Lighten your workload and keep your life organized with a virtual assistant.
Credit: Virtual assistant image via Shutterstock
As a business owner, your time is best spent running and growing your business — not getting bogged down by routine tasks and growing to-do lists. Virtual assistant services save you time by allowing you to offload tasks to highly efficient remote workers, wherever you are. From administrative duties to making sure your personal life doesn't fall into shambles, virtual assistants help busy business owners stay more productive and organized at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee. Here are 10 virtual assistant services to help you get started.
From your work secretary to your personal assistant, Zirtual provides various types of virtual assistants — called Zirtual Assistants (ZA) — that can perform a multitude of administrative and personal tasks. ZAs can schedule meetings, manage your calendar, book travel, respond to emails and complete other business tasks, as well as pay bills, order gifts, deal with customer service, schedule doctor's appointments and more.
ZAs are college educated and based in the United States. To become a ZA, applicants must pass an extensive vetting process that tests their communication skills, tech smarts, creativity and resourcefulness. Zirtual plans start at $99 a month for non-dedicated ZAs and at $199 a month for dedicated ZAs. [10 Tech Tasks Small Businesses Should Outsource]
2. Red Butler
Red Butler is a concierge service that comes with VIP perks. In addition to business and personal virtual assistant services, Red Butler uses their connections in high places to complete all types of tasks, from the seemingly impossible ("My daughter is a huge 'Harry Potter' fan. Could you get us access to the cast's reunion and special screening in Hollywood next weekend?") to the oddest requests ("I'd like to have a strawberry milk bath. Can you find someone to buy milk, strawberry powder and have it delivered to my hotel in two hours?"). Members also receive the Red Butler Card, which activates VIP upgrades like exclusive discounts and access to restaurants, hotels, clubs, bars, lounges and other entertainment venues.
Red Butler virtual assistants are based in the United States and used by entrepreneurs, professionals and Fortune 500 companies around the world. They are accessible 24/7/365, and requests can be made on desktop devices or on-the-go via the Red Butler mobile app. Red Butler plans start at $99 a month for up to 10 requests per month.
3. Fancy Hands
Whether you need help coordinating meetings, making purchases, doing research or managing your personal life, Fancy Hands offers an army of virtual assistants to help you take control. But Fancy Hands isn't available only to you — it's available to your entire team, too. The TeamWork business feature lets multiple users access Fancy Hands, allowing them to request and delegate administrative tasks and increase their productivity. Consolidated billing is also available for easy subscription management.
Fancy Hands has thousands of virtual assistants located throughout the United States and can be accessed via desktop and mobile devices, wherever you and your team are. Plans start at $25 a month for five requests per month. Yearly discounts are also available.
If you need a virtual assistant purely for administrative tasks, eaHELP provides virtual executive assistants (EA) for entrepreneurs, small business and startup owners, C-Suite executives, and other leaders and managers in all types of industries. Simply call, email, text or Skype EAs to request they perform a wide range of tasks: calendar and schedule management, confirming meetings, sending and responding to emails, making and returning calls, sending reminder calls and texts, travel planning, social media management, gathering data, creating reports, performing personal tasks and more.
The eaHELP virtual executive assistants are based in Atlanta. They have at least five years of executive assistant, project management or similar experience, and have passed eaHELP's rigorous selection process. Contact eaHELP for pricing information.
5. Virtual Assist USA
A virtual assistant's job is to make its clients' lives easier — Virtual Assistant USA aims to reduce stress and deliver long-term value by providing administrative, marketing, creative and countless other types of remote support. The Pittsburgh-based company has a 35-person virtual assistant team with experience in launching, running and growing companies in 25 industries. And instead of working with different virtual assistant services for different specialties, Virtual Assistant USA offers hundreds of skillsets, streamlining the payment process by only dealing with a single invoice from a single vendor.
Virtual Assistant USA's pricing is based on individual goals and requirements. Choose from pay-as-you-go, retainer or per-project pricing. Submit a virtual assistant request for a quote.
6. Time etc.
If you're ready to try virtual assistants, but aren't ready to make a commitment, Time etc. provides low-cost, U.S.-based remote workers who bill by the hour. In contrast to typical monthly plans that charge you whether or not you use the service, Time etc. lets you pay only for completed tasks. However, because hourly rates don't always mean you get your money's worth, Time etc. ensures quality work by only hiring hand-picked virtual assistants after a thorough testing, vetting and approval process. After applicants pass an online assessment of basic requirements, Time etc. screens their resumes, performs an identity check and verifies education and employment histories. Applicants are also required to take key skills and IQ tests.
Time etc. virtual assistants cost $26 an hour for non-members. A free monthly membership knocks the price down to $19 an hour. A free 30-day trial is currently available and includes a $25 credit.
TaskRabbit is an online marketplace that lets users outsource tasks and to-do lists personally to individuals in their neighborhoods. Love the idea, but don't live in a TaskRabbit City? The Silicon Valley-based company now offers virtual assistant services to business owners everywhere. Workers — known as TaskRabbits — can plan your vacation, do research, proofread documents and perform all types of tasks, regardless of your location.
TaskRabbit costs vary. Users can either set their prices or request bids, then choose a TaskRabbit or let the service choose one for you. All TaskRabbits undergo an extensive background check to ensure safety.
Uassist.ME is a "near shoring" virtual assistant service that offers bilingual English/Spanish administrative support. The company is based in Miami Beach, Fla., with virtual assistants located only two hours away in El Salvador. Its founders appeared in Inc. magazine's 30 under 30, Class of 2012, which dubbed the service as "Virtual Assistant 2.0." Its features include shared and full-time assistants that operate on Mountain Standard Time for availability in any U.S. and Canadian time zones, a low supervisor-to-employee ratio and management teams with U.S. college degrees and work experience.
To encourage efficiency, Uassist.ME specializes in tracking progress, not hours. Monthly plans start at $699 a month for a shared assistant or $1,400 a month for a full-time assistant. U.S.-based virtual assistants are also available via Uassist.US at a higher price range.
9. Virtual Staff Finder
Want to directly hire your own virtual assistant, but have a limited budget? Virtual Staff Finder is a virtual assistant staffing firm headquartered in Cebu City, Philippines. It matches business owners with direct-hire, locally recruited, English-speaking virtual assistants. While other services charge a monthly subscription with limited task requests, hiring direct provides business owners with their own virtual assistant as though he or she were a regular employee. To ensure compatibility, the company selects candidates based on individual requirements, includes comprehensive testing and background checks, and facilitates phone and face-to-face interviews.
Virtual Staff Finder suggests a salary of $225-300 a month for part-time virtual assistants and $450-600 for full-time virtual assistants. A salary guide is also available for download.
10. Tasks Everyday
If you require flexibility from offshore virtual assistants, Mumbai, India-based Tasks Everyday offers English-speaking virtual assistants who work on your schedule. The business has a staff of more than 400 virtual assistants with different skillsets, allowing it to provide one virtual assistant or an entire team as needed. Virtual assistants can perform general tasks, bookkeeping, Internet research, basic graphic design, search engine optimization, transcription and more. A Team Lead is also available to supervise your tasks.
Tasks Everyday virtual assistants are available for one-time or ongoing projects at a rate of $6.98 an hour. They are accessible anytime Monday to Friday via Skype, email, phone and instant messaging.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.