Month: May 2014

Virtual assistants. Virtually useless. Sometimes.

Finding virtual assistants online

Most of us start off solo in the online marketing world. For the most part it’s a learning curve but once you start to see the commissions roll in you will want to amplify your efforts and scale your business into something bigger.

In the last year or so I have been exploring the need to hire some virtual assistants to at least take on the mundane tasks.

I won’t lie. The quest to find quality virtual assistants is not easy.

Websites like oDesk have thousands of willing assistants however vetting through those that have the appropriate skill on paper as opposed to those that can actually do the job is not an easy task.

I would be lying to you if I said I have found the ‘dream team’. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I am continually adding and removing people from my team.

Now, I’m going to make a few generalisations about ethnicity and my experiences with Virtual assistants from around the world. Please note I don’t intend on being derogatory or racist intentionally. I am not a racist person and although these are stereotypes they are true to my experiences thus far.

With that in mind – I tend to split my virtual assistant teams into several categories. This is what has worked best for me:

Filipino’s

Their strength tends to be in customer service, data entry, copying and pasting data from one site to another, basic WordPress work and research. I also use the Filipino community for social media monitoring. If your virtual assistant team gets large enough you could always employ one of these guys/girls to look after your entire team. Again the Filipino workers seem to excel in these type of roles also.

Indians

Indian Virtual assistants have been extremely problematic for me. In my experience over the years I find it that they bid on jobs and they are way out of their depth. On multiple occasions I have had work delivered and it was that bad that I end up paying them and re-doing it myself. Hire Indians for programming work. They tend to excel in this field.

Romanians / Russians

These guys hold their strengths in design, PHP and all the cool technical stuff. I am yet to have one bad experience with these guys. They understand what you want the first time round and will only bid if they know they can do the job. They are more expensive than the others but you get what you pay for.

Native English speakers

Obviously use them to write your outsourced content. Again, you get what you pay for. Don’t hire a writer that will write a 300 word article for $5. You are guaranteed to get garbage. Please also be wary of virtual assistants and writers that claim to be native English speakers yet they are far from it.

The key here is quality. If your content is crap then your user experience will be crap. A bad user experience = no sales or commissions and most certainly no return visitors.

Pay that little bit more to get the quality you need.

I tend to use the same writers consistently. This is beneficial as they begin to understand your style and your needs. I am at the point now where I only give my writers a topic and they know exactly what i need. If you are paying for your writers and still finding mistakes in their work you need to move on and look for a new writer. I have not needed a revision even once since I established my writing team.

I realise this is a bit of a rough blog post but it will hopefully prohibit you from making the same mistakes I did when i started out.

In summary, keep it simple. Separate your teams and find their strengths. Remember that you are the boss. This is your business. Take charge. Don’t expect it all to just happen overnight without any input at all. Don’t expect them to care more than you do and last but not least learn to accept that finding people to your own standards is not an easy task.

It’s hard work, but once you have your teams established you can concentrate on the things that matter – research and making more money!

I will leave you with this final thought on what happens when assistants don’t work out as planned.

Why you need to stay away from Hostgator

avoid hostgator stay away

If you asked me 2 years ago who I would recommend as your web hosting provider I would have said Hostgator in a heart beat.

Ever since the company was acquired by EIG I have experienced an overwhelmingly inconsistent service.

My websites have become slower progressively and I can only assume that has something to do with them overcrowding their servers with thousands of other clients just like me.

It’s extremely disappointing to me considering the length of time I have been with them.

The icing on the cake would have to be their online chat/ customer service department. After waiting for several days to receive a reply (apparently delayed due to high call volumes) I was asked to provide an example of the website experiencing this issue.  It is quite evident to me the hostgator technical team take a reactive role to server performance.

I’ve started to move my websites. If you are starting out I would highly recommend that you stay away from Hostgator. Someone like Bluehost is a much more reliable option that will save you headaches when you are in my position.

I don’t know why these web hosting companies bother to partake in an acquisition process when they clearly can’t handle it.

I will end my rant here.

 

The journey post

George Aleksander Journey

Trying to make money online is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Over the years it has always been a dream of mine.

I tried. I failed. I tried again. And failed at least a dozen more times.

Don’t give up. I know, cliche right? Let me explain.

I have been sucked into every imaginable online adventure you can think of all in the hopes of learning how to make money online. I’ve purchased crappy E-books promising to show me the way, I’ve signed up to many webinars, followed successful bloggers and spent a lot of cash along the way to be let in on this ‘secret’.

The truth is they will never let you in on the secret. Those E-books, those courses, software packages and subscriptions are designed to make money for the seller; not you!

If you are spending money on any of these things, STOP NOW! You are wasting your efforts in the wrong area. It won’t get you anywhere.

My advice to you is to focus your time on discovering unsaturated niches, low competition keywords, brushing up on your technical skills such as blog building, creating graphics, brain storming on content ideas and of course learning all there is to know about up to date SEO. These are topics that I will cover in separate blog posts as time goes by. I am going to take a no BS approach to this blog. The content may not be perfect, but I assure you the essence of what I am saying will be real and based on my own successes and failures.

Why am I creating this blog? That is a damn good question. I have over 30 different blogs in my portfolio that form my own online money making strategy. Yet none of them are personal. I feel that I have enough experience now that I can contribute some unique information to those that are just starting out.

For now its back to the drawing board for me as I start to think about the different topics I will begin to cover.

But wait… you didn’t tell us how much you make George.

Yes. I suppose I did leave that part out. Rather than disclosing any specific amounts I can say with confidence that if you put in the hours, the time and the effort you can quit your job. Yes I’m sure you’ve heard that time and time again. But it’s real.

In the end, it’s a numbers game. Discover the right niches and your potential to earn can easily be in the 6, 7 or 8 figure range. More on that later.