Online tasks are the new ‘paperwork’. The bane of every entrepreneur’s existence in this emerging, fast and instant entrepreneurship. Seniorpreneur will give you an annual review of the best places to outsource these tasks, which you SHOULD delegate rather than letting them eat your time!
There are two types of ‘marketplaces’ for online tasks. Direct agencies and freelance marketplaces.
Zirtual is of the ‘direct agency’ type, an outsourcing company based in Los Angeles, founded in 2011.The startup and marketplace circle was recently shocked by Zirtual’s shutting down. Emails to clients and freelancers were sent out August 11th, announcing that Zirtual was “pausing all operations” “due to market circumstances and financial constraints.”
Freelancers feel betrayed, but the show must go on. Clients and virtual assistants have a mutual connection not easily severed by the middleman going down. But the middleman does make it all easier and smoother to make the connection to a skilled virtual assistant.
How they work:
You post a job and they assign someone to get it done. More often than not, you have no control on who does the job. Unless you read a review and get a recommendation, e.g., “Ask for Gemma” and you do indeed ask for Gemma. But if Gemma happens to be busy, you usually get who they match for you.
When the job is completed, it’s submitted to you. If you like it, great! If you don’t like it, return it for a do-over.
Pros: A huge pool of freelancers within your grasp. The agency takes responsibility for your job and redo or reassign it as needed, until it is completed and you’re happy with it.
Cons: That huge pool of freelancers is not always screened for their skills. You need patience. You need to allot time for your project to get done right. Be prepared for several reassignments. First submissions often need do-over.
How they work:
Everyone posts a profile, either as a client or a freelancer. You (the client) post a job. Freelancers submit applications. It’s up to you to set qualifications and sift through those applications for the likely freelancer. You interview. You hire one. You give him/her the job. You wait for it to get done. Edits/redos are between you two. You deal with ONE freelancer whom YOU hire yourself.
Pros: You control who touches the job. In consequence, you pick the best freelancer and you get the job completed efficiently. You can negotiate terms and fees with your freelancer.
Cons: You have no backup in case the freelancer you hired backs out or is unable to deliver the task. In this case, all you can do is post the job again and perhaps invite one of the other applicants you’ve already talked to, and invite him/her to apply to the job posting.
Both direct agencies and freelance marketplaces have the same risk of your job not getting done. Although every agency will guarantee that your job WILL get done, you can still get caught up in an agency’s growing pains. Agencies and freelance marketplaces alike are staffed with freelancers, and freelancers are professionals who get distracted like any office goer, and choose to freelance to have full command of their time. Your task could get shunted in favor of family priorities, for instance.
Choosing one or the other depends mainly on the time and attention you can direct to the process.
On one hand, giving the job to a direct agency needs little to no supervision, but getting the task redone until it’s what you want eats time. UNLESS you pick a good agency that handpicks its freelancers for work done well.
On the other hand, looking for a freelancer you can trust will eat time and attention, but once the job is assigned, you can be confident about the speed and quality of its delivery.
In both cases, you should pick a great agency or a great freelancer.
The following are the most reputable and up-and-coming marketplaces for online tasks. We won’t rank Upwork (probably the biggest name in the ‘freelance marketplace’ type, which we do recommend), but here are alternatives you can try.
We only picked agencies who handpick and give you a dedicated assistant– personalized for your needs, a perfect task matching you can depend on.
“Business-class virtual assistants. When experience matters.”
Services: Executive admin, social media marketing, project management, customer service, plus specialist services like bookkeeping, design, transcription, multi-lingual work.
Client type: “Growing small businesses” and executives, but also individuals who need an assistant long-term or a for an ‘involved’ project (like research and arrangements for/after an international move).
Price: Starts at $29 per hour.
“We make you superhuman.”
Services: Short-term and long-term personal and executive admin, social media marketing, SEO, graphic design, content and copywriting, customer service, website management, research
Client type: Individuals and SMBs who need skilled virtual assistants for specific tasks, ongoing or one-off.
Price: Starts at $6 per hour.
eaHelp“Virtual assistants for leaders”
Services:Calendar management, travel planning, research, preparing presentations, social media assistance and admin, project management, business support work.
Client types: Church and business leaders, non-profit professionals, small businesses, entrepreneurs
Price: Starts at $35 per hour
Uassist.Me“Extraordinary virtual assistants for extraordinary people”
El Salvador and US
Services: Admin support, SEO, social media marketing, telemarketing, cold calling, real estate services
Client types: SMBs, individual professionals, real estate brokers/agents
Price: Starts at $269 for a 20-hour month
Prialto“Virtual assistants for savvy executives”
US, Guatemala, the Philippines
Services: Admin, CRM support, travel/calendar management, expense management, outbound calling, research
Client types: Sales professionals (high-performing, you should need assistance at a minimum of 12 hours a week) and executives, SMBs, enterprise accounts
Price: Starts at $1200 for a 50-hour month
My Tasker“Virtual assistants for busy people, your total VA solution”
Services: Admin, travel management, writing and documentation, online and phone customer support, website maintenance, online marketing, research, social media management
Client types: Individuals and entrepreneurs who need affordable virtual assistants for one-off or ongoing tasks
Price: Starts at $120 for a 10-hour month
Task Bullet“Live the 4-hour work-week”
US and the Philippines
Services: Admin tasks, personal/executive assistance, real estate tasks, social media management, customer support, SEO, internet marketing, research
Client types: Busy individuals and SMBs
Price: Starts at $6 per hour
Fiverr“The marketplace for creative and professional services. Browse. Buy. Done.”
Services: Graphics and design, online marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, music and video, programming and tech, advertising, admin services
Client types: Anyone in need of a task completed.
Price: Starts at $5
How it works: Most of us have specific tasks in mind when we look for a virtual assistant. For example, you need a logo design. Use Fiverr’s search and browse the posted design “gigs” on Fiverr. These gigs are what freelancers offer to do for $5. You get what you pay for. Freelancers offer more packages and price ranges beyond the basic $5 service they advertise. Choose someone with a history of great ratings and feedback.
If what you need done isn’t in the existing gigs, post about it yourself in Requested Gigs.
Latest posts by Seniorpreneur (see all)
- 2015 Best Marketplaces for Online Tasks - August 18, 2015
- How to Master your Craft, at Any Age - July 16, 2015
- The Best Outsourcing and Virtual Assistance Websites - June 16, 2015