Advice for working with virtual or remote assistants?
May 2, 2007 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have experience with virtual assistants or remote assistants?

I am considering using a remote personal assistant service to free up some free time. Any MeFites have any experience with this? I am considering YMII, Brickwork, GetFriday, etc. The tasks I want to delegate include things like: finding an apartment in a new city, researching potential new employers, setting up interviews and meetings, etc. Please help me out with any advice, tips and tricks for getting the most bang for my buck, avoiding confusion, and any unspoken rules or etiquette involved, or just talk about any experiences, good or bad, you've had with these services. Thanks!
posted by AceRock to Work & Money (2 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
add: also considering elance.
posted by AceRock at 10:29 AM on May 2, 2007

I've researched this topic a lot - I'm starting my own practice later this year.

Entrepreneur has an excellent article on how and when to use a VA. The Relief also has information here on how to hire a VA. Disregard the nonsense about certification -- Virtual Assistance is an emerging industry and lots of folks are jockeying to be the governing body.

Let's say you've chosen your VA. To get the most bang for your buck, treat your VA like you would your doctor or lawyer or web designer. When you contact her (most VAs are female), have a list prepared of the tasks you'd like completed (including when and how), and any questions/concerns you have (if you're lucky your VA will have her own forms to help you with this).

It's very likely your VA will charge by the hour. As your assistant, of course she'll do whatever you ask within the scope of her duties. Why be charged twice for it because you changed your mind on a decision or weren't clear in a request?

Most VAs offer a free consultation. Use it. You get a chance to hear your VA's voice and you'll get a feel for how organized she is.

In addition to the companies you listed above, check out and to submit a Request For Proposals -- the VAs will then contact you.

posted by whitneykitty at 12:46 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

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