If you're working 50 hours a week and building a niche site on the side – how do you get everything done?
Well, hiring a virtual assistant for one can be very helpful. Once certain tasks have a framework around them, it's easy to outsource that.
For example, something repetitive and time intensive could be collecting Pinterest pins or finding worthy sites for you to pitch a guest post.
This article isn't about tasks for your virtual assistant, but about the tools and places for you to train your VA with.
Honestly, the three things I recommend using are Slack, Camtasia, and Google Sheets. The combination of those three alone should be enough for most people. However, the readers of HPD vary so we've included more advanced tools such the Workplace Wiki to be utilized. This helps you create solid SOPs (standard operating procedures) that are essentially living documents that your team can change if they find a better solution.
Let's get to it!
Marketplaces To Find VA's
The largest freelancer marketplace in the world, Upwork is always a good place to start looking for a virtual assistant – or any freelancer for that matter. 3 million jobs are posted on the platform annually so the competition is stiff for finding good contractors, however, the platform is still growing.
If you've ever tried hiring a VA, you'll notice quickly how many respondents you receive from the Philipines. The Philipines is a vibrant place and English is taught in their school system at a very age. This site specifically takes advantage of people interested in doing remote work for global companies and there's plenty of talent available here.
Personally, I haven't used this site but it's been recommended by a few people. It looks to be a place to get quick and easy jobs done and if you haven't had much luck with the other platforms, then check this one out.
Workflowy is a very easy-to-use bullet point system. It's simple, but it allows you to easily break down instructions into bullet form. It's especially useful for creating procedures, developing article outlines, and anything else you can think of.
5) Google Drive
Googles free cloud drive that allows you to share and store anything. If you're using G-Suite by Google it's fairly cheap at $5 per month and you can have a branded domain for outreach.
Googles version of Excel spreadsheets. It doesn't have as much functionality as Excel, but it's usually enough for most people. Personally, I use it to share processes and include video links within the notes.
7) Google Docs
This is a cloud-based Word document that allows you to work together with your team, but also see the past changes that were made and provide suggestions for editing much easier than back-and-forth desktop file sharing.
This is a Chrome plugin that acts as your password manager. Not only can it provide password suggestions that are very complex, but you can share passwords with your VA without them knowing the password itself. Permissions are granted within the LastPass system so each user has to have this chrome plugin in order to receive or share the passwords.
You can use the exact same layout the Wikipedia has but for an internal wiki. This is an opportune time to strengthen your processes by laying out your internal procedures in a Wikipedia format. The system even allows others to add and edit the systems so it's an internal document. You can download more info from here on installation.
A simple video creator that will come in handy when you need to create videos longer than 5 mins. I would definitely recommend using this in tandem with Google Drive so you can build processes around your site.
Jing is very similar to Camtasia, but it only records up to 5 mins with the free account and your video file is automatically uploaded onto Screencast.com. The quality is superb from Jing and this app with Camtasia are useful when text-based instructions just isn't enough.
This is a free project management tool that simple lays out ‘cards' in one column and the process on rows. Moving the cards left to right as you complete each step. We like for virtual teamwork because you can tag other people within the system and only talk about a specific topic. You can chat in your email and it'll automatically be posted to the card. Give it a shot yourself.
Although this isn't so much a tool that your VA's will use, it's still very crafty in making your life easier. IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That' and if you have any experience with Excel then that should sound familiar. You create ‘recipes' that connect two different apps, such as Google sheets with Evernote, and have IFTTT do repetitive tasks for you.
Zapier is similar to IFTTT but it's focused more on business applications and in this specific situation of hiring VA's to help you with your niche site – it's something you can set and forget in a sense. You can link everything from Slack, Trello, and even GoToWebinar. It's really impressive what you can set up as an automation and reduce your VA costs. Anything you do twice should either be recorded and standardized or at least automated in some way – if possible.
15) Google Hangouts
Use this for video conferences, when necessary. You won't always need it but just remember that it's there for you when you need it.
Slack is an instant messaging system that's the new kid on the block, but slowly eating up Skypes territory. The design and user experience is much better for internal communications and there are thousands of add-ons. Think of it like Skype with the flexibility that WordPress has with its plugins.
Although, Slack is a much better tool for communication for your team. Skype is something that most people have and it's very useful for chatting with people that aren't going to be in your ‘online office' every day.
Amazon Product Research
A software toolkit (5 in total) that allows Amazon sellers and affiliates to do quick product research. You can use the Top Product Analyzer or Search Analyzer to find products that are suitable for your roundup and the Review Analyzer for creating pros and cons lists. We reviewed Amasuite here.
19) Jungle Scout
Another piece of software that is designed for Amazon sellers. One thing that sets Jungle Scout apart from others is their ability to apply data science for seeing Amazon sales. Tons of products are being tracked and you can use it to collect products for your roundup like Amasuite but also gauge your commissions better. We also reviewed Jungle Scout here.
EasyAzon allows you to add in your Amazon affiliate link to content much easier. Having your VA utilize the internal search function in VA ensures that you don't review the wrong product first. Before making sure that it's available within EasyAzon first.
Upwork not only functions as a marketplace to hire freelancers, but they've also built an internal tool for tracking the time virtual assistants are working. It's useful as an easy-to-use tool as a client, however your paying for this tool inside of the fees from Upwork.
Similar to Upworks tool, in that you can use it to verify your VA's work. Hubstaff takes photos of the VAs screen and allows you to review them for due diligence. They're always improving their app and have come a long way from just being a simple time tracker. They now do payroll and productivity management.
If there are any other tools you've found indispensable when training your VAs, please let us know in the comments.