Going into this journey of how I would outsource my life I’ve learned some valuable lessons. I’m kicking myself for not coming to these conclusions sooner… even before embarking on a search for a virtual assistant:
- I don’t have enough projects for a basic skill level “virtual assistant” to fill 40 hours a week. I discovered I don’t even have enough work to necessitate a 20 hours a week contract. This pretty much eliminates working with some of the “big” outsourcing companies.
- The things that keep me busy as a solo entrepreneur are pretty diverse and range from the virtual assistant type items (filtering spam, replying to basic email queries, research, etc.) to the higher level skilled items (website design, script installation, forum administration, conflict resolution, etc.) This being the case I’m finding it hard to outsource as much of my life as I’d like to.
- I had the crazy notion that if the going rate for a Virtual Assistant with basic skills was $4 – $5 an hour that I could find someone for a few more $ with a bit more skill to do all the VA stuff AND a little bit of web design, forum admin, etc. Well, I realized that not very many international outsource providers have the diverse skill set that many of us entrepreneurs have. Also, you can’t expect someone with higher level skills (example website design) to enjoy, or even be wiling to do the day to day stuff a VA will do.
- Posting for, and interviewing an assistant, getting them setup / trained, and then managing them is a lot of work! I made the mistake of interviewing too many people from too many companies for too many different types of jobs all at the same time. It got to the point that I was spending all my free time trying to remember who I had already talked to about what and when.
Bottom line: I need to take a step back and regroup. I now know that I’m not ready for a full time virtual assistant (though I wish I was). The dream of finding someone that would work for $7.00 an hour that would do everything from sifting through my mail to website design was a crazy dream. But fret not my internet friend, I’m still on the path to an outsourced life, but I think a lot of the things I outsource will be on a project by project basis which will be farmed out to people with very specific skill sets.