Over a decade ago my wife Arlene and I decided to take the plunge into affiliate marketing, and we haven’t looked back since. We haven’t had the time. Well, to be honest, we have had the time, but are choosing to spend the extra time we now have with our family and friends, doing what we enjoy most.
Now, just because we have more time, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been successful. We certainly have been, more than we could have hoped for, actually. However, working from home has also garnered freedom that came with that success, far more than what we were experiencing from a traditional 9-5 job outside of the home.
Our Internet business is the result of a dream, hard work and determination, and a team we count on each day to help us reach our goals.
One of the reasons we have the freedom to work our choice of hours, travel, and spend more time with our family is because we are working with virtual assistants who help us find a balance of more production, as well as the freedom to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Perhaps it’s time for you to consider a virtual assistant.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant, often referred to as a VA, is someone who works remotely, assisting a company with administrative, technical, social media, or other varying tasks. They are referred to as ‘virtual’, because technology such as the Internet, conference calls, Skype, and fax machines are methods used to communicate and perform projects.
While most VA’s are self-employed and working as an independent contractor, some companies are now allowing assistants to work from home.
Now that you know what a virtual assistant is, let’s talk about how this can help you.
What a Virtual Assistant can do for You
As I mentioned earlier, Arlene and I have enjoyed our affiliate marketing career for a while now. In fact, we started back in 1999, and the business has grown substantially since then. We have seen growth in areas such as speaking engagements, and podcasts.
One of the reasons we have been able to expand our business so well is that we utilize the world of virtual assistants. Currently, we work with 3 VA’s, who help with transcriptions, distribution, editing, and a host of other tasks.
For example, after I set up a backlinking campaign, I hand it over to my wife Arlene to make sure that we receive well-written articles from writers, and that they are distributed to the proper sites. In turn, she works with virtual assistants to ensure the quality distribution of each article and that everyone is staying on schedule.
Since working with virtual assistants, Arlene has been able to free up some time so she doesn’t have to work evenings. However, if the virtual assistants and writers want to, they are free to do so. That’s the beauty of working from home, and with others who do as well.
In fact, Arlene’s time is freed up enough so that she can volunteer one morning each week, something that is important to her.
So, if you want more time to make money with affiliate marketing, blogging, or any other business…or, have more free time in general, I suggest you give working with virtual assistants a try.
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
Now that I have your interest in working with a virtual assistant, you might be wondering how you go about finding one who will be a great asset to your team.
To be honest, we struggled in the beginning when looking for a virtual assistant who would be a good fit for our business. It took a few bumps, but we have had the pleasure of working with wonderful VA’s since then.
Here is what I suggest you do:
1. Determine what you need
If you let the prospects know what is expected before awarding the project, it will help to provide a clear message in what is expected with things such as tasks, hours, and pay. This could eliminate some of the responses that are irrelevant to what you are seeking.
2. Start out slowly
Think of it as a trial, or probation period, just as in the brick and mortar world. Give them 1-2 tasks to see how they follow instructions, and how well you communicate together. If it doesn’t work out, then you aren’t out much.
3. Be available
No matter how good an assistant might be, there will be questions along the way. If you remain available to answer these questions, it eliminates frustration for everyone. The virtual assistant could ‘leave’ if they are always backed up due to not getting clarity when something arises.
A great place to look for a virtual assistant is Elance. This is a platform that brings clients looking to ‘hire’ and providers together to work on projects. Just make sure you read through each response carefully, no matter how many people submit one.
Also, you want to keep in mind that Elance is international, so you might receive bids from all over the world. There is nothing wrong with working across, or even out of the country, as it’s all done remotely. However, you will want to keep in mind the area they are from when it comes to things such as training and live communication.
Arlene prefers to train with Skype. I do as well. This might pose a problem with the time differences, if you don’t want to hold training at odd hours. However, once the training is over, then it shouldn’t be an issue, unless you prefer live communication over emails, or Google docs.
The time it takes to find and train a great VA is well worth the time it frees up for you. What you do with that free time is completely up to you. However, we have utilized that extra time for both production, as well as improving our lifestyle with a healthy balance of both work and play.
About the Author
James Martell and his wife Arlene started their Internet business in 1999. Their podcast, ‘Affiliate Buzz’, is the longest running podcast in affiliate marketing. He also has done several speaking engagements such as Commission Junction University and Digital River Lab. Living in a seaside suburb of Vancouver, their dream of creating an Internet business has allowed for flexibility and enjoying time with their family.