How I Hired My Latest VA for Free

My latest VA “hire” didn’t cost me anything out of pocket.

This won’t work for every business and definitely has some downsides as well, but here’s how it worked.

One of my goals for the year was to make the most of the content I’d already created, to see if I could squeeze more traffic and revenue from these assets.

Among that content was my small portfolio of books on Amazon, which includes the Virtual Assistant Assistant book.

And while most of my titles already had a Kindle version and a paperback version, I’d never done an audiobook. According to several sources, audiobooks sell surprisingly well. I was curious to test it out for myself.

free audiobook narration

Project Options

That left me with at the top of the project decision tree, with some familiar choices:

  1. Record it myself.
  2. Hire a narrator.

But not having any track record of audiobook sales, I was hesitant to spend $700 or more on a professional audiobook production.

I briefly thought about doing it myself, since I already have a microphone and some audio editing experience, but thought it might be more fun (and more meta) to find a VA to record the VAA book.

That’s when I discovered, the “audiobook creation exchange,” which is owned by Amazon. One of their production options is to offer a revenue share with your narrator, meaning you can have a professional audiobook created for zero upfront cost.

I figured since every audiobook I sell will be incremental revenue anyway, I really had no problem splitting it with the narrator.

Finding a Free VA

I had a dozen different narrators audition for the VAA project, and ended up going with Scott from Buffalo, New York. The book is going through its final approval process now, and should be live on Amazon in the next couple weeks.

Hopefully it turns out to be a profitable venture for both Scott and I.

(At one point during the recording, Scott sent me a note about his moment of epiphany: “Wait, I’m the virtual assistant right now!”)

For future book projects, I’ll have a better idea of the sales pace and whether or not it makes financial sense to pay upfront–or to do it myself.

And while this profit sharing set-up really isn’t anything new, it’s the first time I’ve used it in the context of getting virtual work done.

Work for Equity?

I think it’s an interesting workaround for companies and entrepreneurs who may be idea rich, but cash poor. In fact, I came across a new platform that aims to connect startups with “equity workers” called

(Actually I heard the founder speak at our local TEDx event.)

The benefit for workers is the opportunity to work on interesting projects and have the potential for much greater payouts down the road if they can afford to forego that upfront cash.

One example the EquityDirectory founder gave was the painter who did a mural at Facebook’s headquarters, and opted to get paid in stock instead of cash. In the near-term, he lost out on his $60,000 fee, but today that stock his worth north of $200 million.

These kind of arrangements admittedly shift the risk to the employee, which frankly won’t be a great fit for everyone. If it makes you uncomfortable and you’d prefer to just pay someone for their time, there’s no harm in going that route.

Your Turn

What do you think?

Think there’s opportunity for a profit-sharing hire in your business?

Would you work “speculatively” on a project like this?

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What to Delegate? Here are 12 Tasks a VA Can Handle For You [Infographic]

If you’re struggling with what to outsource in your business, it can become a real bottleneck in productivity. As you know, virtual assistants can handle any job that doesn’t require their physical presence, and these days, that’s quite a range of activities.

I’ve outsourced graphic design work, content writing, web development, customer support, advertising management, audio editing, and much more over the years — but it wasn’t always that way and it wasn’t always easy.

Our friends over at My Tasker (their website | their listing and reviews on VAA) have put together this beautiful infographic to outline 12 different tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant.

The tasks are:

  1. Online Research
  2. Data Entry
  3. Preparing Presentations
  4. Market Research
  5. Online Marketing
  6. Call Answering
  7. Social Media Marketing (is that really different than #5?)
  8. Email Management
  9. App Development
  10. SEO
  11. Web Development
  12. Content Writing
tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant
tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant

Your Turn

What do you think? Obviously needs vary based on your business, but hopefully this gives you a good starting point of what tasks and roles you can delegate.

My Tasker is a top-rated VA company in India.

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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 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

Sscripted reviewcripted was started in 2008 as, 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, 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.


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.

Scripted Intro Video

Plans and Pricing

A “standard” blog post starts at $58, with “specialist” or longer form posts commanding a rate of $85 or more. Here’s a glimpse at the rates for the various types of content Scripted creates:

scripted content pricing

The interesting thing is you can’t just go on and order an article. You need to become a member first (your first month is free, and you can use code “vaa” for 50% off your next month).

The Scripted membership gives you access to their pre-screened database of writers, of whom they only accept the top 1-2% of applicants. They have 3 different membership tiers, cutely named after famous authors.

The Dickinson plan is only $49, but you have to pay a 25% “transaction fee” on top of all writing you order.

scripted membership pricing

The Hemingway and Austen plans, $149 and $299 per month respectively, eliminate that transaction fee, let multiple members of your team login and order articles, and give you access to a blog analytics dashboard.

At first glance I thought the analytics dashboard was a little goofy to include as a feature, since it requires you to sync your Google Analytics account. But it actually has some interesting data overlays where you can more easily see which of your content initiatives are performing well and get some traffic metrics on new posts vs. “evergreen” content.

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.

At these rates, Scripted is positioned as a premium entry in the market, especially compared with the “$5 article” type of outsourced writing services.

Scripted Alternatives

The most compelling alternative to Scripted I’ve come across so far is Copywriter Today. They run a similar membership model, but instead of ZERO actual content being included in your membership fee, Copywriter Today offers “unlimited” content writing. (It’s actually limited by 1 article request at a time and the turnaround time.)

They use a team of all US-based writers, though may not have as strict a vetting process as Scripted. But it struck me as a little weird that I could pay Scripted up to $300 a month and not get any writing done; everything you order is on top of that membership fee. They likened it to a gym membership–your membership gets you in the door, and then it’s on you to actually lift the weights and see results.

For similar high-end content creation, check out Ellipsis Ink. On the cheaper side, you have “content mills” like HireWriters and Textbroker, where your price per article will be much lower and the quality often reflects it.

Your Turn

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.

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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 match you with a virtual assistant who will work cohesively with you and your existing team even though they’ll be working remotely. eaHELP strongly believes that every leader thrives with the support of an intentionally matched VA.


eahelp reviewSome 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 July 2016, their hourly rates range from $35 – $45.

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.

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).

Press and Awards

In 2015, eaHELP was named the 131st fastest growing company in America by Inc. Magazine, earning a spot in the prestigious Inc. 500 list.

eahelp inc 500

eaHELP Alternatives

A few other virtual assistant companies operate on a similar model with home-based American assistants, including top-rated firms like Time Etc and Worldwide101. Worldwide101 has similar (though more transparent/flexible) pricing options, and Time Etc is the most affordable of the three.

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.

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Global Max Line

Founded in 2012 by SJ Josenna, is a virtual assistant company in India with sales offices in the United States and London. 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 (formerly assists small and medium level CEOs to reduce their work load and focus on the bigger picture priorities. The company targets UK-based businesses.

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
  • Healthcare Services, Virtual Assitant, Mortgage Services, Real Estate, Church Services and Web & App Development

How Works

To make sure your task is completed as you need, 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 three main plans: Max Basic, Max Premium, and Max Platinum.

All plans are sold on a monthly subscription model.

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

At the entry level, the Max Basic plan is just £150 a month and includes up to 10 hours of support (£15/hour).

The popular Max Premium option is £399 for up to 30 hours of assistance (£13.30 an hour).

global max line pricing 2016

And finally, the Max Platinum option is £599 a month and includes up to 50 hours of support and priority turnaroun of your tasks (£11.98/hour).

GlobalMaxline Alternatives

GlobalMaxline aims to provide cost-effective, flexible, and easy-to-use virtual assistant service, but they certainly aren’t the only game in town. 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.

Another interesting entry worth checking out for UK clients is, based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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

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Vortex 360

Vortex 360 is an international virtual assistant company with offices in London, Dublin, Boston, Accra, Nairobi, and Abu Dhabi. The company was founded by Sean Murphy in 2015 and aims to provide a professional resource service to busy professionals who are ready to start outsourcing some of their workload.

About Vortex 360

vortex 360 reviewThe company’s main offices are in the UK and Ireland. Vortex 360 also have offices in Kenya, Ghana, UAE, and the US, allowing them to work with clients all over the world and utilize assistants in offices that enable them to work to the client’s local timezone.

Vortex 360 employs assistants native to the UK, Ireland and the US. You will be assigned a dedicated assistant that is best suited to your individual needs when you purchase one of their packages.

Their business directive is to provide support to busy professionals and business owners. Allowing you to free up more of your time to focus on other areas of your business. Although the company has only been in business around a year they have a presence all over the world and offer a wide range of services.


Some of the more common tasks Vortex 360’s virtual assistants handle include:

  • Administration support
  • Customer support
  • Personal assistant duties
  • Social media services
  • Data Entry
  • Online research
  • Article writing
  • And more

Plans and Pricing

Vortex 360 has two sets of plans. The first are their pre-paid packages, ideal if you’re working to a budget and want to purchase a bundle of hours to use as and when you need assistance. They also have some retainer packages, ideal if you have ongoing work and want some added security. The outline of their packages are as follows:

Pre-payment packages

  • Zero Hour Package – 3 hours – £78 per month ($34 per/hr)
  • Starter Package – 10 hours – £250 per month ($32 per/hr)
  • Lucent Package – 20 hours – £480 per month ($31 per/hr)

Is it a little ironic the “Zero Hour Package” comes with 3 hours?

vortex 360 package pricing

All these packages secure you a dedicated assistant from the UK, you can send unlimited tasks until your hours have been used, and can expect the tasks to be completed promptly.

Retainer packages

  • Lustrous Package – 40 hours – £880 per month ($29 per/hr)
  • Trophy Package – 60 hours – £1260 per month ($27 per/hr)
  • Virtuoso Package – 240 hours – £4800 per month ($26 per/hr)

vortex 360 retainer pricing

Again, with these packages you have a dedicated UK assistant and can send over unlimited tasks. Unused hours roll over for two weeks.

Vortex 360 offers a free trial. No credit card details or contracts to sign, just fill out the form on their website and have your first task completed for free to the value of £25. Free trials are the best way to sample a virtual assistant company before committing to a plan and are generally a good indication of what you can expect from an ongoing relationship going forward.

Vortex 360 Alternatives

If you’re looking for UK or European-based virtual assistant services, check out Time Etc and Worldwide101, two of the highest rated companies on this site. Another company worth checking out is Taystone BPO.

Your Turn

Have you worked with Vortex 360? If so, please take a moment to share a review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

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Virtual Assistant Israel

Virtual Assistant Israel provides virtual assistant services to small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs based in the US. The company was established in 2008 and employs American VAs based out of their home offices in Israel.

At the helm are Director Alyssa Magid, Community Manager Aviva Blumstein and Administrative Manager Naomi Schneider.

About VA Israel

virtual assistant israel reviewAlyssa explained their people are what set them apart from the competition. All Virtual Assistant Israel VAs are native English speakers (most hail from the US) with college degrees and a minimum of 3-5 years of work experience, but due to not necessarily speaking Hebrew and other employment restrictions, have a hard time working for local Israeli employers. So they work online for people like you instead!

When I spoke with Alyssa, she added that they have a pretty demanding screening and testing process. What that means in terms of raw numbers is reviewing over 7,000 resumes to find the fewer than 50 top VAs that make up the Virtual Assistant Israel team today.

Virtual Assistant Israel Intro Video


Virtual Assistant Israel VAs specialize in remote administrative, marketing, social media, and writing / content-creation tasks.

They have a wealth of experience in these areas and can help run your office and set-up strategic marketing plans for your business. In terms of social media, they are responsible stewards of your online brand, and can execute a social presence on the most important channels.

Each VA works on US east coast time and is available through a US-based phone number up until 5pm EST.

For full disclosure, the company also lists several services they are NOT a good fit for, including playing virtual receptionist, accounting/bookkeeping, website development, sales, and graphic design.

Plans and Pricing

With Virtual Assistant Israel, there is a one-time $199 set-up fee that gives you access to interview as many candidates from their pool of available VAs as you like. Alyssa explained the fee primarily serves to weed out tire-kickers who maybe aren’t as serious about adding a team member. She also offered $100 off for VAA visitors:

VAA Exclusive: Mention during sign-up or on your intro call and get $100 off your Virtual Assistant Israel set-up fee.

Normally how it works is prospective clients have an intro call with the management team to assess their needs and delegation opportunity in their business, and are provided with 3 VAs to interview. After the interviews, you pick your favorite and begin the relationship with your new dedicated assistant.

If you don’t find an assistant you love within 14 days, your set-up fee is 100% refundable.

The company has a couple different price tiers that are dependent upon the skills and level of experience you require from your VA. The first tier is $26-30/hour and the higher level tier is $34-39/hour. There’s a 10-hour per month minimum engagement, but other than that no contracts or long-term commitments.

Once you engage, your virtual assistant uses Freshbooks to track their working time to the second and invoices you only for the time they spend. In that manner, you don’t have to worry about unused hours in a month or counting tasks.

Virtual Assistant Israel Alternatives

With VAI, you have the advantage of an experienced, professional dedicated assistant. Along those lines, there are a few other companies that might be worthy of your consideration, including Time Etc and other US-based VA companies.

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

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Task Network

Task Network is a Canadian based virtual assistant company with their head office in Toronto, Canada, and their fulfillment office in Metro Manila, Philippines. The company was founded in 2014 by founder and president Eric Opinion.

About Task Network

task network reviewThe company’s head office is in Toronto, Canada. The company’s directive is to provide businesses with highly-skilled, cost-effective, offshore assistants to apply their expertise to administrative support, customer support, technical support, and more.

They employ their virtual assistants in the Philippines, allowing them to offer competitive rates. This allows business owners to focus on other areas of their business while handing over tasks to skilled assistants at to carry out.

When you sign up with Task Network you will receive a consultation to best understand your requirements. You will then be assigned a virtual assistant with the necessary skills to carry out the work. The company puts their candidates through a screening and interview process to ensure their skills match up with your requirements, and you have a point of contact within their management team should you have any problems.

TaskNetwork Intro Video


Task Network’s virtual assistants can handle a wide variety of tasks. In summary this includes:

  • administrative work
  • technical support
  • IT support
  • customer service
  • ordering support
  • data entry
  • general ad-hoc tasks

You’re best off contacting them and giving as much detail as possible about what tasks you want to hand over and how long you expect the tasks to take. This will give you a good idea about how well equipped they are to handle your tasks, and how quickly they can turn the work around.

Plans and Pricing

The company currently has one package. This is for a full-time virtual assistant working 8 hours a day, 176 hours a month. For a quotation on price you need to contact Task Network directly as prices vary depending on the required skillset of the assistant.

Task Network Alternatives

While there are no shortage of virtual assistant companies in the Philippines, there aren’t a lot of well-known virtual assistant companies based in Canada. If you prefer to work with local companies and you’re in Canada then check out Task Network.

If you’re comfortable doing a little more of the legwork in hiring, you might consider, the largest virtual job board in the country, and if you don’t quite have enough work to keep a full-time VA busy, take a look at TaskBullet, which offers smaller buckets of hours that can be used over a 3 month period.

Your Turn

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

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Task Virtual is an India-based virtual assistant company. The company is relatively new to the virtual assistant space, although the company is headed up by two partners with a considerable amount of experience in the industry.

The company offers a wide range of services, carried out by fully-vetted, skilled assistants, and being based in India they are able to offer competitive rates.

About TaskVirtual

taskvirtual reviewWhen I asked Task Virtual about their company directive they said, “we are committed, on time, dedicated, and shoulder all the responsibilities of our clients.” With speed and accuracy being two of the more important reasons to start outsourcing, it’s reassuring to hear this directly from a company.

Their target customers are business owners and entrepreneurs in need of additional support without employing their own staff. TaskVirtual’s staff are available to start work at short notice without any long-term contracts.

When you sign up with you purchase a number of tasks or an amount of hours. When you send over details of the tasks you want completed they find an assistant with the best-matched skillset to carry out the work. This means you have access to a large pool of assistants to take advantage of different skills, as opposed to being tied to the same assistant as offered by some companies. You do however have the option of a dedicated assistant should you prefer to work with the same person.

All their virtual assistants are managed in-house by line-managers and they will also accommodate your working hours and timezone. On paper, Task Virtual tick all the right boxes and they appear to have plenty of flexibility. To find out exactly how they match up with your own requirements you will need to contact them with as much information as you can provide to gauge their response.


Task Virtual’s virtual assistants provide support for a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Admin support
  • Social media management
  • Content writing
  • Research
  • Data entry
  • Email and calendar management
  • IT support
  • And more

The company list their own areas of specialization as real estate management, eCommerce management, and social media management.

They offer custom quotes for large jobs if you have an ongoing project you want help with. As always, when communicating with virtual assistant companies you are going to have a better relationship the more detail you can provide. Be as detailed as possible and give plenty of feedback to your assistant.

Plans and Pricing

Task Virtual offer packages for two different types of services; Personal Assistance Services, and Business Assistance Services.

There are three different plans within their Personal Assistance Services. The packages are priced in task bundles, with tasks being classified as 10-15 minute jobs each;

  • 20 tasks – $39 per month ($1.95 per task)
  • 50 tasks – $50 per month ($1.58 per task)
  • 100 tasks – $139 per month ($1.39 per task)

taskvirtual personal plans

Their Business Assistance Services are priced in hours. Their packages are as follows:

  • 5 hours per month – $60 ($12 per/hr)
  • 10 hours per month – $110 ($11 per/hr)
  • 20 hours per month – $200 ($10 per/hr)
  • 40 hours per month – $360 ($9 per/hr)
  • 60 hours per month – $480 ($8 per/hr)
  • 100 hours per month – $700 ($7 per/hr)

taskvirtual pricing

There are also some larger bundles of hours available, including a full-time assistance plan for $899 ($5.62 an hour) and your assistant will work 5 days a week during whatever business hours you choose. That’s quite a competitive rate for full-time support.

TaskVirtual also has a Pay As You Go plan priced at $13 an hour with no commitment, no minimums, and no limits on how many hours you use.

New customers can take advantage of their 3-hour free trial to sample their services before signing up for a plan.

Virtual Assistant Assistant Exclusive: Mention referral code VAA10 for 10% off your first month of service! (Not valid on Personal Assistance plans.)

TaskVirtual Alternatives

On the personal / task-based side of things, your primary competitors are OkayRelax, which has plans ranging from $2.50 to $4 per task, but allows tasks up to 30 minutes (vs. 15 at TaskVirtual). OkayRelax also provides a dedicated assistant on their higher tier plans, which may or may not be appealing to you.

The other company I did a trial with a few years ago that might be worth checking out is Efficise, which runs a similar task-based model out of Pakistan.

On the business assistance side, I’d take a look at MyTasker or TaskBullet, and reach out to start a conversation and see which might be the best fit for your specific needs.

Your Turn

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

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13 Questions to Ask Your Virtual Assistant Company

Probably the most common question I get is “which VA company should I choose?”

And I wish I had the million dollar answer! The truth is there is no “best” outsourcing company and all are good at different things.

What I would do is narrow down your options using the Virtual Assistant Assistant directory, and then see if you can set up an intro call.

The purpose of that call is to see if the company is a good fit for the role you have envisioned.

Here are a few questions I’d consider asking on that call.

1. How are assistants assigned?

Are they going to take inventory of your prospective tasks and find someone who’s a good fit skill-wise? Or assign you to the first-available, who may have just been “fired” by their client?

2. What happens if it’s not a good fit?

Is there a probationary or trial period? If after a couple weeks it’s not working out, what happens? Will they assign a new VA? Refund the time and part ways?

3. Can I set my preferred working hours or time zone availability?

It’s not always necessary to have your VA working in your same time zone, but it can be nice to have that option, especially at the beginning for training and questions.


4. Can I interview my prospective assistant first?

Some would say not having to go through the screening and interview process is an advantage of working with a VA company over a freelancer, but I still think it’s a good idea to try and get on a Skype call with your prospective VA first.

Do they communicate well? Can you see them being a valuable part of your team?

5. What happens when my assistant quits / is sick / is on vacation?

Basically, what back-up plans are in place? Is the sick/vacation time paid or unpaid?

6. Do you have experience in my industry?

Of course most companies will say they can handle any and every task you throw their way, but I’d dig a little deeper to see if they’ve done the specific work you have in mind before.

And if not, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you have a system in place to train them. But that leads to point #7…

7. Do you have any references I can call?

Sure, the reviews on are a great starting point, but it can be helpful to talk one-on-one with current or previous clients.

8. Do you accept credit cards?

This is a nice selling point for me, mainly because I’m usually working on some travel hacking credit card sign-up bonus with a required amount of minimum spending. VA time can be an easy way to rack up a lot of miles.

9. How are hours / tasks assigned and tracked?

What’s my communication going to look like? Do I have a new interface to learn?

If you’re billing hourly, how do I know my VA is really working during those hours.

10. What security measures do you have in place?

Now as you know, it only takes one bad apple to cause a security breach whether in the office next door or in a remote working situation.

What I’m really listening for here is some response that shows they’ve thought it through and recognize this as a concern for clients.

11. Why do short-term clients end their relationship with you?

This is an optional question, but it’s kind of like asking a job candidate why they left their last job. Was it a case of misaligned expectations? Were they not happy with the performance? Did they find another service provider?

12. What’s the best way to make the most out of your service?

You might get some interesting responses to this one.

One company just said to “use us”, where another provider explained how the assistant they were thinking of assigning me to also had an extensive background in social media graphics, something that would definitely come in handy down the road. But they don’t always offer this information up!

13. What do your long-term clients have in common?

This shows you’re thinking long-term and want to know how to position yourself for a lasting relationship. It also might give you a hint to the type of businesses that find a good fit with this company.

Your Turn

What do you think?

What other questions would you ask?

If you’re on the VA side, what questions should prospective clients ask?

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AVirtual is a virtual assistant company based in Cape Town, South Africa. The company has been in business since 2014 and targets customers in the UK.

The company was founded by Richard Walton, a UK based entrepreneur with years of experience in customer service based businesses. Richard started in South Africa to offer the same standard of virtual assistant as found in the UK, but at a more affordable price.

About AVirtual

avirtual logoMost of the company’s virtual assistants are based in their offices in Cape Town, with some being located in offices nearby. They have a mix of full and part-time VAs, and the advantage of their virtual assistants being located in their offices allows them to have IT and management infrastructure in place.

The company supplies dedicated virtual assistants to UK businesses and individuals. Most of their assistants have lived or worked in London and have a good understanding of UK business practice. South Africa is only a 1-2 hour time zone difference between the UK depending on the time of year.

Their target customers range from SME’s, start-ups, to FTSE 100 clients. If you have tasks you want to outsource, no matter how large or small, AVirtual have assistants ready to pick up that task.

If you sign up with AVirtual you will be assigned a dedicated VA, and you will always have a backup assistant available should your assistant not be able to meet their commitments. You will also be matched with an assistant with the best matched skillset to your requirements.

AVirtual Founder Interview


AVirtual’s virtual assistants can handle a wide variety of tasks you send their way, including:

  • Personal assistance
  • Calendar management
  • Telephone support
  • Sales support
  • Content production
  • Bookkeeping
  • Human resources
  • Graphic design
  • And more

How it works is you’re assigned a dedicated PA, but they work on a “buddy system” so you have a backup in case of illness or holiday. The PAs also work in teams of 4 called “pods,” where you can tap into a variety of skillsets if you need additional or specialized help on a particular project.

Plans and Pricing

AVirtual has four payment plans; Starter, Business, Professional, and Enterprise.

Starter Plan – £135 per/month ($17.5 per/hr) – This plan includes a dedicated virtual assistant, 10 hours of assistant time, branded email, and email and phone support.

Business Plan – £245 per/month ($16 per/hr) – This plan includes all the services in the Starter Plan with a total of 20 hours of time.

Professional Plan – £465 per/month ($15 per/hr) – This plan includes all the services in the Business Plan with a total of 40 hours.

Enterprise Plan – £845 per/month ($13.5 per/hr) – This plan includes all the services in the Professional Plan with a total of 80 hours.

VirtualAssistantAssistant Exclusive: Mention referral code VAA for £25 off your first month!

These rates allow you to take advantage of the lower cost of living in South Africa while still having a PA who speaks English as a first language and operates very close to your time zone.

As you can see from the hourly rates the best value is in the Enterprise plan. There is also a 5 hour free trial available, this is a great way to sample their services before committing to a plan and will help with your decision. Alternatives

If you are looking for British virtual assistants then I recommend checking out Time ETC and Worldwide 101 for two of the highest rated companies. Both of these companies use UK staff so their prices are a little higher (think double) to reflect this.

Your Turn

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

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Fixrunner is a company offering WordPress support, maintenance plans, and e-learning materials to help you learn more about managing and protecting your WordPress site.

The company is based in Israel, the Philippines, and the US. Their head office is in their Israel location, and their agents work remotely across the globe.

About FixRunner

fixrunner was founded in 2013 by Sam Milo and Netanel Malka. They are strategically positioned in three locations; Israel, Philippines, and the US. Their agents work remotely all over the world from their homes and shared office spaces.

Their target customers are anyone from solopreneurs to large business owners. If you own or manage a WordPress website, FixRunner offers a range of affordable support options that can help you manage your site.

Fix Runner Intro Video


There are endless possible problems a WordPress site owner can run into. Fix Runner offers complete support for your site, from minor CSS changes, bug fixes, on-going support, just about anything you can possibly need.

Website downtime is almost certainly going to be damaging for your business. Having a support team available 24/7 can prove invaluable. FixRunner offer several different packages, making it easy for you to have that peace of mind that your site is secure and running smoothly.

As well as offering support and bug fixes, FixRunner also offer training and advice through their WP College. You get access to a large number of videos, articles, and other training tools in their WP College when you sign up for one of their monthly plans.

Plans and Pricing has four packages; WP College, Basic, Premium, and Advanced.

fixrunner pricing

These packages are as follows:

WP College – Free – This package gives you access to DIY training, WordPress beginners’ videos, newsletter, update alerts, and premium fix guides.

Basic – $39 per month/$29 per month if billed annually – This package includes all the WP College materials, 1 hour of support, 24/7 security, site backups, WordPress theme and plugin updates, and daily Up Time monitoring.

Premium – $59 per month/$49 per month if billed annually – This package includes all the services included in the Basic package, along with an extra hour of support time, hosting services, phone/chat support, and speed optimization.

Advanced – $149 per month/$129 per month if billed annually – This package includes all the services included in the Premium package, along with 2 additional hours of support, on-page SEO, 2 hours of custom design work, 2 hours of custom programming work, online shop support, and mobile theme support.

Like WP Curve, they have a 3-month minimum on all their plans. also offers One-Time and single job fix support. You can request a free quote for any work via a form on their website.

FixRunner Alternatives

In addition to WP Curve mentioned above, you might consider Zen WP (I’m in the middle of a trial with them), which currently doesn’t have the 3-month minimum requirement. For one-off fixes and not a subscription model, check WP Fix It.

And if you have a need for more in-depth IT support for an upcoming project, check out TopTal.

When I asked FixRunner what sets them apart from their competitors they said, “Fixrunner has a WP College that helps and trains people who are new to WordPress. It provides video guides and tutorials for installation support.” Certainly something worth considering if you like to learn and empower yourself with skills to make site fixes yourself.

Your Turn

Have you worked with Fix Runner? If so, please leave a review below to help others with their decision.

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Ask Virtual Services

Ask Virtual Services is an international virtual assistant company with clients primarily in the US, UK, and Canada, as well as servicing clients in other countries across the globe.

Their virtual assistants work remotely from locations such as the Philippines to allow the company to offer competitive hourly rates.

About Ask Virtual Services

ask virtual services reviewAsk Virtual Services head office is in Palo Alto, CA. They employ virtual assistants in locations around the globe that allow them to offer competitive rates. They do however have US-based customer support staff should you have a problem, and you will be assigned a member of their customer service team to communicate with if you buy one of their plans.

Their target customers are primarily entrepreneurs and business owners. It often makes sense to hire a virtual assistant to take on some of your workload regardless how large your business is however. The rates you pay through companies like Ask Virtual Services are often lower than local rates, and there are no other employee or contractor costs.

The company have a number of virtual assistants and will match you with the best suited candidate. You can start outsourcing tasks the day after you sign up for one of their plans.

Sponsored Link:


You can either pay per hour for individual tasks, or buy a set amount of hours to use over a three month period. There are no contracts or fees to pay up front, you just pay for the amount of hours you want and can top up at any time.

Ask Virtual Services provide an array of services covering web development, PPC and email marketing, social media management, SEO tasks, and more. As with all virtual assistant companies you get the most from the services by contacting them and discussing your requirements in detail.

Plans and Pricing

In terms of pricing, Ask Virtual Services offer some flexible plans and pricing depending on your requirements.

For individual tasks:

  • Data entry tasks cost $7.98 / hour
  • Virtual assistants cost $9.98 / hour
  • Web development costs $12.98 / hour

Their packages are priced as follows:

  • Starter Bucket – 20 hours @$10/hr
  • Light Bucket – 40 hours @$8.98/hr
  • Part-time Bucket – 80 hours @$7.98/hr
  • Full-time Bucket – 160 hours @$7.98/hr

ask virtual services pricing

All of their packages come with a free consultation and setup when you make your first purchase. They also have an on-demand plan with no monthly recurring fee, and any tasks you request done are billed out at $12.75 an hour.

Discounts are available for agreeing to a longer term contract of 6 or 12 months.

The hours can be used over a 3 month period, your virtual assistant will work your local business hours, and you have access to a US-based member of their support team.

Ask Virtual Services Alternatives

Although Ask Virtual Services are a US-based virtual assistant company, their prices reflect the fact that they use overseas virtual assistants. Their prices and even the names of their packages are very similar to those at TaskBullet if you want to compare their services. It’s always a good idea to get quotes from more than one company,

I’d recommend checking out (great resource for full-time Filipino VAs) and Uassist.ME (well-rated company in Central America) as well.

Your Turn

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

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WP Fix It

WP Fix It is a WordPress support company based in Irvine, California. The company have been fixing WordPress issues since 2011 and have fixed over 30,000 issues for their customers.

About WP Fix It

wp fix it reviewThe company’s head office is located in Irvine, California, and is headed up by founder Jarett Gucci. They currently have 8 agents, all working remotely and staggering their shifts to cover various time zones.

WP Fix It offers WordPress site owners and developers instant support and are available to tackle any WordPress-related tasks you may have.

Their target customers are anyone who has a WordPress website or are involved in developing WordPress related plugins, add-ons, and other apps. The company offers online support, so anyone can seek immediate resolution to these issues and keep their site running smoothly.


WP Fix It offer instant support, infection malware virus removal, infection insurance, site speed-up services, and offer a complete website management and support service. If you are looking to hand over the management of your site so you can rest easy knowing it’s in safe hands, WP Fix It are waiting for your call.

Website downtime can be costly to any business. Not just financially, but it can be damaging to your brand and reputation if customers are experiencing problems accessing your site. 

Plus, I know I’ve personally felt the frustration of trying to make WordPress bend to my will and having little to show for it after hours of effort. These guys aim to fix those frustrating moments, and for just $39 a pop. You gotta ask, how much is your sanity worth?

WP Fix It Intro Video

Plans and Pricing

There is a flat fee of $39 to fix any one-off issue. If the issue is not resolved for any reason, you get your money back.

wp fix it pricing

They also do site speed-up services for $97, and virus and malware removal for $87.

One potential downside is the lack of an “unlimited” plan if you have lots of things you’d like to tweak on your site. Of course on the flipside, you don’t have any recurring expenses once your issue is resolved.

WP Fix It Alternatives

Due to the popularity of the WordPress platform, a number of maintenance and support companies have popped up. WP Curve, which offers unlimited “small jobs” for $79 a month, is the most well-known company in this space.

WP Fix It is a little less expensive than these two for single task fixes, and with their money back guarantee there is a peace of mind that WP Fix It will either fix your issue or refund your money. 

With the option to use these companies for one-off fixes without being tied into contracts or monthly plans it’s a good opportunity to try more than one company. If you find yourself paying for fixes on a regular basis you should look into the monthly plans they companies offer to see which best suits your business needs.

Your Turn

Have you worked with WP Fix It? If so, please leave a review below to help others with their own decision.

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Tasksbay is an India-based virtual assistant company headed up by four partners. They have been in business since 2013 and their head office is located in Bangalore, India.

They offer a wide range of services such as scheduling meetings, handling customer service, data mining, web development, and more.

About Tasksbay

tasksbay reviewTheir target customers are small business owners, entrepreneurs, and companies looking for additional support without taking on employees of their own.

Tasksbay’s virtual assistants specialize in branding, web development, admin services, digital marketing, data mining. They also handle all the general virtual assistant appropriate tasks, I advise contacting them for more information.

When I asked Tasksbay to tell me more about themselves they said, “we are one of the growing virtual assistant companies. Get your work done from any part of the world with just an email or a phone call.”

Tasksbay Intro Video


To get started with Tasksbay, contact them via their website and open a dialogue. Based on the information you give Tasksbay about the tasks you want to outsource, you will be matched with a virtual assistant that best fits the role from their database of staff.

The company specializes in four different service areas:

  • Data mining, including data entry.
  • Admin services, including calendar, travel, and email management.
  • Web and branding, including web development and graphic animation.
  • Digital marketing, including SEO, social media marketing, and PPC management.

Tasksbay always guarantees a backup assistant with all their plans, so you can rest assured there will not be any interruptions in service should your assistant not show up for work.

As with all virtual assistant providers, to get the most out of the relationship you need to provide as much detail as possible when handing over tasks. This also includes keeping the communication flowing as you work with your assistant.

Plans and Pricing

Tasksbay bases their pricing over the main areas of their services as follows:

  • Data mining – Rates start at $5/hr
  • Admin services – Rates start at $6/hr
  • Web development – Rates start at $12/hr

For a detailed quote for ongoing virtual support, they’ve asked VAA readers to contact them to discuss the options.

Tasksbay Alternatives

Looking at other highly rated India-based virtual assistant companies you should check out My Tasker. In their case, you can access a team of talent to get assistance in a variety of functional areas. 

When I asked Tasksbay what separates them apart from other companies in this crowded marketplace, their Business Manager Rajesh said, “Tasksbay is formed by the employees who have worked with our competitors for many years as their best performers. This makes our team strong.”

Your Turn

Have you worked with Tasksbay? If so, please leave a review below to help others with their hiring decision.

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20four7va is an international virtual assistant company based in Maryland, US. Their virtual assistants are based all over the world and work remotely.

The company was originally founded in 2013 by the husband of the current owner, Catherine Vanvonno. As well as offering general virtual assistant services, 20four7va specializes in providing support to ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay.

Note: Although many outsourcing companies have similar names, 20four7va is a distinct entity from 247VirtualAssistant and Virtual Helper 24/7

About 20Four7VA

20four7va reviewThe company hires home-based virtual assistants all over the world, which means they are able to work with clients all over the globe and work with them in their own timezone.

To register and hire a virtual assistant there is a simple four-step process to follow on their website:

  1. Contact 20four7va and provide as much detail as you can about your business and the tasks you want to outsource.
  2. Wait for 20four7va to find their most suitable VA based on your information.
  3. You will be invited for an introductory Skype or telephone call with the virtual assistant.
  4. If you’re happy with all the steps you can start working with your new virtual assistant the next day.

20Four7VA Intro Video


20four7va have virtual assistants waiting to handle any business tasks. You can outsource content writing, website development, social media management, video creation, graphic design, SEO, and much more.

What separates 20four7VA from a lot of other virtual assistant companies is that they specialize in supporting businesses using eCommerce platforms such as eBay and Amazon. Running an eCommerce business is hard to do alone and hiring a VA to help with the day-to-day tasks can take a huge load off your shoulders at a cost-effective price, giving you the opportunity to scale up faster.

Plans and Pricing

20four7VA offers three different packages. These are listed as three different “tiers,” which offer different services and are priced as follows.

Tier One – Administrative Assistant

  • 10 hrs per week – $65/week ($6.50/hr)
  • 20 hrs per week – $104/week ($5.20/hr)
  • 40 hrs per week – $173/week ($4.33/hr)

This is the tier for you if you’re after basic administrative tasks like calendar management, travel coordination, transcription, and data entry.

Tier Two – eCommerce Support

  • 10 hrs per week – $77/week ($7.70/hr)
  • 20 hrs per week – $126/week ($6.30/hr)
  • 40 hrs per week – $210/week ($5.25/hr)

These VAs are helpful in the tasks that come hand-in-hand with running an ecommerce business, such as database management, social media, blogging, Internet research, email marketing, product research, and customer service.

Tier Three – Specialist Support

  • 10 hrs per week – $88/week ($8.80/hr)
  • 20 hrs per week – $144/week ($7.20/hr)
  • 40 hrs per week – $240/week ($6.00/hr)

The 20Four7VA “Specialists” are college educated and highly proficient in their field of study. They’ll help match you up with talented VAs specializing in graphic design, Internet marketing, website development, and business writing.

Their homepage proclaims “The Finest VAs From 6 Continents,” but I’m pretty sure you won’t find many North American or European assistants at those rates.

After a 2-week provisional period, the company charges a set-up fee of $99.

To find out which package is best for your business you are best off contacting 20four7va and discussing your exact requirements

20four7va Alternatives

For ecommerce support, you might also consider a company with a similar model called FreeeUp. On the general VA side of things, your best bet at a similar price point is going to be a service like TaskBullet or MyTasker.

I recommend getting a quote from two or three companies to compare their responsiveness and enthusiasm for your business, and to get a sense of how well you think they will handle your tasks. 

Your Turn

Have you worked with 20four7va? If so, please leave a review of your experience below to help others with their decision, thanks.

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How I’m Using Virtual Assistants to Help Write My New Book

book writing delegationThis month I stumbled into a new book project — and already have a good chunk of it written.

Even though I’ve been through this process a handful of times, it’s still a daunting and intimidating task to be sitting on a blank Page 1 with a blinking cursor and think of everything that has to get done to make the book a success.

The good news is there are plenty of opportunities to delegate some of the tasks along the way.

Research and Writing

First up for me is the research phase. I’ve been leaning on my dedicated assistant from OkayRelax to help parse through mountains of information and pull out the most relevant examples.

($75 per month and available for other tasks as well.)

As that comes together and I complete my outline, it’s on me to write the first draft.

(I actually tried to outsource the writing portion of a book project a few years ago. The draft produced by the “native English speaker” I hired on Elance was a disaster. Lesson learned!)

One tactic I’ve seen other authors use to speed up the writing process is actually speaking their book with speech-to-text software like Dragon Dictation, or just recording it on their phone or laptop and handing the file off to a transcription service like Rev. After all, you can probably talk much faster than you can type.

(Typical rate: $1 per audio minute.)


Next, it’s usually a worthwhile investment to hire an editor to proofread and critique your rough draft. In the past I’ve used Elance (now Upwork) to find editors, but for this project I have a couple people in mind through personal networks.

(Typical rate: $100 per 10,000 words.)


Formatting for paperback, Kindle, and other devices can be a big headache, but thankfully there are specialists on sites like Fiverr who do this all day long.

(Typical rate: $5-100 depending on length/complexity.)

Book Cover

And while I’ve used Fiverr for book covers in the past, I think this time around I’ll give DesignCrowd a shot. Their crowdsourced marketplace lets you tap into the creative energy of several designers competing for your business, instead of just one.

(Typical rate: $99-$269)

Audiobook Narration

To create an audiobook, you can actually get this done for free at, the Audiobook Creation Exchange owned by Amazon.

Narrators produce your book for free in exchange for a share of future audiobook royalties. I’m actually testing out this service this month for the Virtual Assistant Assistant book.

(You can also pay someone upfront to produce it and keep all the royalties yourself.)

(Typical rate: free to $800 depending on length.)


One area of this project I probably won’t outsource is the marketing. To be sure, there are tons of specialty PR services that try to get you and your book in front of a wide audience.

But as someone who’s often on the receiving end of those pitches, I can tell you they usually come off as impersonal and irrelevant.

I once had a PR company pitch me a book about the power of personal connections on behalf of the author. If he truly practiced what he preached, he wouldn’t have hired them to do the “connecting” for him!

Still, I probably will have my VA find some marketing channels to share the book on, because there is a lot that goes into orchestrating a successful launch.

I’ve seen other authors create professionally-produced book trailer videos, media kits, slide decks, back-end courses, and more. That stuff might not happen this time, but there are always options.

And whether you’re writing a book or not, the main facets of any project are the same.

I have to break down the big picture goal into all the steps that have to get done first. And many of those steps have delegation opportunities.

If I have any big wins or spectacular outsourcing mis-steps along the way, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Your Turn

What do you think?

Any glaring VA opportunities I’m missing as I get started with this project?

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UrbanTimer is a virtual assistant company based in Kolkata, India. The company was founded in February, 2016.

Although the company is a fairly new addition to the virtual assistant space, UrbanTimer was founded by two individuals with considerable experience in the industry.

About UrbanTimer

urbantimer reviewUrbanTimer operates out of Kolkata, India. All of their virtual assistants are based in their offices and managed in-house. The company puts each of their virtual assistants though “an extensive process” to ensure they are hiring fluent English speaking workers with a wide range of skills.

The company founders are Bikash and his spouse, Rima. Bikash is a former co-founder of MyTasker, and has a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur and as a virtual assistant himself. Heading up UrbanTimer, Bikash plans to offer an unparalleled service not found with other virtual assistant providers.

The company are “committed to help people save valuable time.” Meaning, by outsourcing your business tasks to UrbanTimer you can free up your own time to focus on other areas of your business.

Their target customers are busy professionals and entrepreneurs anywhere in the world. This also includes small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as large corporate organizations. Anyone looking to outsource tasks at a cost-effective price can benefit from their services.


Getting started with UrbanTimer is straightforward. You sign up via their site for one of their packages, or you can contact them to discuss your requirements first.

UrbanTimer offers a wide range of services, including the following:

  • Administrative assistance
  • Social Media services
  • Research tasks
  • Customer service
  • Website design and maintenance
  • Content writing
  • Email management

If you have a specific virtual role in mind, they recommend contacting them to discuss your exact requirements.

Plans and Pricing

UrbanTimer currently have five different payment plans. Their plans start at $100 for 10 hours, with their largest plan being $600 for 100 hours. So, the hourly rates range from $10 an hour to as low as $6 on hour.

urbantimer pricing

Full Pricing Table (correct at time of publishing):

  • 10 hrs per month – $100 ($10/hr)
  • 20 hrs per month – $190 ($9.5/hr)
  • 30 hrs per month – $270 ($9/hr)
  • 50 hrs per month – $350 ($7/hr)
  • 100 hrs per month – $600 ($6/hr)

With all these plans, your Account Manager oversees the tasks you send and assigns the best fit VA to work on the tasks.

UrbanTimer also offers a dedicated full-time assistant (with backup) for $1,000 a month, and an “Infinite” plan offering you the chance to buy as many hours as want a month on-demand. You start by paying $15 an hour for the first 50 hours, then the rate drops to $10 an hour for the remaining hours you purchase.

The rates for the “planet”-named plans are definitely competitive in the industry, as is the on-demand offering. The full-time dedicated assistant rate is on par with what you may find at other companies.

If you are new to using VAs or want to sample their services, UrbanTime does offer a free trial. This offer includes 5 free hours of virtual assistant time over 2 days.

UrbanTimer Alternatives

As you know, there are several options for quality virtual assistant companies in India. Bikash’s last startup, MyTasker, is among the most popular and well-rated. You might also consider VA Talks or VMG BPO.

One thing I like to do is to contact two or three companies to compare services, prices, and communication before making a decision.

Your Turn

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

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Carve is a virtual assistant company based in Davao City, Philippines. The company was founded in 2013 by Tom Secuya, who’s overseen the business’ growth from 3 people to a team of more than 100.

Tom had several years of experience in business process outsourcing and has emerged as a capable leader in the industry and in the local community.

About Carve

carveph reviewYou can tell just by looking at the website that this is not your average virtual assistant company. No, Carve stands out with a bold, modern design, a fun-loving staff, and a mission to good in the world by doing well in business.

They wanted to help people by creating opportunities for them, and have been tremendously successful in doing that in just a short time. That company culture extends beyond borders as well, as client success translates into more growth opportunities and expanded partnerships.

Carve Virtual Assistant Services

Carve specializes in branding, training, automation, and business process management. In the international market, they’ve found a niche in serving coaches from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Carve’s Virtual Managers can setup webinars, create websites, build landing and sales pages, do audio and video editing, graphic design, and more. In addition, clients use them for help with transcription, list building, social media management, content creation, Internet marketing, and search engine optimization.

All virtual assistants work from the company’s central Davao office, and Carve invests heavily in recruiting, training, and coaching team members who buy into their culture and attitude.

Sponsored Link:

How It Works

  1. Call – We talk about who you are and how we can best work together
  2. BFL –  You enter your Big Fat List of projects that you can’t wait to offload to us.
  3. Offer – we recommend the package that best suits your needs.
  4. Settle – Sign and settle the necessary paperwork to get started.
  5. Onboard – We will manage expectations and orient you with the processes.
  6. Start – Get things rolling by letting the team do the work for you.
  7. Support – We’ll continuousl check how you are and the development of your projects.

Video Overview with the Founder

Plans and Pricing

A full-time Carve virtual assistant (a “ninja”) costs $998 per month for 120 hours (so not “full-time” in the 40-hour per week sense). If you don’t have that volume of work to outsource yet, you can engage their services on a per-hour basis of $18-22 per hour depending on the type of work.

You can opt for dedicated service, or a team-based approach to tap into different skill-sets as needed.

Carve pledges 20% of their earnings to local charitable causes in Davao. Tom explains, “We have seen the pressing need for support in this area and as a business we want to continue to exist to do just that.”

The company has instilled a unique culture in that they believe they are not merely a business, but a movement. Hence working with us would mean, taking part in that movement. We are happy that you can find success in your own business because of us and create success for others through us.

Why Carve?

I asked Tom what sets Carve apart from their virtual assistant competition, and got this awesome reply:

“What sets us apart is that we offer not only awesome ninja-like skills but also we put a glass of love and a bottle of passion for every project we have. We have that drive and determination to have an epic relationship with our clients.

Not only that but we also practice radical honesty. We tell you how much we are getting, how your virtual assistant is getting, how they are doing in terms of performance, behavior and attendance.”

Carve Alternatives

Naturally, Carve isn’t the only game in town when it comes to virtual assistants in the Philippines. Their competition comes in two main varieties: other VA companies, and independent work from home VAs found through services like or Zen Virtual Assistants Finder.

Your Turn

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

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Surplus Hands

Surplus Hands is a virtual assistant company that employs exclusively US-based virtual assistants. Their offices are located in Philadelphia, and their assistants work remotely across the US.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Surplus Hands if you’re not based in the US however. They have many clients in countries outside the US, such as Canada, Australia and all across Europe.

About Surplus Hands

surplus hands reviewThe company is run by founder Yassine Jouichate. Surplus Hands started operations towards the end of 2015 and have been “growing exponentially” in their short time in the virtual assistant space.

Surplus Hands have a team of virtual assistants ready to handle any business tasks you’re looking to outsource. They always guarantee you will have a backup assistant too, so should your assistant take time off for an emergency or book holiday time your service will be uninterrupted.

Their assistants are all US College Educated, and capable of handling administrative tasks, research, development of WordPress sites, marketing, and more. When I asked them who their target customers were they said, “small businesses, entrepreneurs and fortune 500 company employees who do not have the equipment or setting to hire an in-person employee.”


With their company directive to become the “go-to-company” for your virtual assistant needs, their assistants cover a wide range of tasks. To get the most from their services I recommend contacting them with as much detail as possible about the work you want completed and see how well their assistants match up with your requirements.

Virtual assistant services are typically not limited to the type of business, but more so the types of tasks you’re outsourcing. You should contact Surplus Hands and provide as much detail as you can about the work you need completed and see how their assistants and skill-sets match up.

There is also a free trial available by filling out a form on their site. Using free trials is always the best way to sample a company’s services and see how well they treat you.

Plans and Pricing

Surplus Hands break down their pricing into three different plans. You can also contact them to build a custom plan by discussing all your requirements and they will supply you with a quote. This is best used for large or one-off projects.

surplus hands pricing

Their plans start at $199 for their “Starter” plan, which gives you 14 hours of virtual assistant time. Their next plan is their “Economy” plan, which costs $359 for 26 hours of time. While their largest plan is currently their “Business” plan, which costs $659 for 50 hours of time.

The rates seem almost suspiciously low, bordering on “too-good-to-be-true” territory. I mean, $13 an hour sounds great for US-based help, but can’t leave much margin to operate the business.

All of their plans come with a 3 hour trial period for free. Same-day turnaround on tasks, email, SMS and phone support, and your assistant will be available between 9am – 6pm in your time zone.

Surplus Hands Alternatives

For US-based virtual assistants, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a company offering similar rates outside of freelancers on Upwork. If your budget allows, established and well-reviewed companies like Time Etc or Worldwide101 may be worth a look. 

Despite the name similarity, I wouldn’t consider Fancy Hands a direct competitor because they operate on a task-based model without a dedicated assistant.

Your Turn

Have you worked with Surplus Hands? Please leave a brief review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

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9 Things We Outsource Without Even Thinking About It

reading with dadLast week was our 4-month old son’s first day of daycare.

(He took the drop-off much better than mom and dad.)

Even though I work from home, we never really questioned that we’d have to have someone else watch him during the day. Otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done!

But it hit me that daycare is one of those outsourced services we hire without a second thought.

(Of course, there was plenty of debate as to which daycare service to join!)

We are expert outsourcers in our personal lives, and I believe it’s because certain services are deeply ingrained and highly specialized to serve a wide population.

In addition to daycare, here are a few more examples of things you probably outsource without thinking too much about it:

Education – unless you homeschool your kids.

Taxes – most people use an accountant service or a software tool to get these done instead of calculating them by hand.

Farming – how much of your food did you grow yourself?

While I love the idea of gardening, I’m horrible at it, as evidenced by the 2 sad tomatoes we got after months of watering. It makes more sense to leave it to the pros.

Dry Cleaning – I’ll admit I don’t even know how dry cleaning works.

Shelter – did you build your own house?

Clothing – did you sew your own clothes?

Health / Dental / Veterinary Care – while you take personal responsibility for our health, you likely seek expert help occasionally.

Cooking – I outsource my cooking at least once a week by eating in restaurants.

So what makes business outsourcing so different and so much harder?

For one, every business is different. The standard operating procedures to grow a tomato or dry clean a shirt don’t vary much customer to customer.

We have challenges letting go of control in our business, but we willingly relinquish it in other areas of our lives.

I mean, I just dropped off my baby with almost a total stranger!

It all comes down to trust. We trust the restaurant isn’t going to poison us, we trust the accountant to get our taxes done right, and I trust that daycare isn’t going to scar my offspring for life.

But trust takes time, and that’s why I believe for business outsourcing, it makes sense to start with some non-mission-critical tasks to ease into the practice of delegating.

Give the trust time to build, work with established companies or service providers, and grow together.

Your Turn

What do you think?

What else do you outsource automatically? Do you think there’s a way to eventually apply that same level of comfort to your virtual assistant delegation?

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FreeeUp is a virtual assistant service that offers virtual assistant services to customers all over the globe and specializes in the eCommerce industry. They are a relatively new company to join the virtual assistant space, starting operations in October 2015.

The company is based in Florida, US, with their virtual assistants based all over the globe. They offer a wide range of prices and skill sets, so there is a good chance most people will find a virtual assistant to meet their budget and outsourcing requirements.

About FreeeUp

freeeup reviewThe company is run by Chief Executive Officer Nathan Hirsch, and co-founder Connor Gillivan who fills the role of Chief Technology and Content Officer. They both have an extensive background in eCommerce business and started the company to primarily help other eCommerce business owners looking to outsource tasks.

The company utilizes virtual assistants that are experienced and highly-skilled in the eCommerce industry and puts each applicant through some tests to assess their abilities before adding them to their roster.

The company connects with each client one-on-one to learn about their business and discuss their requirements. This gives you the opportunity to talk through exactly what you are looking for from a virtual assistant, and they will do the rest matching you up with the most suitable assistant.

FreeeUp Intro Video

(It’s less than 30 seconds.)


FreeeUp has a four-step process when connecting with new clients:

  1. Step 1 – They connect with you to learn about your business and how they can best help.
  2. Step 2 – You are introduced to the virtual assistant the company has matched you with.
  3. Step 3 – You have an opportunity to work with your assistant and train them on your processes.
  4. Step 4 – A representative checks in after a few days to see how the relationship is working out between you and your VA.

FreeeUp’s virtual assistants specialize in helping business owners in the eCommerce industry. If you run an eCommerce business or are looking to start one up, their assistants are experienced in the industry and can provide the support you’re looking for.

They offer support with inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service, product listing, advanced Amazon management, eBay store growth, content creation, digital marketing, and much more. This seems like a perfect fit if you’re involved in the Amazon FBA boom.

Plans and Pricing

You can expect to pay between $5-$50 per hour depending on the level of skills and experience you require in your virtual assistant.

They also offer a consulting service which ranges between $30-$50 per hour.

VAA Exclusive: Mention VAA for 10% off workers!

FreeeUp Alternatives

FreeeUp specializes in ecommerce, which separates them from other general virtual assistant companies. On the lower end of the price scale, companies like eLuminous Technologies and VA Staffer profess to have ecommerce expertise, and can be very effective if you already have some standard operating procedures to plug a VA into.

On the home front, you might consider Longer Days for quality US-based help with ecommerce experience, or even posting a specialist role on Upwork

Your Turn

Have you worked with FreeeUp? If so please leave a review below to help others with their decision.

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Designer Task is a graphic design company with a team of designers all over the globe ready to fulfill single or on-going graphic design requests. The company headquarters are in Miami, FL.

The company started up in the spring of 2016, so they are a relative newcomer to this industry.

About DesignerTask

designer task reviewThe company handles one-time design orders such as a logo’s, ebook covers, or design work on an image. They are also happy to handle larger, on-going projects such as designing all the branding for a new company or handling the design work on a website.

The company’s head office is in Miami, FL. They hire their virtual graphic designers all over the world. The company is run by a digital agency called Scale. Their target customers are entrepreneurs or business owners that either lack the necessary design skills to do their own work or just don’t have the time.


You can submit any graphic design task you can think of. Some of their more common requests include:

  • Ebook covers
  • Blog post headers
  • Flyers and posters
  • Social media graphics
  • T-shirt designs
  • Letter heads
  • And more

There is a 4-part process in place when placing an order.

First, you chose the type of plan you want to sign up for depending on the number of design tasks you will be ordering. Then you submit your request through their website and the jobs will be picked up by their available graphic designers.

Your design is delivered back to you as per the timeframe on your pricing plan. You have the opportunity to check the work and respond with any comments or revisions direct to the designer who completed the work.

When you are happy you click “approve”, then you can submit the next task if you have one.

Plans and Pricing

DesignerTask have three different pricing plans. None of their plans tie you in with contracts so you can cancel at any time, and all their work comes with a 7-day money back guarantee.

designer task pricing

Their plans are as follows:

Single Task – This is costed at $29 per task. You have unlimited revisions and a 24-hour turnaround on your order.

Starter – This package costs $249 per month and allows you to make unlimited task requests. You can only have one task open at any time though, and there is a 24-hour turnaround. So, worst case scenario would be one task completed per day.

Premium – This package costs $379 per month. The main difference when compared to the Starter package being you’re able to two tasks open at the same time. You can stack tasks ahead of time however, this ensures you keep a steady flow of work in progress.

Looking at these monthly packages on a daily rate they work out at around $8 and $12 a day respectively. Being able to request two design tasks per 24 hours with the Premium package means you’re paying $6 per task, per day.

DesignerTask Alternatives

For ongoing design work, the two competitors that come to mind are Design Pickle and Undullify. Design Pickle is similarly priced, while Undullify is the more affordable of the “subscription model” options. (Though you won’t necessarily be assigned a dedicated designer on their lower price tier.)

For one-off design tasks, there’s always Fiverr if you can find a solid provider. Otherwise, the crowdsourcing marketplaces like 99designs or DesignCrowd might be worth a look if you’re in need of really high impact, highly visible design.

Your Turn

DesignerTask is one of the newest design companies in the graphic design space. Have you worked with them? If so, please leave a review below to help others with their decision.

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BoxChecked is “The Entrepreneur’s Virtual Assistant” company. They are based in the US, and all of their virtual assistants also work across the US.

The company is focused on helping entrepreneurs grow their business by relieving them of the day-to-day tasks that drain their time.

About BoxChecked

boxchecked reviewThe company was formed in spring 2016 by Shane and Jennifer Young, a brother and sister team. Shane and Jennifer have worked together for a number of years. After building a successful company of their own they turned their focus to starting boxChecked to help others grow their own businesses through the use of their virtual assistants.

The company specializes in helping businesses grow by handling the repetitive tasks that keep you too busy to focus on other areas of your business. The virtual assistants at BoxChecked have been vetted and have a wide range of skill sets to handle anything you throw at them.


Box Checked offers a handful of different service packages. Their “Paper Pushing Isn’t For Me” package includes:

  • accounting chores
  • social media and web tasks
  • any form of paperwork
  • scheduling and booking appointments
  • answering phone calls and emails
  • project management
  • and more

Their “Do Just One Project” package does exactly that. They do one project or task off your list at a time for a fixed hourly rate. This can include getting your workflow organized, carrying out research, or just about anything you need doing.

Their “Dedicated Back Office” package is a service to handle all of your back office needs. It’s a quicker and more cost-efficient option than hiring a member of staff, and they have a team of virtual assistants ready to start immediately.

Their fourth package isn’t really a virtual assistant service at all. Their $500 one-time “Business Assessment” service is more of an outsider’s audit of your business and processes. The assessment is conducted by a successful and seasoned entrepreneur who will make recommendations based on the health and opportunities they discover.

This is aimed at people starting up a new business or needing some direction for their existing business. With experience in starting and growing a successful business, BoxChecked has the expertise to offer some valuable advice.

Plans and Pricing

BoxChecked offer four different pricing plans as outlined in the services section above. These are priced as follows:

  • Paper pushing isn’t for me – Starts at $299 for 10 hours of virtual assistant time a month. ($30/hr)
  • Do just one project – This service is priced at $40 an hour.
  • Dedicated back office – This service is priced per individual custom quotes.
  • Business assessments – These are priced at $500.

boxchecked pricing

VAA Exclusive: If you mention Virtual Assistant Assistant when buying a package you will receive 10% off the purchase price for up to three months.

BoxChecked Alternatives

When I asked boxChecked what separates them from the other companies in the crowded virtual assistant space, they said, “The big thing that sets us apart is our experience building, running, and selling a company to a publicly traded company. Isn’t that every small business’ dream? We bring that experience and proven track record to your business.”

(It’s a unique and interesting selling proposition, though a big exit might not be your dream or where you want to take your business.)

Among US-based virtual assistant services, Time Etc and Worldwide101 are well-reviewed, similarly priced, and worthy of your consideration.

Your Turn

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

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Twago is one of the largest platforms in Europe helping businesses all over the world find freelancers to help them with tasks and projects. The company has been in operation since 2009 and has grown a large marketplace for clients and freelancers to work together.

(The name, if you’re curious, comes from the phrase TeamWork Across Global Offices.)

About Twago

twago reviewThe company’s head office is based in Germany. The freelancers using the platform are based all over the world, as are the customers. The company is run by founder, Thomas Jajeh. He is responsible for IT development, product management, and performance marketing at Twago. Hermann Hohenberger is responsible for affiliate marketing, sales, and support.

The platform makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to find experts matching the skill sets needed to complete their tasks. You can find support for all areas of your business, such as site design and development, writing services, sales and marketing support, mobile app design, translation services, and more.

Their target customers are entrepreneurs and start-ups, to large enterprises. The size of the business doesn’t matter; you fill in a few details about your job, budget, and the skill sets you’re looking for from the freelancer, and the platform does the rest to provide you with some potential freelancers.

Twago Intro Video


As with most large marketplaces that allow you to post jobs and choose from the applicants that apply, there is a wide scope of services available. You’ll find programmers, designers, translators, marketers, and a whole host of other specialties.

If the work can be completed remotely there is a good chance you will find a freelancer to help. Because of the European focus, you may find more support for German, Italian, Spanish, and French-speaking assistants than on other freelance sites.

Plans and Pricing

Posting a project on the Twago platform is free. You only pay for the work that will be completed. Each project is evaluated on an individual basis, you add a budget to your project posting and this gives freelancers the opportunity to bid for the project based on your budget.

There are some optional extras to help your project posting stand out from the crowd, these are:

  • €149 ($170) – This hires you some assistance from Twago staff to make your project job the best it can be.
  • €49 ($55) – This fast-tracks your project so you receive offers within minutes.
  • €79 ($90) – Limit proposals from freelancers that sign your NDA.
  • €29 ($33) – Block your listing from search engines to limit it to just the Twago marketplace.

The site applies up-to-date SSL certificates on all monetary transactions making it safe and easy to send and receive payments.

Twago may not be the best fit for ongoing virtual assistant work. They explain that jobs on the platform “are generally limited in scope and duration and do not involve a traditional employer/employee relationship.”

Twago Alternatives

Two largest alternatives to Twago are sites like,,, and PeoplePerHour

Your Turn

Have you posted a project on Twago? If so, please leave a review of your experience below to help others with their decision.

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