Team Delegate

Team Delegate provides US-based virtual assistant services to clients all around the country. The Dallas, Texas-based company was founded in 2001 by CEO Tonya Thomas, and now employs a diverse team of VAs working from home offices throughout the United States.

The distributed team model allows for client coverage in different time zones and doesn’t restrict hiring to one geographic area; instead, Tonya can go out and find the best talent available regardless of location.

team delegate reviewAbout Team Delegate

Team Delegate aims to provide expert help to business owners, sales professionals, entrepreneurs and other busy professionals. Like other VA companies, it’s all about smart outsourcing to help you run your business more efficiently.

Tonya brings over 14 years of experience as a virtual assistant and manager to the operation. Having begun in this industry as a virtual assistant herself, she sought to change the market and offer clients USA-based skills to help them manage administrative tasks and day-to-day operations.

That decade-plus of experience translates into advanced training for each new VA hire, which leads to higher quality and more reliable results for clients.

She explained that her client roster and target customers include “small business owners, busy professionals and even large corporations.” A VA can provide you with “the extra boost that you need to maintain efficiency without a full-time employee,” she added.

Services

Clients look to Team Delegate for services such as data entry, transcription, calendar management, travel management, contact management, organization services and more.

Beyond basic administrative tasks, Tonya explains she has “professional VAs with many different skills and backgrounds so that we can provide customized service based on our clients’ needs.”

When I asked Tonya if there were any areas Team Delegate really specialized in, she mentioned, “In our industry we have an especially strong reputation of providing reliable assistance with calendar management, logistics support, and travel arrangements.”

Plans and Pricing

Team Delegate works primarily on a retainer basis, with a minimum of 10 hours per month to sign-up. The hourly rate is $35 an hour, so you’re looking at a minimum package price of $350 for 10 hours of US-based virtual support.

(These rates are pretty much on-par with what you’ll see from other US-based firms, with the exception of the inexplicably affordable US-branch of 24/7 VA.)

How it works is you start of with a free initial consultation call to identify your delegation needs and opportunities. After you agree on a scope of work proposal, you’ll be assigned a dedicated executive assistant to work with.

Team Delegate Alternatives

Of course there are a number of competing entries in the US-based virtual executive assistant market, all out to debunk the myth that virtual assistants are a third-world industry. Among the highest-rated alternatives at press time are Worldwide 101, eaHELP, and Time Etc. All operate with a similar distributed team model of home-based staff.

If you have a specific skill-set you’re looking for, you might also consider hiring “directly” via a freelance platform like Elance.

Have you worked with Team Delegate? If so, please consider sharing a review of your experience in the comments below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

VA Talks

VA Talks is a professional virtual assistant provider in India with 24/7 support. The company was formed in 2015 by two veteran virtual assistants who decided to start their own firm.

Despite the inherent “new-ness” of the VA Talks company, the founding partners bring nearly a decade of business process outsourcing experience to the table and are growing a team to serve other entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world.

va talks reviewAbout VA Talks

The goal of VA Talks is to help other companies get their most important tasks done. The team is working from the secure office in Kolkata, India.

Like other virtual assistant companies, they want to earn your trust so you have confidence in the experience and quality of VAs they provide. The target market for these services are for busy individuals, entrepreneurs, small businesses or large corporations interested in freeing up some time or getting access to skilled help for their day-to-day needs.

Services

VA Talks virtual assistants can perform nearly any type of task you might think of online. Whether you require bookkeeping services, administrative tasks, web development, design or search engine optimization, skilled VAs are available to help you.

In addition, clients tap the VA Talks team to help design mobile apps, run marketing efforts, create presentations and proposals, and to do research.

When I spoke with one of the founders, CEO Sanjay (Sam) Gupta — no, not that Sanjay Gupta — he explained that they recruit team members with a variety of skills, but that, “Some of our most in demand VAs are proficient in WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Drupal, and many other web development platforms. Our Web team is our main focus but we do have virtual assistants capable of helping nearly any type of company or individual.”

Plans and Pricing

VA Talks pricing starts as low as $120 for 10 hours per month ($12/hour). The larger plan you buy, the lower the effective hourly rate, all the way down to $5 an hour for a full-time dedicated VA ($1000/month).

va talks pricing

But don’t bite off more hours than you need just for the sake of saving money; unused hours don’t rollover month-to-month.

If you need our services for under 10 hours a month, they have a Pay As You Use plan for on-demand support at just $14/hour.

All plans except the pay-as-you-go plan come with a 2-hour free trial to test out the service.

VA Talks Alternatives

When I asked Sam what sets his team apart, he explained, “It’s fairly easy to find a workforce of VAs that are willing to work. But VA Talks goes the extra mile to find staff that will deliver quality work.

He went on to share that all of the VAs on the team “are our friends who are hand-selected for our clients to service their needs. We work to provide not only the best quality labor in our industry but also customer experiences that will have you consistently coming back for more.”

As far as alternative choices, as you know, you have many virtual assistant companies in India to choose from. Among the top-rated at the time of this writing are 24/7 Virtual Assistant and My Tasker.

Have you worked with VATalks? If so, please be sure to share a review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, India Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

3 quick hacks I added to my morning routine

Do you have a morning routine?

They’re all the rage this year, in large part due to the popular book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

(Haven’t read it yet.)

From my understanding, the premise is to kickstart your day for super-productivity, you’ve got to take some time first thing in the morning for meditation, affirmation, reading, and exercise.

The truth is I really don’t do any of that stuff.

I tried the meditation thing, using a free app called Headspace, but found myself falling back asleep. It was very relaxing, but part of me couldn’t help but thinking I should just get to work!

Still, there are 3 things I have added to my mornings (well, most mornings) that I am excited about and wanted to share.

1. Make the bed.

I’ve been anti-bed-making pretty much my entire life. “Why bother?” I’d ask. “I’m just going to get back in it tonight!”

This is a hack I stole from my buddy Chandler, who explained it like this:

Making the bed forms a physical barrier between night and day, between sleep and awake. It sends the signal that it’s “go-time.”

Super weird, super quick, but oddly enough, it works.

2. Drink a glass of water.

We’re naturally dehydrated in the morning so drinking a glass of water first thing helps rehydrate our bodies and wake us up.

Plus, if it’s cold water, there’s some science that says it may kickstart your metabolism for the day.

3. Turn on some music.

This is my latest addition and is probably my favorite.

Now normally I’d say to listen to a podcast or an audiobook to make otherwise idle or prep time more productive, but the past couple weeks I’ve been doing music in the morning while making breakfast, and it’s been great.

Try something upbeat that gets you going. Since I buy into the small-town romanticism that Nashville is selling, lately that’s been a lot of Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, and Florida Georgia Line.

Your Turn

Give these 3 hacks a shot and let me know how they work for you. I find I’m more energized for the day by adding them to my mornings.​

Do you meditate? Is there like a hump you’ve got to get over and all of a sudden you see the light?

I haven’t fully given up on it, but now just tend to use the breathing exercises to help calm my mind and body at the end of the day to fall asleep like a rock.

Posted in News

Time Etc

Time Etc is a UK and US-based virtual assistant company that has been around since 2007. They recently expanded operations into the US market, and boast that they’ve helped complete more than 1,000,000 tasks and projects so far!

Time Etc was founded by entrepreneur Barnaby Lashbrooke, with the intention of helping other small business owners and entrepreneurs streamline their processes and make their lives more efficient.

time etc reviewAbout Time Etc

The company employs college-educated professional virtual assistants. In fact, they only bring on new assistants who have at least 5 years commercial experience; companies their assistants have worked for include Facebook, Apple, IBM and AOL.

Most Time Etc VAs serve customers from their home offices in either the UK or the US.

If you sign up for Time Etc, you can expect to be assigned a dedicated assistant with whom you can begin to establish an ongoing relationship. However, clients have the option to match their work to the company’s entire team of VAs if someone else may be better suited to a particular task.

Time Etc Intro Video

When I wrote in to request more information, I was happy with the response time. I was able to set up a skype call with Victoria, who I found very helpful, polite, and enthusiastic.  I told her I liked how they put pictures of the VAs up on the website as a nice personal touch.

One interesting thing about Time Etc is they claim Penni Pike as a special advisor. She was Sir Richard Branson’s assistant for three decades, and is probably as close to a celebrity as they come in the world of personal assistants.  Now, you’re not likely to score Penni as your VA when you sign up, but she has helped train and mentor the rest of the crew.

Time Etc Founder Interview

I had the chance to sit down with Barnaby to get the inside scoop on how the company works and who they best serve.

VAA Exclusive: Click here to claim your free $50 trial credit!

Services

Time Etc virtual assistants can handle a wide variety of tasks you throw at them, including administrative assistance, marketing support and writing, customer service, sales and lead generation, accounting and bookkeeping, recruiting, and more.

Plans and Pricing

Rates range from $19-29 an hour, and you can sign-on for as little as one hour a month. Naturally, the more time you need, the more attractive the rates become, and to the extent your VA is available, you can scale up or scale back your hours as needed at any given time.

Like other virtual assistant companies, with Time Etc you don’t have any long-term obligation, contract, or overhead.

To help ease the fears of first-time outsourcers, Time Etc is offering a free $50 credit for Virtual Assistant Assistant visitors to test out their service risk-free (with no credit card required), and a 100% money back guarantee. You won’t find that with a freelancer and definitely not with an in-house hire!

Time Etc Alternatives

At these rates, Time Etc is obviously positioned as a more premium entry in the market. In the US and Europe, the nearest competitor would be Worldwide101, which has a similar set-up if you’re interested in making a comparison, though at slightly higher rates.

Have you worked with Time Etc? If so, please share a quick review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, UK/Europe Virtual Assistants, US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies, Virtual Employees

Virtual Helper 24/7

Virtual Helper 24/7 is a professional virtual assistant company headquartered in Australia with virtual offices in Hong Kong and Taguig City in the Philippines. The company was founded in 2012 and has since grown to employ hundreds of virtual assistants.

As you can tell from their slick conversion-optimized website, these guys are professional marketers at the very least.

virtual helper 247 reviewAbout Virtual Helper 24/7

Virtual Helper 247 is a rapidly growing business that focuses on offering virtual assistant services to small and medium businesses, including both online and “brick and mortar” operations. With clients drawn from across the globe, the company serves the needs of businesses in a variety of industries.

Some of the industries targeted by the company include ecommerce, real estate companies, medical practitioners, legal experts, fashion and design and education related institutions.

The Staff

The staff at Virtual Helper 24/7 is mainly comprised of professional college graduates drawn from different fields as well as a 3-tier management team that oversees the operations at the overseas offices to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Many employees have experience in virtual assistance and BPO work in the past and the CEO explained they have a rigorous recruitment process to bring on high caliber candidates.

Virtual Helper 24/7 Intro Video

Who do you think they’re targeting with this video?

Services

Virtual Helper 24/7 offers a wide range of professional business services including:

  • Website design and development
  • Graphics design
  • Social marketing
  • Video creation
  • Social account creation
  • Content creation and article writing
  • Internet marketing
  • Data entry
  • Video creation and video marketing

These are a sampling of the services offered, but in general, anything that can be done remotely is on the table and they may be able to put together a custom service package to meet your specific needs.

The company always aims to match clients with a virtual assistant specialized and trained in the area you need the most support in.

Plans and Pricing

Virtual Helper 247 offers you three main pricing options. They are as follows-:

virtual helper 247 pricing

1VA + 1 Manager – in this option, you have access to one virtual assistant and one manager and 80 hours of work per month covering between one and two skill levels. This option is available for $397 per month.

2VA’s + 1 Manager – this is the second option which features 160 hours of work per month covering between 2 – 4 skill levels. With this plan, you will have access to two virtual assistants with one manager and it is available from $696 per month.

3VA’s + 2 Managers – with this option, you will have access to three virtual assistants and two managers. It’s worth 240 hours of work per month and you have access to all the skill set available in the company. The subscription for this particular package is $997 per month.

However, they seem to run special discount offers fairly frequently. At press time, I found this one offering 160 hours of support from 3 different VAs for only $297 per month.

virtual helper 247 special pricing

That amounts to just $1.85 per hour, which seems too good to be true, even in the Philippines. I mean, they’ve still got to pay for equipment, office space, and 3 tiers of management, right?

I’m not sure how they’re getting this done and still making money because the weird thing is the messaging says to “lock in” this rate today. (It would make much more sense as an introductory rate.)

I haven’t yet had a chance to test Virtual Helper 24/7 out myself … though at these prices I guess I’d be dumb not to! I’ll be sure to report back a full review when I do.

Virtual Helper 24/7 Alternatives

If you are searching for the services of a virtual assistant company and you are not comfortable dealing with Virtual Helper 247 for one reason or the other, you have a number of options in the Philippines to consider.

The top-rated options at the moment include the Virtual Staff Finder recruiting service, the OnlineJobs.ph jobs board, and more traditional set-ups like Task Bullet.

Have you had any experience with Virtual Helper 24/7? Kindly share a brief review of your experience to help other people make decision their decision.

Posted in Philippines Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Davinci Virtual Receptionists

Davinci Virtual is an award-winning virtual office and receptionist service company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They currently have around 100 well qualified American employees who work to virtually serve more than 15,000 clients representing businesses large and small throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Central America, Asia and Australia.

About DaVinci Virtual

davinci virtual reviewDavinci Virtual Office Solutions is a BBB A+ rated company that has been privately held since 2006 with co-founders Bill Grodnik and Martin Senn as the CEO and COO.

They specialize in creating innovative solutions for all aspects of global marketing including online, radio broadcasting, phone services and more. I first came across Davinci when I was looking into “virtual office” solutions for my company. Aside from their virtual receptionist service, it seems like this was their bread-and-butter for many years.

Basically they’d set you up in a shared office space where you could claim a physical address, receive mail, and occasionally drop by to use the conference room. I ended up not going down that route because it wasn’t going to accomplish my goals, but the call answering service is intriguing.

Davinci Virtual Receptionists Intro Video

Services

The staff members and executives at Davinci Virtual Office Solutions offer their clients with a number of services including live receptionists, call forwarding/screening, appointment scheduling, order processing, voicemail management, online faxing, conference calls, live web chat and much more.

They promise that each and every one of their clients’ customers will speak to a real person each time they call, and all representatives are based in the US.

Two free phone numbers are included in your plan, and you can choose whether they are toll-free or local numbers. If you have an existing number you want them to answer, you can have it forwarded to them at no cost.

Plans and Pricing

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions provides their new clients with four basic packages to choose from depending on their needs.

Their most popular package is the “Executive 100”, which is $199 a month and includes 100 minutes of any of their services with the exception of web chat.

For smaller businesses who don’t need as many minutes, they offer the “Small Biz 50”, which is $149 a month and exactly like the “Executive 100” but only includes 50 minutes instead of 100.

If you go over your allotment of minutes, additional time is billed out at $0.90 per minute.

davinci virtual receptionist pricing

Clients who solely need receptionist services can opt for the “Auto Receptionist” start-up package for $59 a month which includes call answering, voicemail management, online faxing, call routing and audio conferencing.

For those businesses which are only web based, they suggest their “Live Web Chat” package for $59 a month to power their website. This package only includes appointment scheduling, live web chat, order processing and customer care. Handling the live chat customer support is something my dedicated VA did very well, and freed me up from the stress of constantly having to be “there” in case a message came in.

In addition to their special packages, they also work with clients to create custom packages in order to better fit the needs of their business.

DaVinci Virtual Alternatives

The rates for Davinci are slightly higher than what you’ll find at competitor Gabbyville. Gabbyville offers a 50-minute virtual receptionist package at $100 a month, and 125 minutes for $200.

However, they’re not as expensive as Ruby Receptionists, which has a minimum package price of $249/month with just 100 minutes.

In either case, outsourcing the receptionist function is far more efficient than having a full-time person in your office, especially if the phone only rings a few times per day. At that point, your main mission is focusing your energy on marketing to increase that call volume!

Have you worked with Davinci Virtual Receptionists? What did you think? Please be sure to leave a brief review below to help others with their decision-making process.

Posted in Phone Support Services

Red Butler

Red Butler is an executive virtual assistant and administrative support service that helps business professionals, entrepreneurs, startup teams, and executives get more done in less time. The Beverly Hills, CA-based company began in 2003 and since then has opened up their VA service worldwide. red butler reviewUnlike many other virtual assistant companies, Red Butler is entirely US-based and uses an all-American staff, so there are no foreign call centers to deal with.

About Red Butler

Red Butler is one of the pioneers of the American virtual assistant industry, having been around for more than a decade already. They are squarely aimed at serving an executive and small business market.

When I asked founder Danny Abas who his dream clients were, he answered, “Highly productive power users and working teams up to 50 people.” Is that you?

Red Butler runs what they call a “2-tier model” of virtual assistance, meaning you have both a dedicated point of contact and a team of VAs with specialized skills that you can tap into on-demand. The account managers are all working from the Southern California office and delegate out your tasks to the person on their team best suited to complete the job.

This set up gives you more hours of daily VA coverage; 12 hours instead of a single assistant’s 8-hour shift, affords faster response times, and even allows you to submit multiple requests at once and have them worked on simultaneously.

Services

Danny explained that Red Butler’s services go well beyond basic administrative tasks, and that many clients are using them as strategic partners in their business. For instance, Red Butler is facilitating all legal tasks for one growing company, and handling all corporate travel for another.

They believe this is their sweet spot and an important point of differentiation; they want to form long-term partnerships and really integrate themselves into your processes so you can truly set it and forget it. With that of course comes a lot of trust so naturally hiring intelligent, US-based staff helps ease client worries.

Other common roles include:

  • native calendar and inbox management
  • event planning
  • online research
  • proofreading documents
  • creating presentations
  • devising and implementing social media strategies

Red Butler’s online dashboard rates each user with a “Productivity Index” score, and they’ll give you suggestions on how to improve your delegation and improve your own workflow.

red butler dashboard 2015

Red Butler Review

It’s been a couple years … I’m probably due for another trial.

Plans and Pricing

Red Butler comes in 4 monthly pricing tiers, named after the number of hours of assistance you get with each plan:

  • Red5 – 5 hours – $175 ($35/hr)
  • Red15 – 15 hours – $450 ($30/hr)
  • Red25 – 25 hours – $750 ($30/hr)
  • Red50 – 50 hours – $1250 ($25/hr)

Each plan includes a dedicated account manager and access to the whole team of Red Butler assistants.

red butler pricing

Higher level plans include access for your entire team, where you can share hours similar to a family shared data plan for your cell phone. Custom plans are also available for heavy users and special use-cases.

Membership Privileges

One thing that sets the company apart from the competition is the Red Butler membership card, which grants members more than 1800 special privileges and discounts at restaurants, bars, hotels, and lounges nationwide and around the world.

For example, card members get special room rates at The Standard Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles & New York City, corporate rates with Enterprise & National Rent-a-Car, priority seating and a complimentary round of champagne at STK in Las Vegas & Los Angeles, and an $85 food & beverage credit at many Starwood Hotels — just to name a few.

The Red Butler mobile app (currently under re-development) is your one-stop portal to all these perks and your team of virtual assistants.

Red Butler Alternatives

The 2-tiered structure sets Red Butler between fully-distributed and task-based services like Fancy Hands, and fully-dedicated services like Zirtual and eaHELP. Among other US virtual assistant services, Worldwide101 (work from home VAs) and Longer Days (office-based VAs) probably have the most similar models (and similar pricing).

Want to see how Red Butler stacked up against the competition in my 2013 4-company task-based VA trial? Click here to read the full results.

If you have worked with Red Butler, please share your experience below!

Posted in Low Cost Virtual Assistants, Task-Based Virtual Assistants, US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

WP Curve

WP Curve wants to be your outsourced IT department for WordPress sites. The company was founded in 2013 and has quickly grown to hundreds of paying customers because of the dead-simple service: unlimited 30-minute WordPress fixes for $79 a month.

wp curve review

Their team is a truly international operation, with the co-founders Dan Norris and Alex McClafferty split between Australia and California, and the development team in the Philippines and Central America. All are dedicated  full-time to WP Curve.

Fun fact: As of September 2014, Dan and Alex have never met in person.

Is WP Curve Right For You?

The target customer is a small business owner who:

  • Has problems with their website but doesn’t have the time or know-how to fix them themselves.
  • Doesn’t want to contract out to a new developer for each little tweak they want to make.
  • Has a limited budget for IT maintenance but still needs a high-quality site presented to the world.

What WP Curve is NOT good for:

  • Building a new website from scratch.
  • Larger scale web development projects.
  • People looking for a full-time web developer.

Plans and Pricing

The WP Curve “Professional” plan is $79 per month (billed annually, or $99 billed monthly) for “unlimited” 30-minute WordPress website fixes for one domain. I say “unlimited” in quotes because everything is subject to a reasonable use policy. (Don’t be the guy who tries to abuse the system.)

The Professional plan includes detailed notes on your requests, 24-hour live chat and email support, and same-day turnaround in most cases.

The VIP plan is priced at $159 month (billed annually, or $199 monthly), and includes everything in the Professional plan plus some extra bonuses like faster turnaround times, quality control checks, and the ability to submit up to 3 requests at a time.

wp curve pricing

 

Each plan comes with a free sign-up bonus of a personalized 18-point site check and review by one of WP Curve’s developers.

Both plans come with a 30-day 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee, and there are no long-term contracts or commitments.

If you don’t imagine needing the ongoing support, you can also tap WP Curve for one-off support for $69 per request.

On-Demand Website Help

With WPCurve, you’re essentially buying access to an on-demand help-desk for your website. Name something you’d like fixes and they’re on it.

Now, to make sure their members get the most out of their subscription, they’ve even started making proactive suggestions for website improvements each week. It’s an interesting strategy for customer retention and they’re really trying to create a legion of raving fans to evangelize the service via word of mouth.

As you can imagine, if WP Curve can save you even just a couple hours a month, or make some tweak to improve your conversion rate, the service easily pays for itself.

WP Curve Alternatives

Because of the short nature of these types of micro web development jobs, it can be cost prohibitive to post them on some freelance platform. You’ll either spend more time posting and screening candidates than the job’s worth, and might not attract the best talent for a 20-minute job. In the freelancer’s mind, is it even worthwhile to bid on it?

The nearest competition is Elto.com (the company formerly known as Tweaky), which does on-demand one-off website fixes for a small fee.

The other alternative to consider would be Fiverr, and I’ve actually had some success in getting small WordPress fixes done there. But the downsides of course are there’s no long-term relationship, no proactive support, and limited feedback or recourse if something goes wrong.

Have you worked with WP Curve? If so, please be sure to leave a quick review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Low Cost Virtual Assistants, Task-Based Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

The Airplane Productivity Hack

This year I’ve discovered a “new” productivity hack, and I discovered it 35,000 feet in the air.

On a couple recent flights I found myself knocking out a ton of work during what would otherwise be “wasted” travel time.

I wrote blog posts and emails, did some editing for a client, watched a training video, and listened to podcasts.

Why is the airplane such a productive place?

My theory is that it meets many of the criteria for a successful work block:

  • Limited distractions (no Internet)
  • Confined space
  • A looming “deadline” (landing)

So how can you emulate this without buying a plane ticket?

I think there are a couple ways to get it done.

First, turn off your WiFi.

This is probably the biggest one for me. I’m usually too cheap to splurge for the slow and often-unreliable airplane WiFi, so I’m effectively off the grid for the duration of the flight.

That means no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no nothing.

And by default, that means more focus on what you CAN do offline.

Second, set a timer.

For years, I saw being trapped in a tiny uncomfortable airplane seat for hours as a necessary evil to get to my destination.

But I’m starting to see it as a blessing in disguise. It means I have uninterrupted time to knock out whatever I need to get done.

You can imitate this feeling on the ground by setting a timer and turning off the WiFi, and not allowing yourself to get up until you “land.”

What do you think? Do you use flying times productively, or do you think this “hack” can help you even in the office?

Posted in News

Upwork (formerly oDesk)

Note: oDesk.com has rebranded to Upwork.com.

Upwork, like Elance, is a community that brings together contract workers and employers. The company has been in business since 2003, and now serves hundreds of thousands of clients all around the world. They boast more than 3 million freelancers ready to bid on your job.

odesk reviewIn late 2013, Elance and oDesk actually merged into one company, but continued to operate separate freelance marketplaces. Then, in 2015, they rebranded oDesk to Upwork. I’m not sure why they made the change since 0Desk was a well-established brand with a solid reputation in the industry, but their official press documents said it was to help businesses connect with great talent faster than ever before, collaborate in larger teams, and fuel growing companies.

Why they couldn’t have done that under the old name, I have no idea.

While Upwork / oDesk was primarily known as a place to find programmers, it is also a great place to find a virtual assistant, and administrative support is one of their fastest growing categories. I found over 5000 matches for a recent Upwork search for “virtual assistant”.

upwork reviewUpwork has no sign-up fees to access their network of freelance virtual assistant service providers. In fact, you can create an account, post your requirements, and have workers bidding for the job within a few minutes.

The company makes money by taking a fee from the contract price of the work. That means if you agree to pay an Upwork virtual assistant $500 for 100 hours worth of work (not an uncommon price!), they are really collecting slightly less than that.

Upwork Review

The Upwork system offers the benefits you’d expect from this type of marketplace, including feedback mechanisms and dispute resolution.

One thing that sets Upwork apart is their monitoring software. (Note: Elance has since implemented similar “Workview” software.) Some say it’s a little Big Brother-ish, but others swear by it because it makes sure the work that is paid for is the work that gets done.

The software, which workers turn on when they begin a job, tracks keystroke volume, takes screenshots at certain time intervals, and even has an optional webcam feature. If you’re wary about hiring a remote virtual assistant, it can definitely help overcome some of the fear of not being able to manage their working hours effectively.

A Global Minimum Wage?

In 2014, Upwork introduced a $3/hour minimum wage. Yes, it’s still absurdly low by Western standards, but it does prevent even lower bids from new overseas workers in developing economies.

When searching for virtual assistants on Upwork, pay close attention to their account history. How long have they been working? What does their feedback say about their work?

Another thing to look for is to match the virtual assistant’s specific skill set to the tasks you need done. Everyone has certain specialties, so seek out those who have good ratings in the areas you need the most help with. Alternatively, you can post your own job requirements and have workers bid on them.

Have you worked with oDesk or Upwork? Please share your experience below.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Freelance Virtual Assistants, Low Cost Virtual Assistants, Project-Based Virtual Assistants, US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Employees

Pixels-VA

Pixels-VA is a well-established virtual assistant company that provides virtual support to companies, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and anyone who requires additional help that can be performed virtually. The company was founded in 2008, and operates its primary location in Ghana, with sales offices in the UK and the US.

About Pixels-VA

pixels-va reviewEmployees work out of the modern Ghana office, making Pixels one of the few African outsourcing companies in an industry I’m sure will see a ton of growth in the next decade.

They aim to hire only the most qualified graduates who are fluent in English, and then train them by American and European team members in business processes, customs, and software programs.

The team of Pixels virtual assistants is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure all customers have access to the assistance they need, when they need it. Pixels-VA is proud to provide the highest quality virtual support available, while ensuring all services are rendered quickly, efficiently, and professionally.

In fact, this is a highly sought-after position, and the company receives more than 100 new applications every month!

Services

PixelsVA services include general administrative work and data entry, customer support, article writing, and more. They also have specialized skilled workers on hand to tackle more demanding projects like web and graphic design, software development, IT support, accounting, and call center functions.

The IT services seems to be an area of focus and specialization.

Their primary customer base is made up of entrepreneurs and small business owners, professional firms and larger corporations, hospitals, churches, and universities. Like others, they appear to have gotten their start on Elance.

Plans and Pricing

Pixels-VA offers a variety of services that can be purchased for an hourly rate.  They include:

  • Data Entry: $3.99/hr.
  • General VA: $6.99/hr.
  • Virtual Secretary: $6.99/hr.
  • Article Writers: $6.99/hr.
  • Administrative/ Managerial VA: $6.99/hr.
  • Customer Support VA: $6.99/hr.

These rates are quite attractive on a global comparison, and perhaps even lower than what you might find with certain VA companies in India or the Philippines.

I couldn’t find any information on whether or not there are discounts for monthly packages or set hourly blocks, or what the VA-client relationship looks like — whether you’re assigned a dedicated point of contact or if your task requests just go into a pool and are picked up by the first available assistant.

There is no free trial available, but customers can pay for the VA service with a credit card. (Always nice to rack up those miles!)

Pixels-VA Alternatives

While the company is a unique entry geographically speaking, they are certainly not the only outsourcing option out there. Their closest competition may be in overseas firms like Uassist.ME, My Tasker, or 24/7 Virtual Assistant.

Unlike many alternatives, Pixels-VA does not hire staff members who are simply looking for extra work they can perform from the comfort of home. Pixels-VA employees are employed on a full-time basis and work only from their secure offices to ensure the strictest level of professionalism is maintained.

Have you worked with Pixels VA? If so, please leave a review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Low Cost Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Gabbyville

GabbyVille is a virtual receptionist service provider based in Knoxville, TN. The company was founded in 2013 when a business owner realized his software product sales were suffering because clients were always getting voice mail instead of a live person when they called him.

About Gabbyville

gabbyville reviewGabbyville virtual receptionists answer your business phones using your preferred customized call greeting, take detailed messages, initiate conference calls, and ensure you get the messages you need so that your clients never feel neglected or forgotten.

Employees work either out of the company’s call center office in Knoxville or out of their own home offices.  Regardless of their physical location, all virtual receptionists use T1 VoIP phone lines and noise cancelling technology to deliver the highest quality service.

Services

GabbyVille’s services are intended for all types of businesses who don’t have the budget or manpower to bring phone support in-house. From lawyers to chiropractors, physician’s offices, mechanic’s shops, cleaning companies, and much more, their cheerful receptionists can help any business by providing the services of a receptionist at a fraction of the price it would cost to have one in the office at all times.

All service packages include the following features:

  • A bundle of monthly reception minutes.
  • Voicemail with email notifications.
  • Appointment reminders for you, as well as your clients to remind them of upcoming appointments.
  • Toll Free or local number included.
  • Live call transferring (Talk time is unlimited after a call has been transferred to you.) While the call is being transferred, your clients will hear the hold music of your choice. You will also know who is on the line before you answer.
  • Return personal and business calls on your behalf, including booking appointments, booking services, and finding and purchasing gifts.
  • Text message notifications.
  • Custom IVR prompts for business and after hours.
  • Online Scheduling (not included in the Basic plan).

Plans and Pricing

GabbyVille is currently offering a 7-day free trial for anyone interested in trying their services. After the Free Trial, there is a $99 setup charge.

They offer four different pricing tiers:

  • Starter: 50 minutes/ $100 per month (this is the most popular)
  • Basic: 125 minutes/ $200 per month
  • Premium: 250 minutes/ $351 per month
  • Executive: 600 minutes/ $700 per month
  • Larger plans can also be arranged by contacting GabbyVille directly.

gabbyville pricing

GabbyVille Alternatives

Some of GabbyVille’s biggest competitors include Ruby Receptionists, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions, AnswerFirst, Vicky Virtual, and My Receptionist. At the time of their launch in 2013, GabbyVille knew they would need to do something to set themselves apart from the competition in a crowded field.

With a desire to stand out for providing the best customer service in the industry, the creators of GabbyVille focused their search for employees on individuals who have the talent needed to speak while making their voice smile.

Referred to as “gabbonistas,” the receptionists treat your business as if it were their own to ensure they always make a fabulous first impression on your clients. To ensure that the gabbonistas stay on top of their game, GabbyVille offers frequent customer service training seminars.

GabbyVille also stands out by allowing potential clients to try out their services for an entire week to be certain they offer everything the client could possibly need.

Have you worked with Gabbyville? If so, please leave a review below to help others with their search.

Posted in Phone Support Services, US Virtual Assistants

Ideas Unlimited

Ideas Unlimited is a unique virtual assistant company headquartered in Minnesota with a call center office in the Philippines. The business was founded in 2010, and has grown to employ more than 100 VAs between their Iloilo office and a distributed team in the US.

ideas unlimited reviewAbout Ideas Unlimited

The Philippines office is staffed with college graduate virtual assistants and a 3-tier management team to oversee operations. Many VAs have previous BPO or call center experience, and can earn raises and bonuses based on tenure and client satisfaction scores.

Some senior staff have been approved to work from their home office.

Stateside, the business is run by founder Nick Carter, who I had a chance to catch up with recently. He explained that they target primarily US-based clients and tend to serve a lot of customers in the medical, real estate, and ecommerce fields.

His team uses Hubstaff worker monitoring technology and cited security and confidentiality as strong selling points of the Ideas Unlimited service.

Ideas Unlimited Intro Video

Services

Ideas Unlimited focuses on 3 main areas of service:

  1. Virtual Assistants
  2. Customer Support
  3. Call Center Agents

From their call center they can handle inbound and outbound calls on your behalf, and work during US business hours as necessary.

Their virtual assistants can provide administrative assistance, live chat customer support, or take care of your ongoing business process tasks. If you have a defined process and a willingness to train your assistant, you can remove yourself from that role as well.

Ideas Unlimited is most active on Elance, where they have generated quite a bit of business and mostly positive feedback ratings.

Plans and Pricing

If you’ve been digging around the Ideas Unlimited site looking for pricing information, don’t worry; it’s just not there. However, I was able to chat with Nick to get the inside scoop.

Their Philippines-based workers are available at a flat $7/hour hourly rate for on-demand and part-time work, and they ask customer to hire for a minimum of 10 hours per week. He explained that most customers start with one dedicated VA at 20-40 hours per week.

Full-time packages are available of course, and are slightly discounted. A full-time 160 hour/month VA would be $1050 (just over $6.50 an hour). Nick added that additional discounts may be available if you need multiple full-time VAs.

Ideas Unlimited also helps clients source and manage VAs in the US, with rates starting at just $12 an hour depending on the skills required.

Ideas Unlimited Alternatives

For other Philippines virtual assistant companies with similar operations, check out VA Staffer or Task Bullet. If you’re comfortable doing with a fully home-based staff and are comfortable doing the full training and management yourself, you can save 50% or more on an ongoing basis by hiring through OnlineJobs.ph or the Virtual Staff Finder recruiting service.

The biggest downside of those is if/when your VA leaves, it’s on you to find a replacement. That, and you have to provide your own management oversight.

Have you worked with Ideas Unlimited? If so, please share a quick review of your experience and help others with their search.

Posted in Philippines Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

When Automation Backfires

I thought I was so smart when I set this up! And then it backfired horribly…

For the last couple years on the Virtual Assistant Assistant site, I’ve had a little survey tool that people could fill out and get personalized recommendations.

Each time someone completes the form, which I set up for free using Google Docs, I get an email.

Then I’d manually email them my recommendations. My process has improved over time, but was still manual.

At first, I manually wrote out the messages individually, until I’d covered each combination of answers.

After that, I’d just search my inbox for a survey response with the same answers, and copy and paste. 

But searching the inbox each time was kind of a pain so I created a template file I could refer back to and copy and paste the template response each time.

But pulling up the template file grew tiresome, so I created a series of keyboard shortcuts using the Auto Text Expander plugin for Chrome. 

And that’s really how I would do it. People would even give me a hard time (and rightfully so) that I didn’t have a virtual assistant on this low-level task. 

A little ironic, right?

Well, a couple weeks ago I tried to get smart and figure out a way to automate and outsource this task.

Since each survey response comes in with the subject line, “New Virtual Assistant Survey Submitted”, I set up an If This Then That “recipe” to send an email to Fancy Hands each time a new message with that matching subject line hit my inbox.

Each Fancy Hands email was a new task request to their virtual assistants.

Inside the IFTTT recipe, I gave instructions for the task. I included a link to the “answer key” file in Google Docs, and asked the virtual assistant service to email the survey respondent on my behalf (cc-ing me), with the appropriate template.

What I forgot was that Fancy Hands sends a confirmation email that they received your task, using the same subject line as what you sent them.

When that confirmation message hit my inbox, because it matched the IFTTT recipe words “New Virtual Assistant Survey Submitted”, it triggered another task request email.

Which triggered another confirmation message.

Which triggered another task request.

Which triggered another confirmation message.

And on and on and on, more than 50 requests in total before I got back to my computer and could figure out what happened.

(Thankfully they refunded all those nonsense tasks.)

My fix was to disable the Fancy Hands auto-confirmation emails, and am working on tightening up my IFTTT recipe to make sure it works as intended.

Turns out, I also could have changed the subject-line in IFTTT.

I have high hopes that this automation/outsourcing combo will ultimately save some time and maybe even start a few conversations.

What do you use If This Then That for?

I know I’m barely scratching the surface of it’s automation power, but I’m eager to dive deeper into it. Definitely open to hear about any cool recipe suggestions you have, or if you like the more business-oriented Zapier more.

Let me know in the comments below!

Posted in News

Other Virtual Assistant Companies

While I’m striving to build the most comprehensive virtual assistant company directory and review platform out there, there will always be certain companies I haven’t had a chance to fully research yet.

Still, visitors are searching for information on these companies so I don’t want their search to come up with the disappointing “no results found.”

Here are some of the VA companies people have searched for over the past few months and what limited information I could find. Sometimes it’s just first impressions.

If you have any experience with any of the companies below, please leave a comment to help others in their search. Thanks!

ACstant

ACstant.com is “your assistant via email.” This company has gone through a couple pivots over the years and it looks like their current service is by-invitation only at the moment.

AgentAnything

Agent Anything, or AgentAnything.com is a go-fer and errand-running service similar to TaskRabbit, but specializing in using local students.

AllDayPA

UK-based call-answering service similar to Call Ruby in the US. Virtual assistant service is also available but no price estimate is given.

Answer America

A US-based telephone answering service starting at $1 per call.

AS Direct VA Services

ASDirectVAServices.com is a UK-centered VA company. They’re a little coy about where their workers are actually based, but for 5 quid an hour, it’s definitely not the UK! An email to the contact address provided bounced back immediately so I’m guessing they’re no longer in operation.

AssistantToGo

A virtual assistant company with a crazy 100% flash-based website. You don’t see that too often anymore! In business since 2001, (although the site has only been around since 2004).  I believe the company is owned by Fran Esposito and based in New York. Assistant ToGo and Assistant To Go are possible variations. No relation to the owner of the Twitter handle AssistantToGo.

Azure

Azure VA Services was a small Canadian virtual assistant firm. They appear to be out of business.

Backup Men

BackupMen, or BackupMen.com is a task-based virtual assistant service similar to Fancy Hands or My Tasker. I haven’t heard anything from them since late 2011.

BestJobs.ph

An online jobs board for finding Filipino VAs, with the MAJOR downside it is against their terms to post work-from-home overseas jobs. My account was shut down without notice or warning when I went to test out the site. No idea why they have that rule! An alternative would be OnlineJobs.ph.

BPO24Hour.com

BPO 24 Hour — start-up VA company in the Philippines.

bsetc

Bsetc, as in they’ll take care of all your BS, etc, is a popular virtual assistant company based in Ottawa, Canada. Founder Erin Blaskie is a well-known entrepreneur.

Burn Your To Do List

BurnYourToDoList or BurnYourToDoList.com appears to be out of business. Rough since it sold for $85,000 not too long ago!

Call Ruby

A well-regarded virtual call-answering service with all-US agents.

CatchVPA

Catch VPA or CatchVPA.com is a personal outsourcing company in India that appears to be out of business. They were a very affordable service, with full-time monthly plans beginning at just $640.

Consider It Done

A small, US-based VA company and virtual concierge.

Csquires

Georgia-based outsourced admin company.

CyberCoders

Cyber Coders or CyberCoders.com is an international recruiting agency. They specialize in placing remote and in-person positions in the IT, finance, marketing, and executive fields. They focus on full-time work and charge employers a percentage of your new hire’s salary.

DistantSupport

Distant Support, or DistantSupport.com is a virtual assistant company in the Philippines. Their website hasn’t been updated since 2010, and they offer no hint as to what kind of rates they charge (or charged, as my guess is they might be shut down).

DoMyStuff.com

DoMyStuff was a virtual and in-person errand-running service. It appears they’ve had their lunch eaten by TaskRabbit and are all but out of business.

DoNanza

DoNanza.com is a newer freelance site along the lines of Elance and oDesk.

Easy Outsource

EasyOutsource or EasyOutsource.com is a virtual assistant directory in the Philippines. Rumor has it they’ve been acquired by OnlineJobs.ph.

Easy Virtual Assistant

EasyVirtualAssistant.com is a small US-based VA firm.

eCyberGurus

A recruiting company in India. Their site has not been updated since 2008 so I’m not sure if they are still around or not.

Elite VA

A small VA shop owned by Maria Novey and based in Pennsylvania. No updates to her site since 2006 so not sure if she’s still in business.

Elite-Virtual Assistants

A one-woman show based in Wisconsin. The yahoo email address and stock photos and text on the about us page would be red flags for me.

Elite Virtual-Assistants

Scammy looking VA site (that’s actually offline now). Appears to be owned by a scammy-looking get-rich-quick-type Internet marketer.

eSupportGuru

eSupportGuru.com is a small virtual assistant company in India. Their website looks pretty crappy and hasn’t been updated since 2009. I got attacked by the floating chat-invite box (which was offline) and it wouldn’t close when I hit the “x”.

EVAS

EVAS could stand for Executive Virtual Assistant Services, a tiny one-woman VA company out of Yorkshire, England. Or it could reference the EVA virtual assistant app for android smartphones.

EXEC

EXEC is an on-demand house-cleaning and errand-running service. They’re based in San Francisco but hope to rapidly expand to other markets. Everything is a flat rate of $25/hr. Task Rabbit might be considered the primary competition.

FlatWorld Solutions

A legitimate outsourcing provider aimed at larger companies.

GeekyStaff

Geeky Staff or GeekyStaff.com was a Filipino VA company. Now out of business.

GenieTime

Genie Time or GenieTime.com is a VA service supposedly offering “free” assistance by taking advantage of some referral arrangements with their “partners.” I’m unclear on how this works, but they’ve been on radio silence for at least 6 months so the Genie might be back in the lamp.

GhostBloggers.net

An outsourced writing service that delivers content on demand. Similar to HireWriters or TextBroker.

GlobolStaff

Globol Staff, or GlobolStaff.com, is a small outsourcing company in Singapore that specializes in SEO.

Go to Girls

Several companies are using this name or a variation such as Go2Girls or GoToGirls. There is a Denver, Colorado-based VA service from $40/hr, and also a Jacksonville, Florida service from $18/hr.

Hello Smarter

HelloSmarter or HelloSmarter.com is a virtual assistant company in India that looks similar to My Tasker.

Hit Rate Solutions

Call center operation in the Philippines, that also offers virtual assistants. Pretty bare bones website, with no pricing estimates given for VA service.

HRFAX

Or HR Fax. There are several Ripoff Reports of this company being a giant scam. I would stay away.

IVAA.org

The International Virtual Assistants Association is a non-profit trade organization for virtual assistants. They offer professional education and certification services. If you want to hire from their member-base, you can submit a request for proposal on their site. Also might be searched for as IVAA or ivaa.com.

Jplayers

An mid-sized Indian outsourcing shop that does web development, design, and more. Looking through their portfolio though, I’m not loving their work.

Kaori-san

Kaori virtual assistants (meetkaori.com) specialize in bilingual English and Japanese service for personal and small business tasks.

Live2Care

Part of the Live2Sell group is a call center operation in the Philippines.  The CEO, Chris Ducker, also runs Virtual Staff Finder, which might be worth a look for smaller businesses.

LiveHelpIndia

I had to test the “Get a Quote in 5 Minutes” box on the LiveHelpIndia.com website. I did get a response with 24-hours, but not within 5 minutes. That’s a tough promise to deliver on for anything that’s not automated. After that though, my subsequent emails have been ignored. Check out other India virtual assistant companies.

LRN LLC

Also doing business as LRN.biz. The content of this site is almost identical to the HRFAX site, and has received similar scam complaints. Stay away.

Maxim Liberty

Virtual bookkeeping service in India, with rates starting at $5 per hour.

MiPA

Or Mi PA. Virtual assistant company in India, appears to be out of business.

My365Assistant.com

My 365 Assistant, or My365Assistant was a New York-based VA company that has gone out of business.

My VA Team

I contacted them via the form on their website and never heard anything back.

Out of the Box Virtual Assistant

I couldn’t find any information on this company so I can’t really say anything.

Outsource2Africa

Kenya-based outsourcing company, specializing in transcription services.

OutsourceEverything.co

Virtual assistant company gobbled up by Zirtual.

Outsource Office Staff

Global outsourcing firm (Philippines, Pakistan, Nicaragua) with incredibly low rates if you can hire 6 or more full-time VAs. Site hasn’t been updated since 2012 though.

Outsourcing2Vietnam.com

Startup virtual assistant and outsourcing company in Vietnam with a background in SEO service.

PAEveryday.com

PA Everyday or PAEveryday is a virtual assistant company in the Philippines. I was in touch with the CEO, Tim Reading, earlier this year, but after a couple emails neither him nor his team continued to reply.

RemoteJobs.ph

RemoteJobs is a job board in the Philippines that can be more effective than Craigslist in finding qualified virtual assistant candidates. The site is similar in function to OnlineJobs.ph, only it appears to be completely free to use.

Sales Rain VAs

Also listed as salesrainvas. Newer VA company in the Philippines. Nicely designed site with rates from $250 per month for 5 hrs a week, up to $850 for a full time dedicated VA.

 

Sourcefit

An outsourcing / staff leasing company in the Philippines. They’ve been in business since 2007 and serve the mid-size business market with professional in-office staff.

SupaHands

Supa Hands or SupaHands.com is a Malaysian version of Fancy Hands.

Supreme Outsourcing

A virtual assistant company in the Philippines, founded in 2011 by Louis Lautman. For full-time VAs, the pricing is pretty attractive, especially for the longer-term contracts.

Systems Junction

SystemsJunction.com is a BPO and virtual assistant company in India. They’ve attempted to drop spam comments on this site more than once.

Talk2Assistant

Talk2Assistant.com never responded to my request for information. Check out their flash intro for a good example of a bad example.

Task Angels

TaskAngels.net is a small virtual assistant company in the Philippines from the makers of Task Army.

TaskAnything

TaskAnything.com or Task Anything was a small VA company that now appears to be out of business.

TaskHire

TaskHire.com or TaskHire.ca is a Canadian errand-running service similar to TaskRabbit.

Today’s Admin

Today’s Admin is a US-based virtual assistant company that charges a flat rate of $55 an hour for their services.

Top Hat Concierge

An Atlanta-based virtual concierge service that appears to be out of business. I contacted them for more info several months ago and never got a response.

VA4Business

VA4Business.com is a virtual assistant company founded by Steve Arun. I’m not sure whether they’re targeting US or UK customers, as rates are quoted in dollars on some pages and pounds on others. Their site hasn’t been updated since 2011 so they might no longer be open for new business.

VAdirectory.net

VAdirectory is a network of virtual assistants where you can submit your VA job for proposals.

VAnetworking

A large virtual assistant networking community founded by Tawnya Sutherland in 2003. You can join as VA, and pay for premium resources to help with your virtual assistant business, or if you’re looking to hire, you can submit a request for proposal to the community of VAs. Also vanetworking.com.

VirTasktic

Small New York-based virtual assistant company offering a variety of marketing and admin support functions.

 

Virtual Assistant Chick

Southern California virtual assistant company founded by April Sullivan. They specialize in helping real estate agents.

Virtual Assistant Forums

A popular and active forum for virtual assistants. You can also submit your request for proposal to the community to hire directly through the site.

Virtual Office SA

South Africa virtual assistant and virtual office admin company. Website could use a little love. All boilerplate content with no real USP.

Virtual Web Outsourcing

Small virtual assistant company in Davao City, Philippines. No updates since 2011 so not sure if these guys are still in operation. Also VirtualWebOutsourcing or Virtualweboutsourcing.com.

VirtualJobs.ph

Filipino job board now redirects to RemoteJobs.ph.

WeWorkRemotely

We Work Remotely or WeWorkRemotely.com is a jobs board by the team at 37signals (creators of Basecamp) to promote full-time telecommuting positions.

Yantram

Yantram BPO, or YantramBPO.com is an outsourcing service in India. Their website is a little rough around the edges but their rates are very low.

YourUSAVA

YourUSAVA.com is a small California-based VA company. Rates are quoted on a one-on-one basis.

Zaarly

Zaarly started out as a competitor to Task Rabbit but has pivoted to be more of a peer-to-peer marketplace for goods and services.

Zeerk

Zeerk is a Fiverr clone except the prices can range from $2 all the way up to $100.

Have you worked with any of these companies? If so, please leave a quick note down below and let others know about your experience (good or bad!). Thanks!

Posted in News

Should You Outsource Email? Letting a Virtual Assistant into my Inbox for the First Time

It’s been nearly 10 years since my first “outsourcing” experience, yet just last week I crossed a new barrier I never had before:

My inbox.

In the past, I’ve had my virtual assistant send templated messages on my behalf, but they were sent from an alias account.

We had it set up so that she could send email “as” me. To the recipient, it would look as if it had been sent by me, and replies would ping my regular inbox, but all the action was from her account.

This time around, I’m trying something a little different. I’ve given up on those faux-individual messages because they didn’t generate much response.

Instead I’ve been drafting actual personal messages, though a much lower volume of them, and still based on a pre-written template.

This has become a bit of a chore so I was excited to learn about a Gmail feature that allows you to “delegate” access to your account without sharing your password.

Look under Settings > Accounts and Import > Grant access to your account.

(Currently the user you grant access to must also be a Gmail user. In my case, we just had her create a new Gmail account for this purpose.)

There’s a high level of trust involved because now when my assistant logs in, she can see my entire inbox and 10 years of Gmail history.

But I’m betting on the fact she has better things to do than to read my mail. Let’s hope so anyway!

It’s always something I’ve been a little nervous about, but finally the frustration and pain of this repetitive task go the best of me.

So what she’s doing for me is following a process to draft emails and save them unsent. She’s filling in the to and from fields, subject lines, inserting a pre-written template, and including some research about the individual which I’ll then use to personalize the message.

It’s been only a couple days but this is already a big time-saver and headache saver. Instead of pulling information from several different sources, now I just look in my outgoing drafts, write a couple lines of personal notes, and off they go.

It’s really streamlined and only took about half an hour to set-up and train her on this task.

I can revoke access at any time.

I’m curious, have you ever delegated email access like that before?

Posted in News

Digi Media Infotech

Digi Media Infotech is a virtual back office solution for businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. The company is headquartered in Udaipur, India, and has been in operation since 2010. Today, dozens of Digi Media virtual assistants serve hundreds of clients from their in-office set-up.

digi media infotech reviewThey offer instant access to qualified and skilled professionals and can give any company, small or large, access to the top talent they need. Digi Media Infotech takes responsibility for your back office so you can concentrate on scaling your business.

The name kind of reminds of Homer’s Internet business from The Simpsons, Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net :)

About Digi Media Infotech

The company was founded by Amit Mehta, who also serves as the CEO. Where some VA firms are aimed at the personal market, Amit’s company is after business clients instead.

When I asked what set them apart, he explained, “We are committed to providing high-quality services at low prices and this sets us apart from the competitors. We are proud to stand behind the quality of work we deliver. Our team is a collection of young, motivated and passionate people all brought together for one common goal.”

He added his team has quality control checks in place to deliver error-free outsourcing work on time with consistency. “We have one of the strongest hiring models in the industry insuring that we have the strongest workforce out there. We offer 24/7 round the clock support ensuring you can count on us when you need us the most.”

Services

The company provides a full range of knowledge process outsourcing and virtual assistant services tailored to client’s specific business needs, such as:

  • Lead Generation
  • Research and Analytics
  • Data Entry and Data Processing
  • Web Design & Development
  • Social Media Management
  • Customer Support Outsourcing Solutions
  • Accounting & Bookkeeping Services

As with nearly all outsourcing providers, I think your results will be the strongest if you have a clearly defined process your VA can follow.

I asked if there were any areas of specialization, and my contact Ankit indicated they try and match clients up to the individual best suited to perform the necessary tasks and achieve their goals, whatever those may be.

Plans and Pricing

Digi Media Infotech’s plans come in two flavors: Hourly and Monthly. With the Hourly plans, you purchase and pre-pay for a block of hours ranging from 5 to 20 hours.

The rates are surprisingly affordable, starting at just $7 an hour for a 5-hour package, and only $5 an hour for the 20-hour package.

digi media infotech pricing

To be able to get started with a dedicated virtual assistant, maybe for a one-off project, for just $35 seems like a great value.

The company also has 3 tiers of monthly plans available, also with a dedicated virtual assistant. The monthly plans come in 2, 4, or 8 hours a day options, and are priced from $250 to $900 per month.

The rate of $900 for a full-time dedicated assistant is very competitive among other VA companies in India and in the Philippines, and the other packages are straightforward and priced well too.

digi media infotech monthly pricing

has a pricing option to fit every budget. There are numerous hourly or monthly plan options available with Digi Media Infotech. These options range from 5 to 160 hours a month. We designed our plans starting from $35. Compare and choose the best plan that fits your need. With this service, there is no long-term contract required and you’re only paying for as much time as you need.

VAA Exclusive: Mention referral code VAA when you sign-up to get 2 free hours!

 

Digi Media Infotech Alternatives

Of course there is no shortage of small business outsourcing companies in India. Among the highest rated on this site are My Tasker and 24/7 Virtual Assistant. For a similar set-up with buying blocks of time, you might check out VMG BPO.

Have you worked with Digi Media Infotech? If so, please share a brief review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, India Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies, Virtual Employees

NS Virtual Services

NS Virtual Services provides business services to small/medium enterprises (SMEs), including general admin, customer service, bookkeeping, web development, graphic design, and more. I like the tagline of “Getting you ahead without the overhead!”

The company was founded in 2008 by Natalie Szabo, who serves as the business and project manager. Natalie steers the ship from Quebec, Canada, and oversees current team members in Canada, USA, Spain, and Egypt.

ns virtual services reviewShe explains that their ideal clients are entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small/medium-sized business owners, who are willing to work on long-term ongoing projects. “Due to the varied skill-sets of each team member,” she adds, “We are able to serve various niches.”

How it Works

NS Virtual Services doesn’t limit themselves to any particular specialization.

We partner with our clients to ensure that we match the perfect assistant to their project, not just who’s next available. If we don’t have what the client is looking for, then we will find that special person, screening and vetting them in advance.

Services

Since each team member comes with different skill-sets, NS Virtual Services can cover the following services:

Standard = General admin, customer service, data entry, translation, transcription.

Advanced = Bookkeeping, social media management, copy/content writing, project management, website management/basic development, voice-overs, public relations, marketing.

Super-Advanced = Advanced website development, HTML, CSS, PHP, SEO, ad campaigns.

There are several multi-VA teams out there, but Natalie explains what sets them apart is their personalized service from start to finish. With a hands-on approach, she ensures that her clients and team are completely satisfied, making any adjustments necessary.

Clients can choose to work with their assigned VA directly, or initially engage the services of Natalie as Online Business Manager or Project Manager, delegating various tasks to her team as needed.

Plans and Pricing

The company has different hourly packages for each service level, and it is often customized for each client.

The Standard Services (see above) range from $32-$37/hr, Advanced from $38-$45, and Super-Advanced from $53-$60 (all in USD). Obviously these rates are on the high side, especially relative to the overseas companies, but you can tell from the team members that they are bringing much more experience to the table than the “$5/hr” competition.

I think it will come down to your comfort level and budget. For instance, you can certainly get data entry and transcription done for less, but there’s always the question of what’s going to be lost in translation and how much time you’ll have to spend cleaning up the results after the fact.

NS Virtual Services Alternatives

For similar US- and Canada-based support, there are lots of choices. Both Virtual Assist USA and Longer Days come to mind for their similar team-based approach. Natalie herself is an “alumni” of top-rated Worldwide101.

Have you worked with NS Virtual Services? If so, please be sure to leave a quick review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Virtual Assistants India

As you probably guessed from the name, Virtual Assistants India is an India-based VA company. The company was founded in 2012, and today they serve clients worldwide and handles a multitude of tasks including General Administration, Bookkeeping, Sales and Marketing, Call Center, Website Development, and more.

About Virtual Assistants India

virtual assistants india reviewThe primary focus stays on saving time and money and in turn provide you with extra mileage for your business. VAI has virtual assistants who have been part of the industry before and have worked as independent entrepreneurs. Hence, customer satisfaction is something that they seek to deliver across all levels of engagement.

The VAI office maintains the latest modern security measures and hence they are fully equipped to handle sensitive data which forms an important part of corporate relationships.

One thing I liked is how they identify their VAs as entrepreneurs themselves. I’m not sure how accurate that description is if they’re working on your tasks from a corporate office center, but I appreciated the idea.

How it Works

The first step towards working with VAI is choosing your plan from the Pricing page and proceeding to sign up following which you will be contacted by the Operations Team in 4-8 business hours.

You will be assigned a dedicated VA to get started. This might take a maximum of 24 hours depending on the availability and skill set mapping so that you get the right assistant to handle your tasks. One can send tasks right away after being assigned to a VA.

There are no contracts or long-term commitments. Over time, if your business needs require an upgrade into more hours of support or a higher level plan, VAI ensures that you go through a no-hassle process, in case you need to upgrade or downgrade your plan.

In that case, my suggestion would probably be to start small to minimize your risk, and upgrade as needed. The only challenge would be when your VA is already committed to other clients and can’t add more hours for your work.

Services

Virtual Assistants India works with highly skilled individuals who after capable of adapting to different roles and function effective across all types of engagements. Some of the primary services that VAI provides include:

  • Administrative Virtual Assistant
  • Bookkeeping & Accounting
  • Graphic & Web Designing
  • Sales & Internet Marketing
  • Customer Support Services
  • Transcription Services
  • and others.

Plans and Pricing

VAI is essentially a one-stop solution for both personal and corporate needs with pricing $4.98 per hour for a full-time dedicated assistant (roughly $800 per month).

virtual assistants india pricing

The 20-hour per month plan is around $180, or $9 an hour, and the equivalent hourly rate drops as you bite off more and more hours each month. A half-time assistant would be just under $500 a month.

The company offers a 3-day free trial and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their service.

Besides choosing from the regular plans, they also will quote short-term or project-based work

Virtual Assistants India Alternatives

Naturally there is some pretty stiff competition amongst VA companies in India. Another couple firms worth checking out are the well-rated My Tasker and 24/7 Virtual Assistant.

Have you ever worked with Virtual Assistants India? If so, please feel free to share a brief review of your experience to help others embrace the service.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, India Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Get Virtual Services

Get Virtual Services is a complete virtual assistant service provider in Mumbai, India. The company began in 2009, and has grown to serve a variety of clients around the world.

The company works with industry-trained virtual assistants who specialize in all types of knowledge-based and online work like market analysis, e-commerce transactions, advanced online technologies, web-maintenance, e-businesses, web-development, meeting arrangements, product marketing, client contacts, database administration, social media campaigning and more.

get virtual services reviewHow it Works

Get Virtual Services follows a three-step approach towards building up a simplified workflow, through which customers can submit their requirements. The first step involves filling in a simple contact form that lists down business details, specific requirements and budget.

The turnaround time is 24 hours by which a complimentary consultation is scheduled, according to your convenience. Next, your immediate business goals are identified along with inherent issues that might crop up during execution. Simultaneously, a work outline is also traced out to defy obstacles and successfully complete the job.

Following the initial discussion, you receive a Welcome Packet that contains the Contract, Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreement and Client Questionnaire. Soon after, a phone conversation is set up to gather more information on the first task that needs to be executed.

A couple points on their website confused me. The first was their 400 sq. foot office space with 25 desks. That seems like very cramped quarters and I’m guessing one of those figures is a typo.

The other point was that they provide support 6 days a week, but then on the very next line claim to be available 24/7.

Services

Get Virtual Services offers three service types:

  • Dedicated Assistance – Administrative Assistant services, Content Writing, MBA Assistance, Multi-tasking Assistance, Personal Assistance and Research Assistance.
  • Website & SEO – Website Maintenance, E-Commerce Solutions, Web Development, Paid Search Advertising, Social Media, Content Marketing, SEO Services.
  • Back-Office Assistance – Transcription Services, Medical Transcription, Business Transcription and Language Translation.

Plans and Pricing

Get Virtual Services offers four types of plans namely, Starter, Light, Part-Time and Full-Time.

All plans are extremely flexible in nature as you are free to upgrade or downgrade your plan whenever you want. The services take a minimum of 2-3 days before it gets activated. You can delegate both their business as well as personal tasks across all plan types.

Get Virtual Services pricing

These rates make Get Virtual Services one of the lowest cost providers. The starter package at $120 for 20 hours ($6 per hour) is among the most affordable VA services for that amount of hours, and a full-time VA for $710 per month is a crazy value.

Get Virtual Services Alternatives

Get Virtual Services promises fully-trained staff, a reliable infrastructure, and great flexibility and value in terms of plans and pricing with easy upgrade/downgrade option. However, you may still consider other virtual assistant companies in India, including the well-reviewed My Tasker and 24/7 Virtual Assistant services.

Before starting with any of these services, I’d see if I could get on a call with their leadership, describe the tasks you need done, and if possible, see if you can interview the proposed VA they want to set you up with.

Have you ever worked with Get Virtual Services? If so, please share a brief review of your experience to help others make an informed hiring decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, India Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Text, and You Shall Receive

Do you believe in Magic?

Because that’s the name of the new texting-based virtual assistant service.

How it works is you text your requests to their special number and an anonymous virtual assistant makes it happen.

For instance, you could ask Magic to book you plane tickets, deliver groceries, or send a gift to your mom.

It’s free to sign-up and they just tack on a convenience fee to whatever purchases they make on your behalf.

To get started, just text “MAGIC” to 83489.

(I just texted and got a message back that there’s a waiting list 17,000 people deep! They say you can advance your position by tweeting about the service or skip the line entirely by paying them $100 a month.)

IMG_1455

Apparently there’s quite a pent-up demand for this kind of service!

That response is perhaps why Fancy Hands has joined the game as well, with their new Orri app (currently only available for Android devices).

fancy hands orri

Orri works similarly, though you can also include non-purchase tasks like research, appointment-setting, and making phone calls on your behalf.

Orri is available without a Fancy Hands membership and is just billed out at a rate of $0.34 a minute.

Some are calling it a glorified Google, but I’m sure there are use-cases where it would come in handy.

Hat tip to Stephen in Detroit for letting me know about Cloe, another texting-based concierge service. Currently on wait-list as well.

What do you think? Would you use this kind of on-demand virtual assistant service?​

Posted in News

Ezy VA

Headquarted in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, Ezy VA is the brainchild of Monty G. Hooke, an entrepreneur & business mentor. Beginning in 2012, Ezy VA offers a unique chance for clients to combine their permanent virtual employees, along with the flexibility of paying for on demand services.

Apart from Australia, Ezy VA runs its operations across Manila and Pampanga in the Philippines. All employees working with Ezy VA are permanent staff, as the company doesn’t work with any freelancers. This renders quality control and lessens the pain of working with freelancers as observed in some of the other VA companies.

ezy va reviewAbout EZY VA

In a world where technology rules the roost, EZY VA banks on their smart system to handle tasks from all over the world catering to a slew of customers, small and large. EZY VA is essentially a powerful offering working with industry trained professionals who are much more than just freelancers under one roof.

(Bonus points if you can spot the ironic typo in the slogan underneath their logo!)

Ezy VA Intro Video

How it Works

Ezy VA offers a couple of unique options for clients to choose from. You can either choose to “Build their Dream Team” or “Hire dedicated staff” depending on their business needs.

You can also approach Ezy VA business experts for free no-obligation strategy session to help you prioritize your needs and take action on what’s more beneficial to you.

Ezy VA has the plans arranged based on hours. After deciding on the plan, one is directed to the payments page, where one proceeds to setup his account.

This usually gets over in a day or two. Soon, you will receive a welcome mail with a couple of videos that shall help you gauge the process in a better manner. You can then begin assigning tasks to the  “Dream Team Leader,” who is also a part of the staff  team and helps you choose the right VA to accomplish your tasks.

Clients also receive ongoing support until the task gets completed.

Services

The Ezy VA “Dream Team” services include Web Design & Website Management, Graphic Design & Video, and Technical Support in addition to more traditional virtual assistant admin tasks.

Their “Dedicated Staff” team handles services like Virtual Assistance, Marketing & Social Media, Customer Support, and Bookkeeping & Document Handling along with a slew of other Specialist Services.

Plans and Pricing

As described above, the company has two levels of service: Dream Team on Demand, and Dedicated Staff.

With the Dream Team on Demand, plans start at $10.60 per hour when you buy a 40-hour block of time. If you have regular, ongoing needs, you can improve your hourly rate slightly by committing to 20 or 40 hours a week of outsourced work.

Each Dream Team plan comes with an additional $90 set-up fee.

ezy va pricing

For Dedicated Staff, rates start at $85 per week for 10 hours of service, plus $270 in one-time set-up and recruitment fees. Unlike other VA companies in the Philippines, Ezy VA is also requiring a minimum 3-month contract from new clients.

ezy va dedicated staff pricing

For a full-time, 40 hour per week dedicated assistant, you’d be looking at a rate of $1232 every 4 weeks. Definitely on the high side for Filipino VA companies.

Ezy VA Alternatives

The combination of a team-based approach plus the option to go full-dedicated makes Ezy VA a compelling entry in the market. My Tasker and 24/7 Virtual Assistant in India run similar models, as does VA Staffer in the Philippines.

If you’re comfortable going the do-it-yourself route, you can save a lot of money on an hourly and monthly basis by hiring direct through a site like OnlineJobs.ph, though that process is certainly not without pitfalls of its own.

Have you ever worked with Ezy VA? If so, please feel free to share a brief review of your experience to help others embrace the service.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Philippines Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Prialto

Prialto is a virtual assistant company with outsourcing centers in Guatemala and the Philippines. They have been in business since 2009 and maintain their main US sales office in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Prialto calls itself the “virtual support service for executives,” and touts that their dedicated Prialto Assistants (PAs) and team “will actually pull your business forward.”

prialto reviewAbout Prialto

Founder, Eric Taussig, says that he’s a bit uncomfortable with calling Prialto assistants “virtual.”

“Virtual means ‘not real’ and suggests work that can be ‘algorithmically’ driven by software. Our people are quite real and personable,” he explains. “We provide a valuable management layer alongside them and equip them with technology so that they can focus on the more strategic, value-add aspects of assistant work.”

While most virtual assistant companies match you with an individual assistant working out of their home or within a corner of a large call-center, Prialto provides a team-approach with assistants working in their managed offices supported by Silicon Valley-based “engagement managers” who serve as a coaches to constantly optimize your service.

Regardless of the physical location of your assistant, they will be made available during your local business hours. The service is aimed at high-performing sales professionals and executives at start-ups and smaller entrepreneurial clients, as well as enterprise accounts.

Prialto Overview Video

How it Works

Getting Started: Prialto’s team leverages best practices culled from a half million hours of support experience across clients to develop and train your assistant, whereas clients of other VA companies may need to be much more involved in training their assistant.

Security: Prialto’s team works in secure offices on its own IT system with complete security processes in place, while other virtual assistants might work out of their home on their own computers.

Proactive Approach: Prialto’s team is focused on offloading processes to improve your productivity and being proactive on your behalf, leveraging admin to strategically pull your workflow forward, while other companies may be focused on completing low-level tasks that you define and send to your assistant.

Real-Time and Phone Support: Prialto’s team is on-call throughout your service hours and provides you a phone number you can call for direct access to your assistant. If your assistant isn’t available, one of their team is backing them up.

Prialto PAs often make and field calls on your behalf via a local phone number that Prialto requisitions on your behalf.

Scalability: Because Prialto works as a team, documents all your processes, and is focused on constant process improvement, they say that they can quickly scale with your organization. In home-based models, each new executive may require a new assistant which works separately rather than as a team. Prialto assistants work side-by-side so that they can share knowledge and learn on your behalf.

Backup and Continuity: Prialto’s team-based approach means that at any time 4-5 other teammates across its three offices know your processes, which are documented in the Prialto system. Prialto says that this minimizes your downtime if an assistant is out on vacation, sick or leaves the company. If you hire directly, through Elance or another home-based platform, you may be left on the hook to replace your assistant and re-train a new person from scratch.

Plans and Pricing

Pricing starts at $1200 per month, and includes up to 50 hours of dedicated support, plus backup assistance when your VA is unavailable.

Prialto boasts that all these support features are available at a price in line with other US-based assistant services, but it also admits that they require a higher commitment from its customers to achieve this.

Andy Mowat, Prialto co-founder and former Elance.com executive, explains that “Prialto provides all this enterprise-grade support at rates that are similar to companies like Zirtual and that are far less than what you might pay a lower-level admin to sit in your office in Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco.”

He adds that to get the most out the service, it’s best if clients have “a minimum of 12 hours a week of need. That’s the only way we can marshal the resources to consistently provide the high-level of support around which we are building our brand.”

More Info

Want to learn more about Prialto. Fill in the form below and someone from their team will be in touch!


Prialto Alternatives

The challenge in finding a viable alternative to Prialto is that not many competitors have this level of specialization and infrastructure. With companies like Zirtual, Uassist.ME, or even other firms in the Philippines, you might one day achieve the level of integration and sales support Prialto promises, but I imagine it will take some time investment in training.

Have you worked with Prialto? If so, please be sure to drop in a quick review below to help others with their VA search.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Philippines Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Uassist.ME

Uassist.ME is a virtual assistant company with offices in Miami and El Salvador. The company was founded in 2009 with the idea of providing remote administrative services to clients in the US and around the world. uassist.me review

Because of their location and timezone – El Salvador is only a 2 hour flight from the US and operates on Central Standard Time – Uassist.ME considers themselves “nearshoring” more than “offshoring.”

The company has earned a number of accolades in its relatively short history. In 2012, co-founders Alfredo Atanacio and Rodolfo Schildknecht were named to Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 List, which honors “America’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs.”

About

Since I first came across the company in 2011, they’ve been growing like crazy, practically doubling in size each year. They recently built a shiny new office space to house their team and it even includes a co-working space to host other entrepreneurs in a professional environment.

For customers seeking a US-based assistant, they have a US-based operation with home-based workers under the brand Uassist.us.

Interview with Uassist.ME Co-Founder Alfredo Atanacio

Virtual Assistant Assistant Exclusive: mention referral code 10OFF to get 10% off your first month.

Services

I spoke with Joselin at Uassist.ME, who helped walk me through the company’s services. I found her to be professional, friendly, and energetic, with excellent English skills (and naturally Spanish skills as well).

She explained that her Uassist.ME co-workers are all fluent English speakers with neutral American accents because of their proximity to the US and familiarity with the culture. In fact, El Salvador uses the US Dollar as their official currency.

The company specializes in remote administrative services, but is expanding into SEO and social media marketing services, as well as telemarketing and cold calling. Uassist.ME has attracted clients in the US and Canada, and even India, the proud leader of virtual assistant outsourcing.

Uassist.ME has developed an expertise in real estate services and claims a number of brokers and agents as clients. Beyond that, their flexible and custom solutions allow customers to ramp up teams of multiple VAs quickly if needed.

Plans and Pricing

Their standard plan is $699 for a full-time shared assistant. This means you have a dedicated contact who is there during your business hours, 40 hours a week, but they also report to one or more other clients as well.

The advantage is you have a dedicated resource “on call”, without the full time salary. If you have enough work to keep your virtual assistant busy full-time, Uassist.ME offers full-time dedicated service for $1400 a month.

A smaller, 20-hour per month plan is available for $250. In this case, your shared assistant would be available all day during US East Coast business hours but would only be able to spend an hour or two on your tasks. It’s a great entry-level outsourcing plan because you still get a dedicated point of contact who’s “on call” during the day, without having to front the full or half-time salary.

Uassist.ME service is billed month-to-month, with no long-term contracts.

If interested, please mention referral code 10OFF to get 10% off your first month.

Uassist.ME Review:

Note: As you can see, that video is several years old so I’m due for a new trial!

If you have worked with Uassist.ME, please share your experience using the comment form and star-ratings below.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Low Cost Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies, Virtual Employees

Vasumo

Vasumo is home to a team of professionally trained virtual assistants who want to help you regain “Focus on Your Business.” The company was founded in 2014 and maintains sales offices in New York and Toronto, though all assistants are home-based workers.

vasumo reviewVasumo is an all-round solution for a slew of tasks that ranges from scheduling meetings, paying bills, blogging, website maintenance, travel deals and much more. VA Sumo believes in the art of delegation and have been helping customers handle their tasks efficiently to realize their bigger goals.

About Vasumo

Vasumo.com executive assistants are located throughout the USA and Canada. They’re all college graduates and together they strive to offer a work-life balance for customers. At Vasumo, building a fruitful relationship with clients is an important part of their business policy. Hence, satisfaction for customers gains paramount importance.

Vasumo follows a strict method of recruitment, where every single virtual assistant is hired by an extensive round of discussions and tests. The VA’s also undergo a training process, where they are put under several different tests to mettle out their best and help overcome personal and professional barriers to deliver according to the wants and needs of the customer.

Note: No relation to AppSumo or BuzzSumo. 

Something Fishy?

When I first came across VA Sumo, I noticed their website looked identical to Zirtual‘s. I thought maybe it was a company Zirtual had acquired or they were testing a different domain name in different markets.

But when I asked Maren, Zirtual’s Founder and CEO, about it, she said it was the first she’d ever heard of them.

Now there are plenty of websites that use common themes, so that in itself isn’t a huge deal, but something didn’t seem quite right to see two nearly identical service offerings with perfectly matching sites.

Compare their homepages (at press time):

zirtual vs vasumo

See what I mean?

They even use similar trust badging in the “companies we’ve worked with” section just below the main hero image, only with one subtle difference. On Zirtual’s site, they say “Zirtual Assistants are busy helping companies all over the world…”, where on the VA Sumo site, it simply says “Virtual assistants help companies all over the world.”

It’s a true statement, but I interpret it as NOT their VAs.

How it Works

Like most other VA companies, Vasumo requires you to sign up. The process usually takes up to 24 hours, for your registration to be confirmed, but they do indicate that you can delegate your first task in 95 seconds.

Following that, one receives a call or an email that provides access to the dashboard from where you can send in requests for tasks to be done. Apart from delegating tasks, one can also use the dashboard to send messages or share files.

Customers can access their dashboard on the go from their smartphone.

Services

Vasumo caters to major service types that comprises of administrative, writing and data entry, marketing, research, website development, graphic designing, video/audio editing, social media management and other personal assistance services.

Plans and Pricing

Vasumo offers three levels of service: Economy Class, Business Class, and First Class.

va sumo pricing

The lowest price tier is $299 per month for 25 hours of dedicated North American-based assistance ($11.96 per hour).

The Business Class level is roughly $10 per hour and gives you 10 hours a week of support. And finally, the best hourly rate ($9.07/hr) is available with the $499 monthly First Class package.

Although these rates have increased since I first came across VA Sumo several months ago, they still seem almost “too good to be true” for dedicated US and Canadian-based help. That’s not much above minimum wage in many areas.

Last year I asked them about the surprisingly low prices via the live chat feature on the site, and they insisted that all their workers were US and Canada based.

Vasumo also has an option for free trial wherein you can send in a free task to be executed. Might as well give ’em a shot and see what happens!

Vasumo Alternatives

For US-based virtual assistants, aside from Zirtual (mentioned above), it might be worth checking out Worldwide101 and eaHELP. Both companies are extremely well-rated on this site, but that history of positive feedback comes at a price; they’re both far more expensive than the published rates here at VAsumo.

They also employ home-based VAs. For an in-office virtual assistant experience in North America, take a look at Longer Days or Virtual Assist USA.

Have you ever worked with Vasumo? If so, please share a brief review of your experience below to help others make an informed decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies
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