If you’ve ever been bested by your extra-long to do list then you might have thought to hire some personal assistance through AskSunday. They got attention by being shown on several news broadcasts when the popularity of getting a virtual assistant was growing. This all seemed to coincide with the book The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. But does it actually work in saving you time and money?
Personal assistants are nothing new. Rich people as well as businessmen have had them for years and years, and some even think that great artists like da Vinci and Shakespeare had their own army of assistants working on their various projects.
With the advent of the Internet and a global workforce it’s gotten more and more popular for ordinary people to hire what’s known as a virtual assistant. Anything that can be done remotely can now be outsourced to people living in parts all over the world.
AskSunday is just one of many different outsourcing websites, and managed to secure itself a good amount of publicity, likely through a clever PR campaign.
AskSunday claims to be the world’s largest virtual assistant company. They claim that with their service, you’ll save time. By giving tasks that you would have to do to your virtual assistant you are freeing yourself up to do more important things with your time.
Time magazine voted AskSunday the number 2 website of the year back in 2007. This was before getting a virtual assistant became more mainstream, and it no doubt seemed cutting edge at the time. The hype is that soccer moms don’t really need a personal assistant, they just like the thought of having one.
If you go with their “most popular” plan it’s $200 a month and you get 20 hours worth of work. Doing the quick math this is $10 per hour.
If you don’t want to commit to a monthly plan you can pay a $3 fee each week and just use the assistants as you need them. With this plan you won’t have one dedicated assistant, your tasks will just go into the general pool and be completed by whoever’s available at the time.
Another thing you have to commit to is actually delegating the work. This can be a task for some who have never done this. It can be hard because your ego gets in the way. “Why should I get them to do this, they won’t do it better than me.” is a common thought process. Once you get good at letting other people do the things you don’t feel like doing, you open up a whole new world of possibilities.
Even complex jobs can be broken up into smaller parts, and then those parts can be assembled by you, saving you time and possible headache from starting at an overwhelming project. You have to be creative and learn to accept good enough rather than perfect.
Compared to trying to find a quality outsourcer on your own, the AskSunday service is nice. You won’t have to worry about getting burned, or by people wasting the time you are paying them for. They may be a bit pricier than going direct, some workers in developing countries will work for a few dollars per hour, but if it comes without the hassle of finding them, training them, and keeping tabs on them, it could be worth it.
Does AskSunday Really Work?
Tim Ferriss says that if you get other people to do things for you, letting you stick to what it is that you do that makes you money, then it makes sense. So in this case if you outsource what is boring or mundane to the folks at AskSunday, and you get back to being the visionary of your business or your family, you can spend time on what matters most to you.
If you can quickly designate a task to your assistant that would take you an hour or more to complete, you should do so. The problem arises when you get into the habit of delegating things that would only take you a few minutes. This is wasteful because in the time that it takes you to tell someone else what you want done, you could have already done it.
To tear apart the example they give of having a virtual assistant set your doctor’s appointment, by the time you tell a VA your availability, and they make the appointment, and they confirm it with you, you could have made a quick phone call to the doctor and had it set yourself.