Like so many of you, the first time I ever heard of the concept of a virtual assistant or VA was when I read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. The idea of being able to offload many of my day to day tasks to someone else for a few hundred dollars per month sounded like a panacea. Finding and hiring a VA was easier said than done, but I did find one in the Philippines and she’s been working for me at the rate of $200 per month for the past two years or so. I’ve mostly employed her with various data-entry tasks. She’s very responsive and reliable, but even so my problem is that I struggle to find work for her to do. Sometimes I feel like I’m making up work, or creating things to be done that I could go without.
I’ve read articles on what tasks VAs can do (see here and here) but so much of what is mentioned are things I feel I have to do myself. I can’t outsource writing on this blog, posting on social media, writing articles, communicating with clients, or even the bookkeeping at this point. And many of the tasks mentioned I’ve used technology to do for me. I stay on top of what’s going on in my industry and what anyone might be saying about me or my businesses using Google Alerts. I don’t travel much but when I do it’s a piece of cake to book using Southwest or Travelocity’s websites. Scheduling appointments is quick and easy using Google calendar. Now Gmail (which I use via Google Enterprise Apps to manage email for mwi.com addresses–one of the best moves I ever made, much better and cheaper than using Outlook/Exchange)…as I was saying, now Gmail highlights dates and times in emails so I can click on it and immediately set up an appointment. So as I go through my day I’m constantly thinking “Could my VA be doing this?” and almost always the answer is “No, I have to do this myself. There’s no way to outsource this.”
I have found one task to give her now that I’m in Hong Kong, which is to type up all the business cards I receive at networking events and get those into a spreadsheet I can easily import into my Google contacts. But I suspect there are more things I could have my VA do, if I just broadened my horizons. What is the most valuable thing your VA does for you? What tasks do you think I could be outsourcing to my VA?Liked it? Share it!