The Personal Outsourcing Olympics: Bangalore Butler or American Assistant?

163 Comments


So good I had to show it to you again.

This past Tuesday, I was part of a segment on the CBS Early Show on personal outsourcing called “Average Joes, Janes Outsourcing Tasks.” Check out the video, one of the best I’ve seen on the topic, here. It includes case studies.

Two of my favorite articles on personal outsourcing — one from The Wall Street Journal and the other from the NY Times — compare different tasks and common problems.

I’ve outsourced everything from hardcore business functions to personal chores, emptying my inbox, and even online dating (see my “extreme outsourcing” article for the last).

One big question still remains for most:

Where the hell should I go to get started?

All personal outsourcing companies are not created equal…

Some only do research, while others do actual work, and still others screw up everything you give them. I haven’t seen a good ranking of customer satisfaction for different services, hence the following survey for readers here, who have more experience than most in personal outsourcing.

If you have used any of the following services and been satisfied, please vote for them here (multiple services is fine). There are dozens of new upstarts, so I only included those I’ve used or heard good things about. If you have other recommendations or questions, please leave them in — you guessed it! — the comments. If you haven’t used personal outsourcing yet, what’s holding you back?

The competitors are:

Elance
American Express Platinum Concierge
Ask Sunday
ODesk
Get Friday (Your Man in India)
Do My Stuff
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Craigslist
Workaholics for Hire
Brickwork India
iFreelance
Scriptlance
Guru
Agents of Value

Tell us about your experiences (or reservations) below — ideally focusing on what has worked so others can duplicate it — and don’t forget to vote here for your favorites!

Results will be posted next Friday. [Update: Here are the results]

Posted on: December 6, 2007.

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163 comments on “The Personal Outsourcing Olympics: Bangalore Butler or American Assistant?

  1. I used Elance for the design of my current blog/soon-to-be-sales site. Overall I was pleased with the quality of the work but it took way longer than expected because the designers I used were so burdened with other projects. The timezone/language differences did not help either. I recommend you read all the feedback, especially negative comments, very carefully on Elance and be very upfront about expectations.

    Like

  2. I have been a user of Ask Sunday for about 2 months now and have been pretty impressed with their service. I started by using the short/small task request based part for restaurant reservations, flight status updates, making doctors appointments, etc. – basically low-value stuff. Recently, I have started using their Sunday Projects service for a market research study I am doing for work and have been pretty impressed with the output. Their Sunday Projects division is based in the Philippines and their English skills are better than what I have come across in India.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great piece on outsourcing from CBS. I am still figuring out if I can outsource stuff without causing me to worry about how it is being done. That is a tough call from someone who is used to doing it all himself, but I do see the benefits you preach!

    Like

  4. I’ve tried individual companies as well as marketplaces and I have to say that marketplaces (like elance.com or guru.com) beat individual companies every time.

    The main benefit for me was that I could insist on having it “my way” in terms of working style (e.g., amount and frequency of mutual feedback), secure payment mode and overall formality. E.g., individual companies mostly tried to impose their contract templates and feedback cycles on me – I would have saved neither effort nor money had I given in, thus reaping no benefits at all from outsourcing (or personal / virtual assistants).

    Whether it’s an individual company or a marketplace: the biggest problem is always to establish trust. Haven’t found a solution yet, except maybe prototype projects and the like.

    Like

  5. I’ve used both AskSunday and Amex Platinum service, and continue to use both happily. Amex was great for projects that required a Concierge service (get me concert tickets, find me a doctor in a foreign city) wheras I use AskSunday for anything where I would like someone to call around a few places and essentially act as my ‘personal assistant’. The combination is great. I trust Amex to make qualitative and time urgent decisions, and use AskSunday for tasks that are mundane, but require time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve worked with several overseas contractors and have found the key to success is to make sure the words I’m using are simple and have no double meaning. In other words, I avoid using a lot common business language like “get underway” and “bottom line”.

    You might be tempted to say “I would like to start with the following task.”

    By starting with the word “I”, you are directing the communication to yourself instead of the assistant. Also, the word “would” may be hard to decipher for an intermediate English speaker. “Can you” or “I want you to” is safer.

    Also, the word “following” can mean “after”, “behind the leader” or “second”. So, your opening line could be read a few different ways. Such as:

    “I like to begin with the second task” ”
    “I want to start the task later”.
    “I would like to start the task after the leader”.

    A clearer statement might be: “Can you do this task?”

    So, if you want them to buy you a new shirt. Don’t say “find me a shirt” or “get me a shirt”. Be clear…”buy me a shirt”

    It can be frustrating at first, but after a while, I’ve become accustomed to writing like a 5 year old.

    Best,
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I originally heard about Ask Sunday on a segment on the Today Show. I thought the price was reasonable to give it a try mundane tasks that I never seem to get around to, such as doctor appointments, reservations, and my personnel favorites waiting on hold and then patching me in and wake up calls with the weather forecast.
    Recently, I started my own business, and have used Sunday Projects to help me out. This is perfect for someone like me who is still working their day job and trying to get another career off the ground. I can hire someone for a set amount of hours to do competitive research analysis for me at a low cost allowing me to really focus on the core business. I know as my own business grows there will be more work that I will be able to outsource to Sunday allowing my own margins to be that much larger.

    Like

  8. Nice Post!!! I think this a great way for people to duplicate what is working for others. It seems so essential to copy those whom have done well. Something I have also done for myself is hire a personal assistant to do my laundry and grocery shopping. I only do this once a week, but those crucial eight hours are now spent reading and doing other activities.

    Look forward to all the great posts!

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

    Like

  9. Tim,
    Great post. Though you placed sites that we could go if we needed to outsource something; where would you go if you wanted to become a resource to be used by someone?

    ###

    Hi Randy,

    Many of these site — like http://www.elance.com — are for both providers and those looking for services. Hope that helps!

    Tim

    Like

  10. Tim,
    Two days after I read your book I met the founder of a virtual staffing agency and knew I had to take the plunge and hire a VA. I was unsure exactly how I would use a VA but the consultation and matchup I received couldn’t have been better. I use a domestic VA with this company by the way. So far my experience has been first rate and I highly recommend them.
    The website is http://www.worldwideofficesupport.com

    Like

  11. I’ve always enjoyed using oDesk over other marketplaces because the service buyers that I work with are often good in sending out instructions and the pay is not so ridiculously low as other freelance marketplaces’ service buyers pay.

    Like

  12. Am following the directions in 4HWW, developing an idea, writing content, etc. Went to elance to find a Web design and development firm. Selected a company in India. So far so good. We’ll go from idea to reality for a very small investment.

    That’s the good news. Oh, and the design is beautiful. I love to look at it. It makes me happy (worth what I paid already).

    The bad news is: you wrote about having to be crystal clear in your communication. I’ve found it’s not just that… you have to be crystal clear, repeat yourself and very nearly bully to get the work done *well*. I’d taken to numbering every thought, item request, etc. in my emails and still many action items were overlooked or ignored. Then I requested for them to not do that (and numbered that, too)!

    This guy gets a lot of work and rave reviews on elance, too, so I don’t think he’s a hack.

    I think maybe he acts bigger than his company actually is- or they just skimp on design services, I can’t tell which. It took a long time and some extremely direct communication to get someone who could design… the first iterations were clearly whipped up by tech guys who knew programming but were not designers.

    It’s an adventure I’m enjoying. The URL will follow when we go live!

    I don’t think I’ll outsource much else right away. Takes too long to communicate — the other things I need done now I can do myself faster. Thanks!
    Rebecca

    Like

  13. I’ve used AskSunday for a couple of months now and happy with the level and breadth of service they provide. As a small business owner its pretty easy to communicate with their reps to take care of small task like reservations, messenger deliveries, product research, etc. They provide a lot of “bang for the buck” at $30/month. I’ve also used Get Friday and have had a harder time reaching these representatives as well communicating with them. I think what really separates the two services is the training that AskSunday puts into their reps and the neat technology interface they use to store relevant information. I’m planning on testing out their Sunday Projects for some research for my company.

    Like

  14. I recently came across a web site for a virtual assistant firm that specializes in helping people with their online dating. It’s called Love Concierge. They do other personal assistant activities too. I’m thinking about trying it out and was wondering if anyone else had ever tried it. The web site is http://www.datingvirtualassistant.com

    Like

  15. Outsourcing has really uppped my productivity–when done right. I started outsourcing 2 years ago with mediocre to great results at elance and small companies.

    Database/data collection:
    First VA came highly recommended –botched concurrent jobs I gave her, badly, and was months late after being paid in advance. The celebrity friends who recommended her couldn’t understand my upset when they rec’d superior work on the same kind of projects…but we discovered she wanted to impress them and would take their “whenever you get to it work” over my high priority work. This was for simple data collection that she never would put into the format she’d agreed to. I canx’d a third project because she ran too late and hired a local assistant to finish it within a few days, so it cost me twice, plus the lost time. Lesson learned: stick to VAs where there’s an objective ratings system and never pay in advance, even when your celebrity friend says they’re the best ever. Still kicking myself for that one.

    File Transcription: (My Secret Weapon)
    My best productivity tool is dictating books and courses on my digital recorder and uploading the audio files to a VA I hire via elance. Best service ever? I dictated 30 files in 14 days while commuting to my day job, then I sent the files to my VA on Friday evening and had a 300-page text document ready for me to make final edits on 48 hours later…for a few hundred dollars. Audio file transcription with other VAs (the first one was already booked) has been crappy quality that required me to re-work everything myself because their spelling skills were not as represented, in spite of great ratings from others.

    Research: Mediocre job from a very earnest male VA in India with great credentials and price. In spite of what I thought was good upfront communication, he didn’t understand the subtleties, regardless of what we’d agreed to. Cultural differences made a huge difference in this project. Good job from a VA in Argentina who wrote to ask me what she could do to make it better. I gave her three larger projects that were absolutely perfect–she took my concerns from the first job to heart.

    Coordination of projects/research/data collection/email contacts: Very good job from an inexperienced VA who wanted the opportunity to prove what she could do and build her resume. She definitely, in hindsight, underestimated the hours required but refunded some of the money because she considered the experience so valuable to her.

    I’ve tried to outsource some book formatting projects through elance but rec’d incredibly high estimates that included all sorts of things I specifically said don’t do. Hard time getting people to listen to instructions on this one instead of trying to force-fit me into their idea of what I should do. Ended up outsourcing this one to a local assistant who did 15 such projects for the estimate of 1 such project from elance.

    Editing: Very professional VAs with individual companies. 80% of these have been superb, with the 20% requiring me to reaccomplish the work personally because they made such a mess of it. Without the good ones, I wouldn’t have finished the projects for another year.

    So my VAs have been hit or miss, but when one hits, it’s a force multiplier for my productivity!

    Like

  16. I used GF for about a year. Started out great, but the quality steadily diminshed. They recently assigned me to a new VA who could barely speak English, and explaining things to her plus her errors required much much more of my time than it saved.

    Switched to a brand new startup copmany called Zirga.com.

    Their service has been absolutely spectacular (not to mention slightly cheaper than outsourcing to Bangalore!).

    Highly recommended–you might add this service to your list above.

    Jordan

    Like

  17. I have had very positive experiences with Elance. The marketplace approach finds specialists for each particular project, which has some advantages over a firm one ALWAYS goes to – that go-to firm will probably say yes to projects they are not qulified to do. The listing process is very easy, and they seem to have a good pool of talent. So, Elance 1

    I had very negative experiences with Get Friday. I tried to use them first (having read the 4HWW) and they seemed to be a victim of their popularity – slow to respond, corporate BS in the way the communicated, bad communication between team members, unqualified people assigned to tasks, lost emails, you name it. TERRIBLE.

    I should mention I have had good results with OnAssist – they are a Philippines-based firm that’s been quite responsive and goal-oriented. Worth considering.

    Best,

    Karl

    Like

  18. A follow-up thought – I’m thinking about ‘meta-outsourcing’ – now that I’m comfortable with the process / skill of defining-and-assigning outsourced projects, the time to post them and manage them is itself an outsourceable task. The trick will be to find a very high-level VA who can translate verbal / quick email project descriptions into formal bid requests, and then manage the growing team of VAs. Finding that high-level assistant will be a bit of a challenge, I think.

    – Karl

    Like

    • Karl, that is a BRILLIANT idea! The thought of wading through a sea of misunderstanding has been one of the things that has made me hesitant about using a VA. But “meta-outsourcing”…! PLEASE let me know if you have any luck finding a high-level VA who can do this, and where you find him/her.

      Like

    • I’m about to get started with outsourcing (I just finished reading 4HWW last week, and I’m on the Low Information Diet at the moment.. moving through Dreamlines), and I’d love to know your feedback on meta-sourcing. Have you begun to implement this, and, if so, what have your results been like?

      Like

  19. Tim, read the book twice already and love it. I remember reading (pg 56) you said you found your dream car the Aston Martin DB9 on ebay.. Did you purchase this car or were you just browsing?

    Anyhow was curious if you did purchase it how you like it as it is also one of my favorite cars and I set that as my first major goal for october 08′ on the dreamline.

    As a fellow MMA enthusiast, excessive notetaker and master of systems and automation I feel we were cut from the same thread and keep up the good work!

    Mike C.

    ###

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve driven the DB9, and it’s amazing, but I don’t own one. Now, if someone offered me a Tesla Roadster… :)

    All the best,

    Tim

    Like

  20. I’ve used Elance for getting art work done (book illustrations). It worked great.

    I think the real trick is knowing exactly what you want and being able to write it down in simple English. If you can do that, the task will almost certainly work being outsourced. If you don’t know exactly what you want, you are going to have problems. If you’ve read Tim’s book you can see that he knows exactly what he wants and writes clearly and simply; he also has phenomenal success with outsourcing. That’s not a coincidence.

    Like

  21. I have recently read Tim’s book and now want to start my first (ad)venture. Is there any way to get some feedback from Tim on what I want to do and how I am proposing to do it?

    ###

    Hi Chris,

    Sorry! I’m not doing any one-on-one consulting at the moment. My apologies, but it just isn’t scalable. The reader-only forums on the main 4HWW site are a good place to get feedback.

    Good luck and pura vida,

    Tim

    Like

  22. Message is for Chris,

    There is a lot of material out there with Tim in it, including several youtube recordings. I have found these to be helpful, but what I think one of the main points Tim has repeated a lot is to micro test. This seems to be a great method to see how things work. It keeps the project relatively inexpensive and if is not, then you would not have wasted too much time on the idea/project. At times people become “married” to their ideas as is often the case with people and their stocks. Sometimes, it is best to let luck on an idea and work on another. Moreover, scan Tim’s site carefully there are a lot of hidden gems(sites with awesome and useful info) . I hope this was helpful, oh another key, read the books Tim has referred. Richard Branson offers some savvy advice in his book, Losing My Virginity.

    Take care and wish you the best in your venture!!

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

    Like

  23. Nathan,

    Great observation, it is true. It is better to keep it simple and to the point. If you don’t do this you make get mixed results. Like Tim says, save the $10 words.

    Best

    Jose

    Like

  24. RECOMMENDED:

    Gavin Allinson’s OutsourceSuccess.com (he is a hardcore 4hww guy too) (India workers, Gavin’s in UK)

    Voncore.net (higher prices but very highly trained – Phillipines workers, CEO works from NJ, USA

    VERY SERIOUSLY BAD:

    Two companies owned by Richard East of OMS3
    TrafficAssistants.com and Bwiredin.com
    they “specialize” in helping internet marketers.

    if you click my name and check out the SCAMS group you will see posts from people who have used the services including myself. They are not quite a fraud operation, just not delivering anything close to what they claim. They wasted tens of hours of my personal time trying to get them to do things right or do things at all. full of excuses, hours inflated, work not done at all. etc

    V.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Great, thanks for the links Tim, really interesting.

    Looks like personal outsourcing is really taking off, like the WSJ article says “we’re just coming out of the early adopter phase”.

    I haven’t used personal outsourcing yet. What’s been holding me back? I’m currently time rich but cash poor. I should be the one doing the work!

    Rich

    Like

  26. I’ve been using GetFriday for about 6 months now, and I have to say I haven’t been thrilled with the service.

    I experemented pretty extensively at first, and have had luck only with very simple, repetitive tasks. Anything complex has been too much of a hassle.

    I’m an experienced manager– I’ve been managing people professionally for over a decade. However, the language barrier combined with the vagueries of written communication can be a challenge. I’ve gotten to a point where I can generally break down a task into very simple chunks and describe it effectively in an email such that the task will be completed as expected, but doing so often takes so long that it’s not worth doing– I’ve lost so much of my own time that too much of the outsourcing value is lost.

    I’ve had 3 different assistants with GetFriday, and the experience has been similar.

    What I’d really like to do is find a sharp, tech-savvy high school kid locally, and pay him $10 or so an hour. This would have the added benefit of allowing me to outsource tasks that require proximity. We’ll see how that goes– I plan to try it in ’08.

    Like

  27. I have also had issues with Get Friday. My impression is that they have expanded too fast to maintain their quality of work. I’m working with elance and shopping for a new company for repetitive tasks.

    Like

  28. Hi Tim, the book has been lifechanging, and this topic is a great one for me as I’ve been trying to put some of what I’ve learned into play.

    Since you outsource everything, how do you manage the risk of giving out your identity/financial information? Are there things that you specifically put into your contracts that you can share or any tips?

    ###

    Hi Sunil,

    For one thing, I only give out credit cards and not debit cards. I also never give out SSN or security question answers. I’ve never had a problem.

    Hope that helps!

    Tim

    Like

  29. I hired TasksEveryday three months ago. I originally contacted GetFriday but they failed to contact me in the time frame they said they would and then after making two follow up calls – both representatives I spoke with said they couldn’t find my request in their system, took my information again, and still failed to follow up – I moved on. These exchanges with GetFriday took place over a three and a half week period.

    TasksEveryday has proven to be a reliable and professional service. I was required to purchase a block of hours and an assistant was assigned to me during hours that matched my work day; Mon – Fri, 10am to 2pm. I send my tasks daily as sending them in advance caused confusion even with prioritization on my part. If there isn’t any work I am charged for the time anyway.

    Though generally pleased with the service I found that communication and task assignment have to be simple, clear, and direct – without any qualifying information (which runs the risk of not really understanding the assignment). The number one advantage to having a virtual assistant was being able to divest myself of the little things. The number one disadvantage to the arrangement with TasksEveryDay is having to make sure there’s always something to do (a problem I had when a live person worked in my office, too).

    The greatest lesson I learned from the experience is that while having someone make reservations, order flowers, find gifts, etc is great, my needs at the moment are more specific to supporting my projects as they come into my office.

    Anyway, back to the drawing board to formulate a clearer needs assessment and identify who can best deliver results at a reasonable rate.

    Like

  30. Tim and/or others,

    Is there a Mandarin Chinese (simplified or traditional) version of Elance for translation, VA, product procurement, web design etc…?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks to all and a great blog!

    Like

    • Hi Nathan,

      Did you ever end up finding an answer to this question? I’m looking for a bilingual VA to answer product support emails in Chinese.

      Thanks1

      Like

  31. This article is in good timing. I decided I needed to start learning how to outsource, so I put up a small project on Elance (fixing a little design error on my site). I found a man from India that was very dedicated to my project. I was nervous, but he did a great job.

    I think the thing I need to learn more is how to be very specific with what I need done and to give up doing everything myself.

    Like

  32. Ditto Jordan on Zirga. They’ve just started, so you’re forgiven for not including them. ;)

    But, oh-my-god, it is sooo much easier to deal with a smart US person (they’re in Colorado) than someone overseas. It seems like they’ve worked out a system that still allows it to be reasonably priced.

    After some miserable experiences with the various overseas providers and US “concierge” services, I was ready to try one of those $50-$75/hr work-at-home-mom ex-executive-assistant VAs, who might actually be able to get something done.

    Enter Zirga. Completely, totally, awesome experience. I was shopping for prices on a printer, and got this reply, which I was totally not expecting:

    “Spoke with XXXXXXX, who quoted me $5700, I informed them of YYYYYYY’s price, and they agreed to match the $4950 shipped but also give you a 2 year warranty and 2 sets of ink.

    Left another message for ZZZZZZZ.”

    Not to mention they’ve been extremely effective at sorting out billing confusion with Sprint, DirecTV, you name it. I just type up a paragraph, hit send, it comes back a couple hours later as resolved. Beautiful.

    You can also check off when you need something to be done, and they’re pretty good at “this needs to be done within the next hour” stuff.

    (Oh, they can also do *much* more complex, ongoing things if you like, at $25/hr.)

    Like

  33. I’ve used elance only once so far and had been thrilled to get help finding a company who can replicate some of my wall sculptures. My provider was a woman from PA who had done something similar for her own creative ideas. Perfect, I thought. But after a month of work and getting REALLY close to actually finding something that would work, she had to abandon the project and elance altogether due to health reason, the fee was waved. I hope she will get medical assitance and get better. I’m back to square one and will re-post my project today.

    Meanwhile, tried to check out getfriday.com but got only an error there: There is a problem with this website’s security certificate. Hmmmm….

    I’m very motivated to test out some other sources. Outsourcing is not a luxury, it’s a must for anyone whose capacities go beyond doing every single detail without room or time to grow. Thanks for making that so clear!

    Blessings,
    Damaris

    Like

  34. WOW! I was reading through the comments as I wait for the results to be posted and came across some good information. Per Jordan and per Eden I decided to check out Zirga.com and all I can say is that they are amazing!!! They gave me 3 tasks to test the service and the work that they did was phenomenal! I’ll definitely be using their services exclusivly.

    Like

  35. That video is wrong on so many levels… LOL
    Funny.

    I am new to the 4 Hour Work Week World and am halfway through the book and am now searching through the website.

    Must say… 5 Stars… Kudos Kudos Kudos… :-D

    Like

  36. I recommend myself! :)

    Okay, I know that’s shameless self promotion but hey – it doesn’t hurt!

    My company is Business Services, ETC and we give business owners freedom by managing the BS, etc. Seriously – it’s what we’re good at!

    We have a team of six and we do anything and everything you could ever think of outsourcing. Our rates aren’t as low as $10/hour but we work really quick so your dollar is stretched really far.

    We’re based out of Canada and I’ve owned my business for over three years now. We have a combined total of over 30 years of experience and we love what we do.

    Check us out… http://www.bsetc.ca.

    Thanks Tim for asking for resources and letting me shamelessly self promote mine! :)

    Erin Blaskie

    Like

  37. Hi Tim,
    Why was getafreelancer.com not included on the voting list. I have used them for over a year with great success. Also thanks alot for your book, it has really been a big help…

    Cheers from Canada.

    Like

  38. I have outsourced writing on both Elance.com and GetAFreelancer.com (which is well worth adding to your list).

    My expectations were not really fulfilled. Even though the writers researched the topics I gave them, they had no real experience in them. And that showed in the outcomes.

    Now I try to build more long-term relationships with the people I outsource to, make them part of my team, make them understand the bigger picture. That seems to work better.

    Alexander

    Like

  39. The other side of the coin: I am a full time freelancer (graphic designer & Illustrator) and have eight years experience with Elance and Guru (formerly Creative Moonlighter) and am just getting started on Do My Stuff and ifreelance. I have several national accounts and fill in “betweeners” by cherry picking projects on line. I’ve had both good and bad experiences dealing with buyers on both Elance and Guru, but by and large most have been good. I’ve seen first hand the evolution of the online marketplace. Buyers ARE looking for the very best prices for producing their projects which has intensified the competitive nature of the online marketplace (good for buyers… bad for providers). I’m all for a competitive market, but service providers willing to create artwork for pennies has led to unrealistic expectations of what it takes to produce quality artwork. I can not (and honestly don’t try to) compete with lowest prices bid per project. There is always some one willing to complete the task at hand for less. I’m awarded less jobs, but those I do accept are quality projects.

    I like Elance and Guru because they have the best representation of my portfolio (buers HAVE to see what you can do). Anyone wanting to start an online marketplace should start there. Thumbnails just don’t cut it. Feedback follows a close second as I always look to see a buyer’s past dealings before accepting a project. Both Elance and Guru have excellent feedback systems and they both only charge a minimal fee on money collected. It’s a good thing that they haven’t realized that a gallery will take 50% of sales from an artist. They both charge providers a yearly subscription fee which complaining about would likely fall on deaf ears. Elance has just changed their subscription policy so the jury is still out on them. Most buyers pay with credit cards and I use direct deposit into my business account which takes 3-5 days. I despise PayPal!

    I personally like the quantity and variety of projects on Guru better than Elance and I think that the communication process between buyer and provider is a little more open on Guru. They both navigate well through all processes. Guru is definitely better in contacting them directly pertaining to issues and questions. You can still speak to an individual!

    Kind regards,
    Mark

    Like

  40. I have been using Gavin at Outsource Success (http://www.OutsourceSuccess.com). Sadly this has not free’d up much time yet but it has allowed me to take on more paying clients. So I’ll be debt free a lot sooner!

    Also use Rentacoder and IFreelance for Technical and Web work.

    Will be spending some quiet time over christmas finding more work for these guys to do.

    Thanks Tim, Got your book last christmas so only right I give you an update!

    Like

  41. Tim,

    Finished listening to your book 4 weeks ago and immediately as fate would have it Gavin at http://www.outsourcesuccess.com came into my business. I wear many hats as a physical therapist, personal fitness coach, and also have a successful online retail fitness business

    I am a 44 y/o father of 3 and am commited to working towards the 4 hr work week.

    Gavin and his band of VA’s will be the key to this transformation becoming reality.

    Your wisdom and carefree approach to using VA anywhere in the world (presently Raj is in London as is Gavin) has inspired me to go anywhere I need to get the help I need.

    Your book is hands down the best thing I have read. I have recently ordered 2 copies to give to friends for xmas. Something else I never did before.

    Scared to take teh leap.. http://www.outsourcesuccess.com.. Ask for gavin.. and let him know Dave from Wisconsin suggest you contact him.

    He is the real deal.

    Dave

    Like

  42. I have had the same experience as Rebecca with Elance

    “I’ve found it’s not just that… you have to be crystal clear, repeat yourself and very nearly bully to get the work done *well*. I’d taken to numbering every thought, item request, etc. in my emails and still many action items were overlooked or ignored. Then I requested for them to not do that (and numbered that, too)!”

    Like

  43. I’ve had a lot a difficulty in the whole outsourcing my life thing. I had tried GF and AskSunday and though they handled really, and I mean REALLY, easy tasks, anything that took any initiative or independent thought at all was done very poorly. I was depressed at how much and how often I had to clarify things with either agency.

    After reading through the comments on this post I decided to try zirga.com and so far I’ve been really impressed. They get tasks handled in a timely and professional manner that needs very little communication other than the original request (which I prefer to enter through their web interface or email, though they do have a request phone #).

    I highly recommend zirga.com to anyone and everyone!!!!

    ###

    Hi Henry,

    Thanks for the comment. Strangely, the people at GetFriday contacted me and said that they have no record of you as a customer. If this is comment spam for Zirga, I would kindly ask you not to repeat. I’ve seen a few from them that I deleted before they were published. If GF is mistaken and you were a customer, please respond back with which dates.

    Sorry for the hassle, but I have to take potential comment spam seriously. Thanks!

    Tim

    Like

  44. Hi Tim,

    Half way through your book and loving it.

    Since I started using http://www.outsourcesuccess.com I have been able to free up so much more of my time.

    For a while I was trying to learn and do everything myself from web design to blog posting and internet research.

    I was initially skeptical about outsourcing and had heard some horror stories from some clients (much like Marty above).

    Then randomly I got back in contact with Gavin whom I had known since 1993 (for a general catch up as we had lost contact for nearly 10 years…power of the internet hey!).

    Call it fate or what ever you want he was there with the answer when I needed it the most.

    His team of VA’s and web designers are incredibly compotent and speak flawless English.

    I think I probably even told Dave above about him as we are both in a mentorship programme together. Good people are sometimes hard to find but well worth it when you do find them.

    Looking forward to finishing the book over the festive period (I’ve really taken your advice to hart and make sure I read fiction before I sleep, really helps to turn the brain off).

    Alex

    Like

  45. WTF? What about Rentacoder.com? I personally use them, and they are cheaper than most(especially eLance), and they go way out of their way to make sure everyone on each side is legit. They have great dispute resolution(which I’ve never had a problem with), escrow holding, and a peer review system that is a step above eBay(no spiteful feedback!). I have used Scriptlance, and its just full of scammers and people that can’t speak english and dont understand what you want done. eLance, would rank number 2, but they usually are over priced. For example why would I pay $20 hr for decent 3d work, or $13-15/hr for ho hum 3d work when I could hire a fresh college grad locally for $17-20/hr have them to talk to face to face. Not all eLance is like that, but a very high majority of it makes me say hire someone you can work with face to face. But rather than go that route I use rentacoder. Avoid Scriptlance at all costs!

    Like

  46. Hi Tim,

    I don’t know why GF would deny that I was a customer. I had only been a client for a few weeks, 3 at the most, during the month of October, but they should still have some kind of record. Odd that they would contact you and deny it. Sorry to hear that you’ve been receiving spam comments. Feel free to email me directly.

    -Henry

    Like

  47. Wow. I almost thought that Gavin was virtually unknown, that somehow I had discovered some hidden gem no one else knew about.

    After the comments from fellow fitness professionals I see that’s clearly not the case.

    I’m in a couple of different mentoring program for fitness professionals and heard that Gavin was highly recommended by several different people, which sold me.

    Gavin’s really easy to work with and get a hold of, and while his assistants don’t always have perfect English they are friendly and easy to communicate with if you have a little patience.

    I haven’t tried anyone else.

    Like

  48. Tim’s free video is in post-production, Brickwork is three weeks behind due to the xmas holiday (what is the Hindustan word for christmas?)…

    Somehow you manage to provide nothing and INCREDIBLE value at the same time and make sure you are getting paid for it every step of the way.

    I wonder how many people miss exactly how embodied in this very site the principles you teach are. You, sir, are a freaking genius. Well played.

    Like

  49. Hello John, i have been working with http://www.taskseveryday.com for the last 6 month and its working very well. I have a full time assistant who works for me 10-6 EST M – F and she helps me with the little things that take up most of my time. I am a dentist here in NY. My VA manages my appointments, confirms visits with my clients, researches internet for various topics that interest me, does some data entry work and other personal tasks.

    Overall its working well looking at the value for money and the output. I pay only $6.98 an hour including cost of phone calls!
    It took me a bit of getting used to when i started but now i exactly know how to put instructions in a simple format for the VA to understand. You have to keep in mind the cultural difference that exists and that means keeping all instructions very clear. Trust me it works well!

    Like

  50. hey Gavin, one more positive comment about you and you might be a victim of your own success and have all reference to you deleted! haha!

    with that said, let’s try and see what happens:

    Gavin gave me this idea which has really helped me manage all the VA I hire (mostly from rentacoder)

    …do a CAMTASIA video (video of your computer screen) of you doing the computer task. Add voice commentary. give them the video and say do it. If they have questions you can improve the video for future. This is only useful for computer tasks, but somewhat also for other things I imagine. Anyway, saves retraining people. I also like to add the webcam pic-in-pic of me telling them the instructions so they can see my scary face as I tell them the consequences of what will happen if they screw up!

    that’s my 2 cents
    (total 4cents including my earlier post)
    cheers!
    V.

    Like

  51. I found that using Guru worked well. (before I came across this book) I posted a project to elance and guru and found more people bidding on my project from guru. I was initially pretty nervous and didn’t really feel comfortable in “assessing” the right person and so I let the bid stay up until I found the person I felt most comfortable with. I will have to say that I have been pretty impressed with the work (complex computer coding) However, I too have had some setbacks with outsourcing. Time is of the essence and you will never know how swamped with other projects the person you are hiring will be. (ASK THIS UP FRONT…don’t assume it with the schedule they give to you to complete your task) Even though the contract I struck with the individual was pretty straight forward and had definite time deadlines, I found them slipping and never had a grasp on his time. I allowed that to happen because I felt that the project was bid not on an hourly schedule but on a project completed task. (this method is both good and bad). I agree with Tim F. in that it should be short milestones that can be tracked frequently. Short being 2 to 3 days otherwise the project will run off track. I have also found that on a pay per completed task project, the person(s)/company can come back and say that they heavily under estimated the work even though it was clearly stated in the contract and about ¾ the way through you might find yourself renegotiating the contract over again because your bent over a barrel and almost finished and they know it.

    Tips I find useful

    Tim F. said it best, get multiple people working on your project. Life happens and working with one person is going to be painful when life does occur.

    If you are stupid like me and only got one person then here are my tips for that…

    Ask how many projects they currently have going and figure out what it would take any normal person to do what they are doing and then fit your stuff in. (that’s going to be your time frame)

    Have definite small milestones that will be checked frequently

    Be firm in your choices and direction of your project/ accept feedback but ultimately its your project and your time.

    In very specialized areas of expertise… I would suggest that you go to a pay per hour, get estimates and hold them close as possible to the deadlines and estimates to not let the project go on and on …

    I don’t have any idea what you do once you get to the renegotiation stage. Otherwise feel free to be a hostage of your own design (like I did) unless some people have advice on here how to get the project finished and not piss off the person in the meantime .. (yes guru does have conflict and contract resolution in case this goes south …but it will either make it almost impossible to get the job done or future work done working within specialized areas that only a few people know how to do!!!)

    Like

  52. I am not like everybody here because I like to find my VA in forums I frequente.

    I had both good and bad results. Everytime I hire someone, I try to get 2 or 3 people, give them the same task and then, I choose the best.

    Like you said, you need several weeks before you can find out who is “the best” for the job.

    Like

  53. I discovered oDesk through this post, and started using it the same day. Now, almost two months later, I’m working with more than 10 providers and working on a book about oDesk. I guess you could say I’m sold on it. :)

    The aspects I like best are the hourly rates (so I know what I’m paying for, and also because it works well for long-term projects) and their profile and testing system. I can get a very good idea of who I’m hiring without a lot of risk on my part.

    Like

    • After much research here and on other sites, I eventually checked out a several sites and have also found oDesk to be easily the most satisfying to use.

      After only a week I’ve now got a team I can flick over multiple, wide ranging tasks and am getting used to their various strengths and weaknesses. I love the hourly rate, no pressure to find work if none is there, the range and quality of people offering work, the open review system that allows me to read feedback by others, the ability to communicate prior to engagement… and where else could I get to employ an MBA for $2.22/hour!?!

      Having said that, I’m averaging about $3.33 per hour on wages, which I am exceedingly happy about, with $5 per hour going to my highest paid team member. Very happy to recommend!

      Like

  54. I know, God speaks English. Unfortunately the most of what I could outsource involves either Spanish or German. I would be greatful if anybody could point me to some services using one or both of these languages.

    ###

    LOL… c’mon now, Stefan, I never said that! There are tons of virtual assistants in both Central and South America, as well as in Poland and other countries with plenty of German speakers. I’d give http://www.elance.com a shot and I’m sure you’d find good examples.

    Good luck und viel Spass y que te diviertas!

    Tim

    Like

  55. What is the best VA for personal outsourcing? Basically handling the trivial tasks in life. Give me some reccommendations please!!
    Thanks!
    DAN

    Like

  56. I have had a very positive experience with guru.com. I have hired three different contractors for specific technical and design tasks with great success. One Indian firm I hired through guru was very slow, but did good work. I also hired a guy in Atlanta, GA to do some Linux troubleshooting and he was amazing!

    Now I need a virtual assistant, and am in the process of signing up with getfriday.com, fingers crossed. Glad to know there are other outsourcing options if gf doesn’t work out. Thanks for all the comments!

    Like

  57. Thanks for this article – it gave me courage to try it, and I’m really seeing life in a whole new way now! I decided to compare DoMyStuff.com and iFreelance.com for projects at home and virtual projects, respectively. iFreelance.com is a real service. I got, like, 84 bids for my first project, and they sent me notices every day with bar graphs showing how the bidding was going. There are so many talented people out there ready to help us! I thought choosing was going to be the hard part, but there was one person who seemed to have read and understood my needs most thoroughly.

    I got some enthusiastic bids on DoMyStuff.com, but no email updates from them until last week, when they told me they had “delisted” my task for one of five reasons (4 of them pertaining to something inappropriate being posted, 1 being that the job was listed elsewhere. Which it wasn’t.) The job I posted was “Update My Look.” I had 4 stylists ready to come over and help me go through my closets — whee! Now I can’t contact them, either, since there is no contact info on their profiles. I wrote back to protest and never heard a thing.

    So, to use the excellent ratings and review system iFreelance uses, I’d give iFreelance a ’10’ for communication and competence, and DoMyStuff a charitable ‘5’. If they hadn’t dumped/judged me like that, I might have been half as impressed as with iFreelance.

    Like

  58. Hi,

    I tried to use Brickworks. The initial contact was good, . So I sent a brief and asked for details so I could pay . Now it is seven days later. I have sent three emails to the rep and cced the biz dev dept and still no reply.
    Hello, is anyone there!!
    Shame because I have spent time in India and have a great affection for Bangalore.
    I think I have to take the hint
    Stephen

    ###

    Hi Stephen,

    I’ll be commenting on this soon. It’s a shame that they’ve been so overwhelmed by growth and dropped the ball.

    Tim

    Like

  59. I’m a big fan of the book and now a big fan of outsourcing. I have to say, though, that my experience has been patchy.

    I started out with Brickwork India. Not only did they blow every single deadline, they completely ignored key instructions and e-mailed 700 people they were not to contact. Not good. They are also expanding so fast that “my” VA was replaced three times in a month due to that expansion. I cannot recommend them. They may be one of the biggest, but definitely not the best.

    I’m now using Elance and am very happy. I provide really detailed briefs, examples of what I want done (when possible), and pay very close attention to the negative comments. I also tend not to work with organisations who a) aren’t prepared to show samples of their work; or b) have a lot of spelling and grammatical mistakes in their bids, as I think that is a red flag for a language barrier.

    Sometimes jobs are a little patchy, but mostly they are very good.

    Like

  60. Outsourcing is more on how the instruction is being given and how the instruction is being understood. But somehow it also deals with expectations and making allowances for those who cope up shortly. The secret is to deal with one and immerse him to your flow of operations or assignments then he will be perfect as you progress.

    Like

  61. These comments have been almost as helpful as the 4HWW. Great stuff. Like many who have commented before me I have a long-term commitment to outsourcing my life and as much of my business as possible. I’ve been outsourcing components of my BPO for over five years and with pretty good success, but 4HWW revealed a whole new area I needed to explore.

    I made a financial commitment to a trial with Brickwork, GetFriday, and another firm in South Asia. During this trial I would assign identical tasks to different companies so I could compare their work quality. This was vital because it quickly revealed the talent servicing my account. Also it provided me the opportunity to see how the companies functioned. Brickwork was helpful and I had a great VA, but she told me that she was leaving the company due to health, family, and other issues. At GetFriday, my VA was also great, but she suffered a severe illness and was unable to walk. It was tragic, but more tragic was the way the companies handled these transitions. The quality of work from Brickwork and GetFriday was ok, but the company infrastructure was unacceptable. Our account manager at GetFriday shared that they have a problem with keeping really talented employees for the long-term due to the skill level these positions tend to attract. If someone is really good, they will most likely find a position elsewhere. The other VA firm in South Asia was fantastic from the start and continues to improve each month.

    For personal VA work, I use AskSunday (great company and fantastic work product) and RedButler. I find that each has their own strength and weakness.

    To conclude, using a VA also helps you learn alot about yourself, where you are weak, and where you need to improve your processes. The trial was the best way to go and really helped me to streamline my entire operation. You really learn alot about yourself in the process. In the end, I found for myself that for the level of admin and client support I needed a US based VA who I found through IVAA. The VA I found is fantastic and has actually become an invaluable part of my company. What is really cool is that she now will outsource on my behalf to lesser qualified VA’s I have on contract when she is focused on more vital tasks aligned with my business goals. I’ve learned over time that there is no way that I could have ever outsourced to India some of the higher level tasks I was trying to send to BW or GF. My suggestion is don’t focus on the cost savings at the expense of quality work. In the long-run you’ll pay anyways.

    Like

  62. Hi Tim,

    A client of mine recommened your book “The 4-Hour Workweek” to me about 2 weeks ago. The first thing I did was come to your website to learn more about you and what your book is all about.

    Then I stumbled across this post on your blog. Outsourcing your business and personal life to a virtual assistant is common today because of the Internet . I have successfully owned my own company as a virtual assistant for close to 10 years. It is amazing to see what all a virtual assistant can do for those that want more time whether it is in their personal life or business like.

    You might want to add a couple of respectable virtual assistant organizations to your list.

    1. http://www.IREAA.com – International Real Estate Assistant Association
    2. http://www.IVAA.com – International Virtual Assistant Association

    Someone looking to outsource to a virtual assistant can submit an RFP and then sit back and wait for the proposals to come in. Then they can review all the proposals and find the virtual assistant that suits their needs.

    Look forward to seeing these two organzations add to the list above.

    Like

  63. I have an idea for a fitness/physiotherapy product, and was thinking of outsourcing the drawings and prototype after reading 4hWW, but was wondering whether non-disclosure agreements are necessary when using these outsourcing companies, or how best to proceed while still protecting my idea.

    I’m not really sure going through the expense and time of getting a patent is worth it for such a simple idea. If in the end I licence the product, and the company I’ve licenced the idea to decides to patent my idea, that’s fine, but in the mean time … I was going to go onto the Elance site and describe what I needed, but thought that maybe that was a bit risky. I’m I being overly paranoid??

    Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can provide!

    Like

  64. Here is a quick summary of my recent outsourcing experiences with 4 companies mentioned above.

    1. Zerga.com – I tried their 3 free tasks. Task 1 – To simply book a sports massage for me. Time 1 hour with a 1 hour limit. That was almost 24hours ago – no response. The second was to call Bell Canada to change the Name associated with my land line in the Phone Book – I pass on all necessary info and hoped to save time on the phone – Time 24 hours. Well – it’s been 23 hours and no response.

    2. OnAssit – signed up for 5 hours and actually paid them via PayPal. A nice girls named Karen confirmed I would be contacted by a VA Project Manager the next day but to submit a task via the website. I submitted a task to ‘clean up’ a pretty poorly layed out workflow diagram. I was clear with instructions but also indicated I was available for a call to clarify. I payed via PayPal – almost 24 hours later – no response – the task remains in Pending mode and the ‘Live Chat’ has been no responsive ALL DAY although they claim to be available EST. Also on the SUBMIT task page – the footer on the website changes to an outsouced company in the US with different website. Seems shady – can’t there just be an organized, secure company that does the job they say the do?

    3. oDesk – Submitted a project to help us reformat and copy edit our corporate documents. 2 hours later I have a qualified gentleman from Egypt who I am interviewing for the project. So far – so good.

    4. Elance – Posted a project to ghost write for our retailmarketingblog.com. In 10 hours I have two very good options at a great price.

    My conclusion is that the VA companies above are not very good, in particular at customer service and my hunch is that I will spend more time tracking them, then I would completing the task myself.

    Elance and oDesk seem to be the best choice if you can segment and break down your outsourced tasks into isolated projects.

    I hope this helps. I have just read the book and really wanted this VA idea to work but I am suspect of the actual value.

    I have all communications and screenshots of my postings and my intentions are to share and collaborate and help others trying to outsource tasks.

    Best thoughts,

    Chris

    Like

  65. Hi,
    I have been using the service of Writer4me.com for the last 3 months and I have found them good and trustworthy. They are mainly into writing, and they are supposedly the world’s most popular writer-hire service. I have been using their ‘Blogger Buddy’ scheme to get one blog post written by them daily and it has been smooth. Writer4me.com has announced they are launching their virtual assistant division; so I am waiting to try that out. The best points about this unit is they respond very swiftly and their quality is up to the mark. They have a high range and a low range – I have only used their low cost range; so I cannot comment about their high cost range (hire a bestseller writer). They announce new schemes every month and sometimes you may wish you signed up later to get the new & better deal – this is the only drawback if it can be called a drawback I found with them. It is run by a guy who has worked with BBC.

    I have not tried Elance or any of the others. I have however heard a lot about Elance and may be trying it some day.

    Peter

    Like

  66. Thank you Tim, I use an virtual assistant from VPA Direct. He is simply, ‘the best’. I save time and money comparatively. Sam is an excellent researcher and a informative. I suggested my folks and colleagues to subscribe. May be, few looking at this may do it too. Cool people and cool job done!!!!!

    Like

  67. I’ve been using scriptlance.com for over 2.5 years now and it’s awesome!
    Other sites are great too, just make sure you choose people with excellent reviews only

    Like

  68. Hey Everyone,

    Its been great reading your comments on our experiences. I’m looking for an outsourced web research person and considering BOPVIA and Elance.

    Has anyone out there got any recommendation?

    Love to hear about your experiences.

    Cheers, B

    Like

  69. I just used Taskus.com to enter all of my Facebook contacts into my Address
    Book. Their promotional offer of $5 per hour is just ridiculous.

    Like

  70. Great comments! It’s amazing to know that a lot of people are now using personal outsourcing. Also try some outsourcing companies which people think are only servicing to big companies but are actually offering freelance work as well specially if you are looking for flexible and low-cost solution.

    Like

  71. Hi there,

    thanks for the great post!

    Should there there be anybody looking for German Speaking Virtual Assistants, please make sure to check out fernarbeit.net. It’s one of the few places where you will be able to find German VA’s. You will also find a lot of infos on example projects etc.

    Like

  72. I like the idea of outsourcing but the monthly charges have so far put me off. I shall try Amex concierge out as a test, but the comments make elance appear the best way forward in the long term.

    Has anyone outsourced finding their muse?

    Like

  73. Thanks for the post Tim. Love the book.

    It’s probably a little trickier when your married with a family,
    but maybe needed even more!

    I wish I had begun outsourcing 2 years ago instead of learning
    all the things I don’t even care to know but needed to have happen.

    My difficulty has been in clarifying what I needed and then
    communicating that to a VA.

    Sometimes we don’t even know what we don’t know.

    Micro testing is something I need to do more of, to test the
    service and people, again good advice thanks.

    I’d like to find a VA that’s actually willing to use a VA (maybe a lower priced one) to perform the lower level tasks needed. They’d (VA’s) would be smart to do this, it would make them seem like they understand my bottom line a little better and make them more useful and cost effective.

    I think paying 15 or 20 bucks an hour to have someone do insignificant 6 dollar an hour tasks and treat them the same as the 20 dollar an hour tasks is causing some reluctance for potential VA Clients. Me included.

    Granted we need help to build out our dream lifestyles but it’s got to fit from the beginning. VA’s would be smart to start clarifying entry level packages better, and offer a short consult to get a meeting of the minds.

    What the heck I guess we’re all still pioneers at it.

    Awesome book, and intriguing and controversial title. Good for you.

    Thanks, Rick

    Like

    • Rick wrote:

      “I think paying 15 or 20 bucks an hour to have someone do insignificant 6 dollar an hour tasks and treat them the same as the 20 dollar an hour tasks is causing some reluctance for potential VA Clients. Me included.”

      Rick, this is true and exactly why I have my exec assistant delegate lower-end tasks to sub-VAs. This is quite common and she bills time for herself and her sub-VAs on separate lines in invoices.

      Good luck!

      Tim

      Like

  74. Great post! I got a lot of insights from the post and comments.

    The Philippines is a great place for outsourcing because we were colonized by Americans for almost half a century and lived under their influence. Much of our education is based on the American model (with some Spanish influence) and this is why we are the most “Americanized” nation among Asian countries. In truth, I’m not too thrilled about being colonized by several countries, but that’s history for us … fortunately making the Philippines the outsourcing country of choice.

    Thanks for allowing me to shamelessly promote my country! :)

    Like

  75. I tried Brickwork to do some simple web info searching for me. They took ages to get back and quoted a rediculous sum of money saying it would take 30 hours to do. I gave up waiting and did it myself in 2 hours. Looking for a better organisation will try Elance next.

    Like

  76. I paid money to DoMyStuff.com so I could Bid on a Task. My account with DoMyStuff.com show $0.00, but my Visa card account show posted payment to DoMyStuff.com. The telephone number on their website doesn’t work. They do not respond to my emails. There is no customer service.

    As it is, it is annoying as DoMyStuff.com claims to be a valid company. The bottom line is, I’m out of money from my Visa card and no service from DoMyStuff.com.

    Like

  77. I was recently hired as a consultant for a local sales firm and now have a whole slew of tiny, detail-oriented tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis. These tasks accumulate very quickly and can kill my productivity if I’m not careful.

    I’ve been a follower of Tim Ferriss and the 4HWW for many years and I understand the value of my time and how focusing on the correct 20% of all my efforts will lead to 80% of all my desired outcomes. So I would like to delegate many of these small, repetitive tasks to an assistant — virtual or otherwise.

    My main concern right now is budget. I must be very specific with how my money is spent and I wouldn’t want to invest a large amount of cash into a project that produces no result.

    So how might you micro-test assistants and other VA services on a budget of, say, $100 or less?

    Keep up the good work everyone!

    Like

  78. Tim,

    In your experience, which outsourcing option has the most professional web developers that are good with both design and code?

    I have been using Brickwork India for a web development project and have been very disappointed with the results. Even with extremely specific instructions (using simple language) in outline format and annotated screen shots of what I needed done, their work product has been unacceptable.

    Like

  79. To what extent do you trust VAs with personal or sensitive information? We are a SaaS startup looking to outsource the development and management of secure web applicatinos. We would like to find a VA to be our highly-skilled, high-level Project Manager with extensive experience in developing secure, multi-user applications. This person would design/document the architecture, and sub out some of the site-design and lower-level coding.
    Is it easy to find high-quality talent for this, and which company(s) would be the best for this?
    With ALL of our assets digital, controlled by people who are not under US law, what is my recourse if something goes wrong with the program, and I can no longer get a hold of someone? Can I trust that they are not keeping copies of our applications, and using them in some way?
    Will these VA providers typically adapt to my time zone, or will we be working opposite each other?
    Is there a lot of turnover in this industry? If I start working with someone, developing a relationship, training them to take on an application as “their baby”, is it likely that they will be around for a while, or is there a high turnover rate. Any tips on finding a “keeper” that will be around for a long time?
    I am excited to delve in. We are in the education space, and need to keep our applications at a low cost to teachers/schools. Tapping the vast supply of talent overseas seems to be a viable way to accomplish this, if setup and maintained properly. Anyone have some light to shed on this? Thank you!

    Like

  80. I’m a single american female teaching music in Pakistan. The bane of my existence is lesson planning and after reading this, realize I’m in the perfect place/situation to outsource most, if not all, of my mundane, time-consuming tasks

    Long term I want to get out of the classroom and be more of a consultant. Interests include creating/researching material for education on the links btwn ADHD/exercise/nutrition.

    What I need: someone to…
    1) initially work with me to lay out a curriculum framework – I work really well having someone to bounce ideas off of and it keeps me focused – then create and update lessons based on that
    2) research and condense info, putting it into developing books/curriculum/programs/materials useful for education – basically get my ideas out of my head and into action
    3) look after personal, daily stuff, including finding the best places to shop, researching products I want to buy (new smartphone?)
    4) find me a date(s) – here, internationally – location doesn’t necessarily matter.

    The plus is I get paid in US $ but live on rupees. Now I just want to take advantage of it.

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  81. I’ve been using GetFriday since Aug 2009. While I agree that there are barriers that must be overcome with respect to task clarity and word choice, I’ve been extremely pleased with the results. Given the feedback I’ve read on here regarding GetFriday, I would attribute my experience to my individual lead assistant, Shaanthini. She has been an outstanding resource, executing/orchestrating primarily research-based tasks as well as a few others with great results. If you’re willing to try GetFriday, I advise you to ask directly for Shaanthini to be your assistant.

    Note to Tim: very simply, your book has changed my outlook on and approach to life. Can’t thank you enough.

    Chris Anastasio

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