If you pay attention to what the top indie authors are up to, you’ll notice that, sooner or later, most of them start hiring freelancers – a.k.a. virtual assistants – for various tasks. There are many, many items that fill an indie’s day, and not all of them require the attention of the author him- or herself.
If you’re at that stage where you definitely need to delegate some of your workload, the next question is … where do you find a virtual assistant?
I use a service called Upwork – and I highly recommend it.
What Is Upwork?
Upwork (formerly oDesk) is simply a place where freelancers and business owners can meet.
If you’re a business owner (such as an author), you can advertise a job opening and provide a job description and the qualifications required. You can also post some beginning questions for your applicants to answer. (I always use these. They’ll weed out a really bad applicant right away!)
To help you make your choice, you can take a look at the star ratings and reviews left by people who’ve worked with the freelancer previously. You can also interview as many applicants as you’d like, for as long as you’d like
When you’re creating your job posting, Upwork lets you signify what price range you’re willing to work with. Upwork also allows you to pay per hour or per project. For instance, you can pay a long-term virtual assistant per hour, or an editor a lump sum to edit your book.
What Kind of Help Can You Find on Upwork?
Practically anything. Here are some positions that might be useful to an author:
- cover design
- social media management
- public relations
- every kind of marketing known to man
- podcast editing and transcription
- blog post writing (yes! you don’t have to do it yourself!)
- website design
Basically, anything that isn’t writing a book. … Actually, you could probably hire people to write the book for you, too. But really? You gotta draw the line somewhere.
Using the Upwork Interface
My favorite tab is the one that lets me see how many hours my assistant has worked, what projects she’s been working on, how much of her allowed time she’s used up, and how much she’s earned so far this week. The simple pie chart and table make it easy to see how much time she has left and thus how many more projects I can throw at her. (LOL.)
I also frequent the “Messages” tab, where I can converse with my freelancer. The interface here is also very clean and easy to read.
Okay, but I Can’t Afford a Virtual Assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant sounds fantastic. But maybe you’re not at that stage yet. Your books aren’t bringing in enough sales, and you’re still working a day job – despite the fact that you really, really want to be working from home.
Well … why not set up shop as a freelancer on Upwork? Good writers are in high demand – and if you have any other experience, such as with WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, etc., you can make yourself even more valuable. You should have no problem finding a niche you enjoy and a few clients to bring in some cash.
Overall, my experience on Upwork has been very positive, and I doubt I’d go anywhere else to find great help. Why would I, when they make everything so easy?
Do you use virtual assistants? How did you find them?