You never have to see or train these personal assistants
Siri and Alexa might be the two most famous virtual assistants (VAs)—but they can’t compete with the lesser-known VAs that schedule travel, answer calls and conduct research.
For busy individuals, hiring someone to tackle tasks without having to interview them in person, give them a key to your house or explain things in painstaking detail is becoming a way of life. Unlike smart features found in computer operated gadgets, VAs for hire are actually living, breathing people that are employed as actual assistants.
From keeping digital files organized to maintaining expenses to proofreading spreadsheets and managing social media — a VA can get it done.
Richmond, Virginia-based virtual assistant Francesca Lyn is in graduate school and the flexibility of working as a VA has complimented her lifestyle. Unlike many VAs who are employed through agencies, Lyn is an independent contractor who finds her gigs through word of mouth. “I perform a lot of research tasks and do some virtual organizing, like renaming files and updating Google docs,” Lyn tells Moneyish.
She’s worked with as many as four clients at a time and her fees vary, but generally begin at $20 per hour. While most of her work consists of uneventful duties, Lyn says she once compiled a list of sex tips, “It was for an article in a women’s magazine!” she says.
Music industry professional Andrew Charles uses two virtual assistants. “I work remotely so I rely on a couple other remote folks to help me out,” says Charles. One of his assistants is based in Brooklyn, NY and helps with music licensing, editing and project management; and another is based in Los Angeles and runs errands.
An onslaught of companies like Red Butler and Zirtual provide virtual assistance plans, as well as the option to purchase hours a la carte. Red Butler’s basic plan runs $450 per month and offers 15 hours of assistance, a dedicated account manager, email and calendar support and 12-hour weekday coverage for one user. Their deluxe option costs $1850 per month and includes a receptionist with the choice of having five users added to the account. On all monthly packages, Red Butler get travel and concierge services.
Steven Topazio, business development manager at Red Butler says entrepreneurs tend to use them for email management, calendaring and recurring tasks, startups for receptionist services and larger organizations for travel booking and management. Since the majority of their assistants work in a decentralized location, Topazio says, the company can “find the best talent, with local knowledge.”
Zirtual’s promise includes U.S.-based college educated assistants who are available Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm via phone, text and email. Each assistant is highly trained, professionally managed and proficient in the most popular computer software, the company says.
“Both of my virtual assistants are incredibly helpful even though I don’t really see either of them in person,” Charles says.
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