The newest craze in internet business is hiring Virtual Assistants.  Basically a virtual assistant is someone who helps you with whatever task over the internet.  An assistant that you hire on a per hour or project basis to do your tasks for you.  One key advantage of Virtual Assistants is because they often don’t live in North America you can pay them less than minimum wage. 

 Virtual Assistants can be great.  They take over the tasks that you do not want to do.  This can be anything from internet research to data entry tasks to writing articles to editing your work. The level of Virtual Assistants ranges in anything from people who work for 10 cents per hour doing data entry from people who charge thousands of dollars per hour for legal work. 

Typically when hiring a Virtual Assistant you go to an outsourcing website in order to hire a Virtual Assistant.  There are ways to hire Virtual Assistants outside of these websites but these websites are a great place for beginners.  The two main website I use are Elance an Odesk. 

Basically on these websites you post your job and you get replies of people who want to work for you.  You can set the price that you are willing to pay and people give you there proposal.  Typically if you put a virtual assistant posting on Elance I find you get around twenty responses and if you put one on Odesk you get about 80. 

Both websites offer Ebay type ratings of the potential Virtual Assistants.  This means you can see how many hours they have worked in the past, what kind of reviews the people who hired them gave and how they did on certain standardized tests like English speaking and Excel.  Then once hired on both websites you can actually keep track of the hours that the Virtual Assistant worked.  What happens is the Virtual Assistant downloads a program onto their computer and every 5 minutes or so program takes a random screen cap of the assistant’s computer.  The program then uploads all the screen caps so you can see whether your assistant was working on your stuff or messing around on Facebook. 

One of the great things about Virtual Assistants is you can hire and fire them at will without any concern in between.  I notice some virtual assistants seem to push the hours as much as humanly possible while others will tell you not to pay if they feel like they haven’t done a good job. 

It’s important to try out a bunch of Virtual Assistants before you are satisfied with the one that works best for you!