Recently, in the midst of a particularly overwhelming workweek, I decided to hire a virtual assistant. My “to-do” list was growing increasingly large and I felt like it was becoming impossible to focus on the most important aspects of my business- writing and creating content. It’s not that the little things (like promoting posts or fixing an issue on your site) aren’t important. They are. But they’re also time-consuming tasks that take away from the reason people follow you in the first place- your content.
I must admit that reading The 4 Hour Workweek definitely played a part in my decision to hire a virtual assistant. Tim Ferriss (the author) is ALL about delegating tasks in order to save time and money. The idea of hiring a virtual assistant always appealed to me (I mean, who doesn’t want to hand off their most tedious tasks to someone else?) but I’d never thought of it as something that could actually help me earn more money until I read this book!
“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.” -Tim Ferriss
With some reassurance that hiring a virtual assistant wasn’t lazy, it was actually smart, I decided to give it a go. After researching my options, I came to the conclusion that Fancy Hands was going to help me get the most bang for my buck! In fact, it was only going to cost $15 to delegate 3 hrs. (or 6 requests) of work to their VA’s. Hiring someone to work for you for $5 an hour is a pretty great deal if I do say so myself. But was it actually worth even that small amount of money? Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty truth of it all!
Here’s What Happened
After signing up for Fancy Hands, I decided to make a list of all of the things I could delegate in order to save time. I knew that I didn’t want to pass off anything that only I can do or that I do really well. I wanted to pass along tasks that I don’t do very quickly, I’m not particularly good at, or that I just don’t have enough time for.
To my surprise, I was given a few extra tasks for doing simple things like connecting my Trello account and adding Fancy Hands to my Chrome Extension. With a total of 9 requests to use, I decided to delegate the following tasks.
- Figure out why Google Adsense is displaying the “Earnings at Risk” warning and correct it so that I can start earning from ads again (this took up 2 of my requests because it involved a problem with one of my plugins that
- Figure out why everything except for “Widgets” has
disappearedfrom the “Customization” area on WordPress (this took up 6 of my requests because there were so many issues involved- with my theme, widgets, etc.)
- Find out the contact information for 6 brands that I want to work with (this took up 1 task)
The unfortunate part of this entire process was that the VA took 3 hours to do the second task I mentioned and they didn’t even finish (because I ran out of requests and wasn’t going to pay for more). I ended up having to start from scratch and solve the problem myself, which only took me about an hour total. It was a little frustrating to have paid someone to do work that I actually could have done more quickly
I did appreciate delegating the smaller tasks that were more simple (like finding out the contact info for brands) because it didn’t involve as much back to
Would I hire a VA again? I’m not sure. I was out a few bucks because I ended up hiring a VA that didn’t know what they were doing. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s also not ideal. I’ll probably try this again in the future but only delegate small tasks unless I hire someone who’s a professional in whatever the larger task may entail! I do feel like delegating those smaller tasks lifted some weight off my shoulders and made me feel like I could focus more on the things I’m best at. I can definitely see why Tim Ferriss encourages handing those things off to someone else.
Smaller Tasks You Can Delegate to Save Time and Money
- Finding out contact info for brands
- Promoting posts on social media channels (if you give them the pictures & captions)
- Going over old blog posts to make sure the formatting is correct
- Adding relevant tags to old blog posts to improve SEO
- Filtering emails and managing spam
- Researching blog topics that will bring more traffic to your blog
- Researching keywords for your blog posts
- Submitting posts to social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon (now called Mix), Delicious, Triberr, etc.
- Preparing monthly reports on keyword ranking
- Finding brands related to your niche that offer sponsored posts for the audience size you have
- Helping create social media content (would need to be a social media marketing expert to help you do this one)
- Helping you grow your following- unfollow accounts that aren’t following you back, following accounts in your niche, etc.
- Editing blog posts (proofreading, formatting, creating backlinks, etc.)
- Sending pitches and follow-up emails to brands you want to collaborate with (after you give them templates)
- Fixing small issues with your site, ad network, etc.
- Replying to blog/social media comments (I would feel odd having someone else do this but I know some people hire a VA for this)
- Pinning on Pinterest to increase monthly page views/following
- Finding new affiliate programs and influence programs to join
What’re Your Thoughts?
What’re your thoughts on virtual assistants? Have you ever considered getting one or have you already hired one? Do you think hiring one is a waste of money or do you think it could potentially help you earn more (or at least save some time)? Let me know in the comments below! I love hearing all of your opinions on these things!