Building Stuff with Virtual Assistants

Thanks to low cost virtual assistant services popping up like Fancy Hands, busy professionals can get some busywork off their plate and focus on career goals. From their website:

A team of assistants ready to work for you today. For less than $1 a day. Do what you love, we’ll do the rest.

Essentially they’ll do anything you need to online, as long as it takes them about 20 minutes or less. After trying them out for a while, we’re now taking advantage of them for web development and content management services. Here’s how it works:

  1. We evaluate a business process for our client
  2. We break down the larger project into small chunks
  3. We document the entire process in a Google Doc and record screencasts as instructional aides
  4. Draft emails are produced that we can send to Fancy Hands along with a secret link to a screencast, additional instructions, and login details
  5. We then test the process with a dummy task, sending the full series of email taskings – checking their work along the way

For internet radio station, we often create new show pages. The screencasts are good reference material for a developer, but ideally a project manager assigns the various webpage construction tasks to our virtual assistants. The results have been outstanding and our key team members are able to focus on bigger things than drag-and-drop web design.

Another bonus: we can shift the work anywhere. Our clients sometimes want to own these kind of processes – now we can deliver the process on a silver platter. With screen recordings there are far fewer follow up questions and trainings. Lately we’ve been using Jing with Basecamp to provide detailed instructions as trackable tasks. Our European development team and our clients benefit.

Now we’re employing people in Kenya to complete certain tasks. We’re a big fan of have a social impact, so it’s important that we outsource responsibly. In Kenya, our partners are lifting communities out of poverty by providing them microwork – small tasks that are completed in digital work centers.