As everyone is bound to know who is involved in a competitive business market, there are periods throughout the standard fiscal year where workflow and assignments increase dramatically. The reason for these changes although differing by occupation, is most often relevant to your field of specialty. However there are universal periods throughout the year in which every business requires a little extra help as a result of various elements such as holidays, seasons, taxes, so on and so forth. In an ideal business setting, when an influx of work is presented, we would hope for the sake of productivity to be able to hire new employees to a temporary seasonal position. Unfortunately this is not as straight forward as it seems, and certainly not as easily attainable for a small private company. Seasonal workers although not as demanding as a full time employee, do retain a certain amount of employee benefits within a contract that often make the necessity of the employee not worth the benefit package we are required to provide as the employer. If this is an issue in your business venture, the question becomes in what way you can utilize an outside work force on a temporary scale contract without being required to uphold an employee benefit package. Undoubtedly the most effective tool in modern business in order to combat this issue is the use of virtual assistance through free lance contracting. Now although utilizing virtual assistants is still a relatively new concept in the work environment, the practice of contracting outside freelance specialization is as old as business itself. 

Although a virtual assistant is most often utilized in the field of clerical and secretarial, essentially any work that can be completed on a piece basis through virtual labor is subject to free lance contracting. It's quite easy to find business associates with in the freelance market that are willing to evaluate the extent of the work you need completed and quote you a piece price before completing the work. In the case of the employer this is the most effective tool when working with non local help, as when you're unable to monitor a virtual assistant’s drive in completing a task, paying an hourly rate or a long term salary does not benefit you and your company. Before I move into some of the specifics regarding various freelance organizations that can be utilized, it's important to understand that in most instances the individual(s) you will be hiring will be expected to know their trade. However as there is little to no interview or training process, you run the risk of receiving work that does not meet your expectations, this however is rare with higher quality freelance websites that take the time to evaluate the freelancers who apply.

First I would like to discuss Elance, as one of the primary and most respected organizations, is a service that allows freelancers in all areas ranging from virtual assistants to program developers to bid on various projects. As an employer, by creating an account you are able to post various tasks and jobs you need completed along with any specifications including time ranges, credentials required, max budget and so on. One of the upsides to this is that each freelancer has the ability to bid on your listing, providing a detailed description of why they are right for your job, as well as their required piece rate, an example of their work and so on. This gives you the upper hand as the employer by allowing you the opportunity to determine which bid suits your needs best whether it is as a result of tight finances, or necessary expertise. One arguable downside to Elance is that it is available to individuals in any country, so if you are not comfortable outsourcing to various countries, you might find yourself siphoning through bids.

If quality is not as much of a necessity in the function you are trying complete, there are other options that are more suited to providing you with cheaper employment. is a very simple platform that utilizes the concept that any one can post a simple task they're willing to complete for five dollars. Although you may have to do quite a bit of browsing to find something that suits your purpose, you generally can often find relatively extensive offers for an inexpensive cost as a result of the inter-website competition. For example if you are looking for a virtual assistant to complete some excel data entry, you might be more successful in finding a cheaper piece rate on Fiverr than on Elance. However you suffer knowing very little about the employee, and having no control of potential bids.

Lastly is a wonderful concept that is definitely worth taking advantage of if locality is high on your priority list. If you are in the midst of a busy day and need your dry cleaning picked up, or simply want to be able to phone your virtual assistant and make sure they're on the right track, Task Rabbit finds freelancers within your vicinity and gives you the option to connect with them on a contract basis.