Is hiring a virtual assistant (VA) a good idea?


I read in "The 4-Hour Workweek" book about a VA firm called Brickwork India.

I am looking for someone that will help me create some content for my website, like newsletters, etc. Is this a good solution? If you have worked with any VA firm(s) out there, please share your thoughts.


asked Oct 11 '09 at 23:08
4,815 points

4 Answers


Hire a content writer - not a VA.

Make sure they are a 'English as a first language' professional writer. Try Elance and get samples.

If you are looking for volume short articles that you outline, you can look on digital point for very cheap foreign writers, but quality will suffer.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 03:15
446 points
  • Agreed. A VA is really not the solution the OP is looking for. +1 for suggesting a content writer. It's one of the most underrated professions. – Gabriel Hurley 14 years ago


It sounds like you need an intern, writer, or marketing person to help you with your content creation. Invest the $25 to post a job on craigslist (or perhaps others here can suggest good places for posting local jobs). The job market is very favorable to the employer right now, and you will likely find many people willing to work on a contract/as-needed basis. I am performing the same job search right now and I have found out of work journalists, experienced marketers, and students all hungry for work. Keep your money here in the country, you might pay a little more per hour but you'll get far better results, especially if the person is local and can meet with you face-to-face.

answered Oct 12 '09 at 04:11
1,057 points


Outsourcing is growing and hiring someone with little skill background against someone who is doing full-time freelance projects may not be the route to go. Its easier to get hold of 5 experienced people that can do tasks extremely well than waste time training someone who may never be up to the job in the end.

A prime example of this was recently I had some advertisement videos made, I got a guy in Canada to do the voice over, a guy in the Philippines to do the video editing and someone in the UK to do me a HD video sales pitch. That is 3 professionals that know what they are doing and didn't cost me a single cent to train them.

Adding to that having someone full-time in your own office is OK depending on regulations, I found that by the time I took into account everything I had to pay in taxes and to the state it simply wasn't viable. I could just pay a fixed fee via Paypal to someone internationally and forget about the expenses.

BUT the big thing here is outsourcing doesn't have to be short-term either on a per project basis. You can hire people long-term just as easily and to be honest most people prefer long-term contracts even if it was a lower rate because it gives them constant work-flow.

Virtual assistants seem to be the new buzz word for these types of services and to be honest I would personally go with a small company rather than a cattle styled call center.

Reason being with a small company they normally have mixed services. E.g. one guy may be your virtual assistant full-time but if you needed web development or something else someone in the same office can probably do it, saving hunting around for someone online.

answered Apr 19 '13 at 18:19
Matt Wilkie
36 points


Now VAs can help you get the menial stuff done, but I doubt they are suitable for creative work. Plus any VA probably wont be as deeply involved in your business, as you or an intern would be for example.

So you might want to get an intern to help you, with the added benefit of teaching that kid some valuable stuff.

answered Oct 11 '09 at 23:50
Slav Ivanov
1,146 points

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