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Virtual Assistants: Worth It?

Virtual Assistants: Worth It?

    Everybody wants an assistant. Not only is a mark of status and rank, but it’s essential for any working professional who has any management responsibilities whatsoever. But what the economy being what it is, the number of people who can afford assistants are few and far between.

    Increasingly, professionals and entrepreneurs are turning towards virtual assistants to help them manage their workloads. Depending on the service you select, most virtual assistants are able to assist you with tasks as varied as tracking your expenses, ordering your lunch, or assisting with your PR needs…and almost all charge rates that are a mere fraction of what you would pay an on-site assistant.

    But how effective are virtual personal assistants? And how much can they really boost your productivity (or your bottom line)? Like with any business practice, there are pros and cons. So, are virtual assistants worth it? Here’s how it breaks down…

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    Pro: Low cost.

    Con: You get what you pay for.

    The great thing about virtual personal assistants is that many companies offering these services have workers based overseas, meaning that the prices they charge for a full day of work are equivalent to what you drop at Starbucks on your way to the office each morning. Obviously the prices will vary based on location and services rendered, but some workers will help you with your workload for as little as $1-$3 per hour.

    That being said, you get what you pay for. So, while you might not be shelling out big bucks to your VPA, you will have to put up with lost-in-translation issues, foreign holidays, and occasional breakdowns in communication.

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    Pro: The work gets done in your sleep.

    Con: Staying in contact can be tricky.

    It’s really hard to communicate effectively with someone who works three time zones away from you, let alone eight or twelve time zones away. If you’re working with a team of VPAs, this is less of an issue, but it can still take a bit of getting used to.

    All that being said, there’s nothing quite like writing up a to-do list at the end of the day, emailing it off, and coming in the next morning to find everything has been taken care of in your sleep.

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    Pro: Free trial periods are fairly common.

    Con: Fees and quality can vary widely by company/person.

    Services like TimeSvr will offer you a free trial period to assess the quality and fit of their services. That’s great for people who are on the fence about whether they can really benefit from a virtual personal assistant.

    That being said, you need to make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly. For example, ihabilis.com charges a base rate of $10 for five tasks, but charges up to $1,000 for 160 hours of work a month.

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    Pro: Some services offer you an entire team of assistants.

    Con: It’s hard to track who’s accountable for your needs at any given time.

    You basically have two options to consider when selecting what virtual personal assistant is best suited to your individual needs. You can put all your eggs in one basket and throw in with a single assistant, or you can work with a service that puts several people at your disposal, such as GetFriday. You generally have one person who is your “primary”, along with 2 or three other secondary assistants that are available during off-peak hours.

    But while having a team available to you 24 hours a day sounds great, it can be a little confusing knowing who has been assigned to which task in the event that you have last-minute changes to make to your instructions.

    Closing Thoughts

    So, there are a lot of things to consider when selecting a virtual personal assistant. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide if this kind of service is worth it. If you would like to do some further reading, you might want to check out some other reviews. For example, the Wall Street Journal has a detailed chart that breaks down the price and features of four popular virtual assistant companies, including GetFriday.com and RedButler.com

    If any of you lovely readers has an opinion about virtual personal assistants, or has a past experience with one of these services that they’d like to share in the comments below, please share with the rest of us! I’m curious to hear what you all think about the perks and pains of virtual assistants.

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    1 Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated 2 How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love 3 8 Things to Remember When You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life 4 Master These 10 Management Skills to Become a Strong Leader 5 17 Things You Need to Know to Achieve Career Success at Any Age

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

    How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

    Everyone of us has a plan in our head that was taken over by family responsibilities, social pressure or sheep mentality. This made us a slave to instant gratification and started killing our plan and dreams.

    There is a way to revive your plans and dreams and live a happier life. No amount of salary can exceed your desire to do something that you are really passionate about.

    If you hate your job and have thought about leaving your job, here’s how to quit your job and start doing what you love:

    1. Identify if you really want to quit to follow your passion

    There could be many possible reasons to figure out why you are discouraged to go to work and start thinking about how to quitting your job. Figure out the reasons or signs that make you feel that you should really quit your job.

    If these reasons are not related to your office environment or your ultimate goal is to pay your bills from your job, you should consider getting a new job in the same field. It’s better to be an experienced receptionist than to live a dream that is not yours.

    2. Start with the side hustle and keep it going

    Work after you get back home and build up your product or service enough to gain confidence to quit your job.

    Build the website, write down the business plan, design your product, make marketing collaterals or do whatever it takes for you to start working full time on your new venture before quitting your current job.

    You could also consider part-time working opportunities if your current job sucks a lot of your energy. This way you could save your energy and dedicate more time to your side hustle.

    Ensure that you don’t quit until your new venture really demands your full time dedication. You might lose interest in your new venture if you fall short of survival money.

    3. Save enough to pay your bills

    If you need to pursue your passion, you need your monthly bills to be taken care of, without any worries. You must cut down on unnecessary expenses and squeeze in those extra bucks on your savings while you are at your current job. You should forget those weekend parties and social outings unless they’re meant for networking.

    It makes no sense to quit your job without having any savings. Your new venture will not start paying you immediately. Starting a recurring deposit account is a good idea to start off with. Put aside a considerable amount every month as soon as you get your paycheque and forget about that money until you quit your job.

    4. Write down your goals

    It is important to have visual proof and a daily reminder of why you quit your job and started a new hustle.

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    Write down your goals and read them at least once a week. If you are a forgetful person, create cell phone or desktop wallpapers of your goals and set them until you achieve them. Visual proof keeps you on track.

    These goals are the bigger picture of what you wish to achieve in your pursuit to doing what you love.

    For example, if you are wish to design the best dresses in the whole state, write it down. If you wish to fly to Mars, write it down. If you really wish to give up your career for something, it better be worth remembering everyday. Show it to yourself daily.

    5. Make a plan

    Write down a plan of action for the next 12 months. It’s like writing down an elaborate execution plan in your calendar. This could be a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list of your tasks to achieve your goals.

    Learn how to make a plan if that’s not your area of expertise. Ensure that you know what you’re going to do next and not run like a headless chicken after two months of working for yourself.

    Review the plan time and again to track your progress. This will give you a clear picture of your performance and your shortcomings.

    Also, have a backup plan. Even great planners and strategists fail before achieving success. Ensure that you have a second plan if your first one does not work out as you predicted.

    6. Get professional advice

    Talk to experienced people in the field you want to venture out. Go to networking events and connect with people in your industry. Most people will help you out with good advice and good contacts.

    Get professional courses in part time colleges. It could be great to network and the teachers can be of great help to understand more about the industry. They will help you analyse your plan and connect you to influential people.

    7. Prepare yourself to put a resignation

    Prepare yourself mentally to quit your job after you’ve realized the potential and prepared yourself to take a deep dive into your new profession.

    Leave on a friendly note. Don’t make enemies with your bosses. These connections could help you further in your profession.

    Don’t burn the bridges. It’s better to have a face-to-face conversation with your boss or reporting manager than sending a surprise mail.

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    Tell them sincerely about your new venture and why it is important for you. Serve the notice period completely and work till the last day. Complete all your tasks as you would on a regular day. This will maintain your respect and keep your relationships intact.

    8. Be prepared to get your hands dirty

    As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything that’s needed to keep your work going.

    You have to perform all the tasks needed to keep your new venture going. You have to be a janitor, an administrator, an accountant, a designer or a salesperson all at once.

    There would be a point of time where you will have to perform tasks that aren’t your favourite. Be ready to perform such tasks without cringing.

    9. Have no baggage

    Don’t have a debt! Clear all your loans, debts and pending commitments before starting off. You want to fully concentrate on your new activity and not be bent down by loading your shoulders with any burden.

    You would want to enjoy your freedom to work incessantly. No distractions whatsoever are allowed to come close to you when you are fully involved in the rhythm of development. Shun away materialism!

    10. Don’t be in two minds

    It’s good to analyze the best and the worst possibilities in your head, but it’s not at all good to doubt yourself.

    Move ahead with confidence. It’s your life, your plan and your rules. Nothing and nobody can stop you from doing what you wish to do.

    The more you start getting noticed, the more people will point fingers at you. Don’t let them affect you and create doubts in your head. As William Shakespeare said,

    “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

    11. Learn to handle failure

    You are going to be a loser and it’s a good thing! If you fail and lose, you will learn to not repeat your mistakes and make yourself stronger with every punch you throw out.

    It takes time till you start losing. The key is to not be demotivated by failure. The more the failure, the more closer you are to success.

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    12. Try your hands at investing in stock market or cryptocurrency

    It’s a good way to keep your side income rolling in. While you are busy building your dream project, you could invest your money in the stock market or cryptocurrency and let it grow while you sleep.

    As Warren Buffet famously quoted,

    “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

    Find a good stock broker who has enough experience to not lose your money. Stop immediately if you are losing a lot of money. Don’t burn away your money.

    13. Keep a healthy routine

    It’s easy to forget about your health when you are working on something that you’re really passionate about. Set reminders about your health routine.

    Exercise! Most successful people start their day early and take time out to exercise at least thrice a week. It helps you give more energy and time to your work.

    Always remember that you started your new venture to be happier. Bad health will not let you enjoy your success.

    Join yoga classes or learn meditation from youtube. Avoid sitting too long at one place for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, take breaks. take a walk, especially up-down the staircase as much as you can to skip age related joint pains and muscle atrophies.[1]

    14. Enjoy your days off

    Taking a break helps your creativity and clears your mind from clutter. You need your days off to come back afresh and take on your tasks. You can’t be working 24/7.

    Remember that being able to take your days off is one of the beneficial quirks of an entrepreneurial journey. You can have a routine designed by yourself, for yourself.

    Take your days off when you are too stressed and can’t think straight. Self-discipline might sound simple but practice takes ages. Schedule down time for yourself.

    15. Take these steps to quit your job without burning bridges

    Resume.io has this infographic about the steps you should take after you’ve decided to quit your job:[2]

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      16. Remember why you quit your job

      Lastly, remember why you quit your job and started doing what you love. There would be bad days that will make you regret your decision, but don’t let them dominate the reason why you took the plunge.

      Your soul wasn’t happy with what you were doing. Your new venture is what you always wanted to do.

      Never forget that.

      If nothing works out, you could still go back to any job you want, but at least, you’d be spared from regrets and constantly arriving “What if?” question in your head.

      So, start now and live without any regrets.

      Execution matters more than thought. Turn your dream into a reality starting today. Start small and grow big.

      Besides, it’s never too late to do what you want to do. Here’s the proof:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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