We all know it’s important for growing an Internet business. With a virtual assistant you can streamline a business and get a lot of things of done. One of the reasons I was able to live out of a backpack for seven months was because I relied on a team of workers to run my business.
The problem with outsourcing is many people don’t know what tasks a virtual assistant should be doing.
This post answers this question. Below I’ve listed 37 activities that can be outsourced. These aren’t the one-time projects you’d find on a freelance site. Instead these are the day-to-day tasks that can completely managed by a virtual assistant. (Like using someone to generate targeted web traffic.)
There’s a lot to cover. So let’s dive in…
Writing Web Content
1) Write Ezine Articles: Article marketing is one of the best ways to promote a website. The downside is it’s really boring. You can easily hire workers to handle your content creation…for as low $3 to $4 per article. The trick is to create a master list of talking points which a virtual assistant can use to quickly write the article.
2) Spin Articles: Using an article spinning service is a great way to increase your backlinks. The trick to this technique is to substitute different phrases so each article is unique. This is a very time-consuming task that can be easily passed on to someone who has firm grasp of English.
3) Create SEO Content: This task is similar to writing ezine articles. Basically you have someone create content for your website/blog based on specific keyword phrases. This is a great way to add more information to your site without having to personally write hundreds of articles.
4) Transcribe Audio and Video: Another great way to generate web traffic is to offer written versions of your audio and video content. This task requires a virtual assistant to type a word-for-word version of the multi-media content you’ve created and submit it to popular article directories.
5) Write Blog Posts: Blog content is a cut above the standard article. That’s why it’s important to find a talented writer for this task. You’ll spend a little bit extra. But it’s worth it if you want to work less while maintaining a high standard of content.
6) Build Lenses & Hub Pages: Squidoo and Hub Pages are two great sources of traffic. You can use these sites to target keywords, build backlinks and promote affiliate products. With this task you’d hire a person to take your existing content and build web pages around quality keywords. This is a great way to expand your reach without doing more work.
7) Comment on Blogs: Blog commenting is an incredible way to promote a site. However it’s extremely tedious – Especially if you comment on dozens of sites a day. An outsourcer could be the perfect solution here. The trick is to hire someone who understands your niche and can effectively talk about market-related topics.
8) Respond to Blog Comments: Another mind-numbing task is responding to the people who leave comments on your blog – Especially when you have 50+ per day! You can hire a virtual assistant to do this task for you. BUT make sure this person knows everything about your business. The quickest way to lose an audience is to be known as someone who doesn’t take the time to personally respond to blog comments.
9) Create Press Releases: Press releases are a great way to generate interest in your “personal brand.” The hard part is to create a press release that gets results. You can improve your success by hiring someone to write this specialized type of content.
10) Proofread and Edit Content: Sometimes it helps to have an extra pair of eyeballs looking at your web content. Personally, I make a lot of grammatical mistakes with my content. So I know the value of having someone proofread my content. You can easily find a highly qualified writer to review your writing…for a lot less than you’d think.
11) Write Copy for a Sales Page: Creating web copy that converts is an important skill that most Internet business owners lack. You can easily increase the profits of your business by outsourcing a professional copywriter. This person would write your sales pages and squeeze pages for your Internet business. I’m not going to lie. This task costs a good amount of money, but its well worth it!
12) Create Autoresponders: This task also involves hiring a very skilled writer. Instead of creating emails yourself, you’d hire a virtual assistant with email marketing experience to craft responsive messages.
13) Interact on Social Media Sites: It’s hard to stay connected on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You can keep up by having someone comment and interact with people on these sites. This technique is especially effective now that Facebook allows you to comment using a Fan Page.
Create Additional Web Content
14) Record Audio Content: Many people love audio content – Especially those who spend a lot of time in the car or at the gym. You can increase web traffic by hiring a person to read all your articles and turn them into MP3 files. Then have this person submit these audios to popular audio and podcast directories.
15) Create Video Presentations: In addition to outsourcing audio creation, hire someone to add slides to the MP3 and create a simple video. Submit this presentation to YouTube and you’ll have another source of web traffic!
16) Amplify your Web Content: The other week we discussed how Amplify is a great tool for promoting your web content. With this task you have a person “amplify” your marquee web content and use it to drive more traffic to your sites.
17) Post Blog Articles: Every week I spend two hours posting the articles to my site. Here’s what I need to do with this task:
- Find images
- Format the images
- Add the article
- Format the article
- Tag the article and add keywords
- Add SEO information
- Review for mistakes and omissions.
If you’re like me, you can easily save time by paying a virtual assistant to format and post your blog content.
18) Post Content to Other Websites: While we’re on the subject, another time-saver is to hire someone to submit content to traffic generating sites like EzineArticles.com, YouTube.com, and Podcast directories. Sure it only takes a few minutes to submit content. But this time quickly adds up if you’re cranking out dozens of articles each week. This is something I’m currently doing with my Go Large Project.
19) Build Amazon Sites: A great product on the market right now is Chris Guthrie’s Amazon Niche Profits. You make money by creating ultra-specific sites that promote a high-end physical product. Like a lot of tasks, it’s pretty tedious to build multiple Amazon sites. To fix this, create a step-by-step process and then pass it along to a dedicated worker.
20) Build Niche-Specific Websites: Another technique for making money is to build a series of niche-related websites which leverage Google Adsense and affiliate products. Once you’ve done this a few times, it’s easy to streamline this process and turn it into a blueprint that anyone can follow.
21) Compile Keyword Lists: Keyword research is the definition of BORING. Instead of doing this yourself, pay a person to use tools like Google Keyword Tool and Market Samurai. The trick here is to hire someone who has an intuitive grasp of how to find quality keywords.
22) Design Images and Graphics: If you have a lot of web properties it’s important to hire a designer to create eye-catching graphics. This will save you both time and money that you spend finding a quality provider for each project.
23) Create Viral PDFs: A great way to drive traffic to a product is to give affiliates a free piece of content that’s embedded with their affiliate link. They (and you) make sales by giving away this report to anyone interested in this niche. The problem here is takes time to create a separate PDF for each affiliate. This is a task that can easily be handed off to a virtual assistant.
Do Small “Micro-Tasks”
24) Do Daily Content Marketing: This task is similar to the Amplify process. What you do is create a step-by-step plan anyone can follow to promote a piece of content. Usually this involves submitting it to places like Twitter, Facebook, and Stumble Upon. The difference is this technique requires automation coupled with an ability to write a quality summary of the content.
25) Generate Massive Social Media Exposure: With certain pieces of content, it’s important to generate a lot of interest (ie: Views, Tweets, Stumbles, Likes, etc.) Instead of relying on one worker, you’d hire out a small team of people who regularly promote your content. The trick is to have a dozen or more workers who simultaneously do the same task.
26) Manage “Add Follower” Tools: A number of tools can help you automatically add followers and subscribers on social media sites. But you shouldn’t do this yourself. Instead have a dedicated virtual assistant who uses this tool to automatically add people.
27) Create Backlinks: Getting backlinks to your site is a tedious process. You need to submit your site to directories, RSS feeds, and web 2.0 sites. This is a process that can easily be passed off to a part or full-time worker.
Provide Niche-Related Info
28) Filter Information: There’s way too much information on the Internet. So it’s important to create systems to not get overwhelmed. An outsource worker can provide the perfect solution. First give this person a list of your favorite sites/blogs. Then tell him/her the topics that you’d like to learn more about (ie: YouTube or Facebook marketing). Finally have your assistant send links to only the articles that discuss these topics.
29) Collect Links of your Favorite Sites: What if you want to consume the content of an entire site? Have a virtual worker create a document that contains hyperlinks to ALL the articles. Turn this into a PDF and you have a great tool for quickly digesting the entire content of a website. I did this a few times and it save me heaps of time.
30) Compile a Swipe File: Tell an outsourcer to follow your favorite marketers. Then have him/her collect things like blog post titles, email subject lines, and calls-to-action. This is called a copywriting swipe file. And it’s a great trick for getting better results with your sales material. Even better…hiring another person to collect this data is a great way to increase your learning without adding to your workload.
31) Track your Web Stats: Tracking your websites is an integral part of an Internet business. This information lets you know what’s working and what’s not. You can easily hire a person to collect weekly (or monthly) reports of all that’s happening with your Internet business. This can include traffic stats, affiliate earnings, article views, and tracking stats. Simply identify the key areas to the growth of your business and have someone else monitor these stats.
Manage High-Level Tasks
32) Email management: You can waste a lot of time with email. As much as two to three hours a day. This is where it pays to get an outsourcer to manage your inbox. Their job is to respond to the messages based on a set of instructions you’ve created. Furthermore it’s the responsibility of this worker to act as a filter for the important emails. The end result is you’ll only respond to the stuff that’s absolutely critical to your business.
33) Edit Audio and Video: If you create a lot of audio and video content, you can save time by hiring an editor. This is a skill that requires a higher-level of expertise. So I think it’s often better to find a professional to take your raw multi-media content and turn it into a professional presentation.
34) Be your Webmaster: Most websites require some day-to-day management in order to run smoothly – Especially if you have a blog. My advice is to hire another person to handle this process. They can do things like redesign sections, manage plugins, and optimize your text.
35) Manage All Social Media Activities: If you hate doing ANY type of social media, you can hire a person (or company) to manage the entire process. Their job is to interact with people in your market while subtly pushing the content on your website. In my opinion, it’s better to hire a professional than to do a half-assed job with social media.
36) Recruit Affiliates: Every product needs an army of affiliates. This is especially true if you’ve built a program that’s better than most in your market. You can hire a professional to contact and recruit potential affiliates. My recommendation is to make sure the worker is contacting people on an individual basis instead of sending blanket, spam messages.
37) Manage Other Outsourcers: As you’ve seen, there are a lot of tasks that can be outsourcer. The downside to this process is you’ll spend time managing the people who are supposed to save you time. To solve this, hire a qualified virtual assistant to manage all your outsource workers. This person monitors the results and gives you detailed reports about how everything is going. Out of all 37 ideas, this is my personal favorite because it’ll save you heaps of time.
How to Get Started with Outsourcing
Okay, you might wonder where you can find workers for these tasks. These six sites can help you get started:
For every task, I recommend testing out a virtual assistant before hiring him/her on a permanent basis. This will prevent a lot of headaches. Trust me. It’s not fun dealing with incompetent people who need something explained five times before getting it right.
Add YOUR Favorite Virtual Assistant Task
Now… it’s your turn!
I’ve listed 37 ways a virtual assistant can grow your Internet business.
But I’m sure I didn’t think of everything. So I need your help! In the comment section below, please add a few ideas/techniques you recommend for a worker…Take Action. Get Results.
31 thoughts on “37 Ways a Virtual Assistant can Grow your Internet Business”
Great post Steve!
Glad to see you got your site back up. I have always had a problem defining what I would use a VA for, this helps a lot! Thanks for the good info.
Glad to be back Sean. It sure sucked to have all that virus crap happen. Set me back a bit.
This looks to be quite a complete list! I found #30 to be an interesting way to use a VA as I like creating swipe files but it’s soooo time consuming.
Once you do the initial work of finding the right VA(s) and creating instructions and/or templates for them, you’ve given yourself tons of time to do what you want to do, and what you do best. I’m now dreaming about what I would do with that time and how much my business would grow…
VA’s certainly can be useful. As he said this lead time and setting up instructions for them and of course finding the right one. There certain the effort is simply managing a VA, but when you find a good one there certainly are a lot of things you can have them do.
Since more and more people spending a lot of time on social networks like facebook and twitter, virtual assistants will be needed so that they can do the majority of promotion there. This should be one of the jobs that has a bright feature.
I’m a little bit leery about having of the a do too much with social networks. Some commotion and menial things like scheduling tweets are great. But actually doing responding of more than the, “thanks” variety seems a little dangerous. After all a lot of your followers in the systems is predicated upon personality.
not that you can’t do it but and to be done little carefully with what they do for you on these social networks.
Interesting article steve.
Another great way a va can grow your business is by creating a product a software.
I don’t think using a va for blog commenting is a good idea.
Anyways, Thanks for sharing this great article. keep up the good work steve.
using the VA to comment on blogs certainly dubious proposal. Any blogs you want to really network with its downright bad idea. It could be a use though. On larger blogs were your simply scooping for a back link having a intelligent VA handle some of it could be of use. But has to be far more than a simple, “liked the article” even there.
If you have a outsourcer who was a good programmer certainly having them make programs to your specific occasions would be a great tool. My personal knowledge in this is minimum because I don’t even know enough to know what is difficult and what is easy when it comes the actual programming.
seems to me that for controlling outsourcer for this knowing how difficult a task is for them something out be pretty important. Even if you can do it yourself.
Steve, this article was flat-out tremendous my friend. I’ve been dabbling with the idea of using a VA in my mind for this last month, as I can clearly see that I just don’t have the time needed to achieve all of the tasks before me each day.
I’d be curious if you’d consider a part 2 of this article and show which ones you’ve done with success (or not). I’m nervous about going forward with a VA because frankly I don’t want it to blow up in my face, but I know it’s in the cards at some point in the future, no matter what.
Thanks again for all your value, this was exceptional.
thanks Marcus I appreciate your comment. You always have such nice things to say.
I hadn’t really thought of following up with specifics but maybe I will. likely I will roll into summary of how the, “go large’ is going.
Giving my list a quick look over I have done about 14 of the 37 at least one or two times. Some of them on a recurring basis.
for first checking out virtual systems I really like you eLance. not that it’s any less of a headache. There is still a chance you can get shoddy workmanship. But it holds the money in escrow. So for instance a few weeks back I had a job for somebody to set up a very specific Facebook landing page. I offered what I thought was a nice price for it. And the guy kept putting me off. Finally I canceled and got my money back.
It was still a hassle. It was always time. But I didn’t lose any money.
on the flip side though. Many people to find you eLance or even if fiverr do wonderful jobs. Once you seen someone’s work a few times is easy to contact them off-line of the system and haggle for more semi-permanent work.
Where do you get the time to write these honking posts every day? (Did you write that…or was it outsourced?)
I love the cat picture. reminds me of a conversation I had with a Fiverr transcriptionist a couple weeks ago. I contacted them before purchasing anything to see if their price was still good. I’m so glad I did that. They could not spell about 50% of the words. I called him out on it…he said he is 100% accurate on transcriptions and this was his…what did he call it…conversational typing, or something. It was all the conversation I needed to see to not use him.
Though I do think I’ll be upping my outsourcing soon. will have to come back to this one to get some more ideas.
yes this one is completely 100% my own. Monday is my “big post” day. It is actually much easier now, since i am no longer posting every day it gives me more time to comment/reply/ write new articles and still have time for my newer, “projects”
There certainly are some bad outsourcers out there. the idea of somebody doing a “conversational typing” would drive me batty.
It may take a little work to find the ones that consistently produce quality, but once you do they’re really worth the effort initially expended in the amount of work that will ultimately save you.
Thank you for bringing to light the possibilities and value of a Virtual Assistant and how they can help one’s business. As a VA, paralegal and administrative assistant throughout my professional career, the successful business people I have worked with are well aware that delegation of duties is key to time management.
It is amazing how important a good assistant really is. The difference between good and bad is like night-and-day. a good virtual assistant is worth nearly every penny you could possibly pay.
Another Monday monster (post)!
Lots to chew on here and help is needed in many areas. I’m working on # 19 now, definitely leaning toward a VA to help. Many of these online processes are time consuming as heck and unless we farm out some portions of the tasks, it just takes too long to make progress.
Good stuff, as always, Steve.
Amazon Niche sites seem like a great way to make money. I have very little personal experience in them but they seem pretty viable. And certainly something you could outsource for both the creation and the marketing aspect.
Great advice Scott.
I have been planning to hire a virtual assistant for a while now. It will be interesting to see how it works out.
Hopefully it should work out well for you. I would recommend split testing your applicants on some projects to make sure you get the one tha really does the jobs the way YOU like them done.
Very cool stuff here, Steve. I haven’t given much thought to hiring a VA, but you make a really compelling case for it.
I’m curious: How many tasks do you have your VA(s) doing? Is it just a few things repeatedly, or all of these things at various times?
I would say I have her doing about 14-15 of the 37. At least on the “occasional” basis.
She does both repeated stuff and some occasional specific requests. I have her doing a few recurring tasks like scheduling tweets, then some are recurring tasks that are specific…like actually doing all the data entry on videos I upload to dropbox, as well as a few basic quick digg/stumbles etc. on the new stuff. Then of course I do come up with the occasional specific tasks. So the answer is both. Enough for an 1-2 hours billing every other day. Not a ton of stuff but it is noce just to not have to even think about doing a few small things.
Of course my goal with everything is to stream line and give her (and other out-sourcers) more and more work. SO I can just write, do the big $ stuff, network and maybe someday….goof off
This is a bookmark-worthy list for certain. I have some experience outsourcing for article writing, backlink building and PPT slide video creation. You figure out real fast how important it is to communicate exactly what it is you expect. Skype came in handy.
#22: Design images and graphics. -sigh- We all need a savvy designer in our pocket. I love Photoshop but I often need to remind myself of my limits.
I make no bones about being a pretty awful photo editor. I can crop, resize, touch it up and add words. Anything more eleagnt than that and I am lost. 90% if the time that is all you need, but a good quality graphics guy is awesome.
I’m starting to use someone to help with some tasks with my online businesses. These are basically mundane, time consuming tasks.
I decided to use someone local – if you’ve ever read Corbett Barr’s manifesto, and his take on the whole ‘Walmart’ and globalization of business, and how creating local businesses can help the economy – well, the reasons are spelled out there.
One area where I’ll have to agree to disagree with you is anything to do with the creation of fresh content. For both my sites, my writing and content is an integral part of my brand – and I just wouldn’t consider outsourcing any of that except under extraordinary circumstances.
Obviously if you run niche sites, then it’s a different story. But for my main sites – I’d never do it. Do you do it for the SteveScott.com site? Very interested to find out?
But I totally agree with some of the other stuff, once your site is generating income outsourcing some of the grunt stuff frees you up to concentrate on other stuff.
mundane, time consuming tasks… Those are the best ones to outsource. 🙂
for fresh content it kinda depends on what the content is. For a site like this, I agree. Like you said… For a niche blog that is more formulaic you can get away with it. If you can create a set of talking points, possible subjects and a “this is what I want” template.
I’m about to hire a part-time VA soon, so this is a great list!
I haven’t tested this idea myself yet, but I try to assign a task for my VA (as soon as I have one) at some point and that is … brainstorming for blog post ideas.
I want to create my own content for my blog and I do have a big list of topics to write about. However, if that other person is knowledgeable about my niche, then perhaps part of the brainstorming could be handed over to VA.
High-level management tasks are best left to experienced virtual assistants; in some cases, especially when management of multiple social media accounts is required, it’s preferable to hire two VAs.
those list that you posted are very true, Virtual Assistant handles any kind of task, amazing article, I love it, thanks to this.
Steve – Been really enjoying reading all this content. Impressed with your ability to write great instructional content. Very simple and easy to understand. VA outsourcing I’ve found is very time consuming just finding a qualified worker. How many will you typically test before you find the right one?
I’ll usually try two or three. If I have the budget, I’ll hire two people that will directly compete against one another. Then I’ll hire the person who was the quickest and provided the best service. Usually this “split-test” will give you a great idea of who is worth keeping around.
Great, thanks Steve! Just hired two last night, going to see who performs the best.
Awesome. Let me know how that goes!
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