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Virtual Assistants

Remote Management: Running a Remote Team During the Coronavirus

Recent events have forced organizations and companies worldwide to innovate and direct their efforts in bringing processes online. Digital transformation is the name of the game, and if anything good comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses, we realize that most office-based employees’ workload can be done even at home with remote management.

A study by the Owl Labs shows employees who work from home are equally or sometimes even more productive and happier than those who work in an office environment. Working from home has its benefits. For one, employees will no longer spend time commuting. They also get to spend more time with their families in-between breaks. 

However, the study also shows that there are downsides to the work-from-home set-up. The temptation to delay tasks is high, and being always available for conversation and other distractions from family members can derail employees’ focus. There are also challenges in not being able to communicate with teammates in person.

Let’s talk about some ideas you can apply to your current working set-up that you can benefit from both in the short and long term.

Be In The Right Mindset

Successful businesses thrive through adaptability and being proactive, no matter the situation. As a manager, you need to rethink and adjust your approach to team management amidst the new normal.

While there is no one solution to improving how you navigate your remote team, there are specific general actions you can take to get there faster.

There are several ways teams can continue collaborating and working efficiently despite the distance between them. Technology has allowed us to do teleconference and other methods of meeting through online software. However, the tools we have will only be useful if we are prepared and have the right mindset for the task.

Update Your Software

Remote Team Management Amidst a PandemicSince most of the time, you and your employees will be spending time working through the internet; you must check if your software is up to date. One of the crucial items teams need to look out for are the tools used in the work-from-home set-up. 

Updating your telecommunication software will lessen security issues that may come up. Security is crucial, especially so during meetings that include sensitive information about the company, its business, and the extensive database hackers can exploit and use against your company.

Make sure your team is also knowledgeable in using these telecommunication softwares. If you can, request your company a set of remote work tools, e.g., camera, microphone, or personal laptops. Some companies even provide a faster internet connection for employees. Through these tools, you can assure the quality of the conversations your team can have.

Coordinate Meetings Properly and Keep Them Fruitful

Meeting coordination is harder for teams that do not live in the same time zone. Due to the Coronavirus, some employees might have returned/moved to cities/locations that pose the least risk to their health. As part of boosting morale for your team, you need to be considerate of everyone, or at the very least, do what is best for the majority. Take note that the goal of meetings is not to micromanage teams but rather to delegate work and exchange ideas, which consequently will increase your team’s ability to be more productive and do actual work.

You may be familiar with the phrase, “that meeting should’ve been an email.” As a manager, you need to distinguish which of the items on your checklist needs discussion as a group and which ones you can communicate through chat, email, or other messaging tools.

It would be beneficial if you set a specific time for the day you meet as a group online to delegate work, receive updates, and discuss other items on your list.

Keep The Working Environment Collaborative and Fun

virtual onboarding meetingOne of your jobs as a team leader is to keep employees engaged and motivated. However, not being able to check up on them and encourage them personally poses a challenge. Here are a few ways to keep them happy and productive.

1. Create A Virtual Room For Casual Conversations

Having a place where employees can engage in watercooler conversations, crack jokes, and talk about things outside work is helpful. It relieves stress and makes employees feel more connected despite the physical distance. 

It would also be beneficial to have a chat room where everyone is present, a chat room where they can send motivation photos, morning greetings, congratulatory messages, etc. Make sure you clearly label which ones are for work and formal conversations and which ones are for non-work related items.

2. Start The Day With A Short Activity

Most employees probably wake up 10 minutes before working hours start, and that’s okay! To liven up the room, you can choose to create a short activity where everyone can join. Treat this activity as an icebreaker. Have fun with the first few minutes of the working day. As long as your employees are comfortable with the activity, go for it!

Have An Open Line And Give Emphasis To Communication

Your employees must know and feel that they can freely talk to you. Support your team by keeping an open line and let them know what you are doing.

One way to do this is to share your work calendar. Knowing what time you are open for one-on-ones and other urgent conversations help a team’s productivity.

Another essential item to note in remote team management is to over-communicate. It is easier to misinterpret conversations and meeting details when you cannot read people’s body language. It also poses a challenge for your team if they cannot meet with you. Be clear and specific in your instructions. Before sending out emails and other messages, re-read the content and make sure it is easy to understand.

Confirm with your team if they understood what you meant or not, and circle back on items that are unclear for you and them.

Final Thoughts on Remote Management

Remote team management has its own set of problems. However, the manager’s role is simple – keep employees productive and drive results. Work environment changes like these, while inevitable, don’t have to be more challenging. Keep the light load by being more empathetic and learn from the challenges you and your team might encounter along the way.

Categories
Virtual Assistants

Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing for YouTubers

Is your YouTube channel a real business asset? Is it attracting leads, building your brand and driving revenue? According to surveys performed by Buffer, 62% of businesses have a YouTube presenceIf you’re one of these businesses and YouTube is working for your brand, you should consider outsourcing some or all of your YouTube channel work.

In this article, we’re going to cover….

Ready? Let’s get into it.

Oh, and don’t be shy. If you have questions or comments, leave them below! We respond to every single one of them.

Outsource YouTube

Why Every Business Should Outsource YouTube

If you landed on this article, it’s likely that you’re already on YouTube and don’t need me to sell you on why it’s so powerful. 

You don’t need me to tell you that YouTube is the 2nd most visited website on the internet (behind only Google).

Or that 90% of shoppers have discovered a brand or product through the platform.

90% of shoppers have discovered a brand or product through YouTube. #youtube #outsourcing

Whether you’re a solopreneur with a bizarre niche channel like Ask a Mortician or a large company like Dollar Shave Club, you can benefit from outsourcing some or all of your YouTube work. 

At Outsource School, we believe that with very few exceptions (musicians, professional athletes, etc) most things can be outsourced. YouTube is no exception. 

It is ripe for outsourcing. Let’s get into the things you can and should outsource.

to Outsource for YouTube

Here are all the different elements of your YouTube strategy you can outsource. One thing that we’ve omitted here is outsourcing the actual content filming. The “talent,” is much harder and expensive to outsource. I recommend keeping that in house and letting that be the part that you focus on. 

Some exceptions to this can include cartoon style videos or repurposed audio recordings turned into videos.

It isn’t uncommon for a channel to succeed without ever officially filming anything live. Here is a good article that showcases some of the ways you can make YouTube videos without showing your face at all. 

#1 Video Editing

Let’s start with the obvious. If you’re going to only outsource one thing, make it the editing. 

A good video editor should have…

  • Experience
  • Reference of past work
  • An understanding of the basic elements of video design
  • Access to the tools of your preference (Adobe premier, Camtasia etc)
  • The ability to listen to feedback and follow instructions

If you’re hiring someone outside of the United States, United Kingdom or Canada, you can expect to pay between $9-$30/hour. For anyone inside the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada, you can expect to pay between $24-$50/hour.

#2 Channel Management

YouTube Channel Management

Succeeding on YouTube requires more than just pumping out videos. This is especially important if you’re a professional business and have questions from potential customers that need replies. 

Tasks included in channel management include but are not limited to the following…

That’s a pretty exhaustive list. You can choose to delegate all or some of the tasks. 

The channel management position will typically be separate from the video editor. You typically don’t want to have your video editor also running the entire channel.

A good YouTube channel manager should have…

  • Past experience running a YouTube channel
  • Reference of past work
  • High proficiency in English (reading and writing)
  • The ability to listen to feedback and follow instructions
  • Great communications skills 
  • Understanding of what works and doesn’t work on YouTube

This price varies dramatically depending on which of the above tasks you plan to outsource. If you want someone who can handle everything, you should expect to pay $8-$15/Hour for non-US, CA or UK workers and then $25-40/Hour for US, CA or UK workers.

YouTube Assistants

We recommend that you hire your own VAs vs. using an agency. Agencies like VidChops or Video Husky are great but with some work upfront, you can find someone of your own that can produce high quality work for very affordable prices. 

As always, we recommend the former company of Nathan and Connor, FreeUp. 

The video editors on FreeUp are high quality and very affordable. 

Use this link and coupon code OUTSOURCESCHOOL50 to get a $50 credit on your first hire.

for YouTube Outsourcing

We love using technology to improve our outsourcing. Here are some of the tools that you should consider using when outsourcing YouTube related tasks.

#1 Loom for Providing Video Explanations Example

Loom Logo

Oh how we love Loom here at Outsource School!

Loom allows you to create explainer videos that are easily shareable with anyone. 

This is a great, low cost way to show things you want to change in videos and train your team. 

#2 Frame.io for Video Editing Collaboration

Frame.Io

The price tag on this tool might scare off some smaller YouTubers, but if video quality is of high importance, you should at the very least check it out. 

Frame.io allows you to collaborate with your editor, make suggestions and ensure your videos are exactly to your liking. 

The biggest names in the business swear by Frame.io. Companies like Masterclass.com and YouTubers like Pat Flynn use it to ensure their videos are rock solid. 

#3 TubeBuddy for Efficiency

An awesome YouTube tool that will make life much easier for your channel manager. 

There are free and paid plans available (most people get by with the free plan). 

There are really too many features for me to explain here, so I’ll share a quick video directly from them. 

You can also easily add an auto-subscribe URL to every one of your post descriptions.

#4 Trello for Workflow Management

Trello Logo Transparent

Trello is a powerhouse software for managing basic workflows. 

Customize your flows to your hearts desires. Move tasks between flows, assign projects and have an eagle eye view on the status of your videos and channel. 

Here is an awesome demonstration of someone using Trello to manage their YouTube workflow. She includes her template for free as well!

on Outsourcing YouTube

YouTube is simply too big to ignore. Just like nearly every business can benefit from YouTube, every business can benefit from outsourcing. 

Remember to invest the time and energy upfront with your new YouTube related hires. It can take time to get a good system in place, but once you do, it can pay off big time for years to come. 

As always, if you want to learn all of the ins and outs of hiring virtual assistants, check out Cracking the VA Code

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Virtual Assistants

Why You Should Outsource Software Development

Mandarin Chinese…

How to play Tiny Dancer by Elton John..

Coding…. 

What do these 3 things have in common?

They’re things that I’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to yet.

Two of them, I’ll eventually learn, but one of them I don’t plan on ever learning. 

I never plan on learning how to code. 

There’s just no need because I know how to effectively outsource software projects to people who are already amazing coders. 

I’ve been able to delegate multiple software products that have grossed over $1,000,000 in sales revenue for me even though I can barely spell HTML.

This article is going to explain why most people should always outsource their software (even if they can code). I’ll also share my 5 biggest tips for getting your software launched effectively and efficiently.

Why You Should Outsource Software Creation

My first software (an iOS app) was a total flop. Calling it a “flop” is actually being pretty generous because it infers I launched it. 

I didn’t…

Instead of hiring someone to make my idea a reality, I went and purchased the 3 biggest books on Objective-C (the language used in iOS apps) that they had at Barnes and Noble. 

I got about 40 pages into the first one and realized that this was just not the best use of my time. It was interesting but it started to feel like learning how to perform an appendectomy. 

I could learn, but why? 

Even if I learned the bare minimum to get by, it would take a total refocusing of my business and life to really get excellent at it. 

I had a lot of other things I was already good at and I couldn’t afford to change my path. 

Oh, and I really just didn’t want to that badly. To put in the time and effort required to master a coding language, you need to have drive and commitment for the topic and I just didn’t. 

So that first idea just dissolved and I moved on. 

A couple of years later, I had another idea for a software. This time, I took a much different approach. I hired a developer from Romania to work on it. I paid him $200 and he made a cool little Google Chrome extension that would go on to make me $10,000.

My next software was another Chrome extension. I outsourced it as well but I partnered with a friend who was experienced with extensions and gave him a 50/50 cut of the earnings. That software has easily covered my bills for several years now. 

Outsourcing is just better for a number of reasons. 

Time is Money

#1 Time is Money

Do you have the ability to dedicate 1-2 hours per day for months or years just to become "ok" at coding and developing? If you do, go for it! Most of us don't. Also, hiring a developer doesn't have to be that expensive since languages are relatively universal and you can easily hire overseas and lower rates.

#2 Actual Experts Are Everywhere

When you hire a developer, they are totally immersed in developing. It's hard to be the developer AND the innovator AND the support person AND the sales person AND all the other necessary roles needed to run and sell a successful software or app.

#3 Work Doesn't Stop

It's rare to develop a software that you can "set it and forget it." Having someone else build the software makes it easier to have them fix it when issues arise or add future improvements while you focus on other tasks.

#4 One Language Won't Cut It

Even if you become proficient in one coding language, larger projects typically require multiple types of developers. Multiple languages, different skill sets for design and various specialized functionalities. It's very rare to find someone who makes a software that is moderately robust that did it entirely on their own. Even more rare if it's any good.

Tips for Successful Software Outsourcing

Ok, those are the big reasons why outsourcing software is such a smart decision for most people. Let’s get into the 5 software outsourcing principles that will make your project easier and more likely to succeed.

#1 Use a Wireframe Software 

This is as close to learning how to code as you’ll need to get. A wireframe software is basically a visual editor that allows you to create simple mock ups of how you want your software or app to look and function. 

The software I recommend is called Balsamiq (check it out at Balsamiq.com). It’s easy to use and affordable. They also offer a lot of free training resources on wire framing so you can get up to speed quickly. 

They have a desktop and web-based options as well as a free trial. 

Wireframing will let you share your vision while letting the experts bring it to life and polish the final design.

#2 Keep Your Team

Working with the same team has many perks…

  • They will know what you and your business is about.
  • They will care more because a successful launch means more future work!
  • They will know what you expect from them from a quality standpoint.
  • You won’t have to spend additional time filtering pages of developers.
  • You can have one core group check the health of multiple existing software at once.
  • You won’t be blindsided by unexpected costs more than once (typically).

Understanding that there is a huge cost to finding quality developers will make you appreciate good ones when you find them.

So, what will you pay?

I know you are wondering…

My answer isn’t specific so I’m sorry…

The answer to how much you will spend: it is relative to the work, who you hire, where they’re from and what experience they have. From a “simple software” standpoint, I recommend you outsource to the most capable developers overseas, within your budget.

For me, my most successful products have been very “affordable,” relatively speaking. Typically costing no more than $1,000.

#3 Avoid US Rates

This may be unpopular but I have to keep it real with you guys. US developers charge a premium for their work and aren’t any better than overseas developers. 

The only real benefit is time zone convenience and less of a language barrier (although I’ve never had an issue with that).

In 2015, the number one job sent overseas was, you guessed it, computer programing and software development! Estimated lost wages were to the tune of $14.4 billion dollars.

There is a reason for this. US developers simply don’t bring much more to the table than their overseas competitors.

As unpatriotic as it sounds, paying a premium to have a developer from the US design your product is not efficient. I find with quality instructions, the work you get from somewhere like the Ukraine is just as good and a fraction of the price.

However, just because I don’t want you to overspend doesn’t mean I want you to go cheap!

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. – Chinese Proverb

So please, balance quality with affordability relative to the scope of your projects and your predictions for profitability. As you get better at this, you may be fine with overpaying a US developer just for the convenience because you know that your project will earn you exponentially more than this extra cost.

#4 Work Examples are Key

I suggest you find your developers on 3rd party marketplaces like FreeUp, TopTal or Upwork. I’d avoid sites like Fiverr but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good developers in there. 

Work examples will help you get a good idea of how much your own project will cost. 

Some sites allow developers to showcase their portfolios of past projects. 

Using the past job samples as a starting point of reference, you can decide if a developer fits your criteria or not. This is an amazing short cut to see who has previous experience with your type of project.

Developer Portfolio

When reaching out to your potential developers, reference the similar software in your contact.

Example: “I saw the work you did in (time) for the (project). My project is similar in that (list similarities). If you think this is a project you can complete for a similar price, please respond and we can discuss more over Skype.”

#5 Hire Slow and Fire Fast

It’s never ideal to fire someone, but there are two things that make it less of a burden.

First, spend more time assessing candidates. If you jump to hire the first ones you find, you are at a heightened risk of potentially firing them.

Just as with marriage, popping the question before you really get to know the person usually results in disaster.

Second, don’t let bad employees hang around. It isn’t fair to you, them or your customers.

Hopefully you have done a good enough job with the first part (hiring slowly) that you don’t need to fire someone for performance, but you may need to if they commit any of the following mortal sins…

Reasons to fire a developer include…

  1. Your developer becomes despondent and doesn’t respond to questions and comments as promptly as you stated would be necessary in your job posting/interview.
  2. Your developer lies about time worked (or in any way deceives you regarding money).
  3. Your developer cuts corners or otherwise blatantly ignores instructions to save time.
  4. Your developer shares confidential information.

So if any of the above are an issue early on, you are likely best to cut ties with your new hire and move on. Letting these things drag on doesn’t make anything better.

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Virtual Assistants

How to Use Virtual Assistants When You Have a Traditional Office Job

You’re probably going to think less of me after I tell you about the first thing I ever outsourced overseas…

In my sophomore year of college, I took an introductory level business course. A few weeks in, we started to study outsourcing. 

After finishing the section, we were assigned a 3,500 word essay on the pros and cons of outsourcing overseas. 

That particular week, I was starting to date a beautiful girl named Emily who would eventually become my wife. So, I wanted to spend time with her and not on this paper. 

So, I hired someone from Fiverr to write my paper for me. $25 flat + which included a big fat $5 tip.

My Mystery Fiverr Writer

I (well, we) got a B on the assignment. When you think about it, I should have gotten an A since I assume I was the only person actually applying the principles of outsourcing that we learned…At least that was what I had planned on saying to the dean of the department if me and (writer’s name redacted) were caught.

(Ghost writer name redacted) is probably a genius, but I didn’t do much in terms of editing his English and grammar, so the B was fine by me.

 
 

Questionable ethics of this aside, this was an eye opening experience for me. I learned about virtual labor marketplaces like Fiver and Upwork because of this class and realized that outsourcing could be utilized by anyone, even a college kid who was on a Keystone Light budget. 

Why to Hire a VA When You Have

Now, the last thing I want to do is encourage any of our college or high school readers to start hiring out their term papers and homework…I will not come to your school and defend you, although I might hire you someday…

I do however want to show people who wouldn’t normally think to hire VAs how and why they should consider it. 

Ok, we’re clear now right? If my blogging get’s you fired I will feel really, really bad, so please, be careful!

Let’s get into why a regular joe like you should consider a virtual assistant.

Reason #1: Better Work

Now there will be a number of you who are reading this thinking, “Sweet! I can outsource my job and just lay back and get paid!”

This is against the spirt of this article. You’re welcome to try that, but I really wouldn’t have shared this information if that was my goal. 

My goal is to help you find a VA so you can produce better work, not do less total work. 

My goal is to help you find a VA so you can produce better work, NOT do less work.

Better work means better chances of raises and promotions. That’s my goal for you and that’s what a good VA can help with. 

Reason #2: Affordable on All Budgets

Not every employee can afford or needs a full time virtual assistant, but almost everyone could benefit from having one for at least some on call work and they can do it affordably.

Later in this article, I’ll share some of the tasks that you can outsource, but just know that they likely aren’t as expensive as you may think. 

Reason #3: Frees You Up for Higher Level Work

I don’t know your unique job role, but I’m guessing you have some tasks that are more important than others. 

Some things that require the unique talents you’ve developed over the years working the job that, when done well, can make you stand out from the pack. 

Time Spent in High Value Tasks (1)

By delegating the lower level, more monotonous tasks to a VA, you can free yourself up for more work in that higher level. Also, you’ll be able to focus with less distractions knowing that your other tasks are being handled. 

What to Outsource to a VA

There are an endless number of things you can outsource to a virtual assistant.

Here are two things you can do for motivation…

1. Read this blog post I wrote on the top 20 things people are outsourcing.

Read this article for inspiration on tasks to outsource ^^

2. Head over to a marketplace like FreeUp.net and browse through all of the tasks they can help you with. 

FreeUp offers virtual workers across many skillsets. I've highlighted the best ones to consider first.

How to Hire, Train and Retain Your VA

This topic deserves much more than a small section in a blog post. 

We have an entire course on using VAs effectively called Cracking the VA Code

It’s not cheap so I’ll share our top 4 tips here for now. 

1. Hire Slow, Fire Fast. Take your time and make sure you find a VA that is a good fit. If after a week of work you feel they aren’t fit for the job, don’t drag it out, let them go and start over. 

2. Create SOPs. SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are documented processes that make it easy for your VA to understand the task you’re asking them to perform. Continually optimize these and make sure that all of your VA’s questions are answered. 

3. Maintain High Levels of Communication. VAs thrive on getting answers to their questions. Make it easy for them to connect with you and let them know that questions are encouraged. 

4. Pay What They’re Worth. We’ve seen many people hire and train amazing VAs and then lose them when they find better employment opportunities. Pay your VAs what they’re worth, treat them well and offer them bonuses and incentives to reward them for good work. 

If you want to take your outsourcing skills to the next level, check out Cracking the VA Code

Categories
Virtual Assistants

20 Tasks Business Owners Can Outsource to Virtual Assistants (VAs)

There are hundreds of different tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant. Some are more obvious than others, so we decided to put together a list of the most popular things that business owners are currently tasking to VAs.

We Recommend FreeUp for All VA Hiring

FreeUp was founded by the owners of OutsourceSchool. They sold the business in early 2020 but left it in good hands. It is the best option for anyone looking to hire quality VAs for any of the tasks we're about to share.
Click Here to Visit FreeUp

1. Bookkeeping

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

Now, there’s a difference between bookkeeping and accounting. We still recommend you hire a good CPA to handle your taxes and make sense of all the bookkeeping ledgers. You can however outsource bookkeeping safely, effectively and affordably.

2. Social Media Management

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
High

There are dozens of tools out there that let you schedule posts but having a real person behind your brands is important. Be careful not to lose your brands voice,  but you can absolutely train a virtual assistant to help manage your social media presences. 

The skillset required includes.

  1. Detailed knowledge and expertise around all social platforms.
  2. Highly fluent in English (or your native language).
  3. Ability to work with 3rd party social media management tools (Buffer, Hootsuite, etc). 
  4. Prior experience managing accounts for brands.

Tasks include:

  1. Ensuring brands social media schedule is consistently updated and fresh content is shared regularly. 
  2. Replying to comments on posts. 
  3. Repurposing content for multiple platforms. 
  4. Working with designers to create engaging graphics for sharing.
  5. Managing softwares like Buffer or Hootsuite

3. Customer Service

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

Customer service is critically important but it can also be easily outsourced without losing quality.

Tools like TextExpander make it easier to comfortably outsource customer service. TextExpander allows you to create canned support replies that can be used to answer the most common questions your team will get. 

Here is a video I made showing how it works. 

Customer service cannot (and should not) be completely templated, but you’ll be shocked at how templates can answer most customer concerns. 

Be sure to hire someone who is able to go outside the lines of your basic templates to ensure that all of your support answers each unique question fully and accurately. 

4. Data Entry

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low

Data entry is one of the simplest but most time saving tasks anyone can outsource. The task requires low skill level relative to other tasks and focuses primarily on accuracy and speed. Accuracy is most important but you shouldn’t have any problem finding a good VA who is accurate and fast. 

You shouldn’t spend your time doing monotonous things like typing hundreds of lines of customer addresses into spreadsheets or converting PDF text into spreadsheets (there are some cool tools that can do this automatically by the way). 

Although this is a very low skilled task, accuracy is very important. Make sure whoever you hire has a good attention to detail and won’t mistype data. 

5. Getting You Booked on Podcasts

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low

If you have a business and need exposure with little to no costs, getting on podcasts is an amazing strategy. 

Outsource School co-founder Nathan Hirsch credits the fact that he went on over 300 podcasts to grow FreeUp to 8 figures in revenue in 5 years while competing with big names like Fiverr and Upwork

Outsource School has an entire formula on this process (you can learn more about that here).

6. General Research

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low

Research is a task that can fill any amount of time that you allow it to. 

The type of research your VA can complete is limitless.

  • Gather data about market demographics
  • Research competitors in your space
  • Find compelling statistics that support your content
  • Compile lists of supplier pricing 

The beauty of outsourcing research is that you can spend your time deciding how to use the data gathered vs. gathering it. 

7. Backlink Outreach

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

If you have a website, you want traffic to it. If you want traffic, you want backlinks.

Backlinks are a necessary evil in SEO and building them can be a full time job. 

Importance of Backlinks
via AHREFs.Com

You can have them provide a list of potential link building opportunities and the emails of the people who own the assets. and you can reach out to them to pitch the article you want linked to or you can outsource the outreach as well. 

Finding a VA with experience in tools like AHREFs, UberSuggest, NinjaOutreach or SEMRush is a plus. 

8. E-Commerce Management/Product Sourcing

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low-Medium

If you sell on Amazon, Shopify, eBay or anywhere online, you could benefit tremendously from hiring a VA. 

A good e-commerce VA can:

  • Manage your inventory
  • Optimize listings
  • Process orders and returns

There is a deep talent pool of VAs who have experience with various types of e-commerce. 

Another popular task to outsource is product sourcing . You will want to have a VA continually hunting for new product opportunities. 

Since there are many nuances to finding products that will sell and be profitable, this task requires some level of experience or extended onboarding and ongoing training/feedback. 

VAs will need to become proficient in the software most relevant to your sourcing method. Software like Helium 10 for private label and Tactical Arbitrage for online arbitrage make outsourcing product sourcing much easier. 

9. Keyword Research

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

Keyword research is important for content creators (mainly bloggers and YouTubers) and anyone who is running PPC ads. 

This task isn’t as simple as finding relevant keywords. A good keyword research VA should be able to prioritize keywords based on value and ranking potential. 

This process may require some ongoing education by the VA as they familiarize themselves with your unique niche, but it is very possible to outsource this task effectively.

10. Basic Photo Editing

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low

The huge supply of VAs who are fluent in tools like Photoshop has kept the cost of hiring a photo editor extremely low. This is a task that typically requires part time work only and may be a skill that you add on to the plate of another VA in addition to their other tasks.

Advanced photo editing (extreme manipulation of images) may require one-off gigs at higher rates. 

11. Invoicing

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

This task is simple but it’s critical that you have a VA who is careful enough to never overcharge or undercharge a client. 

12. Excel Spreadsheet Tasks

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Variable Depending on Task

Excel is one of those skills that few people fail to really master. There are a lot of VAs out there who have become extremely proficient in the finer details of Excel and can help you with a number of tasks with varying ranges of difficulty.

Simple tasks can include formatting or “beautifying” a spreadsheet or workbook, creating formulas, filters or conditional formatting. 

More advanced Excel tasks border on the software development side.

These may include building pivot tables, complex macros or integrating with 3rd party softwares.

 

13. Responding to Online Reviews + Comments

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

One of the difficulties that comes with business growth is engaging with people talking about you online. 

Reviews about your comment, questions in threads, tags on posts…replying to these things shows that your brand cares. 

Hiring someone to monitor and reply to these will have a positive impact on how people view your company,

Warren Buffett

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

Warren Buffett

-

CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

14. Personal Errands

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low-Medium

This is something that many people overlook. They feel guilty about delegating non-business tasks and spending business money to do it. 

This requires a slight mindset shift. 

When you’re passing off a task like scheduling your flights and hotel stays, don’t think of it as being lazy and making someone else handle your dirty work. 

Think of it as buying yourself back the time that that would take to do yourself. 

If you can focus 30 minutes more per day on high level tasks vs. simple personal errands, you should see a massive return on investment. 

Personal tasks you can outsource include:

  • Making dinner reservations
  • Scheduling doctor appointments
  • Ordering clients gifts or sending them holiday cards
The list is pretty endless. 
 

This isn’t hard to outsource but you need someone who is competent and reliable. You don’t want your flight to Chicago scheduled at 5Am and landing you in Detroit on accident 🙂 

15. Calendar Management

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low-Medium

There is a direct correlation between the size of your business and the things on your schedule. 

Having an assistant who will keep your calendar organized and who can remind you of important events is a life saver.

This VA can be the same person who does personal errands for you as mentioned in task 14 above.

16. Audio Transcription

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Low-Medium

This is one of my personal favorite things to outsource. As a blogger, I start a lot of my content with audio recordings I make when inspiration strikes. I whip out my iPhone and start speaking out what I’m thinking. 

Then, I hand off the audio file to a VA or service like Rev.com and get a text version that I can easily edit and turn into a blog post. 

You can also use this for a number of things like meeting notes, recorded phone interviews etc. 

17. Basic Video Editing

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium-High

Video editing isn’t something you can just pick up and do with little prior experience. 

I’ve been editing videos for over a decade and my skills are still subpar.

Fortunately, there are tons of quality VAs that can turn your videos into much more attractive and shareable assets.

18. YouTube Channel Management

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium

There is much more to creating a quality YouTube channel than just making good videos. 

A VA can help you:

  • Add tags and descriptions to videos
  • Create playlists
  • Respond to comments (or delete trolling comments)
  • Split test thumbnails
  • Add cards and endscreens

If YouTube is a focus for your business, a VA can be extremely useful.

19. Split Test Management

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
High

I believe that most businesses sell themselves short on their marketing and copywriting efforts. 

They create one headline, pop-up, or page variation and just hope it works. 

Split testing helps you continually improve your conversion rates. Having someone who does it daily (or just weekly) can have a dramatic impact on your overall conversion rates over time. 

This task is slightly more difficult to outsource because it requires a VA who is very proficient in English, can understand your unique market, is proficient with the software you use (WordPress, Clickfunnels, etc) and has above average copywriting skills.

Outsourcing split testing is well worth the investment though. 

You can also have your VA install things like Google Analytics and Google Search Console and monitor your daily results. 

20. Personal Inbox Management

Task Difficulty / Skill Set Required
Medium

According to Campaign Monitor, the average person receives over 126 emails per day as of 2018. Having a quality VA who can access your inbox throughout the day can take a huge burden off of your shoulders. 

You can have them:

  • Message you directly if something is urgent.
  • Delete emails that you don’t need to see. 
  • Send templated replies to common messages you receive.
  • Give you run downs daily of everything you received.
This is an awesome task to outsource, even if you don’t own a business!

This!

I just shared 20 things you can outsource to a VA but almost anything that you do regularly (or want to do) can be outsourced if you can create clear SOPs (standard operating procedures), hire the right person and train them effectively. You can learn all of this in Outsource School’s flagship program Cracking the VA Code.

Categories
Virtual Assistants

Fiverr VS Upwork |Why We Don’t Recommend Either for Outsourcing

The goal of Outsource School is to answer every single one of your outsourcing questions. One of the most common questions we’ve found is “where do you find good VAs?”

Our answer (which of course comes with our own bias) is FreeeUp. FreeeUp was created by Outsource School founders Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan and was recently taken over by new owners. I’ll explain why we recommend them later on.

But, a common sub question we’ve found over and over involves the two biggest players in the space (based on overall traffic), Upwork VS Fiverr. 

Everyone wants to know which is better. 

In this article, we’ll compare and contrast Fiverr VS Upwork and let you know how they differ from one another. 

Again, we don’t think that either is better than FreeeUp….but you asked, so we’re answering!

Fiverr

If you have a very specific task that needs completed ASAP and you don’t have the time to train someone, Fiverr is worth considering. 

Examples of things I’ve used them for in the past include:

  • YouTube Thumbnails
  • Proofreading Content
  • Creating 3D Book Covers
When you use Fiverr, you aren’t investing in the future of your business. If you hired a VA and trained them to complete these tasks, they’d get to know you and your brand and would produce better and (likely) more affordable work for you longterm.
Fiverr Gigs

Fiverr is not somewhere you’d find a long term solution for virtual tasks. It focuses on “gig” based work and one-off -jobs. It is like hiring someone to mow your lawn once this weekend vs. hiring a full time landscaper. 

It has also deviated from its original, signature “$5 dollar” model. Most gigs cost much more than that now and it’s not the same bargain bin that it once was.

 

Cons of Fiverr

Pros of Fiverr

Upwork

Upwork Logo Transparent

I first used Upwork way back when it was oDesk. My experience was very mixed. My budget was small but they did connect me with a couple of Filipino and Indian VAs who did good work.

The problem was they also connected me with a few VAs that were very, very bad. 

One of my VAs was “double dipping,” and working for me and about 3 other clients simultaneously. This was really bad given the nature of the task. She was doing Amazon online arbitrage product research and was sharing the leads she found for me with her other clients. 

One of her other clients then shared the leads with a product sourcing group. I was buying things that I thought no one else was seeing, but in reality, dozens of people saw them as well. This caused the prices to tank since so many other people were also seeing them.

This cost me a lot of time and money. 

Another bad experience was one of my VAs was actually 3 different people (two daughters and their mother) using the one account. I vetted and hired one person who had the experience I needed, yet 2/3rds of the work was coming from people I never even interviewed. 

To Upwork’s (then oDesk’s) credit, they did refund me in both instances and the VA was temporarily removed from the platform. 

Cons of Upwork

Pros of Upwork

Why We Recommend FreeeUp

FreeeUp is a much better place to find VAs and freelancers you can work with and establish lasting relationships. This isn’t something you’d do with Fiverr and it’s a more trustworthy platform than Upwork. 

FreeeUp was built to provide a solution to the shortcomings that business owners were experiencing with sites like Fiverr.com, Upwork.com or Freelancer.com.

Here are the three big benefits of FreeeUp vs. other marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.

 

#1 Better Vetting Process and Standards

FreeeUp prides itself on taking only the best people possible. In fact, most people who apply to work on FreeeUp don’t pass the initial vetting process. Many of the freelancers who have worked countless jobs for the big sites like Upwork didn’t make the cut with FreeeUp.

Nathan Hirsch Quote

"At FreeeUp, only 1% of applicants were approved. We passed on many 'good' candidates and focused only on 'great' ones."

Nathan Hirsch

-

FreeeUp.Com Co-Founder

FreeeUp’s vetting process goes well beyond just verifying an applicants specific skill sets. They vet for things many other services don’t like the VAs quality of internet (which can greatly impact performance and reduce missed days).

You won’t be hit with no-shows and flaky VAs. They are culled out from the applicant lists quickly.

FreeeUp VS Fiverr VS Upwork

FreeeUp also has very strict standards of performance for their freelancers and VAs and they ensure that anyone who falls below the standards is spoken with or removed from the platform.

#2 Better Customer Service

FreeeUp is leaner than their competitors. Although they are much larger today than when they started, they still don’t have the same massive overhead and are able to focus more on provide world class customer support, lightning fast.

You get real people, not bots and you don’t pay extra for “white glove service,” that many other sites charge.

You also won’t be stuck with paying for work that didn’t meet your standards. If something goes wrong (which is uncommon) FreeeUp quickly finds you a replacement and reimburses you for past time if you weren’t satisfied.

#3 Low Fees and Competitive Pricing

FreeeUp isn’t a marketplace that gauges its customers with high fees for things that they believe should come standard. You get people at the going market prices for their work and rarely, if ever, pay more than you would on other platforms.

There are no startup or monthly fees to use the FreeeUp Marketplace. You can pay hourly or fixed rates with no minimums. Estimated pricing ranges for US and international freelancers.

You can learn more about their pricing structure here

 

Final Word

First, we still recommend FreeeUp over Fiverr or Upwork.

If you insist on using Fiverr or Upwork, we recommend you use Fiverr for very small, one off gigs and Upwork for larger, more skilled tasks that might be ongoing. Just be cautious, hire slow, and fire fast. 

Neither is terrible, but they both have their flaws.

Happy outsourcing!