Hiring a Virtual Assistant

I have been using virtual assistants for several years for random graphic and web design projects that I did not have the attention span or technical skills to complete. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr have allowed me to rapidly test different ideas without spending hours trying to figure out Adobe Illustrator or digging into the code of a WordPress site. 

When I first started hiring freelancers through these platforms I was scared it would be more trouble than it is worth. I figured I would get scammed or the language barrier would make it take more time than if I just did it myself. However, I have had mostly positive experiences on the platforms. This includes graphic design, web design, blog articles, and data entry. For all of these I have given limited instruction and within 4-5 messages I was able to get decent work for the money. Having said that I never spent more than $100 on one project.

My one issue with Virtual Assistants has been with lead generation. I tried hiring several VAs to find wholesale distributors for me to sell online. This was a total nightmare. Typically before I hire someone I ask them to explain how they will perform the job and how much time it will take. When it comes to lead generation apparently virtual assistants on Upwork do not want to tell you.  One freelancer offered to tell me his “secret method” for $100. Another flat out refused to tell me. 

In the end curiosity won out and I decided to try two guys out just to see what would happen. Both came in with rates of $25 an hour. In my opinion that was really expensive so I countered with $5. They both said that was way to low. When I told them I would move on they both agreed to it.

Unfortunately, the quality of the leads was exactly what I paid for. After thanking both for trying I said I was happy to pay them for the three hours of work but I would be moving in a different direction. They both responded with a variation of if you paid us more you would have gotten better leads. Basically these guys just recycled leads to anyone who would pay for them. The price you paid them determined the quality of the lead you received.

Obviously this is not what i wanted. I didn’t want someone else’s sloppy seconds for distributors a bunch of Amazon sellers were already working for.

If I try this in the future I will have to train someone to do this myself. Anyone with a leads that they continue sell off is not a good strategy.


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