I had a personal assistant.
It was a glorious dream.
My office was clean. Supplies had been ordered and arrived and now were neatly stacked in the closet (toner, paper, pens and binder clips)
My calendar was updated along with alerts to remind me that I had promised to lunch with Nora Roberts next week and Cherry Adair was taking me to her spa.
My email inbox was under 500.
Books were mailed.
The to-do list had been slashed with red ink and DONE was penciled next to each item.
I had Twittered, updated my Facebook status, not to mention Goodreads, Library Thing, Shelfari, Google Friends and I even sent my agent chocolate that actually arrived on her birthday.
I woke up.
Reality is harsh. In fact it's downright nasty at times. (My office is proof!)
I woke from that dream, tripped into my office, knocking over piles of books and stacks of magazines. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong but I am determined to figure it out.
The truth is I'm following all my own time management strategies and advice. I Eat That Frog every morning, and I Don't Sweat The Small Stuff. I've tattooed the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People on my left arm.
Additionally, I live a life that is dedicated to batching. If you haven't read Michael Hyatt's post on batching you should immediately.
I am a writer. Writing is my business. I must think outside my 24/7 box to reconcile my dream with my reality.
That's when I decided to start thinking like a business and I began to investigate
This is not a sales pitch. Up to the point of actually writing this post I knew zero about the topic.
So I'll share what I've found and I will mention a few companies and names I'm checking out.
BTW, I've emailed the folks I am mentioning today in Seekerville to see if they might consider stopping by to share and to correct any lapses in my education.
Put First Things First
Know what you're looking for by evaluating yourself!
1. What are the parts of you the writer? Make a list and consider all the elements, writing, research, communication, publicity, social media, office supplies, organizing, mail lists, and on and on. I suggest you track your activities for a week for a concise list.
2. What parts of your job do you want to outsource? Social media? Research? Publicity? Query letters? Mailing lists?
3. What parts of your job are you unable to delegate? We all have those areas of our writing world that no one can do as well as we do.
4. What's your budget? Time is money but if you don't find some time you aren't going to make any money as a writer.
I've done my homework and here's what I want to outsource:
Mailing list updates
Mailing books and promo material
Social Media Feeds and personal blog updates
Birthday cards and holiday cards for professional contacts
Thank you letters
I've decided that purchasing weekly blocks of time is a better investment since my projects vary and are all short term, and constantly changing.
Here's a few sites I'm checking out:
Virtual Assistantville (has a nice ring to it!) This company will help you submit an RFP. Check out this article-How to Submit an RFP That Gets Results.
IVAA is the International Virtual Assistants Association (a non profit organization). Check out 101 Ways to Use a Virtual Assistant.
The Author's Assistants. I'm truly excited about this Colorado based firm that I found. They specialize in authors! Check out their services here. ( WHO KNEW??)
VAforBloggers.com (Virtual Assistant Services for Bloggers) is another great opportunity to carve more time in your day. I love the FAQ's section of their web page.
My Creative Assistant seems to be a larger virtual assistant platform than I need as a small business, but I urge you to check them out especially their links to some great tools! WOW!!
So what do you think? While I can't be sure I'll ever lunch with Nora or spa day with Cherry, this is a start. Writers-if you could hire a virtual assistant, what tasks would you outsource? For all you readers, tell us what parts of your day you'd like to virtually outsource.
Comment today for an opportunity to win a copy of my October Love Inspired release, Oklahoma Reunion (print or Kindle format) and another commenter will win a surprise I DIDN'T GO TO THE ACFW CONFERENCE gift!
Winners announced in the Weekend Edition of Seekerville.