Activities that call for out-tasking, ad-hoc outsourcing or “outsourcing your life” inevitably bring us to a not so easy to resolve dilemma – where and how to find a decent virtual assistant (VA). In some cases we can engage resources from oDesk or elance, in some cases we need to find an established VA company. And like with most of vendor selection challenges choosing VA vendor is a task not for the faint of heart. Sheer number of resources that fall into VA category makes proper selection a seemingly daunting task. For example, a search for “virtual assistant” brings 29K entries on oDesk and 19K on eLance.
Interestingly enough an approach here could be using another layer of outsourcing – getting an assistant who can find an assistant… And as luck may have it a few days ago I run into someone who offers exactly that kind of services – Nick Loper, the founder of Virtual Assistant Assistant, the leading directory and customer review database on personal and small business outsourcing companies. Nick also wrote a book “Virtual Assistant Assistant: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with Virtual Assistants” that is now available on Amazon and published a white paper that discusses the current state of the personal outsourcing landscape. Here is a summary in his own words:
It looks at some of the macro trends impacting the industry, including large scale geographic shifts in supply, and the growing confusion over what exactly is a “virtual assistant.”
The study also addresses the demand side of the equation with an analysis of proprietary never-before-released survey data from prospective outsourcing clients. This includes information on desired work functions, anticipated workloads, preferred working relationships, and more.
As demand for outsourcing services has increased, so has interest from venture capitalists. A number of high profile companies and startups have raised funds to grow their business.
Finally, the paper looks at some of the demographic data on website visitors seeking out information on virtual assistants.
Outsourcing service providers may be able to use this data to better cater their offerings to meet the demands of the market.
VA market is going to grow considerably and selecting companies that can match your specific needs would become increasingly different. In that light services like VAA could be extremely helpful. I hope Nick continues growing his business…