I currently have 4 “virtual assistants” on oDesk (by VA I mean personal assistant, programmer, designer, etc.) and each has very different degrees of skills and the ability to know exactly what I want from them.
I’ve also worked with many different virtual assistants over the years. Each has had very diverse skills, experience, and personalities (much of which I’ve found can be formed by local culture). One of the things I’ve struggled with is finding the perfect balance between a virtual assistant that takes the right amount of initiative… not too much, and not too little.
What do I mean? Well, I’ve found that in some cases, initiative and following explicit instructions can be mutually exclusive. Still not sure what I mean? Maybe a few examples will help from two virtual personal assistants I had last year: