I work at Staff.com. We also deal with Virtual Assistants and remote workers. Since we do a lot of outsourcing and telecommuting at our company (we have over 40 people from 8 different countries), I believe I could share some thoughts on how founders deal with virtual assistants.
Our CEO and founder, Rob Rawson wrote this article a while back: http://www.staff.com/blog/hiring-a-virtual-assistant/
It is about his experience on hiring virtual assistants. To answer your question, I would like to quote what he said on the article:
If you have a great assistant they can do a lot of stuff such as:
- Booking travel
- Making appointments
- Answering emails (this is a difficult one as it’s a personal thing and easy to make mistakes)
- Internet research
- Calling companies to ask for quotes (for example if you are getting house renovations)
- Getting links for your website to help you rank higher in the search engines
The best idea is if you can have some kind of “busy work” which could be ongoing linking work to promote your business for example. This way whenever there is down time they always have something to do.
Outsourcing doesn't immediately mean your life would be easier. Try to dig deep and know more about the attitude of your virtual assistant. If he/she shares the same values, vision and goals as you, you will definitely have a smooth working relationship.
I hope this answer gives you some tips when you decide to outsource and hire your virtual assistant!