The first time I heard about this concept I barely even raised an eyebrow, I would never be doing anything which required me to hire an assistant; now less than 6 months later I find myself writing a post on how useful virtual assistants can be and how they can be used to maximise the efficiency of your online projects.
The project I am currently working on is an online directory for Martial Arts classes and clubs across the entire United Kingdom. Just from this description it is clear that the majority of the work to be carried out is research. I have conducted research exercises in the past but nothing on this scale so the thought was quite daunting. By carrying out a quick analysis I estimated that there would be about 2000 listings to be included in my directory. Simply affording 1 minute to research, categorise and document each listing would would naturally take me 2000 minutes (33 hours). I am currently allowing myself 2 hours a day to work on this project, research alone would have taken me a minimum of 2 weeks and then I have got to think about site design, optimisation and marketing. Although this timescale may seem acceptable to some, I simply see it as 2 weeks where I could have been working on something else.
I decided to enroll the services of a Virtual Assistant to perform this one time task for me. There are several well known websites which can be used to hire virtual assistants; the process is pretty similar across the board:
- Register an account with the service provider
- Post the details of work you would like completing, in this process you specify the specifics of the project and the maximum price you are willing to pay
- You will then receive bids from potential workers who are willing to carry out your task. It is a good idea to look at the performance history of the bidding candidates and make a decision to hire the most suitable worker based on cost and perceived reliability
- Upon hiring a worker you will submit the payment fee to the website to hold in escrow; this fee will be released to the worker upon completion of the work.
I used Vworker for my research task and within 20 minutes of posting my project live I had agreed a fee of $33 with a guy who agreed to complete the task in 4 days. This agreement alone has saved my a minimum of 12 days (12 days providing I completed the work according to plan ). In a business where time is money, this is the kind of economy which you simply cannot afford to miss out on.
I am not saying that every Internet marketer needs to hire a VA and I am by no means shy when it comes to putting in the effort to make a project work. On this occasion I measured the time it would take to complete the task against the cost of outsourcing it and decided to go with the VA to enable me to focus on other aspects of my project.
I am not in the position where I can use virtual assistants on a permanent basis, I currently have neither the workload or the funds; but as a one off I find them invaluable. Look into the prospect of hiring a virtual assistant for yourself if you feel the need to and maximise the use of your most valuable asset…Your Time!