Should You Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant?

I know what it’s like. You have more to do than you can get done. You’re pulled in a thousand different directions. You can’t ever seem to catch up. And the paperwork is killing you.

Administrative Assistant with a Beautiful Smile - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/, Image #6926487

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/esolla

As the CEO of Thomas Nelson, I had a great assistant. She managed my calendar, fielded appointment requests, booked my travel, took meeting notes, and a thousand and one other things.

This allowed me to focus on what I did best: vision-casting, communication, networking, strategy, etc. We made a great team. It was the perfect division of labor.

But when I left the CEO role, I moved my office home and was without an assistant for the first time in over fifteen years. Man, was it a rude awakening. Suddenly, I found myself buried in administrative detail.

Just booking travel for one trip would take me a couple of hours. Fielding appointment requests drained me. I found myself spending less and less time on what I had hoped to achieve by stepping out of corporate management.

Long story short, I hired a virtual executive assistant two months ago. My stress level dropped almost immediately. Today, I am more productive than ever, because I once again have an assistant who is handling my administrative details.

Could this work for you? I suggest that you consider hiring a virtual assistant if:

  1. You want to get out from under the administrative pile.
  2. You want to focus more of your time on what you do best.
  3. You want to be more productive.
  4. You want more margin in your life.

There are numerous companies that offer outsourced administrative services. (Tim Ferriss lists several in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, and on his website.) After doing my research, I chose eaHELP.com. They are based in Atlanta but have virtual assistants all over the U.S.

Here are a few details about my assistant that you might find interesting:

  1. She works part-time for me. I couldn’t afford a full-time assistant or keep one busy for forty hours a week. Turns out, I didn’t need to. Instead, I started by committing to just five hours a week. Currently, I am up to fifteen hours a week. This can flex as my needs change.
  2. She is super-professional. She filters my email, books my travel, manages my calendar, handles invoicing, and responds to all routine requests. She is a very fast learner. She is also three times as fast as I am on administrative detail. She does way more than I could do in less time.
  3. She is truly virtual. She lives in a completely different city. She and I have never met face-to-face. I wouldn’t recognize her if she walked into the same room. However, to the outside world, it looks like we work in the same office. She has her own michaelhyatt.com email address and signature.
  4. She handles things my way. I spent a little time on the front-end, explaining how I wanted my business handled. I gave her a list of all my travel preferences and a big assortment of email templates. If she has a question, she comes to me. We also have a weekly “calibration call” just to make sure we are in sync.

One of the great features of this relationship is that I don’t have all the overhead you would usually have with an assistant. She is technically “contract labor.” As a result, I don’t have to pay her payroll taxes, provide her healthcare, or purchase her equipment.

Perhaps you’re thinking, That’s all well and good, but I could never afford it. Don’t be so sure. Do the math.

What’s your time worth? If it’s worth more than what you would pay a virtual executive assistant, than his or her service pays for itself. In fact, it will increase your income.

While I am very high on eaHELP, this is not a sponsored post. I get nothing out of it personally—other than the joy of connecting you to a solution that could truly be a game-changer.

I also got them to agree to give my readers a $195.00 discount off the initial set-up fee of $395.00. However, this offer is only good until November 30, 2011.

How do you find out more? Visit their home page and see what eaHELP has to offer. When you are ready for more information, including a quote on what it will cost, go to their contact page. Enter “Michael Hyatt” in the field that says, “How Did You Hear About eaHELP?” This will give you the discount.

Question: What would a virtual executive assistant make possible for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

    Another great use of technology – virtual assistants are no longer a luxury for the few – but perhaps almost a necessity for the successful!

    My only concern would be to first make sure you are clear about what you take on, and then pass to your virtual assistant – having someone taking care of stuff can make it easier to say yes to things which you might not say yes to normally..

    great post Michael, thanks.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Thanks Michael for the helpful info on hiring a virtual assistant. The idea looks great. But I am not quite sure how much of that service is available here in India, especially for a coach or writer. I am interested to know more on that from some of your readers from India.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It doesn’t really matter where you live that is the beauty of it. Having said that, India is the major country that does this. Check out BrickWork India or GetFriday. I personally used the latter and had a very positive experience. They can do almost anything.

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        Thanks. I browsed through these websites. Impressive services and pricing. But one question: how do you handle confidential paperwork with a virtual assistant?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          You sign a confidentiality agreement. But even there, you have to know who you are dealing with. Tim talks about this in his book. My VA has all my confidential info, including credit card numbers, account logins, etc. (except main bank account).

          • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

            Wow! That’s quite bold.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I’ll tell you what bold is: handing your credit card to a waiter you’ve never met who disappears with it for ten minutes and then brings it back to you and asks you to sign a piece of paper. Think about it. He now has your credit card number, your expiration date, your authorization code, AND your signature. Yet most of us do this several times a week.

          • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

            How true! But often we don’t think on those lines in such ordinary situations, do we? I think  the solution is to make use of technology wisely, not fearfully. And that helps us to go for a good virtual assistant.

          • Anonymous

            Ok.  Now I’m going to be soooo paranoid it’s not even funny.  

      • http://www.producewithpassion.com Dan McCoy

        I have also heard great things from http://www.taskseveryday.com/

        I spoke with them and they seemed great except they only had 20 hours/wk and 40 hours/wk options.   I didn’t quite need that much.

  • Holly Moore

    Mike…

    Thanks for this post.  I read about this idea in Tim Ferris’ book but it was incredibly helpful to hear insight from someone I actually know who has done it successfully.  Over the past few months, I’ve realized the time I waste doing activities that don’t produce the organizational results I’m expected to deliver.  This could be a solution.

    Sorry I missed seeing you at Catalyst.  Hope you have a restful and energizing weekend

    Holly

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Miles Advisory Group is right there in Atlanta. The principals are members of North Point Community Church.
      Sorry I missed you, too!

      • Holly Moore

        I’ve already gone to the website and asked them to contact me :)

        That’s my home church, so it’s fun to know they are there as well.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Cool. You will like Bryan and Shannon.

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

          Hi Holly – I did get your eMail this morning! Thanks! I look forward to connecting w/ you this week. Happy to share more w/ you about MAG & our services!

  • http://twitter.com/NathanAndersonJ Nathan Anderson

    Good question. Sometimes I feel like I need a virtual assistant to figure out how I could use one. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Tim Ferriss has a ton of ideas in his book and on his website, both of which I linked to in the post.

  • Mpierce

    Mike,

    Thanks for your blog & weekly email. Would you mind showing us what 5 hours & 15 hours costs per week? Thanks, Mike

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I would check with them. It depends on what you have them do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721148293 Tim Miles

    Wow – this is perfect, Michael. Thank you. However, I don’t work for a church. Does the Miles Advisory Group work outside church orgs? Especially if one shares their last name? : ) Do you (or does anyone) have any suggestions for something similar (even identical) in the secular world? I didn’t find Ferriss’ list nearly as helpful as your review of MAG.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t work for a church either. However, I liked the idea of having a virtual executive assistant who shares my values. Regardless, they will handle your business your way. Everyone will think they work for you, not for a church or a Christian group. Hope that helps.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721148293 Tim Miles

        Woo-hoo! I feel the same way! Thanks! (And that fills my quota of exclamation points for the month …)

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

      Hi Tim – this is Bryan Miles – from MAG (Miles Advisory Group). Our EA service does do work for other like-minded organizations that may not be churches. Please feel free to contact me. Nice last name as well.  :)

  • http://roborr.net Rob Orr

    I’m definitely paying more and more attention to people who are using virtual assistants and I’m exploring the idea of working with one myself in my business. I know that I need the help, and your post from a few weeks back on being a creative and having a team resonated with me. You, Pat Flynn, and others who are using VAs are inspiring me. Bottom line for my business is that I need the help to generate new and greater revenue and my ability to do that at this point is hampered by not having help. Got to get moving on this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Just do it!

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

    Wow Michael, having a virtual assistant certainly shows up in your productivity. I’ve been amazed at your posts lately. They are very well organized and have really reached a new level. Reading this post illustrates why. You don’t have to deal with the mundane, time killing tasks that so many of us face on a daily basis.

    I think a service of this type would be a boon for creatives and allow them to truly do what they are gifted at. I will certainly look into this in the future.

    I do have a question. Do you have a recommendation for outsourcing software creation? I have a couple of small projects, one to create an iPad app and the other for a PC app, that I would like to proceed with. After reading Tim’s book, it sounds like there are companies that do this on a contract basis. While I can do some programming, it is certainly not something I’m efficient at. Outsourcing this would be very helpful.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I used e-lance for this and it was very positive experience.

      Thanks, John.

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Brad Farris

    I’ve been a big fan of VA’s for years! I another terrific source for finding a VA is IVAA.org – you will most likely find an self-employed individual (which I like because they have a business owner’s mindset). 

    I’ve used them for graphics design, computer help, conference planning, calendar, bookkeeping, addressing my c’mas cards, almost everything.

  • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

    Did you change all your passwords first before you gave them to your VA or did you keep the same ones you always use (and will most likely continue to use in years to come)?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      In most cases, I set her up with a separate account or access with her own username and password. This was, if something changes, I can delete the access.

  • Kennyholloway

    Ive tried this twice with 2 different companies. FAIL both times. I did not use MAG but I did use another group you mentioned. Both experiences were the same 2 problems: 1) Every assignment required written instructions from me 2) the assistant seemed incompetent.

    There were other issues that I don’t fault the VA for. They cannot be in the meeting with me and walk out with action points. My corporate culture is not understood and is not translated in the communication produced on their end.

    I wonder if you might be receiving different treatment with your profile and highly visible blog? Or maybe I just bought two lemons in a row?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Tim Ferriss covers why this often happens in depth in Chapter 8 of The 4-Hour Work Week under a section entitled, “Delegation Dangers: Before Getting Started.” He has great, practical advice for avoiding the problems that people typically encounter in hiring a virtual assistant.

      • kennyholloway

        This will be the next book I consume with the hour I’m saving by using the DVR on Titans games.

  • TesTeq

    What would a virtual executive assistant make possible for you?

    I’m afraid nothing. I do not know any virtual executive assistant that can speak Polish – it is an essential skill in my coutry. :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might be surprised. What if you ran a job request on e-lance.com outlining your requirements? If you really need a VA, don’t say ”no” before you start!

    • http://www.flurrycreations.com/theblog John Bergquist

      Have you looked into Secretary in Israel?  I would not assue that you are out in the cold.  

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        This is a great suggestion. They were my second choice. I was really impressed. (Jon Dale sent me to them.)

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

    I do Social Media Consulting for various companies and have been leaning towards doing this. However, I need someone not only to do administrative details, but someone that knows social media, blogging, etc. What are your thoughts on that? 

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

      Nevermind. I answered my own question. I apologize for asking the question before I did more research. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No brainer. You just make that part of the job spec.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Great input. Thanks for the links, especially.

  • http://www.flurrycreations.com/theblog John Bergquist

    Michael,  I have seen the benefits of a VA in the lives of a few friends.  Luckily our business has an incredible “in office” assistant (although that will be turning virtual for the next three months as the assistant travels).  Remarkably the travel does not impede most of the tasks an assistant has.  

    One thing that I marvel at is how the cloud and connecting tools have revolutionized our ability to work with assistants, collaborators, co-workers even on opposite sides of the globe.  I also think it is incredible that people can have jobs like the VA and live anywhere they choose.  Good stuff.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with this.  I have planned on doing this once I get a professional job.  Because I want to try and invest in a lot of stuff outside of my job too, probably start stocks because it easy to start.  But eventually I would like to own rental properties or something like that, and I would use a virtual assistant to conduct research and sort through the all the incoming stuff and make it easy to deal with quickly on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

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

    I can see so much need for this in my life and ministry, but have a couple of things stacked against me right now.  1) Finances.  I understand that this will essentially pay for itself, but with the stage my family is in, with five kids, all young, the cash flow just isn’t there at the moment.  2) Control issues.  I’ve spent 20 years in the local church, mainly smaller congregations.  I’m used to doing things myself almost all the time.  The sectretaries that I’ve had access to have all been general church secrataries, and as such, not one I could hand a lot of stuff off too.  This would be a major learning curve for me.  Not that I’m against it, I just foresee my productivity going down before it goes up…  I hope that makes sense.

    That said, I will keep this in mind for down the road.  Definitely!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Read Ferriss’s book for some inspiration. It will stimulate your thinking!

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

        I will. Definitely! 

        Thanks!

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

          Ordered it!

    • Anonymous

      I assume you’re talking about the front-end investment of time.  That’s a concern of mine as well.

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

        Absolutely!  I’m sure I would eventually smooth out and increase my productivuty, but it would be a steep curve for me at first.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I find that every major gain in productivity requires this initial, front-end investment. This is why so few people go to the next level. Pushing past this is the key to success.

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

            So true!

          • Anonymous

            That’s good advice.  My problem is figuring out which cliff to jump off first.

        • Anonymous

          Somewhere down the road, we could possibly look at using a VA instead of hiring a church secretary. I like that for all kinds of reasons, including saving money.

          I think at that point it would be easier to clarify what we needed and the learning curve might not be as steep.

  • Sharon Roam

    Great choice for your new book cover!

  • http://www.checkmatesystem.com Maryacavanaugh

    Slightly off-topic but don’t overlook the help that an actual assistant can give you too.  Some of the best money we ever spent was for a housekeeper once a week.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! I’ve used several overseas virtual assistant companies, including Brickwork and Globetask, however I currently use an American based company called Longerdays.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Krämer/100001481863376 Laura Krämer

    I just scrolled down and saw the new Platform book cover:  LOVE LOVE LOVE! Excellent.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great! Thanks.

  • Shallog2004

    wow..amazingly informative…love your posts, love your blog. God bless!

  • Mark Clark

    Now, we all have to ask ourselves–is this really Michael Hyatt answering this blog or the VA with “a big assortment of e-mail templates”?

    Michael, thank you for the far ranging topics you cover in your blog.  Always interesting. As a lifetime learner your blog is one-stop shopping.  I am currently exploring the opportunities presented by Evernote.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ha! You’ll never know. ;-)

      • Anonymous

        Maybe you should get your VA to write a guest post.  :-)

  • http://www.andygill.org/ Andy Gill

    Being a youth pastor I wonder how many churches are going to jump on board with doing this, as churches are slicing budgets AND staff left and right, I wonder if secretaries will be replaced with VA’s? Do you think this would be a good fit for churches Michael?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      A VA is a good option for churches that want to hire someone part-time.

      • http://www.andygill.org/ Andy Gill

        Hm, why would you suggest only part time as opposed to full time?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Full-time is fine. The great thing about a VA is that you can hire them for the number of hours you need.

          • http://www.andygill.org/ Andy Gill

            right on. sounds like something to look into, emailed this to some guys who are head pastors. At this point definitely don’t need it for myself as a youth pastor. Thanks for you blog, and especially your interaction with us in your “tribe”!

          • Anonymous

            I had this same question while reading the post.  Glad to hear some churches have had success with this concept.

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

      Andy … MAG … http://www.milesadvisorygroup.com … sources VAs (Executive Assistants) for churches all around the US. It works great for churches w/ falling budgets OR when churches want to change up the way they are doing admin inside their church.

  • Mark Clark

    RE: your newest book, Platform.  When will excerpts/teasers be available? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Probably not until a couple of months before the book is published. This will likely be in the form of an Advance Readers Copy (ARC).

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Going for a virtual assistant is not in my radar at present. Yet, I get to know about the benefits of having one from this post.

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie O’Donoghue

    I can imagine your life has become less complicated by hiring a VA. 

    I’m not in a position where I need one right now but knowing you have had a good experience will prompt me to look in that direction in the future.Thanks Mike.

  • http://www.producewithpassion.com Dan McCoy

    I know Bryan and his team over at MAG.  We have talked quite a bit and his heart and focus is all about serving.   They are the real deal.  

  • Anonymous

    Love the Platform book cover. It was the one I wanted to vote for, but did not have time to get to that this week. It is definitely the most Michael Hyatt looking one of the bunch. I was immediately drawn to that one when I looked at the options the other day. May God continue to bless your gifts of helping others be and do their best for Him!

  • http://golfwisdomlife.com Larry Galley

    Thanks much Michael for the input on Virtual Exec. Assts.  I want to learn more about how they may be of help to me in what I am trying to accomplish.  Your inputs are becoming a treasure to me.  I urge you to continue.  Larry Galley

  • http://profiles.google.com/heather.knight.pdx Heather Knight

    “She is technically “contract labor.” As a result, I don’t have to pay her
    payroll taxes, provide her healthcare, or purchase her equipment”

    This isn’t exactly something I’d be proud of sharing.  I wonder if she can even afford to purchase health insurance?  While I appreciate your idea of “outsourcing” your grunt work, it seems like you really aren’t looking at the big picture. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I probably should have said this more clearly. Those things are amortized across all her clients and charged back to us as part of our fees. But I don’t have to carry the burden for the whole thing. In addition, I don’t have to pay the employer’s part of her payroll taxes which wouldn’t benefit her any way.

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Having worked as an executive assistant in the past I can definitely attest to the value they provide. However, I’m new to the concept of virtual assistants and think it’s brilliant.

    It could be a great employment opportunity for skilled, tech-savvy and organized people finding it hard to get a FT job in a corporate office.

  • Jennifer

    Hi,

    On the first numbered list number of this post # 2 is lacking a word. I think you ‘wanted’ to say a form of ‘want’. If all four on the list say want it might too much of the same words.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good catch. Thanks. I just fixed it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668327770 June JD Wilson

    You know, I’ve often thought of doing this.  Specifically, I have a bag full of back-in-the-day business cards and address books.  I’d love to hire someone to do the data entry.  To have that data put into my online contacts.

    The thing is, how would I know the VA didn’t “skip” any? They could skip one. Two. A whole page. An entire address book.  Or groups of business cards. I suppose I could “spot check” to see if the work was done entirely.  Another concern was sending the person the information.  What if it got lost or misplaced?

    I understand I’ll have to simply put aside these concerns and plunge in.  It helped seeing some “recommended” services by you and the commenters.   It’s a little time consuming to weed out the legit from the scammers.  Now I won’t have to spend hours searching VA sites. Thank you.

    If the data entry project goes well, I have several other projects I would hire a VA to do.

    Really enjoy your blog by the way!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wouldn’t you have the same problem with a physical assistant? I think you have to manage in the same way: spot check.
      Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668327770 June JD Wilson

        True.  You’re right.  I guess if the person was physically here,  it seems those type of “situations” would be easier to remedy.  But I’m convinced to plunge in.  Really.  I’m just not able to do so right now, financially-speaking.  Alas, having my old address book records keyed into the computer is on the low priority list.  I’ve even toyed with putting it on the not-to-do list ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Have been intrigued about this since reading Ferris’ book a few years ago.  Glad to hear about your positive experience.  I’m not quite there yet, but can see a point in the future where this is a definite possibility.

  • http://twitter.com/_salam_ Kevin Bushnell

    Is this discount registration period really until 2012?  Perhaps that’s a typo.

             I also got them to agree to give my readers a $195.00 discount off the initial set-up fee of                 $395.00. However, this offer is only good until November 30, 2012.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good catch! Yes, that is a typo. I have fixed it.

  • http://twitter.com/_salam_ Kevin Bushnell

    By the way Michael, you’ve written yet another excellent and concise article that really goes to the heart of the matter on the subject about which you’ve written.  You’ve been a great inspiration and a mentor-at-a-distance for me.  Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/LauraLeeAllen Laura Allen

    I have owned my Virtual Assistance practice for six years and love working virtually for my clients.  I was trained at http://www.assistu.com, which I highly recommend if you are interested in learning more about partnering with a Virtual Assistant. All of the questions asked below are thoroughly answered on this site.

  • Kathleen Crow

    Thanks for sharing, Mike. Good feedback. The company I work at now has so many locations, and I already do a lot virtually as an assistant. But I know that full time virtual assistants are growing by leaps and bounds.

  • W. Patrick Jones

    MAG looks very appealing and while I’m not sure I have a need for a VA now, I will definitely keep them in mind.  I actually have a friend that would probably be an excellent VA and thought I might direct her to the site to see if she’s interested in a job change.  But I have to be honest, I was less than impressed with Bryan’s video on the “Join the MAG Team” page.  It looks like it was made in a college dorm room the day after a party.  Without trying to be harsh, I do have to say that it lessened my image of the company.

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

      Hi Patrick – this is Bryan Miles, from MAG. Happy to connect your excellent VA to our candidate pool … please have them eMail resume@milesadvisorygroup.com if they are interested. Also, thanks for candor about our video.

      • W. Patrick Jones

        Thanks Bryan.  I’m not even sure if she’s job hunting, but if she is, I’ll give her the info.  She’d be great at it.

        And I’m glad you got the gist of what I was saying. The rest of your website is top-notch.

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

          Thanks Patrick.

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

        This is what I love about your blog Michael! Other readers and resources are willing to help each other.

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.thaxton Louise Thaxton

    Very interesting idea – and one I will definitely explore.  I have always been of the mindset that my assistant needed to be in the same office – this is a totally different concept!  Thanks!

  • http://www.inteliwise.com Virtual Agents

    Virtual Assistants are great help on my side, they do things well and helps out a lot. They can also do works the way i want it and can easily follow instructions, it made works easier.

  • http://highpointchurch.us Andrew VanDerLinden

    I love that I learn about new ideas and solutions to problems I don’t even know I have every day.  Thank you for another great post.  

  • http://twitter.com/AuthorService Leah Apineru

    If you are considering hiring a VA, it may not be for all administrative tasks.  Maybe you might hire someone to help manage your social media or mailing lists, or a specific campaign/project that you need help with.   Consider hiring for a specific amount of time, or for a specific task.  This has been helpful for my clients.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thvaonline Trish Hallmark

    As a virtual assistant I would like to share my experience on the other end of this business transaction.  I always offer a free half-hour phone consultation.  My experience has been that this sets the tone in a variety of ways.  First, I can hear your inflection and emphasis on words or phrases that become key elements for planning.  Secondly, during our exchange we both get a sense of the other person’s personality and how well we mesh.  If this is going to be a long term relationship, it’s important to know if we’ll make a good team both in terms of vision and execution, but also in terms of personality and dare I say values.

    I would encourage anyone that is pursuing the route for a VA to take them up on their offer of a free consultation.  The majority of them offer them, and I find it helps both parties get past the underlying doubts one may have about  hiring an assistant and as a VA, taking on this particular client.

    Hope this helps to diminish your trepidation about taking this step.   I would also parrot the recommendation to go to virtualassistantforums.  There are many, many quality and experienced VAs that can help you with your admin work.  (I know it’s my go-to as a VA when I need to troubleshoot, get advice, look for projects, etc.)  Read the forum postings and you’ll see which ones have the experience you are looking for and then contact them.  Also, I recommend Christian VA website  christianvirtualassistants.com.  I’m a member and use it on occasion to see what projects are posted, if it fits my work load, etc. 

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

      Trish, thanks for sharing that. Your point about taking up the consultation is spot-on. I loved your reasons and think that a phone consultation helps you ensure that you can work well with each other.

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

    Thank you so much! I very much needed this today, and the discount is particularly beneficial. This may just be the impetus I need to go to the next level.

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

      Hi Mary … please feel free to reach out to us at MAG … if you would like to know more. Thanks!

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

    Thanks for the awesome post on virtual assistants. I know I’m a long ways away from needing one but seeing all the information here is very encouraging.

    When I start blogging more, I could see having a virtual assistant to do research for me and maybe handling my emails.

  • Onestream

    So disappointed to hear that in this economy where people are becoming homeless for lack of jobs that you are advocating even more outsourcing. With a little time spent up front in selecting, you could probably hire someone who lives where you do and provide them with some work. I say this because I know this first hand.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      But I am outsourcing in the U.S. I am not sure what difference it makes if the person lives in Cleveland or Charlotte.

  • http://IgniteSpot.com Eddy Hood (IgniteSpot.com)

    Hiring a VA can be a lifesaver if you get the right one.  We work in the outsourced accounting services field we really enjoy helping our clients grow their businesses.  However, sometimes it doesn’t work so well.  I have found that the success of a VA is based on two factors: 
    1.  The skill set of the VA and the tools at his or her disposal
    2.  The personality of the person that hired the VA.  Some people just cant make the leap to a virtual assistant.  They have to have someone standing next to them.  

    Thanks Michael!  Great Post.

  • http://simplemom.net Tsh @ SimpleMom.net

    I couldn’t live without my VA. I’ve had two now, and neither of them have lived in my city (though I have personally met them). It’s the best of both worlds—they get to work from home, when it works best for them, and I get administrative help at a reasonable price. My VA is worth EVERY penny, in my opinion. I can’t do my writing and blog running without her.

  • Genovia Riley

    Great post
    Mike!

    Thanks for
    helping to promote our industry. Indeed, Virtual Assistants do play an
    important role in the lives and businesses of their clients.

    As
    a Virtual Assistant and owner of Genwil Business Solutions, I enjoy helping to
    reduce my clients’ workload and stress levels by managing their administrative
    assignments. I have found that most clients really want to achieve a full,
    enriching and balanced life while running their businesses; but some just need
    the essential administrative assistance to help them get there. Getting the
    administrative help allows my clients to stay organized so that they can have
    more time to focus on growing their businesses or just do what they do best. I
    provide two 30 minute free no-obligation consultations to each potential
    client. These calls are designed for us to establish if we would be a good fit.
    They allow us to explore the standards for each of our businesses and to
    further determine how the partnership will work. Feel free to visit my company
    website at http://genwilva.com/ more details.

  • Pablo Angel

    Virtual assistant are persons who are self employed that provides administrative assistance for clients. Having a virtual assistant is a great time to save you time and efforts. Virtual assistant are capable of working on personal tasks, online marketing, maintain websites, handle your  booking, manage your data base, customer care and etc. However, hiring a virtual assistant is not that easy you should also consider a lot of things in searching for the right virtual assistant for the job. Competent virtual assistant should have great communication skills, flexible, organize, great time management skills, computers skills and etc. You can also outsource virtual assistant from different countries for a cheap price that is also a great way to save you cost. Countries like Philippines and India are the county that has the cheapest cost in virtual assistant. You can check this article for more information about hiring virtual assistant from the Philippines. http://www.staff.com/blog/hiring-a-virtual-assistant/

  • Pingback: Why I'm Grateful for My Virtual Assistant | Tim Brister

  • http://ideal-helper.com/ Francis

    Great insights into how it is actually to live working with a virtual assistant.

    I have one myself and I am really happy the way he works.

    Here are a few tips from my experience.

    When you start out working with a VA, you might think that you cannot afford them or you don’t have the time to manage them.

    Start Slowly – Start one hour a week.

    That’s affordable and manageable. You will very soon be thrilled about the time you save when your VA starts to work. Sometimes a VA works literally overnight depending on your time zone.

    That’s when real excitement will kick in.

    You get asleep – then you wake up – and the work is done!

    Once you start working with a VA, you’ll wonder how you could ever live without one.

    So if you don’t want to get sucked-in into the enthusiasm of saving time and having an awesome life, stay away from virtual assistants ;)