4-Hour Work Week - reviewTim Ferriss advocates delegating personal stuff to an outsourcer or Virtual Assistant, in pursuit of creating more time to work more efficiently remotely so that you can take a mini-retirement to pursue a dream.

In my previous blog post, I explored some issues of using overseas virtual assistants and why it’s a false economy to engage cheap overseas VA’s.

When you delegate it’s also important to first filter the tasks you are delegating so you are paying to get done what you need to get done and not waste resources because of laziness on your part.

A good VA is worth their weight in gold, but you have to set your expectations and parameters so they can work effectively for you and you get the outcome you want.

This includes giving them proper instructions and ‘what if… then’ instructions so that you don’t become a bottle-neck. The aim is to take ‘you’ out of the equation so that the VA is empowered to do and act appropriately.

A VA’s effectiveness is increased ten-fold if you share your bigger picture/vision so they can help you best work towards that vision too.

Giving imprecise and vague instructions will result in miscommunication,  misunderstandings and you’ll end up frustrated and feeling the whole project is a failure.

A good VA should ask these kind of questions when you first approach them and their failure to should set alarm bells ringing that they are perhaps novices or wannabes. When screening VA’s it doesn’t matter whether your first communication is by phone or email, how they respond is.

Was it timely? Is the standard of English acceptable? Did they respond in a way that made you feel they understood your communication? On the phone, did you have a rapport with them?

Some questions to ask:

  • How quickly do they respond to requests
  • Do they have capacity for more work
  • What are their strengths
  • What do they not like doing
  • What’s their backup if they can’t work due to illness
  • What hours are they available for you to contact them
  • Do they use sub-contractors
  • What is their client portfolio (do they have clients with similar needs to you)?

The next blog post covers muses – the vehicles you use to generate the extra money needed to fund the Big Dream.

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