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:
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.
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.