In Search of a Virtual Assistant

Running multiple websites is very time consuming, especially when I want to launch three more this month.  To help manage all the work and research, I have decided to hire a virtual assitant. Why not outsource all the grunt work and concentrate on the high value money making stuff.

VAs can range from 3 dollars to like 20 dollars an hour depending on what country you hire them in.  I went for the three dollars an hour b/c I have simple tasks and a tiny budget.

So far no luck.  I’m on my third VA.  The first one never did the work, the second one never did it on time or told me of problems, and this one is a mixed bag.  The current VA gives me excellent work but doesn’t do all of the work.  I’ve sent him a few annoyed/angry e-mail about it. I hope he explains himself. But if he doesn’t give a good explanation, it is off to find VA #4.

I mean how hard is it to submit my articles? I give them everything they need, they just need to cute and paste. Same with directory submission and social media submission.  Yet apprently that is too hard.  I might have to move up the value chain and pay someone more money, which means I am going to have to use them less which means I’ll have to do more work myself…

Why is it so hard to find good help?  Why!

I’m hoping this current one does work out because the work he does do is excellent and amazing and I want to keep him!

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14 Comments on “In Search of a Virtual Assistant”

  1. Cuckoo Says:

    Well, to be frank I think it’s the money part. In $3 you’ll get $3 worth work.

    Or it could also be an comprehension problem. Have you anytime asked your VA to repeat what s(he) has understood from your instructions.

    I too have 3 blogs to cater to and like you, I find it very difficult to manage them on my own.

  2. You pay peanuts you get monkeys 🙂

    To be honest, you’d be best off concentrating on one site, make it absolutely fantastic, generate tons of revenue, and then you’ll be in a better position to pay more for better virtual assistants.

    It takes time to build a network of ‘freelancers’ taken a year or so to find people I can trust. I use someone for coding and design, for proof-reading, and writing and tend to stick with them, but it’s not cheap.

  3. nomadicmatt Says:

    You can find good help in India for cheap!! I’m searching for it. The guy got back to me apologized and fixed the problem. I guess someone on the team let it slip. I’m holding out that this week will be problem free.

    @Darren: I didn’t know you made so much from your site? I find that travel sites are pretty hard to monetize. From what I’ve heard from other bloggers, it’s just not me. You should tell us your secret. B/c from what I hear, without 10,000+ visitors a day, its pretty hard to get some serious ad revenue but I’d love to know how you do it!!

    My other sites generate a good amount of $$$ for me too 🙂

  4. Tina Hilton Says:

    I’m sorry you’ve had such a hard time finding a virtual assistant that fits your need. I will say, as in anything, you tend to get what you pay for. You’ve wasted your own valuable time trying to not only find a capable virtual assistant, but in trying to get them to complete your projects. How much is your time worth per hour? More than $3 I’d bet! There are reasons that virtual assistants like myself charge higher rates, based on our experience, expertise and understanding of the value of our clients time.
    Best of luck with your search for a VA that will fit your needs.

  5. As stated above, you get what you pay for. Right now those $3 per hour VAs have cost you how much in time?!?

    Contact me if you want a brain to do what you need it to. I have “digital assistants” standing by…. no, it won’t be $3 per hour – but it will get done right the first and every time. That’s why I still have the very first client who hired me in 2001! 😉

    I’m expanding past “legal” and would be happy to help a fellow webby…

  6. […] was probably only discovered thanks to Google Alerts, Matt’s Life Musings, the author posted “In Search of a Virtual Assistant.” Matt then details how much trouble he is having finding someone in India to do a good job for […]

  7. Laurie Says:

    I found a link to this post over on Kimberly Alderman’s blog. Like many of your other commenters I think that you get what you pay for. For $3/hr you will have ongoing problems and frankly you deserve them.

    Oh and good virtual assistants start at $25 to $35 per hour and go up to $50 to $100 per hour. $20/hr is not the high end as you seem to have suggested in your post.

    Best wishes with your blogs!!

  8. Nora Says:

    I too, have recently been burned by a VA (and I was paying her more than $3/hour!). I think that outsourcing and using VAs is a great way to go, but there is a learning curve to be sure, and it can be hit & miss.

    1) So much is lost in translation (even if everybody speaks English) when the only mode of communication is virtual. This can lead to many a mix-up.
    2) I wonder if it is easier to be less responsible as a VA when the boss you answer to is also virtual. Somehow a scathing email doesn’t quite have the same effect of being berated in the boss’s office.

    Food for thought…

  9. Erin Says:

    Hi Matt,

    I am a virtual assistant. Sorry to hear you are having problems with finding quality work. It is hard to find quality for the $3 per hour rate. Are you checking to be sure your candidates are qualified for your needs? You may want to try that if you have to go with another new VA. If you want some great information about hiring a quality VA I am part of a great site called VAnetworking. You can get some great information on their blog too, I wish you luck in your search. Let me know if you have any questions I maybe able to help you with. 🙂
    Take care!

  10. Matt Says:

    wow. look at all the people who have found this blog. The web works in mysterious ways. I think you are all wrong thought to assume you can’t find cheap help. In countries like India, China, Taiwan, Eastern Europe, and the Phillipines, 3 dollars an hour is a decent starting wage. I dont have to hire a 35 dolllar an hour assistant from New York to get good help. What you pay them doesnt mean you get better help.

    This reminds of the Wine Magazine experiment. The magazine had a bunch of cheap and expensive wines. When everyone know the prices, everyone always picked the more expensive wine as better. Yet in the blind taste test, everyone (experts and average joes alike), tended to rate the cheaper wines higher in quality then they did before.

    Lesson: price is not an indicator of quality.

    I have worked things out with my current VA and he fixed the problem and is delivering the goods. Who know what will happen in the future though. I will probably higher someone else for more advanced tasks but for now, i’m good.

    Don’t go making the assumption you get what you pay for because in the world of global outsourcing, 3 dollars gets you a wide range of quality depending on the country you live in!

  11. LOL I get the impression that a lot of people havent realised the implications of globalisation yet! You are completely right -price doesn’t equal quality necessarily. I think communication is the key – and knowing what exactly what you want done and knowing how you will measure when it is done.

    I’m a writer for hire but I outsource some of the content on my own blogs why? Because its cheaper for me to make money writing for better money and paying someone to write good enough content for my niche sites for a price I wouldn’t get out of bed for and also often on a topic which would bore me silly.

    I think you are going the right way – you must diversify to make money and as you have already discovered – quality content won’t necessarily make you money

  12. […] Some people want help at the lowest possible cost, no matter what. For example, I was pointed to this post at Matt’s Life Musings about his quest for a $3/hr virtual assistant to help him with his […]

  13. Dave Paek Says:

    you get what you paid for. buyers beware

  14. dyptp Says:

    As I’m new to this, can you tell me….what does it take to be a VA?? This is just out of interest, not because I need one in any way! x

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