View Full Version : Virtual Assistants - Outsourcing - 4 Hour Work Week... Anybody?

12-16-2007, 11:04 PM
I'm a big fan of the book "The 4hour work week" and the concept of outsourcing and virtual assistants.

I've documented my work with virtual assistants so far here: http://www.outsourcedmylife.com/

I need help. I manage a lot of sites and communities / forums. I find that I'm all over the place doing a million things, but I can't find enough consistency in what I do to offload much more than basic email management.

Anybody outsourcing and/or using a virtual assistant? Any advice on what you do or would give a virtual assistant to do? Keep in mind, I'm talking about college graduates that are smart, but not trained in a specific skill or area, so no website design, SEO, etc. Think more along the lines of personal administrative assistant.

So, let the brainstorming begin. What would you do if you had someone 20 - 40 hours a week?

12-17-2007, 08:36 PM
Thank you for posting, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I too am a big fan of that book and am very intrigued by the idea of outsourcing as much as possible. It's great to read your experiences and I hope you continue to post them.

One possible idea for work to give them when you do not have any specific task, is to write articles. Depending on the types of sites you have, some may always be able to use new articles, and if its a general topic and you assistant has good english skills, it may be a good option to fill otherwise wasted time.
Durango (http://www.ford-wiki.com/wiki/Ford_Durango)

12-17-2007, 10:46 PM
I enjoyed the book too!

Off the top of my head, some good tasks might be:

Moderating forums posts, site comments, etc.

Accounting tasks such as logging in to all of your ad networks daily and transferring the totals into a spreadsheet or database

Answering basic email inquiries, forwarding important or non-standard inquiries to you.

12-18-2007, 07:58 AM
I haven't read your blog yet; I am adding it to my RSS and will check it later today... any specific problems you've had with virtual assistants?

In terms of forum & community management, I have 2 very active forums and a few others with not a lot going on. I do not visit any of them regularly. All are managed by volunteer members, for free. Basically, if you can get people to do work for free, go with it.

A big part of the 4 hour work week was ignoring stuff. The way I have gotten by without any full time virtual assistants is ignoring stuff (I have a program and use a lot of freelance writers, artists, and data entry people on a project by project basis.) I check my business voicemail once a month, deposit checks at the bank every few months, and so on.

Laura Steves
12-18-2007, 09:25 AM
What are our Virtual Assistants doing to help our clients? Here is just a short list of items-

Answer the telephone
Forward calls
Take messages
Provide web enhancements
Make appointments
Fill out necessary forms
Deliver information and forms
Make and deliver copies of public record
Write and place advertising in newspaper and other forms of publication
Type forms
Perform company bookkeeping
Arrange for and oversee repairs
Collect demographic information
Solicit interest in engaging the services of your business
Make cold calls
Make follow up calls
Organize meetings
Perform clerical duties
Hand out preprinted information
Distribute company information
Deliver paperwork
Contact management
Drip marketing campaigns
Personal tasks such as ordering groceries or making flight arrangements
Craiglist postings
Online shopping
Internet research
Grant and proposal assistance

Each client is assigned one virtual administrative assistant (more if needed); you are never “juggled” from one virtual administrative assistant to another. This approach allows your virtual administrative assistant to get to know the people you deal with on a regular basis and allows the necessary personal touch to keep the human element in your business.

I'd be happy to offer you a free consultation to develop some business processes for a prosperous 2008.

Laura Steves, Virtual Staffing Consultant
1.888.827.9129 Ext 815