Back in 2007 I read The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, and it changed my business and my perspective on life almost overnight. To this day I still consider it the best business book I’ve ever read, with Rework being a close second. One of the recommendations Ferriss went into some depth on was hiring a virtual assistant (VA). Somehow, it just seemed to complicated and risky to me, so I never looked into it. Maybe it was because I’ve had some bad experiences with outsourcing programming work overseas in the past, so I was just soured on outsourcing in general. But a recent lunch with Jeff Barson and a subsequent training session this morning convinced me to give it a try.
Why? Because there’s a lot of stuff I do that could be done by someone else, and there’s a lot of stuff I can’t do because I’m busy with the stuff that can be done by someone else. For DeclareMedia, that includes checking new listings to get rid of spam and make small corrections to the listings people create, pre-populate directories with listings and email the owners to let them know, and a host of other activities. I figure I can also use this assistant for a slew of other tasks. I think it’s going to take a few months of me saying “Wait a sec…why am I doing this? My VA can do this!” before I really know everything I’ll have the VA doing.
Why the Phillipines? Now, I could go hire an assistant here in the states, but that would cost me $2-3K per month, minimum. Or I can get someone who perhaps doesn’t have all the same qualities, but gets the work done that needs to get done, from the Phillipines, for $200/month. Let’s see…$200/month or $3,000/month, hmmm. Aside from that, I’m going with the Philippines because that’s what Jeff introduced me to and no other reason.
How? I plan on managing tasks and communication via Basecamp, payment via Xoom, and probably taking advantage of Google docs and a few other things. We’ll see, I’m sure I’ll learn quite a bit the first month.
Do you have a VA? What lessons have you learned? What kind of tasks do you have him or her doing?