When I used to think of people with assistants, I conjured up images of a hot shot CEO barking at his poor assistant with a cigar in his mouth and glass of scotch in his hand. I don’t know why, but I blame Looney Tunes.
To be honest, I didn’t very much see the need for assistants. “How hard could it be to get done what you need to? With the proper planning and efficiency, I shouldn’t need help!”
Then I put my big boy pants on. After leaving my job in ministry, I noticed that my workload increased significantly. Add to that a new baby, investing more time into my nonprofit, and collaborating on side projects, and you’ve got yourself one busy day.
I hated to admit it. But the evidence was clear: I needed help. I needed an assistant.
Why I Chose a Virtual Assistant
The tasks I needed help on were more “blocking and tackling” than drafting up plays in locker room. They weren’t difficult, just tedious. So very tedious.
I had heard about virtual assistants before, so when I began my research I started there. Essentially, a virtual assistant works just like a “real” one, but they can be located anywhere in the world. Your interaction with them is done entirely online, or “virtually.”
After getting bids from three different services, I eventually settled on Zirtual. The company is based out of San Francisco and all of their assistants are college educated and U.S. based. Zirtual had the right offerings for the right price. I went with the Premium Plan and haven’t looked back.
How My Virtual Assistant Helps Me
It’s been almost two months since I started and I’m still astonished at what I’ve been able to accomplish since then. Here are three reasons why I love having the help of a Zirtual virtual assistant:
- She is timely. When I assign a task, I can choose the level of urgency. So far, so good. Lizzy (my assistant, or “ZA” as they’re called) has done a great job at responding in the right time frame. I usually assign tasks first thing in the morning, whether it’s responding to an email, scheduling an appointment, or doing research for me. Most of those will be completed or near-complete by the end of the day.
- She does the stuff I don’t want to do. There, I said it. Most of the tasks I assign to Lizzy are things I simply don’t want to do. Recently, I had her track down who to call for the sinkhole that’s growing in my front yard. Important, but not something I want to spend time doing. “Blocking and tackling,” for sure. Plus, Zirtual’s slogan says it all: “Delegate tasks you loathe to an assistant you’ll love.” Bingo.
- I’m learning how to delegate. Speaking of delegation, the side benefit of having an assistant is learning this crucial art. Contrary to my long-held perception, have an assistant isn’t barking orders at someone. It’s inviting a person to contribute to your success. Delegating, when done properly, can be very rewarding. I’ve learned how to ask for something in a direct and (hopefully) respectful manner. Asking for what you need and want can be unnerving. Having an assistant helps me practice.
This has been one of the best investments I have made for myself professionally. I’m able to get more done while expanding the limitations of what is possible. Success comes at a price. Having an assistant is a price worth paying.
PS – In case you’re wondering, here’s what my task list looks like: