Cheap standby virtual assistants?

5 replies
Hello Warriors,

When I use the term (cheap) I'm not talking $1 or anything, but, I say it in the context of not paying crazy high rates. Aright, yeah so I guess I'm looking for cheap cheap standby virtual assistants there I said it! anyway, anyone have any good experiences with some virtual assistance type services. I'm in need of someone to be my go to emergency standby type assistant. One task only which would be to remove posts when / where needed on my platform.

Any recommendation's would be much appreciated...

Cheers
#assistants #cheap #standby #virtual
  • Profile picture of the author cdronk
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    • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
      If you really need someone you can count on at a moments' notice, I would suggest looking into hiring an employee of your own instead of paying a middle man VA service. If you're not open to that, sorry for being off base, and feel free to ignore the rest of my post, but if you are, here are some thoughts:

      I don't think you will get a dedicated person on standby for you, any cheaper than the $2-4 per hour rate you will find for many types of VAs you can hire from the Philippines, which really is a great match for English speaking entrepreneurs imo. In other words, if you pay for a standby VA, you're not going to get off that cheap, so you might as well get the benefit of a full time employee for the same price.

      My favorite site for outsourcers is Easy Outsource dot com. But of course, you have to put in some work, just like with testing sales funnels, you might have to pay a few people a little bit for small tasks to find the one you want, and no matter who you get, you will have to be patient and train them, sometimes taking a few days of back and forth emailing or chatting before they are up to speed on a task.

      Tests should cost you in the $5-10 range, for which you will get somewhere between 1-5 hours. Unless they have really expensive skills, I find $2 an hour to be a good starting point, so you can give them a 2 hour task as a test for only $4; no hard feelings and no big loss if it doesn't work out. You should be able to find a good employee after only a few tries in most cases.

      Don't expect too much too soon, and make sure you clarify things as needed. The process will help you develop great training materials if you take your work seriously. If someone doesn't understand, I make every effort to simplify and clarify; never assume it's their fault until you exhaust every effort to make yourself more clear.

      John Jonas has a good blog about how to hire and train properly, but I don't go through him because I found just as many good people at the free site above.

      The most important point Jonas makes is that communication is above any other skill, therefore your main qualification to look for is good English skills, but you shouldn't hold out for perfection, unless it's writing and editing you hired them for. So along with English skills, the most important rule you want them to follow to keep working for you, is they must give you daily reports (exceptions for power outages, family emergencies, etc).

      The daily reports should consist of what they did, what challenges they came up against, what help they need from you to make things go better tomorrow, and confirmation that they understand and are prepared to face the tasks going forward. If you are fuzzy at all on your plans, this will be more time consuming and frustrating, but will force you to get clarity, which is actually great for you!

      The biggest challenge for me has been getting them to communicate daily, and especially to let me know when they got stuck so I could help. You have to reassure them that it is fine, and sometimes coax it out of them to find out they are stuck and then, what they need to move forward.

      Outsourcing is work; no getting around it, but the experience of hiring from the Philippines has been overwhelmingly positive for me. Just treat them with respect and dignity; they deserve it. Also, start them at $2-3, but be willing to quickly raise it when someone gets up to speed; they will earn you many times what you pay them anyway, so share a little of the profits they help you create, once they prove they can handle the job.
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      • Profile picture of the author IM Lover
        Originally Posted by Greg guitar View Post

        If you really need someone you can count on at a moments' notice, I would suggest looking into hiring an employee of your own instead of paying a middle man VA service. If you're not open to that, sorry for being off base, and feel free to ignore the rest of my post, but if you are, here are some thoughts:

        I don't think you will get a dedicated person on standby for you, any cheaper than the $2-4 per hour rate you will find for many types of VAs you can hire from the Philippines, which really is a great match for English speaking entrepreneurs imo. In other words, if you pay for a standby VA, you're not going to get off that cheap, so you might as well get the benefit of a full time employee for the same price.

        My favorite site for outsourcers is Easy Outsource dot com. But of course, you have to put in some work, just like with testing sales funnels, you might have to pay a few people a little bit for small tasks to find the one you want, and no matter who you get, you will have to be patient and train them, sometimes taking a few days of back and forth emailing or chatting before they are up to speed on a task.

        Tests should cost you in the $5-10 range, for which you will get somewhere between 1-5 hours. Unless they have really expensive skills, I find $2 an hour to be a good starting point, so you can give them a 2 hour task as a test for only $4; no hard feelings and no big loss if it doesn't work out. You should be able to find a good employee after only a few tries in most cases.

        Don't expect too much too soon, and make sure you clarify things as needed. The process will help you develop great training materials if you take your work seriously. If someone doesn't understand, I make every effort to simplify and clarify; never assume it's their fault until you exhaust every effort to make yourself more clear.

        John Jonas has a good blog about how to hire and train properly, but I don't go through him because I found just as many good people at the free site above.

        The most important point Jonas makes is that communication is above any other skill, therefore your main qualification to look for is good English skills, but you shouldn't hold out for perfection, unless it's writing and editing you hired them for. So along with English skills, the most important rule you want them to follow to keep working for you, is they must give you daily reports (exceptions for power outages, family emergencies, etc).

        The daily reports should consist of what they did, what challenges they came up against, what help they need from you to make things go better tomorrow, and confirmation that they understand and are prepared to face the tasks going forward. If you are fuzzy at all on your plans, this will be more time consuming and frustrating, but will force you to get clarity, which is actually great for you!

        The biggest challenge for me has been getting them to communicate daily, and especially to let me know when they got stuck so I could help. You have to reassure them that it is fine, and sometimes coax it out of them to find out they are stuck and then, what they need to move forward.

        Outsourcing is work; no getting around it, but the experience of hiring from the Philippines has been overwhelmingly positive for me. Just treat them with respect and dignity; they deserve it. Also, start them at $2-3, but be willing to quickly raise it when someone gets up to speed; they will earn you many times what you pay them anyway, so share a little of the profits they help you create, once they prove they can handle the job.
        Wow, thanks for the awesome reply there buddy.
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  • Profile picture of the author jessiem
    I guess you can go with Fiverr if you need a cheap VA to work on a simple task for you.
    Fiverr allows you to hire anyone for $5 per service.

    You can also recruit directly from the Philippines through Onlinejobs.ph or Staff.com (for part time / full time jobs).

    By the way, if you really need a cheap/skilled VA I'd suggest you conduct a 2-phase interview with the contractor:

    1. Communication skills (oral and written English)
    2. Do a trial work to test their skills if they are honest on what they've posted in their resumes
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    • Profile picture of the author IM Lover
      Originally Posted by jessiem View Post

      I guess you can go with Fiverr if you need a cheap VA to work on a simple task for you.
      Fiverr allows you to hire anyone for $5 per service.

      You can also recruit directly from the Philippines through Onlinejobs.ph or Staff.com (for part time / full time jobs).

      By the way, if you really need a cheap/skilled VA I'd suggest you conduct a 2-phase interview with the contractor:

      1. Communication skills (oral and written English)
      2. Do a trial work to test their skills if they are honest on what they've posted in their resumes
      Thanks the tips there buddy.
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  • Profile picture of the author webgenco
    I have found some good standby tech help on elance - odesk in the $5-7 hour range - the quality is spotty so be prepared and also you will spend lots of time explaining tasks. But my best help always comes from people I hire locally - and who I can meet and interview face to face. If you are on a budget, I would recommend finding an intern at a local college - there are many amazing people out there who need resume-building experience.
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