Solopreneurs like to work alone, enjoy learning new things themselves and distrust group work because it usually means they have to pick up the slack. All fine except what happens when you really can’t do something yourself; or, the very process of learning how to do it would slow you down dramatically? Try virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants are basically solopreneurs who are listed on one of the various virtual assistant websites. You hire them based on their body of work as well as either a prearranged price (e.g. $5 in Fiverr) or they bid on the project (e.g. Elance). I’ve spoken before about my love for Fiverr and the ability to get lots of great stuff done for $5. I’ve recently used Elance for some high end design and virtual rendering work and tried Freelancer for some more research oriented jobs. I like them all and this is why.
Fiverr is just a good thing. They have always delivered for me and even allow multiple changes. All for $5. Try getting a new logo or business card designed for that. Freelancer allows you to hire someone quickly, to do a job that you might find not only difficult but dull and repetitious, without ever moving from your desk. Elance provides higher end people who tend to have skills no solopreneur has, but at a much lower price than normal. Best of all? If you’re not happy, you don’t pay.
On a moral level (those morals sure can get in the way sometimes!) there is something to be said for the idea that you should hire local and that someone should earn a decent rate of pay. Essentially that all of these services are a race to the bottom and that soon none of us will get a decent wage. Some truth to that. On the other hand, there is also something to be said for the idea that a decent wage for an architect from Vietnam is radically different than in Canada and why shouldn’t they also be allowed to compete and earn something? Similar to virtual lending services like Kiva. If our few dollars can help a small business in another part of the world – why shouldn’t we do it?
Whether you feel I’m just rationalizing my use of virtual services (I feel that way sometimes); or, you just don’t care and need some work done fast and cheap; I would give some thought to using some of the firms I’ve mentioned or others. For a solopreneur they can be a very handy asset!