There has been a lot of interest in virtual assistants. The idea sounds great. You hire someone to do the work you need remotely. Since you don't have to be in the same city, state or country, you are free to choose the most cost effective assistant from anywhere in the world. On the other hand, there are some significant advantages in hiring someone locally. Here are some advantages for both types of assistants. Benefits of a virtual assistant They can work while you sleep. If you hire someone from a different time zone, they may do the bulk of their work outside of your business hours. Depending on your line of work, it can be very convenient to hand someone a project at 5 PM … [Read more...] about Remote or Local Assistant?
Most successful and efficient people will eventually come to a point where they at least consider hiring an assistant. It seems like a very logical step. If some of your work can be handed off to someone else, then you can concentrate on the things that can only be done by you which will increase your personal productivity. Unfortunately many people hire assistants and end up in this type of situation: Lets say you are a mad scientist out to destroy the world. You can spend more time thinking up doomsday scenarios if you had an assistant to study gauges and push the buttons that simply must be studied and pushed to keep your diabolical lab running smoothly. So after a careful search … [Read more...] about Working Effectively with a New Assistant
I just got a personal assistant, but they aren't saving me any time. What am I doing wrong? Several people have asked me about this. There are many different issues that could be involved, but I see a lot of people who hire an assistant and then can't think of what they wanted them to do. Either that, or it turns out their original ideas are all things that really can't be handed off to someone else. Here are some of the things I have had assistants do for me. Some of these tasks can be done virtually, but many of them require physical presence. I'm leaving out most of the things my assistant helps me do for clients and trying to primarily give you some ideas of how your assistant … [Read more...] about Reader Question: Why isn’t my assistant saving me time?
It is hard to beat having someone you can send to the store with your grocery list or wait in line for you at city hall. Maybe I just lucked out, but my non-virtual assistant is really cutting down on the amount of running around I have to do. … [Read more...] about Virtual vs. Inperson Assistants
Jed has a post about using a non-virtual assistant to facilitate going to a show in Chicago. … [Read more...] about Non-Virtual Assistant Story
I've recently started trying out the Back to my Mac feature of Leopard that works with a .mac account. It didn't work at all until I installed 10.5.3, but now I've been pleasantly surprised. In a nutshell it lets you access computers as if they were on your local network--even if one computer is at your house and the other is at Starbucks. It makes it easy to look over the shoulder of my assistant if she needs help with something or quickly transfer a file. … [Read more...] about Back to My Mac
Credit cards are an important part of how I manage my finances efficiently. I don't recommend them for going into debt, but the can make it much easier to track expenses and do things in a paperless manner. One big time saver is the ability to give an assistant their own card on your account. You can setup whatever limits you need (if you don't trust them completely) but it sure is easier than trying to deal with giving them cash to run errands for you. … [Read more...] about Credit Cards as a Productivity Tool
When working with an assistant it can be difficult to learn to delegate. One way to practice is to find a task that they can't mess up. For example, getting quotes on a print job from a handful of print shops. Let them know that there isn't anything they can mess up and tell them you want them to handle the process on their own. Give them as much info as they need and ask them to clarify if they have any questions. Then turn them loose on the project and don't interfere. This is good practice for you and good practice for them. It will teach you both how to work together more efficiently. … [Read more...] about Learning to Delegate
I have been experimenting with using virtual assistants. I've worked with two, one in the US for about two weeks and one in India for two months. It has been an excellent learning experience and I wanted to share it with everyone in the form of this guide. My goal is to give readers a good idea of how a remote assistant can help them, along with an idea of the benefits and drawbacks. This guide should give you a pretty good idea of what you need to get started working with a virtual assistant and should help you avoid some of the errors I made in the process. I am also going to look at the idea of having a local assistant and how that compares to working with their virtual counterpart. … [Read more...] about Ultimate Virtual Assistant Guide