Recently, we suggested outsourcing chores to add time to our 24/7 work schedule. Doing a little research I came across the blog about the book The 4-Hour Workweek, which we recently reviewed, and an account by AJ Jacobs, editor-at-large at Esquire magazine, about his experience outsourcing his chores. He started by assigning a little research to his virtual assistant (VA) and in the end he was even outsourcing his worries! From his account they definitely seem like a good idea.
But after digging around online forums, it seems that many people haven’t had the stellar service about which AJ Jacobs writes. He does mention that Brickwork, the Indian outsourcing company, knew that he worked for Esquire and some frustrated forum dwellers speculated that they weren’t surprised he had good service while they were yet to receive a decent document from their VA or anything at all! Still, as far as VA companies go, Brickwork seems to be one of the best out of India, competing with YourManinIndia.com.
Other options for VA services include freelance sites such eLance and oDesk as well as a local person who you can actually meet a few times a month if you need to. From my own experience I wouldn’t recommend freelancing sites but there are people who find them useful.
A common problem with VA employers seems to be that clients want to pay very little for very high quality service from a highly competent VA, which pushes Westerners to Eastern markets, causing lack of English skills to be a main complaint. Clients who pay more for VA’s in their own countries or who at least have good English skills generally left more positive comments.
Do you use a VA or a VA service? What’s your experience?