand.blogspot.com Caroline @UnderGod’sMightyHand

      Christin – It’s great to hear your perspective on it. I’m actually currently looking to get in to virtual assisting (also a homeschooling mom and writer). If you wouldn’t mind sharing, how did you get started? Most of the VA agencies I’ve seen require 2 years experience before they accept resumes. Any ideas?

      Michael, thank you for your always informative blog!

      • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

        Hi Caroline,
        I started solo. I am not working with a VA agency. Basically, I offered myself to a blogger whom I already had a relationship with to be her VA. We had built a relationship over the past 3 years via online. I work as an independent contractor.
        I’m in the process of building a website under a blanket business name for more professional purposes as I just received my second client yesterday (also a result of an extended relationship).
        Get connected and watch for opportunities!

    • Connie S Kirkpatrick

      I too work as a VA. I have done so for a little over 10 years. I enjoy the ability to work for different businesses. The same office management and clerical skills I utilized in a brick/mortar office works virtually as well.

      Thank you Michael. I will be reviewing this article and sharing it on my blog.

  • Joel Smith

    Mike,

    I too tried an international option before settling on someone in middle TN. It’s been a huge savings of time and energy for me – which allows me to focus on the business. Great post!

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

    Having corresponded with Tricia a few times by e-mail, I can say how timely and professional she is. This looks like a great service, especially when it comes to taxes, workman’s comp and other issues which make hiring someone so difficult. As someone looking to build a business, this may be an option that I have not considered. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Bailey

      John – I would be happy to connect you with Bryan to discuss your specific VA needs and how eaHELP can help. Feel free to eM if you are interested! bailey@eaHELP.com

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    At what point would a VA be needed? It seems to be when task invades creativity, correct?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Any time you find yourself doing stuff that someone else could do, especially if it frees up time so that you can do stuff that ONLY you can do.

  • http://www.whatisleadership.tv/ Kenneth Acha

    Another great post Michael. I have recently been researching about VAs too. I have been considering the Philippines but your experience with people outside the country is likely going to help me reconsider.

    I wonder what the hourly costs are to get a VA with eahelp.com . I just checked their site and there is no pricing information on there…?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You have to request a proposal. Their pricing depends on your needs. (They have a page for this on their site.)

    • Bryan Miles

      Hi Kenneth – happy to chat with you. Please reach out to my EA – Bailey Moreland at bailey@eaHELP.com to set up a time to chat that works for your schedule. We need to chat first before I release pricing – to make sure we are a good fit for you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/darrlynnt Darrlynn Turner

      If you are still in need of a VA, please email @ darrlynnt@gmail.com

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    I would be interested in hearing from a church leader with a VA.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might ask eaHELP.com for some references. They started out in the church market, serving pastors. They have a ton of them.

    • Bryan Miles
      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        Thanks for sharing this! I was curious about the same thing.

        • Bryan Miles

          You bet – happy to help. Thanks for having a look. We help church leaders all over the US … and of course … business leaders/professionals with eaHELP.

  • Jonathan Michael Colwill

    I think this is a perfectly evolved solution, I am currently trialing  an artificial intelligent one :-)

    It is learning rapidly, but the margin for error means that I still have to take the time to teach it…

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

    I don’t have a virtual assistant, but have a couple of friends who do.  Their VA is actually located in the UK, which gives them the advantage of waking up to much of what they need done for a given day already queued up and ready to go.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That might be a good solution. Plus, they have a British accent! The only potential problem is whether or not the time zone difference would have a down side. For example, if my phone rings at 5:00 Central time, it will be 10:00 London time.

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

        Well, Tony D has a somewhat British accept too!  I don’t think the time zone has been that big of a problem, but I certainly get your point.  

        Years ago when we were missionaries in Taiwan I got a call from a youth pastor wanting to bring a team to work with us.  The call came at 3AM.  I groggily answered the phone.  He heard that I was sleepy and I told him the hour.  He said he would call me back and hung up…I’m still waiting on that call!

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

    As someone who had the opportunity to work briefly with Tricia, I can attest to her attentiveness and professionalism.

    As a former full time executive assistant, this idea intrigues me from Tricia’s  side.  My kids are getting older and both are in school full time.  Should I decide to return to work, this would be a great way for me to do so without rocking the family routine.   It’s not something I plan to pursue imminently, put I’ve tucked the idea away for the future.

    • Tricia Welte

      Thanks Kelly.  

      Being a Virtual EA does exactly what it promises.  My career goals are fulfilled by supplying support where needed and feeling like I am part of something important.  Yet it allows me to attend to my family needs and be available for my children for homework and mommy “stuff”.  Working with Michael and with MAG has been a blessing and a joy in my life.

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

        Thank you, Tricia.  Ironically, I was considering if it would be appropriate to email you to get information for how the VA plan worked, and whether you worked with a service – and viola! Michael provided the information for me, without me having to ask.  

        God bless you Tricia!

      • Jim Martin

        Tricia, I’m glad Michael wrote this post.  I found you to be very responsive and helpful in some recent e-mail exchanges.  You represent him well.

        • Tricia Welte

          Thank you Jim.  It has been a pleasure.

  • Dawn Gomes

    Hi Michael, I’ve just been sent your post by an ex-boss, now NY based (I’m in the UK) and I think it explains really well what we do – I am a VA.  

    I thought maybe I could give you the VA point of view – after many years working in “corporate” life, I decided to branch out on my own to make life more interesting.  I now absolutely love what I do – I work generally with small business owners who have found they have neither the time nor the expertise to do everything.  I like to learn as much as I can about my client’s businesses, and I feel part of their team, to the point that I will also promote them while I’m networking on behalf of my own business.  Their success is my success, so I feel very passionately about supporting them and helping their business grow.For anyone who needs some support but doesn’t need full time or thinks they can’t afford it, a VA is a really cost-effective way of getting that help, either on an ongoing or ad hoc basis.

    I’m delighted you also support local VAs – I’d previously read one of your posts about outsourcing overseas and although I think this may well suit some people, it probably depends on the tasks required as to whether you receive a quality service.

    Thanks again for your post – would you mind if I featured it on my own blog (with full acknowledgement/links to you of course)?

    Dawn Gomes

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Dawn. I love hearing your perspective. I am forwarding it to Tricia, too, so that she can see it.
      With regard to featuring it on your blog, my Permissions Policy is here. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I too read the 4 Hour work week and have been trying to figure out this “outsourcing” thing.  I love the concepts of a “cloud based business,”  “location independence,” and leveraging a virtual assistant.  I have found that the results I get from a VA are a function of my own productivity system and order.  I am embarrassed to admit that the first time I tried working with a VA I did not get a lot out of the arrangement, not b/c my VA was not capable, but b/c I was not capable of giving her a steady flow of work.  My delegation skills were horrible, and my workflow was make shift at best.  1/2 the time I didn’t know what to give my VA to do.  I knew how to “get things done” not how to get things done through other people.  I found that I was still the bottleneck in the system.  I had to learn how to 1st start thinking like a CEO over my life and work.   Especially when first setting up the relationship, I found it forces me to think through the systems I use and setting up clear directions and structures that take me out of the equation.  This has been a hard process and I am learning.  Michael, you present a nice check list of things to have your VA do that is very useful for someone who is trying to figure this “stuff” out.  Thanks! 

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

      I had the very concerns that you experienced.  That is one of the areas that eahelp.com assisted me with.  

      I am not sure who you used before, but when you sign up with eahelp.com, you are getting a VA and their entire team.  I have had calls with Bryan, Shannon, Tricia and my VA Liz.  I get follow up emails from Tricia.  I am told that I can call for additional help anytime, and because of their intense follow-up, I believe it!

      I am still working through the process of teaching Liz what I need her to do (roughly 60 days at this point), but I believe the long run will be worth it.  It did not come naturally, but I think (as you described) the process of thinking through it has already benefitted me in the way I approach my work.

      Give them a try!

    • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

      ” I had to learn how to 1st start thinking like a CEO over my life and work. ”

      This sounds like a valuable process, with or without a VA!

    • Jim Martin

      I found your comment to be very useful.  I appreciate your candor about your mistakes with a VA.  You helped me realize some of the issues that ought to be thought out before working with someone.  Thanks so much.

      • Anonymous

        Jim,  I am finding it helps a lot to think through the actual process and steps that are taken to complete a task and be able to set it up where you eliminate yourself from the processes.  Especially in the beginning as you start initially to work with your VA.  Your VA has a learning curve too.  He/ she has to learn how to best help you run your affairs.  The clearer you can be the better you position your VA to do what she/ he does best.  I’m still learning but I am sold on the value of a VA and eaHelp.com sounds like they understand this and know how to help people better leverage their services.  That’s a plus!  Because working with a VA effectively is a “New Skill” for the 21st century nknowledge-workers.

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    At this point of stage in my life I have no need for a virtual assistant, but it has opened my eyes to the possibility of one in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      That is how I feel as well. I could see one day looking into this possibility. 

  • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

    Unless it’s possible to hire a Virtual Teacher’s Assistant to help with grading, I’m not ready for a VA. But this post makes me realize that I could be hiring students to help with f-2-f chores, such as housecleaning, grocery shopping, and pet care. This would open up space in my calendar to do the one thing I’m supposed to be focusing on between now and May: finishing my MA and starting my PhD program.

    • Rachel Lance

      Great idea, Cheri! Doing odd jobs for teachers & professors allowed for some of my most life-changing relationships. 

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

      Great idea. I’ve been sitting here reading and thinking, “If only a VA could do my laundry and make dinner!” Hiring student help sounds like the perfect solution for you as you go into this next season.

  • Michael Mulligan

    Oops.  I posted this comment on the wrong story.  I’m taking a “mulligan” and trying again…

    Impressive.  In 2005, my business partners and I left our jobs at a
    company considered to have a monopoly in our field to compete.  We saw
    the inefficiencies of the established model, a brick and mortar company
    with over 4,000 sales people and thought we could do better.  Our
    database became “virtual,” meaning anyone could access it while
    interacting with customers.  When social media entered the picture, we
    moved one of our graphic artists into a “virtual” role and put her in
    charge of our car club blogs.  Cynthia finds relevant material for her
    posts and responds to messages while constantly searching for more
    people to add on our social media sites.  You can see her work by going
    to Zoomautos.com and clicking the car club button. Because our company is “virtual,” she has the choice to work while on a school break, from her home, or at our
    small brick and mortar building, now a hub for other cities we serve.

    I’ve interacted with Tricia recently about a guest post and find her to be
    A+.  Her passion for her virtual job comes through in her emails.  The
    biggest benefit you are getting from this, Michael, is the time you get
    to be with your wife.  You can live your dreams while helping us as you
    pursue new adventures.  Congratulations finding your virtual match. 
    Looks like a match made in Heaven.

  • http://www.failuresneverfinal.com Colleen (FNF)

    Michael, finding your blog has been a blessing for my life in numerous ways.  One of those ways was finding Miles Advisory Group.  I had been an Office Manager and an Executive Assistant for years before having children (I now have six).  A bit more than a year ago, I thought the time was right for me to re-enter the workplace and I found a good job as an Executive Assistant here in downtown Chicago.  I quickly came to learn, however, that just because my children are school aged, mom having a commute and FT 9-5 career still didn’t mesh with continuing on the journey of raising a family.

    Enter MAG.  Through a post of yours, I learned of this wonderful company.  I pursued how I might obtain a position with them and sent in a resume.  I am so pleased to report that today I have a second interview with Shannon Miles, COO, and I am so excited about how perfect this type of role seems to be for me.  As a Christian first, I am beyond thrilled to have the peace of mind that whomever I get matched with (I know, I’m not hired yet so its a bit presumptuous) is going to have a similar world view.

    Now I must go research to find out how Miles Advisory Group and eaHELP.com are intertwined so that I might sound knowledgeable for my interview.  ;-)

    • Jim Martin

      Colleen, I wish you the best in your upcoming interview!

      • http://www.failuresneverfinal.com Colleen (FNF)

        Thanks Jim!  Your well wishes are appreciated.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Michael,
    Did you consider having your wife help you as an assistant? What are your thoughts on that?

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      For me, that would never work. There has to be a separation between the two functions.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, we have tried it a couple of times. However, it didn’t really work. She is enormously gifted in many areas, but administration is not one of them.
      Having said that, it definitely can work. I think it comes down to the skill sets of the two partners and the quality of their relationship.

  • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

    My experience with Tricia is exactly as you say above Mike. She’s a great addition to your team!

  • http://www.scottharris.org Scott Harris

    Thanks for this post. I’m looking at this possibility. Somewhat off topic but referenced in your post: how do you keep your “private email” private if you’re using it 10% of the time? I’ve tried this and it just ends up getting out there.

  • Barb Gemar

    I saw this posting, Michael, the last time you posted it. I had been a VA in 2006 and did not realize how widespread the idea was by now. I posted my resume and applied to the organization you cited in your former posting, but received not a single response, not even from eaHELP.com itself. Kinda disappointing, I must say. 

    • Tricia Welte

      Barb,

      I’m sorry you have had a negative experience. We do have your resume on file from October 2011 and we do respond to all applications we receive.  We received your resume at a time when all EA positions were full.  I will re-review your resume and be in touch today. 

  • Tina Marino

    I love my VA!  Like Michael, when I sold my tax business in 2006, I ended up working out of my home office with no staff.  I soon learned I may not have needed the help, but I sure wanted the help!   My VA:  Michelle at http://www.AdministrativeEssentials.com

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

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Tina.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Excellent. My entire staff is comparable to a VA setup. We all work remotely. I have an assistant (like yours), designers, special projects specialists, etc. For me it works great. My team has great synergy, is efficient and best of all… keeps my overhead low and nimble. I love it. : )

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      It’s great to get the work done well and keep overhead low!

  • http://twitter.com/godvertiser Kenny Jahng

    Michael — so glad you are encouraging others to think about how to use a VA.   I have used outsourced help for a couple of years in various capacities.   People still think it is a curiosity when they find out that I use this source of help that I listed my favorite marketplaces to find help: http://www.essistme.com?outsourcing

    For me, the interview process is key.  Hiring a VA is just like hiring someone in person, but it is just a virtually-mediated experience.  You shouldn’t treat it much differently — except understand that there’s some friction that’s introduced into the relationship because of the remote geography (even if it’s in the same town, because you are using technology (phone, email, internet, video conf, etc).

    So it is paramount to be very clear, specific in your directions.  And to give very targeted and detailed feedback after each completed task or milestone.  MILESTONES are key too.  Usually with in-office staff, you might not count on milestone reporting or check-ups, but with VA’s I like to pre-define milestone points within the project to make sure they are doing what I want them to do.  You don’t want to waste their time or your money, even if it is at a reduced cost.

    In my experience, I’ve found people domestically as well as international that have done poor jobs as well as fantastic jobs.

    Back to the original point.  Interviewing is KEY.  Make sure you ask questions, ask for examples of work.  If you are using marketplaces to find them, really dig into profiles, feedback ratings, etc.  

    Hope that helps some new to outsourcing to VA’s a bit.

    Kenny Jahng

    • Jim Martin

      You post is very helpful and gives some great clues on getting started in the process.

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

    Michael, Bryan and Tricia both are fantastic.  It is great you are giving them recognition. 

    • Bryan Miles

      Thanks Tim. Appreciate your kind words.

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I am not sure I need a VA right now. I’m also not sure I could afford one, except for an hour a month at the rate you listed for your our of country VA above. I was also wondering how that would work for those working as ministers in a church. Bryan did give a couple links below that I will be looking at in a moment though so maybe that will answer some questions.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I think I would enjoy giving it a try to be a VA, but I’m no where near to a place in my career where’d I’d be able to hire one.

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

      Rob, it looks like an interesting position. What do you think you would enjoy the most about it?

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I’m at that point now as my business grows, I continue to go to school, and I want to focus on my writing, that this might be the best investment I could make. Glad to hear the process has helped with your workload. 

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

      Sundi, I think you will find it a great help. From all I’ve read and seen people are very pleased with VAs.

    • Bailey

      Sundi – Feel free to reach out to me if you would like more information on eaHELP. We would love to serve you! eM me at bailey@eaHELP.com. Thx!

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Thanks Bailey. Will do. 

  • Rob Sorbo

    I used to be the student employment coordinator at a small Christian college, and I would often hear the faculty/staff say one of two things: either “I love my workstudy student. He/she helps me get so much done.” or “I’m so busy I don’t even have time to make assignments for my workstudy student.”

    I’m sure the same is applicable for a VA–you either utilize them or make poor use of them.

    • Jim Martin

      Rob, very nice way that you articulated this opportunity/problem in the last sentence.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I’ve kept this in the back of my mind ever since your previous post about it.  It’s something I’m sure I could benefit from, but just don’t have the resources to afford it right now.  But thanks for keeping it in my mind!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Just something to think about Jeff …  I started off with a relatively small budget.  As my VA took on tasks, that freed me up to do the tasks that I do to earn income.  My income increased multiple times over the expense because I focused on income-producing activities.  

      If you think you could benefit from it, I’d encourage you to plan and budget one for a month.   If it doesn’t work out, the cost of the experiment is limited.  Worst cast is that you’ll learn a lot.  Best case is that it will give you time to do the things that will grow your ministry.  

  • http://www.wonderwomanimnot.com/ Elizabeth Hill

    For some reason I find it very difficult to ask for help.  At work I actually have an assistant who is assigned to support my group (she supports several areas) but I hardly ever use her.  Just the other day she was telling me she could book my travel or schedule my meetings for me but I always feel guilty “not doing it myself” or worried I won’t get exactly what I need for my travels.

    While I don’t feel at this point in my life I have a need for a VA, in my personal life I’ve started “outsourcing” items that I feel can be handled by others so that I can focus more on my family.  I recently hired a team to clean my house, I cater all of our family parties instead of cooking and I’m looking for someone who can run weekly errands for me.

    • Rachel Lance

      There’s definitely something to be said for evaluating all of your tasks and identifying the ones that really, truly must be done by you. The others can (and possibly should) be delegated. Sounds like you’ve already done some of this thinking at home – now start with some low hanging fruit at work. Get into a rhythm of delegation and build a relationship with the person you’re entrusting the tasks to. I bet you’ll take to it faster than you’d think!

  • Eric Flamm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. As work become less about going to the office and more centered on productivity, VAs will become commonplace. 

  • http://www.susanbiali.com/ Dr. Susan Biali, M.D.

    This is so helpful, Michael, and an answer to prayer! I’m a bit of a control freak (I admit it!) and have had some negative experiences in the past when I have let that control go, but my business has doubled in the last while (!) and  things are getting to the point where I’ve been working around the clock. Given that I’m a life balance expert, this can’t continue! Part of my block has been wondering how I’d find someone 5 hours of work to do, but as you’ve pointed out there are many, many things a VA could help me with. And I need help! I will check out this company ASAP…

    • Tricia Welte

      The eaHELP On-Boarding process is pretty elaborate.  We dig in and help you determine what your EA can do for you. 

      • http://www.susanbiali.com/ Dr. Susan Biali, M.D.

        So what’s my next step in getting this process started? Could you send me more information about pricing etc.? My Disqus profile leads to my website, you’ll find my email address in the Contact section…(though I imagine you’re probably pretty swamped after this post from Michael!)

        • Tricia Welte

          Susan, I will eMail the information you need to move towards next steps.  

  • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com/ Enrique Fiallo

    My two cents: Tricia is excellent! In all my interactions with her, I never had a clue that she was virtual, a testimonial that it works (as long as you get the right person!). Great suggestion Michael. Thanks, and please pass along kudos to Tricia!

    • Tricia Welte

      Thanks Enrique.  Glad we had you fooled :)

      • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com/ Enrique Fiallo

        :-) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/timksu Tim K Su

    I remember reading about this in the 4 Hour Work Week, but didn’t think too much of it.

    Thanks for the input of your experience. I’m going to keep this in mind for the future when I am busy enough to need a VA!

  • http://yusewrites.com/ Yuse Lajiminmuhip

    I’ve actually worked as a virtual assistant quite a few times during college. It was a great way to earn extra cash. Sometimes it was also a learning experience. The best part, of course, was doing away with having to leave your dorm. 

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    As soon as I saw the title, I thought of my ever-efficient wife. For the first time, she said, “I missed a deadline.” That was this morning. I don’t think she’s quite ready for a VA (we’ll start with a new calendar first) but I may need to refer to this post again.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Tricia, it seems like we get to watch you work today. You’re definitely front and center and demonstrating Michael’s point well.

    • Tricia Welte

      Thanks!  I am enjoying all the great conversation about Virtual Assistants.  There are so many benefits on both ends.  I had no plans of commenting today, but you have all been so gracious, I just had to!

  • Barby

    Hi Michael, as a virtual assistant myself, I am glad you are having such a positive experience.  I personally feel that they are not only becoming more popular with entrepreneurs but with the business world itself and that hiring people virtually is a trend that wont stop for some time.  It is a great opportunity for people to create their “American Dream” no matter if you are the worker or the person who works with them.  Thank you for the post and the positive feedback.

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

      Barby, as a VA do you work from home or is it an office setting? My wife is possibly interested in re-entering the work field and this could be a great opportunity if it’s an at home situation.

      • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

        If I might jump in ;) I am also a VA and I work from home. I have five children whom I home school and it’s so ideal. I work for fun since we don’t need the income. It allows me to give more and build my own business.

  • Carrie :)

    For three years, I functioned as a virtual assistant to the Lead Pastor of the church where I now work full-time as administrator (I’m on-site now). This was necessitated by my home/job being an hour from the church. . . it worked well and I greatly enjoyed the experience. . . in addition, when I served as an executive assistant in local government, there was a huge virtual component to my role since I worked with very busy executives/politicians. 

    I agree with you; any busy executive who thinks they can function without an assistant is not as efficient as they could be. . . currently, I preparing to look for my first assistant since ceasing to be an assistant. :)

    • Jim Martin

      Carrie, I’m glad to know how this worked in a church setting.  Thanks for passing on your experience.  Helpful.

  • Neil

    Wow, I have never even heard about a VA. I will look into the VA option. Thank you Michael, I have been recently introduced to you and your blog and you have helped me gain valuable insight to Leadership, Blogging and the most of all Balance in my own life.
    God Bless you!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Neil, I’m glad that you have become part of the community.  Today’s topic speaks directly to your main point, “balance”!

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    A lot larger audience!!!!

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  • Riosfernando

    I am considering VA for some time now. My only concern is the security or confidential information that the VA will have access to. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Like passwords and such?

  • http://www.pamhogeweide.com/ pamhogeweide

    Perhaps someday I’ll need a virtual assistant and I so appreciate the sketch you provide of how it has worked out for you.  For the time being, I have hired my more than capable 17y old daughter at $12/hour for three hours a week. Perfect solution for the administrative “grunt work” that she can do so I can attend to where my time is really needed. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Pam,
      I hope someday I will be able to justify a V.A. as well. In the mean time I have 6 children (10 and under) and your model may come in handy in a few years. Ha.

  • http://aymeric.gaurat.net Aymeric

    I wrote this blog post to explain what VAs can do for entrepreneurs: http://aymeric.gaurat.net/2012/tasks-a-virtual-assistant-can-do-for-an-online-entrepreneur/

    Check out http://taskangels.net if you are looking for virtual assistants specially trained to assist online entrepreneurs.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

     What a helpful and informative post!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Mary,
      Thanks taking time to leave a quick comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/larry.broughton Larry Broughton

    Great post, Michael.  Too many entrepreneurs buy in to the “Lone Wolf”
    myth, believing they can do it all on their own.  Sooner or later (if
    they don’t go out of business first), they realize they need help–and
    EAs & VAs often prove to be a critical first step.  I’d remind folks
    not to give up if their first (or even their fourth) VA doesn’t work
    out…it’s like hiring any other team member: be sure they compliment
    you by offering areas of strength where you are weak; they must share
    your core values; have motivation, integrity and capacity; are action
    oriented, and can work autonomously.  But, don’t forget to effectively
    communicate (almost to a point of annoyance) in the beginning to clearly
    define expectations.  Once a comfort level has been established, go ahead and delete, defer, and delegate–it’s going to feel sooo good!

    Larry Broughton

    http://LarryBroughton.net

  • http://www.EmergingLife.org J.R. Miller

    When I read the word, “virtual” I assumed it was a computerized/software solution, but it seems you are really talking about hiring a person as an assistant that works remotely from you.  I like the idea though.

  • AJ Golden

    Great post, did Tricia write it? :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Now THAT would be awesome!

      • Tricia Welte

        Don’t get any ideas! 

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

      Hahahaha!

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  • Richard Bosworth

    For the past six years my VA Sheila has been doing the same as Tricia and oh boy what a difference it makes.  How do I know?  For the past two weeks I’ve been coping on my own while Sheila is off in Vietnam for a month.  I thought I could cope on my own – forget it!

  • http://twitter.com/MrsMilton0304 Theresa Milton

    Michael I enjoyed your posting on VA’s.  I left the executive assistant world 10 years ago to invest in my family as a homemaker.  As my children have grown and moved on to college, the military and marriage I have entertained the idea of rejoining the workforce in a virtual capacity.  Your viewpoint as an employer shows how productive I can be in a world of electronic lifestyles. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1012325627 Kyra Hatter

    Michael, Thank you for shining the light on Virtual Support. As a VA, I know there are plenty of people that understand what we do, but there are tons that don’t. Our job is to make our clients more efficient and productive. It is great to see our clients succeed faster and farther than they thought they could with us.

  • Joannekraft

    This is MUCH appreciated. My husband is an attorney/criminal law professor/broker…yep, a very busy man.

    I’m sending him a link to this post NOW.

  • http://www.OrganizingPro.com/ Marcia

    This sounds like relief! My college assistant was someone I hired
    part time after she graduated. Now I am going to use her remotely to
    post web articles and blog content.

  • http://www.live-hire.com Grainne Foley

    What a great article Michael, I love to hear about successful business owners using Virtual Assistants effectively in their business.  As A Virtual Assistant Matchmaker I spend
    a great deal of my time repeating those same sentiments. As busy professionals,
    it’s important that we use our time wisely.

    The wonderful thing about using Virtual Assistants is that business owners can have access to incredible talent in any area of business that you need. Instead of struggling through tasks that you are only adequate at – you can
    partner with someone who is a pro and can handle those tasks with ease. That
    leaves you time to focus on the things you really do NEED to be working on.

    Thanks for sharing your experience

    Grainne

     

  • Angel Lebak

    Michael, this is such a fabulous post!  Thank you for sharing the benefits and how you were able to build the relationship with your VA to more than “tasks” but to a relationship.  This is EXACTLY the message that needs to be sent between biz owners and their Virtual Assistant.  Excellent read…thanks again!

  • http://twitter.com/SarahLCook Sarah Cook

    Michael – so glad you found an assistant that works so well for you and with you! I have trained and worked with VAs and personal assistants  for over 15 years and it is phenomenal what they can do to assist you and in return you bless their lives as well!

  • Pdolan01

    I have a concern about confidentiality. Any thoughts or experiences are appreciated. Thank you. Pat

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it is an issue if you are dealing with a reputable agency. Ask them about it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_H3O7KMUI4PM6NUQIH3WS4O7LUQ Angelique De guzman

    Interesting Article!

    For someone who doesn’t have that much budget, you might wanna consider looking for a VA in some countries like the Philippines. I think you just gotta have to have an effective technique on hiring to be able to hire a great Virtual Assistant for as low as $4 per hour.
    One question you need to ask before hiring a VA is if you can trust them. It’ll take some time to trust a person especially with your credit card. Just make sure to check your statements often. And if he/she did steal money, you could have it back from the credit card company. It’s worth the risk.
    I have recently bumped into a blog that’s got some tips on hiring a VA:
    http://www.staff.com/blog/hiring-a-virtual-assistant/ 
    You might find it helpful.

  • http://www.alldaypa.com/ Virtual Assistant

    Michael, congrats on finding your perfect VA match! I am a VA and i love it. The good ones really do become a part of the team and a valued member of staff.

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    I actually have started working as a virtual assistant for bloggers – I realized that I enjoyed the “behind the scenes” work and could help others to be able to focus on the part of blogging that they love and enjoy, taking care of the details for them.

  • Brebenel Ramona

    Considering the world we living in, it’s an excellent idea. You gave me a new idea, of what to do with my own CV. Thanks!!!

  • Timothyfryar10

    Great insight! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanSearch Dan Ryan

    I am going through this struggle myself right now and I appreciate your insights into finding someone.

    Thanks for the perspective

    • Bailey

      Dan – Please feel free to reach out to me to further discuss your VA needs and how eaHELP can assist! You can reach me at bailey@eaHELP.com. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/MrsMilton0304 Theresa Milton

    Thanks for sharing this post.  It kicked started my VA interest and I have already had one great interview. 

  • Bilpal5

    I am curious how the “affiliate commission”  works.  Who is paying you how much if I buy services mentioned by you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002173942976 Jenny Brennan

    Hi Michael,

    Love your piece.  I am a VA based here in Ireland and find that once my potential customers know how I can “give them back their time” they never look back. Hiring a VA is a cost-effective way of freeing up vital time for business owners and Senior Executives, and allows them to focus on their core objectives.

    I will be sharing your post.

    Many thanks,

    Jenny

  • Johnv

    A virtual assistant can help you grow your
    business by handling your administrative support tasks. You can outsource
    various tasks like accounting, advertising, clerical, administrative, answering
    phone calls, internet research, data entry and technical support tasks to a
    virtual assistant. And the best part is that you can relax and enjoy your
    vacation or holidays while all your works are done by your virtual assistant.
    assistant 

  • Julie Groves

    What a beautiful compliment to her! Was a blessing to read about her gifts of service! Reading this has also highly motivated me to be more organized and intentional on productivity.
    As a business owner, full-time wife & homeschool mom….I could sure use a Tricia myself! ;-).

    • Tricia Welte

      Julie, Yes, this is a huge compliment and honor :).  

  • http://www.catchfriday.com/ Tina Pierce

    Thanks for sharing this information. :-)

  • Jodet Rae

    How does one get involved with becoming a Virtual Assistant?  I am currently in the role of Administrative Assistant and would appreciate any information you can share about this opportunity to serve.

    • Tricia Welte

      Jodet,  Check out our website for more information or to submit your resume.  www.eaHELP.com.

  • http://twitter.com/gwennylawson Gwen Lawson

    Hi Tricia (since I’m assuming you’re the gal who will respond!).  My husband is a Michael Hyatt fan and has suggested a few times that I look into becoming a virtual assistant.  How might I go about looking for a position?  Thanks so much and great job…your boss speaks quite highly of you! 

    In Christ,

    Gwen Lawson
    gwennylawson [@] yahoo.com

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    As a former executive assistant the idea of virtual assistant is kind of fascinating. Not because I need one, but because it would be a great way for someone professional, organized and skilled to work from home.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m going to have to look into this further.

  • http://www.catchfriday.com/ Lawrence Perry

    Thanks for sharing your experience Michael. Virtual assistant is helps us meet deadlines and let us spend more time with our love ones. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregjgordon Greg Gordon

    I could see how it would be interesting to have a part-time virtual assistant for certain tasks. I utilize many volunteers over nine years and that has been a huge part of seeing what I do work.

  • Jonathan Lazar

    It would be wildly convenient. I just don’t know whether it’s cost effective. I DO have employees I could assign some of these tasks to, but it would take them off mission critical stuff. So increase existing staff hours or hire an EA/VA. Not sure. How do I know when it’s costing me money NOT To hire one?

  • Rdickman

    I have thought long and hard about a VA. I do believe that they can help simplify my life but not sure how I would train them or schedule them that makes sense in my busy career in real estate. Any suggestion on how to ome up with a training plan? How did you arrive at five hours a week to start?

  • Mark Russell

    Would like to hear the costs involved and how that is structured? As used? Contract for a period of time? Etc…

  • Janet Galena

    This is an amazing post, and I just shared it on my Facebook page. As a VA myself, I want to thank you for an honest and fair review and especially for referring to the benefits of hiring someone domestically. 

  • http://www.mariefahey.com/ Marie Fahey

    I love seeing articles like this, as a VA myself it’s sometimes still difficult (even in this virtual world) for people to figure out how they can utilize one. I love what you said about Tricia being part of your team, because that is what eventually happens when you have a good, long time, VA.

  • http://www.springboarddesigns.com/ Diane

    Well said Michael. VA’s can also do internet marketing and take over newsletters, blog comments, social media management, teleseminars and much more. Perhaps finding yourself with more time free’s you up to do these things yourself, but using a VA for the technology and “idea board” is a great and valuable tool to thousands of entrepreneurs as well!

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  • Al3xM

    Thanks for the post – great idea to boost productivity… wish we had a highly recommended service like eaHelp in Australia

  • http://twitter.com/patrikbergman Patrik Bergman

    Maybe it is just me, but how come all the assistants are young attractive women? And why is the only example of a manager that needs help a man? I am not ditching the idea that people need help, but it could have been presented in a more delicate manner I believe.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Note the title: “My Experience.” I am a man; my assistant is a woman. It can be any combination.

      [image: DISQUS]

  • http://www.facebook.com/arthur.greeno Arthur Greeno

    I am thinking its time for me to do this.  Thanks for the boost.  

  • Tucker

    You hired someone in another country because it was cheap? Am I understanding this correctly?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Originally, yes. But, as I mentioned in the article, it didn’t work out. The experience was disappointing. Now I have a virtual assistant who resides in the U.S.

  • Vagail

    Thanks a lot Michael! for this excellent post. Now I know a lot more about virtual assistants job   and what they are capable of.

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  • Kahoover2

    I am currently interviewing for a va. I have found someone from my church at about 1/2 the cost of some of the more popular companies. Many people have retrained themselves for this type of work since 2008. Thank you for the advice!

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  • http://www.evirtualservices.com/Virtual-Assistant-Services Michael Bate

    First of all, a great appraisal to you
    mate for spending your precious time writing this blog and telling us
    the utmost importance of hiring a VA. Really, it’s a good idea. No
    doubt, sure shot i will implement this in future….

     

     

  • Robin S

    I am a virtual assistant, but would like to get more business. Currently, its just been through word of mouth. What do you suggest I do as I don’t want to deal with creepers! Are you aware of legitimate companies I could work with?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. Try eaHelp.com. That’s the company I use. I know the owners personally. They are great people.

  • Suneelseo

    wow, awesome…article..

  • Alexander Green

    I have started using www.sgsolutionsus.com VA for almost 2 years so far it’s beed a great experience. They have a web development and SEO team also working along with the VA’s so that basically takes care of all my business needs. I guess that’s one advantage of working with a VA company. Will let you know if my opinion changes about them though, but so far so good.

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  • Flora Brown, Ph.D.

    Hi Michael,

    Like many entrepreneurs I thought I couldn’t afford a VA just yet. As my work piled up, my energy and time were gobbled up learning the technology I needed to keep my blogs afloat, not to mention make changes and updates.  Soon I was not being productive at all. I was overwhelmed and exhausted, and the money-making tasks were being neglected.

    I hit that point in my home business where I couldn’t afford to NOT hire a VA.  It took three tries before I landed the VA who has the skills, resourcefulness, ethics and personality that were perfect for me. I learned what smart business folks know: just because you CAN do the technology and other tasks that keep your business running, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. As a matter of fact, trying to do it all yourself dooms your business to inefficiency if not failure.

    While it make take a few trial runs before you land just the right VA, but when you do, it’s an amazing relief. Whether you approach an agency or take referrals, you will still need to be patient to find just the right one for you.

    Having a great VA not only means you get help with your current tasks, but can give her those ideas you want to try but don’t have the time to set up. A professional VA can also help locate other service providers to do tasks that fall outside her area of expertise.

    My VA has completely redesigned my three main sites, repurposed one of them, set up my backups, switched me to a better host, designed autoresponders, transcribed interviews, set up products and services for sale, and best of all, did the troubleshooting whenever I get those scary error messages. In addition, she keeps up with the latest plug-ins and tools that make our lives easier. While I still work on things and add content when I want, it’s a big relief to know she is a phone call and email away. Since we are in different time zones, she’s often working hours before I wake.

    Like Michael, I’m discovering other tasks for my VA to do or delegate.

    Having a great VA is a winning situation all the way around.

  • Jong Lee

    Can you tell me her billing rate per hour?

  • http://twitter.com/idealhelper Ideal Helper

    I really like the idea of lowering email load with a virtual assistant. Although I have worked with numerous VAs, I don’t want anyone to access my private emails.
    Perhaps I should get over that, in order to become more successful and productive.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      I think many people who have VA’s checking email for them have a completely separate email address that only close friends and family have access to.

      • http://twitter.com/idealhelper Ideal Helper

        That’s an excellent idea! On the other hand, I have tried out setting up a new, shared account with a personal assistant, who would forward me mails to my main email.

        But this didn’t solve the problem that my main email, which like for many people is made up from my real name, is simply getting too much email.

        It would be great if one could give a VA only conditional access to one’s main email account…

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Yeah— you just never know what material could come into the main email—that’s the rub. Even if your VA is reducing your email by 3/4 I think it might be worth it? Plus, the longer you keep your VA the more comfortable they will be with answering on your behalf? No easy solution—for sure!

  • http://www.renaevans.com/ Renae Evans

    Hi Michael, great article. I am so glad that you shared your experiences about working with Virtual Assistants. I often try to inform others that you get what you pay for and oftentimes, the  overseas VA’s simply lack the skills. As an American
    VA at http://www.renaevans.com, I applaud you recognizing the quality of a skilled Virtual Assistant vs. a “cheap” one.

  • http://www.renaevans.com/ Renae Evans

    Hi Michael, thanks for offering this information. As an American Virtual Assistant (at http://www.renaevans.com ), I often inform people that there is  a distinct difference between “cheap” and skilled VA’s. You definitely get what you pay for. Cheers to you for spelling it out.

  • Karen Trisko

    Hello Michael. Thanks for sharing about your experience with virtual assistants. It’s a need that I have for my business, Excelleration, Inc. I found your comments to be helpful.

  • Amy Pogrund

    Hi Michael! My name is Amy Pogrund and I’m a VA as well. I’m not looking to replace Tricia by any means, she sounds amazing, but I was wondering if you had anyone you knew who needed a VA? I’m looking for clients and would love to help! I am very skilled and experienced. I would love to set up a phone call or skype session with anyone who is interested in my services. My email is amypogrund@gmail.com if you know anyone who needs a Virtual Assistant please send them my way, it would be very much appreciated!

  • Cory Riggs

    I have been using using a Virtual Assistant for years! I love it! There is one company who is holding some type of contest on their Facebook page where a business can win a chance to work with their very own virtual assistant free.

    Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hire-in-the-Philippines/433074156742721

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  • http://twitter.com/nirajr Niraj Ranjan Rout

    Michael – I have another tip – try using our product GrexIt – http://grexit.com. It lets you share some of your Gmail labels with another Gmail account – works with Google Apps too.

    So now, you can just share a label called “Invoice paid” or “New Task” to an email in your inbox, and this just syncs to your assistants inbox telling them what to do. Its really simple, and super effective. We’ve lots of our customers using it with their assistants.

  • Carma Chan

    Having supported corporate officers, small business owners, busy sales teams and senior managers for many years, I have to say that I do not understand why any business leader would not have an assistant. Time is money. Would you pay $100/hour for clerical work? That is what businesses are doing when they demand that their senior managers book their own travel, schedule all of their meetings, communicate logistics, arrange catering, check the accuracy of their daily calendars, submit expense reports, polish presentation formatting, proofread, etc. My hourly rate is easily one-third of what most senior managers earn, and I support three busy team leaders and their teams, and rarely does it require overtime. All of the professional Administrative Assistants I know (most of whom virtually work from home), take great pride in their efficiency, in being proactive, and being awesome at being able to be the extra hand of more than one amazing person!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.kilbourn Chris Kilbourn

    Hey Michael,
    That’s great that you’ve been able to offset your workload with virtual assistant services! I own a VA company, TaskBullet that I started after using a VA myself- realizing how powerful it could be for small business owners (and bloggers, such as yourself).

  • http://twitter.com/HOBureau HomeOfficeBureau

    I’m glad to know that you have an awesome VA who makes your job more productive. It is very nice to see that the VA industry is growing and getting more exposed. As a VA myself, I still feel like we have a long way to go to let more people know about this wonderful alternative in business relationship. It definitely saves time, resource, finance, and is less stressful.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and I wish you a continous rewarding experience with your VA.

  • http://ideal-helper.com/ Francis

    I once tried working together with a virtual assistant and personal assistant from India to help me clean up my inbox. The problem was that I’m not a native English speaker. My native language is German so naturally lots of my emails were in German, a few even in French.

    My personal assistant tried his very best to work out the content with Google translate, but in the end that didn’t really worked out well.

    But if you are a native English speaker for example from the US or the UK, then you can really save a lot of time having someone else de-clutter and clean up your inbox.

    On the other hand, don’t do it with an assistant you haven’t worked with for a long time already. And be sure to prepare you inbox so that nothing too confidential or too critical for your business is arriving at your inbox.

    If you give your assistant full access to your emails, that’s almost as you give them full access to your wallet.

    Well almost.

    Just thought I’d give you a little warning, but also, great ideas!

  • Steven

    Every VA I had was horrible! I gave easy task assignments, very clearly explained and it always never lifted off the ground! Go figure

  • http://twitter.com/Caroline_Mol1 Caroline Mol

    this is great information, thank you for sharing this!

  • joanna finn

    I work for dailyPA.co.uk. Our clients are mostly small & medium sized companies, as well as busy individuals like financial advisers, IT consultants and entrepreneurs. If anyone needs a virtual personal assistant in the UK, my company dailyPA.co.uk would be delighted to assist.

  • Sam

    If looking for a VA, try out ExpatAssistants.com. Worked great for my needs (content writing mostly), and it’s been interesting working with expats living in South America.

  • http://WWW.EXTRA-CASH-ONLINE.COM/ Robert Connor

    All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.T.E. Lawrence
    Awesome Quote!

  • Tiffany Quinones

    My name is Tiffany Quinones. I have 5 years experience in the VA field. I currently run my own business providing well qualified VA’s. Check out my website http://www.quinonessolutions.net

  • Brian Burroughs

    Hi all
    I would like to let you all know about a new European VA service, all the agents speak English and German, and we are based in the EU (Poland).
    It’s a slightly different service than many offered as we have a local team that work together all under one roof.
    To begin with we have service for Switzerland and will be extending to Germany and Austria later in the year. And, we have a one hour free trial!
    Come and visit us at http://www.euro-va.com
    Thanks for reading!

  • LyndaStyles

    Wonderful article. So many folks don’t even know what a VA is. I am jumping into this full time this fall. I’ve done this part time and I see a need for VAs in this expensive economy. I will save my clients decent money on taxes, insurance, and the usual idle time employers pay for. Very excited!

  • Devin

    MICHAEL: Given that this posting about a digital assistant was in 2012 and you were a few months into the relationship with Bryan and Tricia… where are things now? Are you still using the same firm, same eAssistant? What are the best practices that have resulted? Thanks! (Weighing the next-steps myself…) Any experience using that firm (or another, domestic or overseas) for accounting tasks?

    Thanks,

    Devin

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I m still using Bryan’s firm. They are terrific. Tricia got promoted. She is now in charge of recruiting and training new VA’s, so I have a new assistant, Trivinia. She’s amazing too. I have written a new ebook on my experience. It’s called The Virtual Assistant Solution. It’s in production now. I have not used eaHELP for accounting. Thanks.

  • lata

    I am a home maker based in Chennai city, INDIA with rich experience in admin.I am seeking part time VA home based jobs like answering emails etc.I have broadband net connection as also skype id . No spam please.Genuine paying jobs required.Please contact krishnanlata@ymail.com

  • Teleigha Peavy

    My firm offers Virtual Assistance and Project management services. Where can we find clients to offer services to? Your help will be greatly appreciated! Best Regards, Teleigha

  • josephjyoung

    Hi Michael,
    I know it has been quite some time since this post was written but great content always keeps giving and receiving! I am currently ghost writing an 80-page ebook for a client. The book I am writing involves listing legitimate online work at home jobs. One of the categories is Online VA’s. In my search, I found your post listed on the front page of Google. Already being your fan and ‘Get Published’ student, I was not surprised, to say the least. Thanks for giving me a great VA company to list in this book I am writing and for posting awesome content as usual!

  • OTBAS

    I like article….Thanks for share such a good and complete information…

  • Models Be

    “Trade Virtual Services has always been within my approaching, and I
    simply hand them my tasks and instructions, and they are taken care of. I
    have used VA services and they delivered quality results. I highly
    recommend Them”

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

    This is a great article about having virtual assistants. Those individuals and businesses who are having second thoughts on having one will surely find this post helpful. Thank you for sharing.

  • LaVonna Plaxco

    Leave emails on my yahoo please

  • http://www.process-box.com/category/executive/ Augustine Moore

    Thank you for posting such an informative article. Your thoughts are much appreciated. Cheers!

  • Jessica Lee Fisher

    Also would I be able to feature your article on my websites blog? I just love your experience and what you have to say about it :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You are free to link to it. My Permissions Policy is here.

      • Jessica Lee Fisher

        That is super awesome!! Thanks a ton :-)

  • Allison

    I am a virtual assistant myself for a real estate firm, and it has been an incredible learning experience both for me and for my boss. Once I was trained on the websites we use and developed my own organizational policy, I was able to take all of the paperwork away from him so he could focus on actually meeting and greeting potential clients. I’m also able to write procedure manuals, research blogging (woo-hoo!), and handle all of the day-to-day phone calls, signatures, and appointments so he doesn’t have to. If you can find a good VA, I highly recommend hiring one; we will quickly become invaluable if you give us a chance!

  • Kristen

    Hi Michael,
    Appreciate the article, helps me have more motivation; I am currently in the works of setting up my own home office. I myself am jumping on the virtual assisting wagon. Any pointers/ suggestions you have for me?

  • http://www.hireavirtualemployee.com/ Riz

    Thanks for sharing the information. This will not only give confidence to others but also help boost the moral of other Virtual Assistants. Hiring Virtual Assistants is relatively new phenomenon but has great potential to perform basic to advance level tasks. The cost of a Virtual Assistant is also substantially less than hiring a local employee.

    Virtual Assistance is a ray of hope for the people living in developing countries. Its providing virtual job opportunities to the literate youth who is living in gloom and doom otherwise. Recently, i came across a bunch of people who have launched a social enterprise with the name of http://hireavirtualemployee.com, which is meant to offer the educated youth of virtual assistance services in Pakistan.

  • Kevin Anselmo

    Hi Michael,

    I have enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for all your insights.

    I was wondering if you could provide your perspective as a Christian entrepreneur on the ethical dilemmas of hiring VAs? I am considering to hire a VA, but am a bit conflicted on whether it is right or wrong to pay a VA at a significantly lower cost than my own country simply because of the location of where he or she iives. Then again, perhaps the lesser wage I would be paying is helping people in the developed world out of poverty. Surely every time I buy an Apply product, I should probably ask the same question, but I guess from a business owner’s point of view, it is much more poignant and direct.

    Thanks for any insights.

    Kevin

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think you can evaluate what you are paying in one country vs. what someone is paid in another. There are so many variables. Paying someone $100 in the U.S. is very different from paying someone $100 in a third-world country. The real issue is the purchasing power of that $100.
      Ultimately, I don’t think we have to figure all that out. The free market does that for us. If someone is not getting paid what they should, they will go elsewhere.

  • Gina M

    Hiring VA from third world country is just the same as hiring someone local. You just have to make sure that the VA you’d hire understand your culture and has experience working for other US clients.

  • jackAustin

    I appreciates your article,it is very interesting,i would like to have more information about it so can you please give me some more details when you update this blog.

  • Laura Rike

    This is a great article! As a Virtual assistant myself I completely agree wanting to keep the VA domestic to be able to achieve the same reults you are looking to pay for! Sometimes finding someone cheap is not going to be the right VA for the tasks you come up with. I became a VA to stay home with my 6 year old son and wouldn’t change it for the world! Not only does it help me with my family to allow me that freedom but it feels good to be helpful to those in need with their business!

    Laura Rike
    LauraRike.com

  • Deanna Lynn Stills Cole

    Thank you. Great article. I was wondering is there a way to purchase the eBook from Amazon and not own a Kindle? v/r Deanna

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep. You can just download the free Kindle software for Mac or PC.

  • Dennis Neville

    Thanks for a great article. I am in Johannesburg, South Africa. Do you know of any reputable VA’s serving this part of the world? Many thanks for your excellent input.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know of any, but that’s the cool thing about virtual assistants; it doesn’t really matter, provided they can speak the language you need.

      • Dennis Neville

        Thanks Michael. I will explore further. Blessings

  • Carol Musgrove

    Hi Dennis I am a VA in Johannesburg – South Africa. Please contact me on either email: carolamusgrove@gmail.com or caltrobus@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards Carol

  • http://blog.ramboruiz.com/ Rambo Ruiz

    Articles like this makes me happy about being a Virtual Assistant :) cheers to you! And if anyone here wants to know more about how a VA can help you please feel free to ask me as I’ve been in this business for almost four years and am currently leading a team of Virtual assistants :)

    Cheers!

  • Shellye Jackson Lyons

    Michael, thank you for this post. It is wonderful to hear someone give VAs the kudos we deserve! Most people don’t understand the concept or realize the value, especially with the growing use of technology! http://www.paradisesecretarial.com

  • http://www.ontimeva.com OnTimeVA

    We are a virtual professional company. Hiring virtual professionals cuts out the hard costs of labor as well as the inefficiency of employees or the downtime you pay for just to have certain assistants and professionals at your disposal. This translates to a possible savings of as high as 75%. That’s just common business sense. You can contact us to find out how! Shameless plug: ontimeva.com let us know your needs and we will be sure they are taken care of!

  • Michael V

    Thanks for sharing you experience to us, Michael! To anyone looking for VAs, check out http://myndconsulting.com They’ve been in the industry for more than 8 years and they provide skilled and dedicated Virtual Staffs

  • http://craftdemy.com Max@Craftdemy

    I have tried eahelp before but has since switched to http://vasumo.com and am enjoying it much more. My V.A. at Vasumo is more skilled, and much more experienced + the cost is so much more affordable. The one thing I know for sure is I will never even think about outsourcing to India or Philippines! It has been a disaster for me.

  • Jenny

    Michael, I just saw your post and I am just learning about virtual assistants. I work in an office setting now. I have been looking for a VA job but it seems like everything I find is a scam. Can you please give me some advise on where to apply for VA jobs?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, but I haven’t really researched that side of it. You might check with <eaHELP.com. In my opinion, they are the premier site.

  • http://www.feedcurator.com Larry Candelaria

    Very nice story. now i appreciate the benefits of having a virtual assistant i find it very helpful to open my own business. now i have the idea taking a virtual assistant and what are the benefits that it could take to me . thanks for that . and also if you want to choose a reliable and trusted virtual assistant check this site. Mynd Consulting they are very good in that field with awesome attitude. thanks for having such wonderful story.

  • Dianne

    This blog is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this with us Michael.

    I am working as Virtual Assistant from Philippines and willing to help business people. Just contact me via email dianne_bioco_a@yahoo.com or hps_dianne_bioco_aglugub on Skype. Thanks! :)

  • Meryem CIFTCI

    Hello Michael Hyatt and anyone reading this post. I just came across this article and decided to post. Please can anyone at eaHelp.com respond. I have sent you my resume and work samples. I am a Virtual Assistant and I am looking for a job / a project long or short term. In June of this year, I ended 8 years of working in corporate America as an assistant to a vice president in a global risk management company. My job ended because I got married and moved to Turkey to join my husband. I would still like to continue working. Please respond I would be delighted to work for you. contact me at mery.mciftci@gmail.com … Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you :-)

  • Rebecca Ellison

    Hi, I have just recently heard about this kind of job and I am very much interested in doing so, can anyone guide me how to do so and where should I apply.