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.
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, and taken gloriously perfect photos for Instagram. I even sent my agent a gift 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.
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 Virtual Assistants.
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.
Here are some things you may 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
Here's a few sites worth checking out.
IVAA is the International Virtual Assistants
And closer to home, if you are serious about looking for some assistance, check out these resources. I never thought I could afford assistance, but I can and I did.
1. Oxblaze Media. Currently, Heather at Ozblaze handles all of my newsletters and has been for over two years.
2. Mel Jolly with Authorrx. Subscribe to her newsletter. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.
3. And if you are looking for help with publicity do check out JustReads Publicity.
If you could hire a virtual assistant, what tasks would you outsource? Think about it and think about taking a step forward to do so.
*This article has been updated since its original debut. Note that I took my own advice and now I am …somewhat organized. However, Nora still has not called to schedule lunch.