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

Design Pickle

Launched in January 2015, Design Pickle is a cloud-based graphic design company that specializes in providing personalized graphic design support for small to medium-sized design jobs.

Design Pickle’s physical headquarters is in Scottsdale, Arizona but, as they are an entirely virtual service, they use the cloud for all of their work. The company’s goal is to create a totally new way for graphic design to be delivered to people who need it.

design pickle reviewThe design service is sold on a subscription basis, the same model popularized by WP Curve (for WordPress support) and Copywriter Today (for content writing).

Design Pickle seeks to make connections with anyone with a need for fast, easy, and affordable graphic design. With same-day turnaround on most projects, Design Pickle offers quick solutions to basic graphic design jobs, primarily for a small business client base without in-house design staff.

Services

Design Pickle will provide designs for small projects (business cards, flyers, presentations, brochures, etc.) to people who may not be savvy when it comes to design software, or who don’t have the time or man-hours to spend on those projects.

Founder Russ Perry stresses the fact that Design Pickle is geared toward solutions for small- to medium-sized projects in small business or solo entrepreneur models, and not mass producing or supporting the main structure of a company.

Design Pickle also does not generate copy, so any text you want on your materials you will have to write yourself.

How it Works

Communicating through email, their designers ask a series of questions about your project to better narrow down what it is you are specifically asking for. They then take whatever basic images/copy/graphics you might have (using cloud-sharing sites like Dropbox for larger files), and then work up a design for you.

Turnaround is one business day (7am-7pm), and Design Pickle prides themselves on delivering a personalized one-on-one customer experience with a dedicated support team. Any vague or unclear requests don’t get assigned, so it’s best to be as clear and concise as possible from the beginning.

If you think the design is not exactly what you want, Design Pickle will continue to work with you to revise the product until you are happy. (There’s also a 7-day money back guarantee.)

Plans and Pricing

$195 per month gets you unlimited graphic design requests, one business day turnaround, and unlimited revisions. There are no contracts and you can cancel at any time.

Design Pickle also has a single, one-shot design request for $99. This option, however, has a 3-5 business day turnaround but still includes unlimited revisions.

design pickle pricing

Design Pickle considers an ideal request to entail about 30 minutes of design work. If, after talking to your team, your project is too big to be considered a single design task, Design Pickle will help you break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks, each of which would then be considered a separate project.

Design Pickle Alternatives

For one-off design tasks, you have several alternatives. I actually do a lot of my own design work (which in fairness isn’t amazing) in PicMonkey, PowerPoint, or order graphics gigs on Fiverr.

On the higher end, you have the crowdsourcing design marketplace 99Designs and the freelance megastore of Elance-oDesk. In the case of 99designs, you submit your design brief following their detailed questionnaire, and designers from all around the world submit their ideas and you pick the winner. It’s a cool system because you can get multiple inputs but costs $299 at a minimum (vs. $195 per month w/ Design Pickle for unlimited designs).

And w/ Elance, you’ll submit your project and collect bids back, and have to select your winner. For one-off design work it can be very time-consuming, and you only have the input of one designer at the end of the day.

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

Posted in Design Services

Zirtual

Zirtual is a virtual assistant service that offers virtual assistant and personal concierge services to people around the world. Zirtual was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in San Francisco and Las Vegas.

VAA Tested_smallerZirtual offers US-based, college-educated virtual assistants that are available to handle a wide-variety of tasks and that are designed to help people get and stay organized.

zirtual reviewZirtual assistants are available to perform tasks, including but not limited to sending out birthday cards, ordering flowers, making travel arrangements reservations, scheduling meetings, conducting research , making calls, coordinating plans, returning calls, sending out and responding to e-mails. The list goes on.

Plans and Pricing

The most popular option is the Entrepreneur plan priced at $399.00 per month. The Entrepreneur plan includes same-day support from your dedicated assistant and the ability to outsource tasks up to a cumulative 16 hours a month. (Slightly less than $25 per hour.)

If you have more work to outsource, Executive and VIP-level plans give you more hours of support and reduced effective hourly rates.

zirtual pricing

 

The company recently axed their $199 per month entry-level plan and their on-demand Zirtual Now service.

Zirtual Review:

(Here’s the PowerPoint slide deck my ZA made — pretty slick, right?)

These rates make Zirtual slightly more affordable than other US-based competitors like Red Butler, which offers similar unlimited dedicated service at $495 a month.

Zirtual Founder Interview

Why Zirtual?

Not to suggest these other companies will hire just anyone off the street, but Zirtual guarantees that all of their virtual assistants are thoroughly screened, college-educated and competent to your perform tasks. When it comes to building trust with someone you’ve never met, the hiring process becomes that much more important.

Founder Maren Kate Donovan explains: “We have a seven step hiring process that includes thorough background checks, personality tests and social background checks—to ensure people haven’t lied and to get a very deep understanding of what makes them tick as people.” She goes on to note that Zirtual only hires 3% of the people who apply, and that they receive 4 weeks of traning before they handle their first client.

Your Zirtual virtual assistant service also comes with an “Epic Guarantee” — that you’ll be satisfied with their work and that your personal information will be kept safe. If you have problems with the service you can have a new virtual assistant appointed and also have the option a refund in certain circumstances.

To get started with Zirtual, there are no start-up, or initiation fees aside from your monthly subscription. In addition, there are no long or short-term contracts, individuals can choose to use Zirtual on a one-time basis or sign up for a monthly plan you can cancel at any time with no penalty.

Out of Beta

Since their founding, Zirtual was an invitation-only service — you had to know someone on the inside, or come through this website, to get in. But in January 2014, in response to strong demand, Zirtual lifted the by-invitation-only rule and opened the gates to the general public.

To fuel their growth in this rapidly expanding industry, Zirtual announced that they raised an additional $2 million in venture capital in January 2013.

Zirtual Alternatives

If you’re looking for a dedicated virtual assistant service as an alternative to Zirtual, two that come highly regarded are eaHELP and Worldwide101. You’ll find the base hourly rates slightly higher, though Worldwide has a 10-hour a month plan that is about $100 less than Zirtual’s “Entrepreneur” plan.

And if you’re comfortable “going direct” and hiring your own freelance VA, you may be able to find some qualified talent on Elance. The drawback of course is you have no backup if it doesn’t work out and have to do the entire hiring process yourself start to finish.

Have you worked with a Zirtual concierge? If so, please share your experience below!

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Task-Based Virtual Assistants, US Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Companies

Perssist

Perssist is a virtual assistant service that’s part human and part technology.

Over time, Perssist learns user preferences and becomes more integrated into users’ daily routines via personalization technology. Various existing and upcoming third-party app integrations help Perssist work directly with the tools you are already in the habit of using.

perssist reviewAbout Perssist

The New York-based company was founded in 2014 by Evan Britten-Bozzone and Albert Wang. Their virtual assistants are located all over the world to ensure coverage in every time zone.

Per Evan, “Location of workers is not as important to us as ability. We hire less than 3% of the people that apply for an assistant position, after filtering them through an intensive multi-round interview process. For the few that do get hired, we put them through a rigorous training process. We have accomplished overseas workers that have earned Bachelor’s degrees, and in some cases Master’s degrees.”

He explains that the company aims to provide busy people with a channel to outsource all the time-consuming and undesirable tasks that could be taken care of by an intelligent and tech-savvy virtual assistant.

How it Works

Perssist brings on-demand access to a virtual personal assistant to do the bidding of busy people and entrepreneurs everywhere.

Users submit requests via web, email, or phone, and Perssist gets started on them in short order. Perssist offers a new level of convenience, with a service that’s flexible enough for a 10 minute phone call or 10 hours of event planning.

When you submit a request to Perssist, an assistant will check-in with you after  20 minutes, which prevents assistants from spending too much unnecessary time on a request and makes sure everyone is on the same page.

perssist user dashboard

Services

Perssist virtual assistants can make calls, do research, make appointments, or do a variety of other remote tasks.

Each request is routed to the right assistant for that task. Whether it’s web research, calling customer service or local stores, scheduling, finding local services, helping with travel planning, editing WordPress, or anything else that can be handled remotely by a smart and tech-savvy assistant.

To be more specific about what we do and don’t do: anything an intelligent, Internet-savvy liberal arts major with a long-distance calling plan can do, we can do. So nothing too technical or requiring professional training like coding or accounting.

Evan says the requests they’ve received so far have been about 40% business-related and 60% personal.

“In the near future,” he adds, “We’ll be able purchase items on a users’ behalf without sharing sensitive payment information.”

Plans and Pricing

Perssist offers 3-tiers of pricing plans, ranging from 2 hours a month at $26 ($13/hr), to 15 hours per month at $140 ($9.33/hr).

New users can take advantage of a 30-minute free trial, and VirtualAssistantAssistant visitors can get 20% off their first month with this link.

Perssist pricing

VAA Exclusive: Use this link for 20% off your first month! 

Perssist charges time in 5-minute increments, and your unused hours and minutes roll over to the next month.

Perssist Alternatives

Although Perssist doesn’t wave the “All-American” flag like Fancy Hands, the services are similar — an on-demand virtual assistant service. However, with the hourly plans instead of the by-the-task plans, Perssist allows for greater flexibility in what you can delegate, even accounting for Fancy Hands’ new multiple-task requests.

The other company that comes to mind is Zirtual, although their plans are pricier (they use all US and Canada virtual assistants) and the hours don’t roll over month to month.

Have your worked with Perssist? If so, please share 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

Copywriter Today

Copywriter Today is a content creation service based in Cleveland, Ohio. The company was founded in 2014 and aims to provide small businesses and bloggers with top-quality written content on an ongoing basis.

VAA Tested_smallerIn fact, the team has grown to more than a dozen writers, all native English speakers and all based in the US. Their “claim to fame” is their “unlimited” writing service, which the founder, Gabe Arnold, explained is modeled after the WP Curve business (unlimited WordPress tweaks for $69 a month).

copywriter today reviewServices

CopywriterToday.net offers unlimited article writing services, editing and proofreading, and research work on a monthly subscription basis.

Along those lines, the actual deliverables are often blog posts ranging from 400 to 1500 words, sales letters, emails, copy for brochures, or content for press releases.

I’ve found that Google seems to value recency quite a bit in their algorithm, meaning that with all else equal, the more recently published article will be ranked higher. Where Copywriter Today comes in is by supplying you with a steady stream of content to keep your site up-to-date.

I know the publish date is something I definitely pay attention to when I arrive on a new site, and when nothing has been updated in a couple years, it throws up a red flag — like, “Is this company even still in business?”

Copywriter Today Review

VAA Exclusive: Use the discount code VAA50 to receive half off your membership for life.

How it Works

With a Copywriter Today membership, you can submit up to four writing requests at a time. The short content order form explains the details of your order and gives your assigned writer all the information they need to complete the work.

Turnaround times are around 48 hours for 400 word pieces, 72 hours for 800 word pieces, and 96 hours for 1500 word pieces. If you need more than 1500 words written, it is best to break the project up into smaller chunks, or request a custom quote for the work.

Orders are tackled in the order they’re received, and between the promised turnaround times and the 4-order-at-a-time limit, you’ll be able to get 15-30 writing projects done per month if you max out the service. In that sense, it’s not entirely “unlimited,” but still a strong value proposition for anyone in need of that volume of content.

There are no limitations on the use of the work, in terms of the number of websites or destinations you can publish it on, and you own the rights to the content at the end of the day.

Copywriter Today Interview

Plans and Pricing

Copywriter Today is $249 a month, but you can use the discount code VAA50 to receive half off your membership for life.

There is currently a free week-long trial period (with a $1 verification charge … so a $1 trial), so you can test out the service and the writing quality in a very low risk manner, and a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with their work. According to Gabe, roughly only one article in 100 is rejected.

Copywriter Today Alternatives

I haven’t yet seen any other “unlimited” outsourced content writing services, though the alternative would be to write the content yourself or find writers on an article-by-article basis.

One service I’ve used recently is HireWriters, but at a rate of $19 per article, it can get expensive fast.

Have you tried Copywriter Today? If so, please leave a review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

Posted in Writing Services

Outsource.com

Designed to connect you with a great team of freelancers from around the world, Outsource.com lets you easily outsource tasks and work.

You simply post a job on the site, wait for qualified freelancers to bid on it, then you pick your favorite based on their profile and reviews.

outsource.com reviewFounded in 2014, this Palo Alto based company targets small businesses and individuals with their secure, online marketplace. What’s not clear to me is the competitive advantage — other than a superior domain name — outsource.com has over well-established freelance marketplaces like Elance and oDesk.

It appears they want to compete on the talent side of the equation, but they don’t really open up about how they’re attracting and bringing the “most qualified freelancers” on board. If they are able to bring together a marketplace of vetted and truly best-of-the-best freelancers, that would be a huge selling proposition because there’s always a lot of “noise” when I put jobs out for bid elsewhere.

Still, part of me likes to cast a wide net to see what comes back.

How it Works

Outsource.com offers businesses a selection of talented freelancers to help them accomplish their business needs. The service accommodates both long-term and short-term projects.

Freelancers from around the world are eager to get started on your project today, although the company is not currently advertising how many members are in their marketplace. (My guess is because there aren’t many relative to the competition yet.)

You can view their work history and customer reviews and feedback before making your hiring decision. Outsource.com also looks at your job description and matches you with suggested qualified workers.

Outsource.com Services

As a client of Outsource.com, you are able to post any job that can be completed remotely. You will have access to a variety of freelancers including:

  • Web developers
  • Virtual assistants
  • Data analysts
  • Social media specialists
  • Web designers
  • Graphic designers
  • Researchers
  • App developers
  • Software programmers
  • Content creators

Plans and Pricing

It’s free to get started on Outsource.com. Simply sign-up, post a job, and wait for freelancers to bid for the opportunity.

The payment system is housed by Outsource.com to make sure work is completed properly and freelancers receive their promised payment. This way you can do business online safely and securely, with no extra fees or surprises.

Work can be billed either hourly or at a fixed price. The cost of the service is determined between the client and the freelancer before the work begins. As with other freelancing sites, you may find vastly varying bid prices for your work depending on the experience and geography of your contractors.

Outsource.com Alternatives

The major competitors from Outsource.com are Elance and oDesk.

These sites have a similar business model in that they also connect business owners with qualified freelancers. All three services use freelancers from around the world, so clients have a variety of cultural backgrounds to choose from when hiring.

Since Outsource.com is a relatively new site, clients will likely find freelancers with more reviews from previous clients on Elance and oDesk.

Have you worked with Outsource.com? If so, please be sure to leave a review of your experience below.

Posted in Freelance Virtual Assistants

Global Max Line

Founded in 2012 by SJ Josenna, GlobalMaxline.org is a virtual assistant company in India with a sales office in the United States. The service targets small business owners and busy professionals, with both task-based assistance and dedicated hourly plans.

Global Max Line claims to go above and beyond with a truly professional and elite level of business assistance. The service not only helps with small tasks but is designed to help you develop and grow your business and achieve long-term growth goals.

global max line reviewServices

GlobalMaxline.org assists small and medium level CEOs to reduce their work load and focus on the bigger picture priorities. Busy doctors and other medical professionals, real estate professionals, educators, and every busy person who needs assistance could benefit from their menu of services, which include:

  • Administration: Assisting clients with data entry, research tasks, and more.
  • Transcription: Delivering accurate Word document or text files from any audio and video file
  • 3rd Party Services: Making calls on your behalf
  • Marketing Support: Including CRM (customer relationship management), internet marketing, advertising
  • Customer Service: Online website chat, email and phone support
  • Online Shopping: Place orders and schedule deliveries

How GlobalMaxline.org Works

To make sure your task is completed as you need, GlobalMaxline.org has developed a three step process to effectively complete your assignments.

  1. Develop Functional Plan: A Global Max Line senior staff member will help you develop a functional plan that is sustainable and actionable. This is actually really valuable for first-time virtual assistant employers.
  2. Regular Updates: Your virtual project manager will develop a series of milestones and delivery dates to ensure your projects finish on schedule.
  3. Quality Check: All services and ideas are checked for quality and for accuracy within your industry before being sent out.

Naturally, for task-based work, your requests go into a general queue and the first available qualified assistant takes care of it for you, up to the advertised 15-minute time limit.

With the dedicated service, you can use as many hours as you have available to you in your plan each month, and there is no limit on how long certain tasks can take.

Plans and Pricing

Global Max Line splits their offering into two main groups: Max Basic and Max Premium. Max Basic is for task-based service, limited to 15-minute requests. Max Premium is an hourly service than can include more involved virtual assistant tasks and longer ongoing support and projects.

Both services are sold on a monthly subscription model.

Four pricing plans with different service tiers are available under each grouping, and they range from $20 a month all they way up to $2500 depending on your business needs.

VirtualAssistantAssistant Exclusive: Mention referral code VAA for 10% off your first month!

Max Basic: Task-Based Plans

At the entry level, the “Max Basic 10″ plan is just $20 a month and includes 10 outsourced tasks. In direct competition with Fancy Hands’ $29.99 per month plan (which includes just 5 tasks), this option from Global Max Line is the most affordable virtual assistant offering I’m aware of.

A 20-task plan is $30 per month, and a 30-task plan is $50 a month, which Global Maxline claims is their most popular offering. The nearest competitor to this would be Efficise in Pakistan, which currently offers 30 requests for $45 per month.

global max line pricing

Max Premium: Hourly Plans

Dedicated virtual assistant service starts at $100 a month for a 10 hour plan. The Max Premium 30 is their most popular offering in this category, and costs $262 a month, or just $8.75 an hour.

(This is slightly less than a similar 30-hour offering from 24/7 Virtual Assistant that’s priced at $299.)

global max line virtual assistant pricing

They also offer bigger hourly plans under the branding of Max Platinum and Max Unlimited, under which you can get a full-time dedicated assistant for $1000 a month, or 2 “unlimited” virtual employees for $2500.

It’s not entirely clear what benefits the “Platinum” and “Unlimited” tiers carry beyond a greater number of service hours and a more attractive hourly rate.

GlobalMaxline.org Alternatives

GlobalMaxline.org aims to provide cost-effective, flexible, and easy-to-use virtual assistant service, but they certainly aren’t the only game in town. The combination of the task-based service and dedicated service under one roof is unique among virtual assistant companies in India, and the closest competition on that front is probably Efficise, as mentioned above.

For dedicated hourly VA service in India, you have tons of choices. The most popular on VAA to date have been My Tasker and 24/7 Virtual Assistant.

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

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

Scripted

As business advances into the digital age, it’s becoming more and more important to create online content, whether it’s for promotion or as part of a product or service. In fact, if you’re reading this, it’s probably because my content marketing worked to bring you here … muahaha <– insert evil laugh!

scripted reviewScripted is a custom content creation service that allows businesses to release blog posts, social media posts, website pages, press releases, and more — even if they don’t have time to write the content themselves.

About Scripted

Scripted was started in 2008 as Scripped.com, which provided a space for screenwriters to work on screenplays together and attract the attention of producers. By 2011, it had grown to 80,000 writers, and the business changed to its current name and service of Scripted.com, offering non-entertainment content to businesses across the nation. In 2013, Scripted received $4.5 million from Redpoint Ventures, and expanded its team to 13 people in addition to their massive network of writers.

Scripted’s mission is “to better the quality of written content on the Internet by helping businesses create it at scale.” Its executive team consists of Sunil Rajaraman (who I met briefly at Affiliate Summit a few years ago), Ryan Buckley, and Jake Kring.

The company is based in San Francisco, CA, but its writers come from across the nation who all work in their own areas of specialization.

Services

Scripted offers customized content on demand; the process begins when a business or individual orders content through Scripted’s order form, and sets guidelines for the length and details of the project. Scripted writers then claim the work and complete the assignment; afterwards, the whoever ordered the content originally can review and revise it as needed before publishing.

The services offered by Scripted include:

  • blog posts (both standard and long)
  • white papers or reports
  • social media content (such as tweets and Facebook posts)
  • website pages and product descriptions
  • press releases
  • video scripts

Businesses that require a high volume of content can work out an arrangement with a content manager, who builds customer support and ensures timely publishing.

The service is aimed at businesses rather than individuals (as you’ll see by their higher price points). If you’re looking for cheap content by some overseas writer to hopefully get picked up by the search engines, Scripted is not going to be the right choice for you.

Plans and Pricing

A “standard” blog post costs $99, with “specialist” posts commanding a rate of $149.

Similarly, a batch of 25 pre-written tweets is $99; or $149 when written by a specialist.

Scripted is ideal for businesses that require or desire online content, but do not have the time, resources, or expertise to maintain a regular publishing schedule or develop quality content. Scripted writers are all pre-screened by the company to ensure a high quality end product, and can specialize in any areas required by the business ordering the content, from art and design to law to tech hardware.

Different content types have different pricing models, but all types offer an “industry writer” price and a “specialist” price; the “specialist” package includes greater research and a guarantees top ratings from clients and editors.

At these rates, Scripted is positioned as a premium entry in the market, especially compared with the “$5 article” type of outsourced writing services. If that’s more in line with what you’re looking for, check out the alternatives below.

Scripted Alternatives

Scripted’s competitors include social media content generators such as $99 Social, which offers customized social media content as well; however, what sets Scripted apart is its variety of products offered, which other businesses do not have.

On the general content writing side, companies like HireWriters and Copywriter Today might be worth a look.

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

Posted in Writing Services

iWriter

If you need written content for your website, iWriter is an easy and reliable way for you to post projects that will be professionally and quickly done.

Located in Carmel, IN, iWriter includes a network of thousands of freelance writers from around the globe ready to work on writing assignments.

iwriter reviewAbout iWriter

iWriter is designed to help the business owner who no longer wants to or has time to write their own content for their websites. The company was launched in 2011 and was the first service created to exclusively facilitate the process of hiring a professional to write your articles.

As a client, requesting an article to be written is easy and costs as little as $1.25.

Pro tip: If you’re only paying $1.25 per article, odds are it will be illegible.

Once registered, click on a link titled “Submit a New Project Page” and input all the necessary information so the writer can produce a quality article.

iWriter Services

Clients that sign up for the service have a variety of options to customize their service experience.

iWriter Services Include:

  • An unlimited amount of articles
  • Articles on any topic
  • Turnaround time as fast as 1 hour
  • Article lengths of 150, 300, 500, 700, and 1000 words
  • Select the article language of English, French, Spanish, German, or Other
  • Easy download format
  • Select article quality
  • Select the article tone
  • SEO keyword selection

Because thousands of writers from around the world are available to write articles on iWriter, clients have the option to choose which writers they submit their project to. Clients select writers based how many stars they have earned and their reputation.

You can even request longer-form projects such as ebooks if you find an excellent writer who can get the job done.

iWriter Video Overview

Plans and Pricing

Pricing at iWriter depends on the requirements you need. The article length and the star-quality of your desired writer all increase the cost of the article. If you want SEO keywords in your article the price will also increases.

My take on it is this: Don’t stress on the keywords and just try and write naturally. The search engines are getting smarter and if your articles are stuffed full of keywords in an unnatural way, you may get penalized.

The baseline advertised cost may be just $1.25, but expect to pay more than that if you want anything readable. Think in the ballpark of $5-20 for a 500 word article. Naturally, writers with better feedback history command higher rates.

iWriter Alternatives

Alternative outsourced writing services do exist where business owners can have articles written, including on-demand services like HireWriters and subscription-based models like Copywriter Today.

Freelance sites like Elance.com and oDesk.com will also connect you with writers, but these sites are more complex than iWriter because freelancers will bid on your project while iWriter will assign your project directly to a writer. In my mind, those are definitely more trouble than it’s worth for a single article.

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

Posted in Writing Services

Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant or an Intern?

Every business reaches a point where it needs to expand. This is usually great for the business; expansion means more customers, more income, and ultimately, a more successful business model. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, one of the largest of which is the need for help running the business.

If you’ve reached the ceiling of your own capacity — after all, there are only so many hours in the day — what do you do?

We’ve already covered the benefits of a virtual hire over an in-house employee, but what about another option — an intern?

If the work you need done doesn’t require specialized training, such as paperwork, filing, scheduling, or organization, maybe an intern is a reasonable option instead of a virtual assistant.

For businesses, the notion of getting potentially free help in the form of an intern is what makes the idea so attractive.

But both interns and VAs come with pros and cons, and different businesses may value one over the other — but both can be an invaluable help for your expanding business.

Hire a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is one that works from home and provides his or her services remotely, without coming in to your business’ location. Virtual assistants are usually self-employed, although there are also virtual assistant companies that oversee dozens or sometimes hundreds of VAs.

Virtual assistants work as independent contractors and not employees, which means that they offer their services to their clients and then bill them later; clients do not need to pay employee taxes, insurance, or benefits, and are not bound legally under an employer-employee relationship.

Compared to an intern, a VA will usually have several years of business experience, although backgrounds will naturally vary. They provide their services through communication means such as email, phone, fax, Skype, or online work spaces.

Although virtual assistants can perform a variety of tasks, they are best suited for work that can be done virtually, such as scheduling or organizing a calendar.

They can also conduct business calls (such as contacting clients), or do writing and work online. Virtual assistants do not take up office space and may not require as much training as an intern, and can usually be available throughout the day.

According to Chris Ducker, “I think interns tend to focus too much on ‘the experience’ and ‘learning’ rather than actually ‘performing’. I’ve had two – both didn’t work out the way I wanted / needed. So… now I hire team members!”

When I was looking to make my first hire, I explored the idea of an intern since we live very close to a community college campus. But after some research I found that a remote worker would be a better fit since I was working from my home office.

However, the lack of physical presence can be a drawback; for example, if you need to explain something in person, or have your assistant do work that can only be done in the office.

2627036668_f1e6aac95e_z

(img source)

Hire an Intern?

The other option is to hire an intern, which can be paid or unpaid. A paid internship is a temporary position that has the eventual goal of hiring the employee full-time with the company; however, this is not binding.

An unpaid intern, on the other hand, works without being compensated. Since the U.S. has stringent labor laws, unpaid internships must meet very strict requirements in order to be considered legal.

An unpaid internship must meet criteria established by the court case Walling v. Portland Terminal Co. in order to be legal by U.S. federal law; among these include the educational nature of the internship, as it must provide training to benefit the intern instead of exclusive benefits for the company.

Unpaid interns usually work in order to receive this training so that they can have experience to apply for paid positions.

In college, I had a couple paid internships and interviewed for a couple unpaid ones. Ultimately I decided against working for free even though I know the experience would have been valuable.

Interns, paid or unpaid, can do work for the business that requires an in-person presence; they can file, alphabetize, or sort paperwork, as well as maintain the office space and help with any other work around the office. Even if they don’t physically work from your office, interns are generally local hires, which may sit better with you than hiring someone overseas — especially if the rates are comparable.

Interns usually need to be trained, but once they are, they can conduct specialized work for the business.

Paid interns are usually hired by large businesses that can take on the extra cost; however, a small business can look into hiring an intern if they are looking to expand and would like to train an employee before hiring him or her full-time.

An unpaid intern can also be hired by either, and works well in an environment where he or she can receive one-on-one training.

Some of the benefits of an intern can include training an employee without having to shoulder the costs of having him or her on the payroll full-time, while that person is producing less work than he or she would after the training.

Interns can also allow for a slow ease into expansion instead of hiring multiple full-time employees at once. Because they often provide an in-person presence, communication is easier than with a virtual assistant (and there’s rarely a language barrier), and physical tasks can be carried out. However, the main drawback is training; your business will have to put in the time and effort to train the intern to perform whatever task is needed.

Scott Barlow, of Happen to Your Career, offers this advice:

“I’ve hired many more interns than I have VAs, 10 Vs 2. There is a different motivation set. Not in a good or a bad way just they want different things. Interns primary focus is to learn and gain experience.

“This can work out really well if you hire an intern that has a track record of being able to teach themself AND you are far enough along that you have clearly defined and have available for them the “training materials” they will need so it doesn’t take up all your time trying to teach them. Now obviously that last statement is also beneficial for a VA or anybody you hire.

“Interns can work well if there is potential that you might hire them afterwards in a more permanent position. This allows you to trial them at a lower rate while they are learning. Keep in mind the in the US both state level and federal level government agencies have cracked down and are in the last 18 months, really enforcing the definition of what’s considered an intern (for unpaid internships).”

Ultimately, the decision of whether to hire a virtual assistant or intern is up to each individual business. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but both are an essential help for an expanding business.

Your Turn

Have you worked with virtual assistants or interns?

Which did you hire? Would you make the same decision again?

Posted in News

Fancy Hands

Fancy Hands is a New York-based virtual assistant company that was founded in 2010.  In itself, it’s not a revolutionary business model, but what sets Fancy Hands apart from its low priced outsourcing competition is its use of US-based, native-English speaking assistants.  fancy hands reviewFor that, they’re gaining a lot of momentum and exposure.

Customers primarily use Fancy Hands as a time-saving tool for small one-time tasks, like restaurant reservations, online research, and quick event planning. You can submit tasks via the web interface, email, or phone, and rumor has it a mobile app is coming soon.

Initially Fancy Hands wasn’t touching any tasks that involved making purchases online, but they’ve added the capability now to make purchases on your behalf up to $100. For these transactions, your credit card details stay hidden from the VA. They use a company card, and then just bill the card you have on file for your membership for the amount of the purchase.

Another cool feature is that adding events to your Google Calendar is free.

Plans and Pricing

For just $49.99 a month you can outsource up to 15 tasks, and 50 15-minute tasks is just $149.99 a month.  A smaller 5-task plan is $29.99 a month, and you can save 15% on all plans by pre-paying for a year in advance.  The pre-pay option is a great deal but of course is a little risky for first-time outsourcers.

fancy hands pricing

Beginning in February 2014, unused tasks now rollover month-to-month.

Fancy Hands also added the ability to go beyond the regular 15-minute time limit by asking your approval to burn multiple tasks on one request. For instance, sometimes I’ve gotten a response back that says, we’d love to handle this for you, but it will take 3 tasks instead of one. OK, that’s fine — I hit the approval button and they got to work.

Fancy Hands Review

Virtual Assistant Assistant Referral Bonus: If you want to try Fancy Hands, get 50% off your first month when you sign-up through this link.

I tested Fancy Hands against a few of their competitors, both in the US and overseas. The trial pitted them against Red Butler, Efficise, and My Tasker. Please click here to read the full review of my test.

Without a dedicated virtual assistant option, Fancy Hands is aimed at a personal-use audience rather than a business-use audience. Unless of course your business requires lots of online research done in 15 minute increments, for example. Longer, time-intensive tasks like writing articles or ongoing business process tasks aren’t allowed. That said, I’ve had them do the initial baseline research for writing projects.

The company recently introduced a TeamWork platform, that gives Fancy Hands access to your entire team.  For employers, it’s a nice perk to offer and allows your workers to be more productive on the job.  The service is integrated with the web interface, email, phone, and Basecamp project management software.

Once you create your account, you’ll see a dashboard that keeps track of your requests and some other stats on profile. Fancy Hands has spent over 17 hours on the phone for me!

Fancy Hands Dashboard Dec 2014

I’m a pretty happy camper to have not had to make those 247 calls myself.

Another feature added is the ability to use Fancy Hands to set up your conference calls. It’s easy and included in your subscription (only charges one task), which probably amounts to less than some other conference-calling services may charge.

Longer Requests: The Best Feature Yet

In late summer 2014, Fancy Hands added the ability to submit requests longer than 15 minutes. This is huge!

Previously I had to break up those requests into 15 minute segments and re-submit each time one assistant finished. For one data entry project, it resulted in 20 different times I had to email them!

Now, you can submit your bigger job and they’ll come back with an approval request, for 5 gigs for instance. You click the “go ahead” button and they get to work. I also like this because it builds more consistency into these longer requests because the same assistant is working on it the whole time instead of the task changing hands to a dozen different people.

The Fancy Hands App

fancy hands appIn March 2013, Fancy Hands launched their mobile app. It has a very slick user interface with nearly all the functionality of their browser-based site.

You can check on view your usage statistics, track existing requests, and submit new ones via text or voice. Very cool. It also allows you to take pictures that might be helpful to your VA or choose an existing photo from your library.

fancy hands app screenshot

Incoming Calls?

The introduction of the Fancy Hands incoming calls API is big news for anyone struggling with their call volume or already using an outsourced solution like Ruby Receptionists. With a little bit of set-up, your preferred phone number can ring Fancy Hands and an assistant will answer the call, answer basic questions, and with access to your calendar, set appointments.

In the Cloud

Fancy Hands virtual assistants are “in the cloud” – a largely part-time, on-demand, and remote workforce that handles tasks as they come in. The unique set-up has attracted a lot of positive press during its first year in business, including articles in Fast Company, Slate, and Forbes. Users email their requests to a common account and a Fancy Hands assistant tackles it and follows up.

One advantage of this team-based approach is 24/7/365 coverage for your requests, whereas a “real” would probably need to take some time off or sleep every now and then.

However, to give off the appearance of a dedicated assistant, you can give this team of VAs a real name. The feature is called Personal Touch, and you can set up a dedicated email account to give correspondents the illusion that you have a dedicated personal assistant.

For instance, Fancy Hands founder Ted Roden uses the name Lucille Bluth — as in “I’ll have my assistant Lucille will set up the meeting.” And regardless of which Fancy Hands VA assumes the task, the meeting request will appear to come from Lucille.

Hmm… what clever name should I use for my assistant?

If you have any experience with Fancy Hands, please share it below!

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

Hire My Assistants

Hire My Assistants is a virtual assistant company located in Mumbai, India. Their team is comprised of professionals in areas of expertise including administrative services, office assistance, customer service, online services, professional services, web marketing, web design and development.

HMA prides themselves on being a one stop location for all personal assistant services from small businesses to medium sized corporations. Whether personal assistant services are needed for a one-time project or a more lengthy relationship is established, HMA has the capacity to handle both with efficiency and professionalism.

hire my assistants reviewAbout the Company

Sagar Khupsare is a veteran of the virtual assistant and business process outsourcing industry, and serves as the leader and driving force behind HMA.

As a fresh and dynamic leader he embraces challenges and looks forward to providing clients with the best the Hire My Assistants team can provide.

Established in the beginning of 2014, Hire My Assistants is a newer establishment when compared to other Indian virtual assistant companies. However, clients take comfort in knowing that the leadership of HMA has had goals of becoming one of the largest virtual assistant service providers. All HMA team members hold years of experience providing excellent customer assistance and high quality services.

Services

Client tasks are assigned specifically to skilled professionals in that area; human resource tasks are assigned to human resource experts and payroll to payroll experts, etc. This ensures that client tasks are handled in the most professional, efficient manner.

Hire My Assistants provides virtual assistant services in the following fields:

  • Accounting & Finance Managers
  • Administrative & Office
  • Chat & Email Customer Service Support
  • Ecommerce Development
  • Executive Secretary
  • Inbound & Outbound Call Center
  • Market Research & Analysis
  • Personal Assistant
  • SEO
  • Website Designing

HMA is always looking to expand their service offerings so stay tuned for additional areas of expertise.

Hire My Assistants Founder Interview

Plans and Pricing

The Hire My Assistants plans and pricing are very straightforward and affordable; and are intended to be so. They purposely make choosing a plan and pricing a simple process.

Being part of the industry for many years, HMA recognizes the value of a cost effective and quality service tailored to meet the needs of each individual enterprise. Given this, their pricing is laid out very simply.

Rates start at roughly $180 a month for 20 hours of support ($8.98 an hour) and go as low as $4.98/hr for a full-time VA ($800 per month).

There is great flexibility in hours to ensure that there are plans to meet the needs of all businesses, and no long-term contracts.

Hire My Assistants Alternatives

The virtual assistant industry in India (and elsewhere) remains a competitive one with companies like 24/7 Virtual Assistant, My Tasker, and VMG BPO all vying for your business.

While Hire My Assistants may lack the marketplace experience and client ranks that other companies boast, Sagar tells me their leadership, quality team, fair pricing and exceptional service set them apart from their competitors.

Have you worked with HMA? If so, please be sure to leave a review below to help others with their decision.

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

eaHELP

eaHELP is a virtual executive assistant company that employs exclusively US-based assistants. The company got its start in 2010 helping churches and pastors outsource their administrative work, and has since expanded to serve businesses (small & large) nationwide.

VAA Tested eaHELPeaHELP executive assistants are administrative professionals trained in a variety of support tasks. Their goal is to integrate tightly with you and your existing team for a cohesive process-flow, even though they’ll be working remotely.

Services

Some of the more common jobs eaHELP VAs do include scheduling and travel planning, research, preparing presentations, social media admin, project management, and other ongoing business support functions. The idea is to let someone else handle what they’re good at, so you can focus your time on what you’re good at — or what you need to do to grow your business.

The eaHELP model is known as a “staff leasing” arrangement. Where other virtual assistant companies may assign your tasks to whoever is available at the moment, eaHELP gives you a dedicated/assigned assistant so you can build a one-on-one relationship and gain the efficiencies that come with it.

eaHELP Review

With dedicated support and All-American executive assistants, eaHELP is a positioned as a premium service in the competitive world of cloud staffing. But instead of racing to the bottom on pricing, they want to help your organization race to the top, with hand-picked VAs matched against your needs (both professional & personal requirements).

The company offers monthly service plans in 5-hour per week increments. The most popular plan to start out with for small businesses, entrepreneurs, or people who just want to take a test drive is the baseline 5-hour a week plan. The sign-up process begins with a free consultation and personalized price quote.

A flat monthly fee gives you access to you VA week in and week out, without having to worry about overhead, timesheets, and billing headaches. Modest discounts are available for scaling up the engagement, and you can change plans at any time given reasonable notice.

Plans and Pricing

As you might expect, eaHELP is considerably more expensive than many of the overseas virtual assistant options. In some parts of the world, you may even be able to find a full-time virtual employee for a lower monthly fee. But eaHELP believes you get what you pay for, and clearly isn’t targeting the same customer who’s looking for the $5/hour VA.

As of December 2014, their hourly rates range from $35 to $44. The good thing is that these rates are “all-inclusive,” in that you don’t have any additional employer burden costs to pay on top of it, like you would with a traditional W-2 employee. If you are a non-profit or a church, lower rates may be available.

If you’re ready to bite off a longer term commitment, the company does offer a negotiated rate of 20% off for annual contracts when you pre-pay for the year in advance. Alternatively, a 12-month contract without pre-payment may still be eligible for your 11th and 12th months free.

Both these options still come with a 60-day “out clause” if things aren’t working out, and otherwise the eaHELP service is provided month-to-month.

Bryan Miles, the founder of eaHELP, is focused on delivering superior service to his customers. The strategy seems to be paying off, with business growing rapidly and a host of marquee clients. In fact, the company has earned glowing endorsements from author Michael Hyatt and other Fortune 500 companies.

I had the chance to sit down with Bryan and ask him a few questions on what sets eaHELP apart from the competition, who their target customers are, what areas of work they specialize, and who should NOT use their service.

eaHELP Founder Interview

As mentioned in the video, use this link to grab a free copy of The Virtual Assistant Solution (which normally sells on Amazon for $2.99).

the virtual assistant solution

With so many changes in our economy and hiring strategies, Bryan argues it may be time to rethink your approach to staffing. In fact, he gives 9 reasons to consider going virtual for your next hire in his free ebook (email opt-in required, but worth the read).

Employee Burden Infographic

eahelp infographic

Your Turn

Have you worked with eaHELP? If so, please consider sharing a short review below to help others with their decision.

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

$99 Social

$99 Social provides outsourced social media services for small businesses that don’t have the time or the expertise to actively engage with their customers online.

The company aims to provide social media posts and activity on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, and works with businesses to provide customized content.

About $99 Social

99 dollar social reviewThe company was founded on the basis of providing custom social media solutions for small businesses, and promises its customers to be “budget-friendly, time-friendly, and small-business friendly.” Its services include a comprehensive social media package for only $99/month, and save small business owners the time that it takes to manage numerous social media accounts.

The company was launched in 2011, and has grown rapidly to serve numerous small businesses around the country.

$99 Social is located in Arizona, and its workers are based there as well; the company does not outsource to other countries. All social media accounts are managed by a Content Specialist who conducts research to determine the best approach for each business on social media.

Video Overview

Services

$99 Social’s package includes all of the following:

  • Daily content on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
  • A VoiceMatch system to make sure that the “voice” of each social media account matches the voice of the business
  • Social profile optimization to receive the most results in search engines
  • Promotion of products and services, as well as other customized promotion, targeted to the local community
  • Removal of spam on each social media account
  • Phone and email support

See Also: Should You Outsource Social Media?

Plans and Pricing

As you might have guessed based on the name, the price is $99/month, without hidden fees or price increases.

However, adding social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram beyond the basic package will cost extra, but all packages include Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Small businesses looking for more than the basic package can also purchase the Social Media Boosters, which provides a more involved solution. Businesses simply need to contact the company and discuss the details of what each business is looking for.

All plans are month-to-month with no long-term contracts. If you’re not happy with the service, just cancel within the first 14 days for a full refund.

$99 Social Alternatives

$99 Social is unique for its affordable and small-business oriented model. Its goal is to provide individualized attention for each of its clients, which sets it apart from other social media management companies that target large companies with more accounts, and thus raise their prices accordingly.

The alternatives of course include doing it all yourself, which is definitely an option but can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you’re new to social media and aren’t sure the best way to go about it. On the other end of the spectrum are dedicated social media marketing virtual assistants, offered by many talented individuals and VA companies.

Going that route would probably generate more engagement on your social accounts, but also comes at a higher price tag. In the case of $99 Dollar Social, you don’t really have to worry about training or coming up with a plan on your own.

Have you worked with $99 Social? If so, please be sure to leave a quick review of your experience below.

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

24/7 Virtual Assistant

24/7 Virtual Assistant is a personal outsourcing company with locations in Atlanta, Georgia and India. The company has been in business since 2008, and has attracted clients all across the country and around the world.

24/7 Virtual Assistant Review247VirtualAssistant.com is geared toward the small business customer, with several dedicated plans starting at 30 hours a month for $299 ($10/hour) and going all the way up to full time 160 hours a month for $999 ($6.25/hour).  The 30-hour plan is the most popular offering.

The advantage of these plans is a dedicated virtual assistant you can train to the specific needs of your business. If you don’t need so much time, 24/7 Virtual Assistant also sells hourly pay-as-you-go plans for $15 an hour in 5-hour increments.

You can take advantage of the services offered by 24/7 Virtual Assistant, regardless of the type of business you have or even if you just need someone to deal with your personal tasks. The services offered range from clerical and secretarial tasks, such as responding to messages or calls, to web research, customer service, human resources, and real estate services. They even do web design for just $20 an hour.

In addition to their offshore center in India, 24/7 offers US-based staffing as well from their Atlanta headquarters. The rates are outstanding for dedicated American help, starting at just $359 for a 20-hour per month VA. There are a variety of plans depending on how many hours you need, and you can even get a full-time US-based virtual employee for only $1999 a month.

247VirtualAssistant.com Review

Virtual Assistant Assistant Exclusive: Mention referral code 2ni4ck7 for 10% off your first month!

The virtual assistants from 24/7 Virtual Assistant also offer services which are extremely creative and technical. These could be managing your technical calls from important clients and helping with computer related issues. You can get help from creative VAs who are able to design programs for Internet marketing campaigns. You get to train them as if they were a real employee.

You can also use these assistants as customer support staff to answer calls from potential customers.  This service is offered at very affordable cost and you are not required to sign a contract.   What’s even more interesting the service is offered on a month to month basis, so you can unsubscribe at any time without incurring a penalty.

24/7 VA Video Interview

Virtual Assistant Assistant Exclusive: Mention referral code 2ni4ck7 for 10% off your first month!

Since launching this site, 24/7 has been one of the most popular companies around. The competitive rates and diverse skill-sets of the team are a major contributing factor, but the behind-the-scenes service is important too.

My main contact there has been very responsive to  customer questions and concerns, even working to create custom solutions or handling some of the workload himself until a more permanent set-up can be established. I think an important measure is the speed at which customer issues are resolved, and it’s been my experience that Thomas (my contact) and his team genuinely care about delivering a great service and doing whatever they can to make it right for their clients.

Is that a guarantee? No, but you can learn more about my personal trial with 24/7 in the video above or in the comments down below. I had the opportunity to test out their 30-hour plan for a month.

Have you used 24/7 Virtual Assistant?  Please share your experience below.

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

4 Specialty Outsourcing Companies You Should Know

One of the biggest trends I’m seeing in outsourcing right now is the rise of the specialty service shop.

Instead of big cubicle farms offering every service under the sun, I’m seeing more and more tightly focused businesses specializing in one area.

These guys have taken the Fancy Hands model and niched it down even further.

Here are 4 examples you should know about, in the areas people ask for help with most often:

  • Web development
  • Content creation
  • Bookkeeping
  • Graphics

WP Curve

Claim to Fame: Unlimited WordPress website fixes for $69 a month.

Link:

WPCurve.com

Perfect for non-technical people who want to have an “IT guy” on retainer but don’t or need a full-time person.

They’ll handle all the website updates and small design tweaks you can throw at ‘em.

Copywriter Today

Claim to Fame: Unlimited 400-1500 word articles written for $249 per month.

Current offer: 50% off w/ code 50offOct

Link:

CopywriterToday.net

If you’re struggling to keep up with your editorial calendar or are managing multiple blogs, this service will be a lifesaver.

Bench.co

Claim to Fame: Accounting and bookkeeping service for small businesses, starting at $125 per month.

Link:

Bench.co

Get a dedicated bookkeeper and stop wasting time on expenses and time-consuming accounting tasks.

Undullify

Claim to Fame: Unlimited 30-minute graphic design tasks for $79 per month, or one-off graphics jobs for $19 each.

Link:

Undullify.com

I can see this being especially valuable if you have a need to create sharable images for social media on an ongoing basis, or to create quality graphics for your blog.

Your Turn

Any other “specialty” outsourcing shops I should be aware of?

Let me know and I’ll add to this list!

Posted in News

My Tasker

My Tasker is a relative newcomer to the virtual assistant industry, but brings years of experience to the table. The India-based company was founded in 2012 by three veteran VAs.

my tasker review

Since the My Tasker team spent the time in the trenches, they know how to take care of clients and were able to recruit high-performing professional virtual assistants to join their team.

They started out as a contract service on Freelancer.com, and after gaining some traction on that platform decided to launch as a standalone operation.

Services

My Tasker offers a dedicated virtual assistant service starting at 10 hours a month.

This plan, dubbed Professional Assistance, plans target entrepreneurs who need affordable help in their business.

Your dedicated MyTasker VA can handle everything from customer support (online or over the phone), transcription, social media management and online marketing, online research, website maintenance and more.

Naturally, your virtual assistant can handle general administrative tasks as well such as appointment setting, travel or restaurant reservations, or other back-office tasks that can be completed remotely.

How it Works

With My Tasker, you’re assigned a qualified VA based on the anticipated roles you need filled. You can communicate via phone, email, or Skype, and delegate tasks on a recurring or on-demand basis. For each task you delegate, they’ll either tackle it themselves, or request help from a qualified team member.

Your pre-purchased hours expire at the end of each billing cycle, but there are no long-term contracts and you can cancel at any time.

Your VA’s hours are tracked inside MyTasker’s internal dashboard so you can always log in and see how much time you have left for the month.

My Tasker Review

I was impressed during my trial of My Tasker, but I was using their now-discontinued “Lifestyle Assistance” plan, which offered 30 15-minute tasks for $39 a month. I guess I’ll have to do another trial run here soon!

Plans and Pricing

The rates for Professional Assistance start at $120 for a 10-hour a month plan, and go all the way down to $6.25/hr for a massive 160-hour plan.

That means you can have a full-time 40-hour a week VA for just $1000, which is a strong value for ongoing business support. If you want to take the service for a test drive, I suggest selecting one of the smaller plans to start with, and then scaling up your engagement from there. (Use the discount code below!)

Pricing Table (accurate at press time):

  • 10 hrs per month – $120 ($12/hr)
  • 20 hrs per month – $220 ($11/hr)
  • 30 hrs per month – $300 ($10/hr)
  • 50 hrs per month – $450 ($9/hr)
  • 80 hrs per month – $640 ($8/hr)
  • 120 hrs per month – $840 ($7/hr)
  • 160 hrs per month – $1000 ($6.25/hr)

If at any time you go over your plan’s hours, additional time can be purchased at $12 an hour (assuming staff availability).

VAA Exclusive: Get 20% off your first month w/ discount code VAA20MT.

I asked Ronny, the COO, what sets My Tasker apart from the competition, both in India and elsewhere. He explained that the team’s extensive experience in the industry, especially on the customer service side, gives them an advantage.

“We have the freedom to go that extra mile to make sure our customers are satisfied,” he says, implying that other larger VA companies don’t necessarily afford that freedom.

Have you worked with My Tasker? If so, please share your experience below and help others with their decision.

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

Best Virtual Assistant…

I know you were hoping for a magic page with the one clear winner here, but unfortunately there is no easy answer to the question of which virtual assistant company is the best.

The truth is it depends on your specific needs, and everyone’s needs are slightly different. Because of that, I’ve done my best to break it down by category, but be sure to check the reviews for each.

For Personal Tasks
Efficise – Starts at $45/mo for 30 tasks
Zirtual – All-American support with an “Epic Guarantee”
Fancy Hands – US-based assistance starting at $29.99 a month
Red Butler – Virtual concierge with tons of extra perks
TimeSvr – $69/month for unlimited quick tasks

For Small Business
Any of the above, plus:
Elance/oDesk – One-stop shopping for any job imaginable (Worldwide)
My Tasker – Professional support from $6.25/hr (India)
Hire Your Virtual Assistant – Great plans for entrepreneurs (Philippines)
24/7 Virtual Assistant – Qualified help, fast (India, USA)
UAssist.me – Professional outsourcing close to home (El Salvador)
VMG BPO – 24/7 live chat support from $195 a month (India)

For Medium Business
Longer Days – 100% American business process outsourcing (Michigan)
eaHELP – Expert help right here in the USA (Georgia)
BPOVIA – A popular choice among growing companies (China)
Brickwork India – One of the most famous VA companies (India)
Worldwide101 – Talented VAs on demand (Global)

For Full-Time Dedicated Help
OnlineJobs.ph – $49 to start, $400 – $750 per month ongoing
Virtual Staff Finder – $495 to start, $400-750 per month ongoing
Staff.com – From $500 per month
VirtualEmployee.com – $895 – $1495 per month
Task Bullet – $960 per month
A to Z Tasks – $995 per month
24/7 Virtual Assistant – $999 per month
My Tasker – $1000 per month
Hire Your Virtual Assistant – $1120 per month
UAssist.me – $1400 per month

For One-Time Projects
oDesk – Have qualified workers bid on your tasks
Elance – Access thousands of freelancers with just a few clicks
Freelancer.com – The world’s largest freelance marketplace
Fiverr – You’ll be surprised what you can get done for just $5
Mechanical Turk – Outsource small jobs to the cloud for pennies

For Graphic Design Work
99designs – Crowdsourced logo and web design
crowdSPRING – Marketplace for graphic design
Witmart – Crowdsourcing design platform that’s huge in China
Logo Garden – Great looking DIY logos on the cheap

For Writing
HireWriters – Cheap copywriting
TextBroker – Another cheap copywriting option
Scripted.com – Higher-end content-creation service

For Website Help
WP Curve – Unlimited WordPress fixes for $69/mo
Tweaky – Fast and cheap option for small website customizations

Still need help? Try our survey tool and get free personalized recommendations in your inbox, generally within 24-hours.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hire Your Virtual Assistant

Hire Your Virtual Assistant – H.Y.V.A. for short – is a virtual assistant company founded in 2009 by Owen McGab Enaohwo. Enaohwo is a Washington DC-based entrepreneur who went into the business of helping others save time. If you watch any of his video interviews, you can immediately tell how passionate he is about your success. With a large 200+ person facility in the Philippines, Hire Your Virtual Assistant is ready to tackle the needs of busy professionals and business-owners everywhere.
HYVA review

HYVA offers a variety of virtual assistant plans, ranging from 40 hours a month to 160 hours a month, at rates of $358 to $1120. On an hourly basis, you’ll find these rates are fairly competitive for Filipino VAs. The most popular H.Y.V.A. plan is the part-time, 20-hour a week plan for $672 a month, which works out to about $8.40 an hour.

The availability of these part-time plans is one thing that sets HYVA apart from other Philippines virtual assistant companies.  Others are focused solely on full-time employment, which might be overkill for first-time outsourcers.

UPDATE: HYVA specifically targets ecommerce companies in the fashion and clothing vertical who want to offer 24/7 live support to their website visitors. The assistants will expertly handle live chat, email, and phone support for that industry.

HYVA Intro Video

You also have the benefit of no long-term obligation; there are no contracts to sign and you can quit your virtual assistant service at any time.  Hire Your Virtual Assistant offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee and strives to cultivate valuable and lasting relationships with their clients.  Recently the company added a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test out their service risk-free.

I had the chance to sit down with Owen to get the inside scoop on the origins of HYVA, how their process works, and the exact kinds of tasks they really excel in — as well as who should NOT hire them. The video portion of the call didn’t actually record, so you’ll just have to pretend our mouths are moving.

Like we discussed, HYVA provides a dedicated project manager and virtual assistant that you can train to meet your specific business needs. That way your tasks and potentially sensitive information aren’t being shuffled around from person to person. You can build a relationship with your VA just as you would an in-house employee. Plus, most virtual assistants are working during US business hours so you can communicate normally without a shift in your schedule.

Hire Your Virtual Assistant uses the popular Basecamp web-based software for a secure online interface that allows clients and VAs to communicate effectively and monitor results.

Have you had any experience working with Hire Your Virtual Assistant? Please share it here and help others with their decision.

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

TaskBullet

TaskBullet is a virtual assistant company in the Philippines with US-sales offices in California and Utah.  Although the company is a relative newcomer to the space having started in 2012, all the VAs have five years of experience in their fields.

The Task Bullet model is a virtual employee model.  You get a full-time assistant who can handle your website management, email marketing, social media accounts, customer service, research and more.  Since they are your dedicated VA, you can train them to meet your specific needs and requirements.

TaskBullet ReviewHow it Works

TaskBullet virtual assistants go through a rigorous hiring process and all work from the central office in Davao City, Philippines.  In particular, they company seeks out VAs who are quick learners and who have advanced English skills.

Virtual assistants either work from their home offices or from TaskBullet’s central PCI compliant facility, which is ideal for assistants to handle inbound and outbound calls.

Services

The company is able to provide dedicated virtual assistants, while still being able to tap into a team with a broad range of skills. You have 3 points of contact: your VA, your dedicated VA supervisor, and your US-based team lead in Utah.

For advanced skills or roles your dedicated VA isn’t the best fit to handle, you can apply your pre-paid time to others on their team to get your work done without having to source a new company or freelancer.

It’s a service by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.  As such, they have a strong understanding of what you need – affordable quality help, and what you don’t – stress, overhead, headaches.

TaskBullet Intro Video

Task Bullet service comes with no start-up fees and a 7-day money back guarantee.  If you’re unhappy with your VA, the company will set up with a new one immediately.  In addition, new customers receive a free consultation on how to most effectively work with their VA.

Task Bullet Interview

(For some reason, my video didn’t come through during the recording so all we have is Danny’s face!)

Plans and Pricing

I appreciated how they were upfront with their pricing – with none of the “contact us for a quote” stuff you see on some other sites.  The rates start $6/hour for a full-time virtual employee.  These prices make Task Bullet extremely competitive on price for virtual workers in the Philippines, with full-time help available for under $1000 a month.

The company specializes in full-time, 40-hours a week virtual assistants, but has recently expanded their service offerings to include a number of part-time plans as well. If you don’t have a full-time workload, you might consider their 20, 40, and 80-hour packages, which run $200, $360, and $640 per month respectively.

How it works is on a “bucket of hours” basis, meaning you’re essentially buying blocks of time that rollover for up to 3 months. That means you can sign on for the 80-hour plan at $640, for example, and use those 80 hours how you see fit over the 90 days.

Customers aren’t billed on a recurring monthly basis, but rather can renew their hours or upgrade or downgrade at any time.

That structure makes sense if you don’t have a consistent workload each week, but are confident you’ll use the time eventually.

VAA Exclusive: Mention VirtualAssistantAssistant at sign-up for 20% off your first month!

(Additional discounts may be available for longer-term recurring contracts.)

TaskBullet also provides an on-demand task-based service at a flat rate of $12.95 per hour, if you have smaller projects to outsource or want to sample their work before buying a larger block of hours. And they do audio transcription at a rate of $35 per audio hour.

Have you worked with TaskBullet? If so, please share your experience below and help others with their search.

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

Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder is more of headhunting service than a true virtual assistant company. Founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Chris Ducker, the firm promises to match you up with qualified workers in the Philippines.

virtual staff finder reviewIn my mind, Chris is right up there with Tim Ferriss when it comes to lifestyle design and using virtual assistants to help achieve your goals. He’s been in the outsourcing arena for 10 years and he and his staff know the Philippines very well.

Virtual Staff Finder is a simple process which works like this. After you sign up, you complete your Job Description requirements, listing all the skills you’d like your virtual assistant to have and what kind of tasks they may be doing for you. Then, for your viewing pleasure, Chris has put together a series of helpful training videos on how best to select and work with your new VA.

Meanwhile, the team at Virtual Staff Finder is hunting for the best candidates. All their virtual assistants are screened, tested, interviewed, and background checked – all before you’re even involved.

Then, the company presents you with the 3 best candidates, and you can do your own interviews and make your selection from there. If you’ve ever tried to find a VA on Elance or oDesk, you’ll appreciate all the screening work Virtual Staff Finder does for you.

Over the years, VSF has helped place over 1000 virtual assistants with new employers so they definitely have their systems down.

Virtual Staff Finder Review

For this, they charge a one-time $495 fee. After that, you and your new virtual assistant agree on a salary and you pay them directly. Because there is no more company overhead, you can expect to pay market rates for your VA, which typically range from $400 a month for full time general administrative help up to $750 a month for more skilled work.

If that price seems steep, consider the average referral bonus given for full-time hires is $1200 (according to Inc. Magazine), and that doesn’t even include the recruiting expenses.

Virtual Staff Finder specializes in matching entrepreneurs with four distinct types of virtual assistants: general admin support staff, web developers, content writers, and SEO specialists. If you’re looking for other skills, you might consider OnlineJobs.ph, a popular jobs board in the Philippines.

UPDATE: VSF has stopped recruiting web developers, content writers, and SEO specialists to instead focus on the “General VA” or GVA fulfillment. It’s possible your GVA will have some SEO or content-creation background if you specify that in your requirements, but it’s no longer the company’s plan to help with recruiting specifically for those roles.

The company offers a 10-day guarantee, which means if you don’t end up hiring any of the 3 candidates they selected for you, or if you did hire one and they didn’t work out without the first 10 days, Virtual Staff Finder will source you another 3 candidates for free.

Have you worked with Virtual Staff Finder? We’d love to get your feedback below.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Low Cost Virtual Assistants, Philippines Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Resources, Virtual Employees

Speedlancer

Speedlancer is the first freelancing platform to harness the power of the crowd for speed. The Melbourne, Australia based company opens its doors in 2014, but uses a unique crowdsourcing methodology to quickly deliver tasks for clients.

Speedlancer targets business owners who would like to take a load off and increase productivity. This is especially useful for business owners because multiple tasks can be done in parallel, so what would normally take days or weeks elsewhere can all be done in just 4 hours.

speedlancer reviewFounder Adam Stone explains the service also works well for startups who need to launch their minimum viable product (MVP) immediately, to get up and running and test their concepts really quickly.

Services

In a promised turnaround time of just 4 hours, you can have a design, writing, or data entry/research task done by their high-quality, curated ‘Speedlancers.’ This distributed team is located in different time zones around the world to provide ample coverage for requests that come in at all hours of the day and night.

All the writers are promised to be native English speakers.

How it Works

The first step is to describe the micro-job you need done, whether it’s a small design project, an article or other writing job, or some research-related task. Speedlancer plans to expand into other service areas soon as well.

You create a title, job description, and your desired budget. Then the task goes out into the queue of Speedlancer tasks a qualified worker jumps on it right away.

speedlancer submit task

At the time of this writing, the average time to acceptance of a job is just 10 minutes.

Upon delivery, you are entitled to a round of free revisions, and if the work still is not done to your satisfaction, Speedlancer will re-enter it into the task-list to be re-done, or issue a refund. That way, the quality is guaranteed.

Plans and Pricing

On this platform, customers choose their prices using the sliding scale shown above, and then it is up to the Speedlancers to decide whether or not the task is a good exchange for their time and effort.

Adam recommended choosing a baseline price around the $29 mark, explaining that $29 will typically get you a 500 word blog post, a logo, banner design, poster, or business card design (just to name a few), and most smallish data-entry type work such as data mining.

If no one accepts your job within 8 hours, you’ll have an option to revise your description or increase your price. That way, the marketplace determines what a fair value for each job is.

The company takes a revenue share and passes the rest onto the individual worker who completed your job.

Speedlancer Alternatives

What sets Speedlancer apart is the turnaround time from start to finish. You don’t have to worry about submitting a job proposal to Elance or oDesk, then weeding through the dozens of applications.

For a small task, it’s more trouble than it’s worth!

The other primary alternative would be a specialist marketplace like Fiverr, but the challenge there is in sorting through all the noise to find the right seller for you. Even though I love Fiverr, I admit it can be time-consuming to find the perfect gig for what I need — and when I do, I’m frustrated because that seller is probably in high-demand and has 1-2 week lag in his promised delivery time.

Speedlancer aims to solve those pains by providing high quality service AND a fast turnaround time. Sure, you’ll pay more than $5, but it can be worth it if you’re in a hurry.

As soon as I have a chance to test out Speedlancer, I’ll report back and share my results here. Ahh, I should have had them write this article!

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

Posted in Freelance Virtual Assistants, Task-Based Virtual Assistants, Writing Services

5 Star VAs

5 Star VAs is a virtual assistant recruiting service with a twist. The Philippines-based company offers both “unmanaged” and “co-managed” matchmaking services.

The company was founded in 2013 and has attracted a growing client base since then. When the co-founder, Neil Cass, reached out to me, my initial reaction was that the company sounded a little like Virtual Staff Finder, the VA recruiting service run by Chris Ducker.

5 star vas reviewServices

Like VSF, 5 Star VAs will source talented virtual assistant candidates tailored specifically to your individual needs. But unlike VSF, which now only recruits General Virtual Assistants, 5 Star VAs will help you find a dedicated team member to meet a wide variety of skillsets.

For instance, you can use their service to find general VAs, SEO specialists, content writers, bloggers, social media marketing specialists, web designers, web developers, and more.

They can provide VAs on a full-time (160 hrs per month) or part-time basis (80 hrs per month), and target startups, small businesses, solopreneurs and other entrepreneurs who need help getting it all done.

With the Unmanaged Service, you interview the candidates provided by 5 Star VAs and make your hiring decision. Then, you work directly with your new virtual assistant and train and pay them directly. There is no markup on their salary and they report to you with no intermediary.

With the Co-Managed Service, they help negotiate the salary on your behalf, handle the VA’s payroll, and pay their PhilHealth premiums (the national health insurance program).

In this case, the company also serves in an ongoing HR capacity, as a point of contact so if there are any issues at any time the client can speak to us directly.

Neil explains, “I feel that this is important as some clients may feel overwhelmed at times and not know how to approach the VA, usually it would just be a case of getting to know each other and work style, adapting to the clients way of doing things, but if this is not addressed it could lead to misunderstandings and the client deciding that working with VAs is not for them.”

It should be noted that even in the co-managed relationship, you are still in charge of managing and overseeing your VA’s work.

5 Star VAs Intro Video

How it Works

As with Virtual Staff Finder, the VAs they seek to place will be thoroughly vetted and skill checked, have a solid college educational background and converse well in English. With each recruitment, they aim to match your desired skill set and requirements before the interview process.

All 5 Star VAs work from their home offices, and have gone through a working environment checklist to make sure it is quiet, free from distractions, and has good DSL connection speeds.

“We will only endorse VAs with a proven track record of experience and a genuine willingness to work for overseas clients in a professional manner,” Neil explains.  “We are here to build a reputation for providing talented, reliable, professional VAs.”

Plans and Pricing

The fee for the Unmanaged matchmaking service is a one-time payment of $385. For this price 5 Star VAs promises to provide three top-notch candidates for you to interview via Skype and then ultimately decide which one you would like to hire.

The fee for the Co-Managed service is the same $385, however, you will earn a $200 credit towards the VA’s third month’s salary.

Un-managed General VA hourly rates typically start from around $4 an hour and go up from there depending on experience and skillset. Naturally, virtual assistants with more advanced skills command higher rates.

The Co-Managed service starts at $800 per month for a full-time VA, and payments are easy through PayPal or Credit card.

VAA Exclusive: Mention referral code VAA for 10% off your VA’s first month’s salary on the Co-Managed service.

Why 5 Star VAs?

They have a small management team on the ground in the Philippines on a year round basis, which isn’t always the case with many other VA companies.

Neil is passionate about helping fellow entrepreneurs and has a background of running small businesses in both the UK & Australia and he understands the way clients from western countries like things done and can relate to their business requirements and needs. This coupled with the local support and knowledge of his wife Imy leads to a smooth process from start to finish.

5 Star VAs Alternatives

Aside from Virtual Staff Finder (mentioned above), the other service to consider would be OnlineJobs.ph. With OnlineJobs, it’s a do-it-yourself service in that you post the job yourself, screen all the candidates, conduct interviews, and hire your favorite.

Have you worked with 5 Star VAs? If so, please leave a quick review of your experience below to help others with their hiring decision.

Posted in Dedicated Virtual Assistants, Philippines Virtual Assistants, Virtual Employees

Hubstaff

Hubstaff provides time tracking software for remote teams, and has also ventured into staffing solutions as well. The company was founded in 2012 and their virtual team is “based” out of Indianapolis, Indiana.

On the time tracking side of the business, Hubstaff’s software gives you screen capture capabilities, tracks activity, and automatically creates timesheets and reports. In that sense, it’s similar to the built-in trackers provided by Elance and oDesk, but frees you to hire people outside of those platforms and still keep tabs on them.

(OnlineJobs.ph also added a free screen capture tool called TimeProof.)

hubstaff reviewNow I’m not big on the over-the-shoulder nature of these tracking programs, and have only ever looked at the Elance screen reports a handful of times. The best way to make sure your virtual assistants are working? Have some deliverable. If it’s not getting done, then you have a problem — otherwise, why bother with the micromanaging?

So this post will focus on Hubstaff as a hiring platform, rather than review the time tracking tool. If interested, it comes with a 14-day free trial so you can check it out and see how you like it.

Hubstaff Intro Video

Note: The video says the software is “100% free.” There is a free plan but the features and functionality are quite limited.

VAA Exclusive: Use referral code VAA15 for 30% off your first 2 month’s of service!

Services

With Hubstaff, you can tap into their platform of on-demand talent to help your small business. They have pre-screened virtual assistants, web developers, graphic designers, marketing pros, content writers, and more.

The advantage is it’s a time-saver over searching for freelance contractors on your own; Hubstaff has already done some of that legwork for you. One thing I thought was a little weird was that they are only staffing through third-party companies, which means there is probably not one, but two layers of profit markup on your worker’s salary.

The argument is that going through companies will leave you better protected and with a more reputable experience, but you run the risk of over-paying for the same level of talent. Still, it’s a done-for-you solution, and that does have some value.

Interview with Hubstaff Co-Founder

VAA Exclusive: Use referral code VAA15 for 30% off your first 2 month’s of service!

How it Works

The first step in hiring through Hubstaff is to describe your project, role, or task you need done. One of their project managers will contact you for more information and to explain the next steps.

After they have a solid understanding of your needs, they’ll assign you an “awesome” contractor, and you’re off to the races.

All the work is tracked and managed through the Hubstaff software and of course you can interact and provide training directly to your contractor. For the duration of the project, the payments are processed weekly and automatically withdrawn from your account.

Plans and Pricing

Hubstaff has very straightforward pricing, which I appreciated. The rates for a virtual assistant are $5 an hour for an entry level assistant, and $8 an hour for a senior-level VA. Naturally, at those rates, this is for an overseas assistant.

For the higher skilled roles, such as graphics or software programming, the rate is $30 an hour for “non-senior” worker, and $45 an hour for a contractor with more experience.

Hubstaff Alternatives

The biggest alternatives to Hubstaff both in terms of virtual staffing and the tracking tool are the freelance platforms of Elance and oDesk, mentioned above, as well as the Philippines-specific jobs board, OnlineJobs.ph.

Have you found a virtual assistant or other remote team member through Hubstaff? If so, please leave a quick review of your experience below to help others with their hiring decision.

Posted in Project-Based Virtual Assistants, Virtual Assistant Resources, Virtual Employees
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
Sponsors

Free 40 Hour VA Trial!

By

A to Z Tasks
 
TaskBullet
Hire My Assistants
Virtual Employee
Udemy
Questions? Let’s Talk!
Not Sure Where to Start?
Take our FREE 2-minute survey and get personalized recommendations sent right to your inbox!
Best Virtual Assistant…

For Personal Tasks
Efficise
Fancy Hands
Zirtual

For Small Business
24/7 Virtual Assistant
My Tasker
Longer Days

For One-Time Projects
oDesk
Elance
Fiverr

View More