Nov
19
2009

Virtual Assistants With oDesk – Update

odesk_logoYou can probably tell that I’ve moved almost all of my virtual assistant and outsourcing work to oDesk.  I thought I’d quickly explain why, and where I currently am with my virtual workforce.

WARNING:  This post has a lot of bullet pointed lists  🙂

Over the 10+ years that I’ve been using non-employed workers, contractors, & consultants in my work from home business I’ve used a plethora of sources for outsourcing work.   Everything from

  • website design
  • administrative support
  • graphic design
  • programming
  • customer service
  • much more

I’ve also used a bunch of different sources to find providers / workers and have paid them on both an hourly and per-project basis.

While I doubt I’ll ever stick 100% exclusively to one source of providers, I’ve found that I’m definitely gravitating to almost all my outsourcing through oDesk.  Here are the primary reasons:

  • Interface
  • Features (I love their “Work Journal” feature that let’s me see what my providers are doing)
  • Number of providers, especially active ones that apply for jobs
  • Fast & Competitive bids from many providers
  • Super quick support whenever I have questions
  • They seem to be very active at improving and innovating all the time (can’t say the same about craigslist or RentACoder for sure).

Okay, we’ve established that I use a variety of providers (most through oDesk) for a bunch of different outsourced tasks.  I’ve also gone through a bunch of different people.  Some because my needs had changed and some because their situations had changed.  For example, I lost my favorite VA when she got married, moved, and decided to focus on starting a family.   Gosh I’d love to have her back…

Here is my current list of assignments and where the providers are from, their estimated hours, and types of things they work on.

  • Virtual AssistantPhilippines: 10-20 hours a month –  She’s my catch-all.  I have her do a TON of different things including: email response – customer support, research, data entry, simple image editing, simple content organization-creation, etc.  She’s not as technical as other VA providers I’ve had, but she’s super friendly, willing to learn & do diverse tasks, and provides good work for a great price.  All of her stuff is hourly based.
  • PHP / MySQL ProgrammerIndia: 2 – 20 hours a month – I primarily use off-the-shelf open-source programs for my websites, but when I need something tweaked or custom made this is my guy.  I’ve used a bunch of different programmers and he falls somewhere in the middle.   Sometimes I have to jump in and course correct because of a misunderstanding and other times I need to have him go back and fix something that wasn’t tested properly (for example, he programs mostly for Firefox so I need to remind him to cross-browser check his stuff).   Again, he’s a very easy to work with provider and does what I need done for a reasonable price.  My first contact with him was on a single project based bid.  I liked his work and personality so much I hired him hourly.  Now I just get an estimate of a project length before having him start, then have him go at it hourly.
  • Graphic DesignerPhilippines: 1 – 3 hours a month – I really like using this guy… I just wish I had more work for him.  It seems most of the graphic stuff I need done I can quickly hack it together myself quicker that conveying to him what I need.  I’ve mostly used him for logo & banner design (Flash, animated gif, static).
  • Virtual Assistant II and IIIPhilippines & India: 1-10 hours a month – I don’t use these two ladies much, but they are in my oDesk team room.  The woman from India I hired because my main provider was tied up for a few weeks.  The second in the Phillippines was a favor / recommendation for my primary VA.  Long-story-short:  After the terrible hurricane out there my VA asked if I could give some tasks to her friend who was displaced.  I was happy to give her a few misc. tasks to work on.

I’m glad I got that down.  While typing I’m again realizing I need to get them more work.   Anywho, I know I’ll enjoy looking back at this post in a few years to remember what my team looked like “back in the day”.  😀

This is probably also an appropriate place to mention that I’ve just become an affiliate with oDesk.  I was approached about a month ago with the offer to join their program.  At first I declined, but after realizing I was using their services almost exclusively, a few conversations with their product group, and then meeting their CEO, I’ve decided to give it a try.  I’ll try not to let this bias any of my posts… heck, I was posting about them all the time anyway and with the direction their business and mine are going we’ll be working a lot more together in the future!  So, if you are interested in running a test with a virtual assistant, please visit through my affiliate link by clicking here: oDesk

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