Most of us have never been so busy, and an endless to-do list can lead to burnout, mistakes, and missed opportunities. If you frequently find yourself at the end of your rope and with more tasks than hours in the day, a virtual assistant service could take some of the strain.
These services work quite simply: you contract a company, you get access to an assistant who can complete a variety of tasks on your behalf, and you’ll find yourself with loads of extra time available in your working day.
Virtual assistants can answer emails, organize your calendar, write articles and book your travel, but some services also offer assistants who’ll run your social media profiles, undertake bookkeeping tasks, and even research gifts for family and friends. No matter what help you need, you’ll probably be able to find a virtual assistant who can get the job done.
If you need more help with your daily grind, delve into our choices of the best productivity tools and the best free office software.
The best virtual assistant services of 2023 in full:
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MyOutDesk is one of the best-known virtual assistant services, and it bolsters its reputation with a broad and impressive range of features.
If you use the service to hire a virtual personal assistant, then you’ll see what we mean. They can screen calls and emails, manage your calendar, sort out your travel arrangements and even tackle content-creation, from writing to graphic design. These assistants can handle all your paperwork, maintain your social media presence, and save you loads of time.
MyOutDesk doesn’t just supply conventional personal assistants, either – you can employ specialists in more than a dozen different categories, from customer service and marketing to real estate and finance. MyOutDesk also offers specialists for administrative tasks, reception desk work recruitment.
MyOutDesk works in more than a dozen large industries, and its assistants undergo extensive vetting and background checks, so you can be sure you’re getting a professional.
The cost of this service is around $1990 / £1800 / AU$2990 per month.
Belay offers impressive virtual assistant services in four distinct categories. The first is a classic virtual assistant service, and it can help anyone who needs to save time while they juggle a busy life. They’re able to monitor, answer and organize your inboxes, sort your schedule, coordinate your projects and tackle research tasks, and report writing so you’ll always get the information you need to make key business decisions.
Belay’s additional services are perfect if you need a specialist, too. The firm’s professional social media managers can write and develop posts, create strategies, generate more engagement, and analyze social media data. Similarly, Belay also has website specialists who can create content, maintain your online presence and perfect your site’s design.
The company’s final category is more financial: you can recruit an assistant to tackle bookkeeping, from invoicing and paying bills to processing your payroll.
All of Belay’s assistants are US-based professionals who have been thoroughly vetted. Pricing isn’t available on the site, but it’s easy enough to start a conversation with Belay – and well worth your time.
The assistants at TimeEtc must pass a ten-stage evaluation before they’ll be considered for the site, and they’ve got an average of twelve years of business experience. And if you hire them, they’ll work as if they’re part of your wider team – but remotely, and on flexible scheduling.
That experience and versatility is paired with impressive expertise. Time’s virtual assistants can tackle your email accounts and scheduling. They’ll write content and update your website, handle your social media and undertake research, data entry and some light bookkeeping duties. It’s enough to free up plenty of your time to do the important work.
Unlike many virtual assistant services, TimeEtc provides transparent pricing too, with costs based on the number of monthly hours you require. The service incorporates a dedicated dashboard, the option to work with additional assistants, and a manager at TimeEtc, too, so you can be sure that you’ll get top-notch service.
The minimum service you can buy costs $360 / £290 / AU$540 per month for up to ten hours only.
OkayRelax revolves around taking stress out of your life – and it sells its virtual assistant services in three different packages that all concentrate on making life easier.
All three packages include a trio of core tasks, so you’ll always be able to get help with scheduling, calendar management, research tasks, and taking care of phone calls.
The entry-level package provides five OkayRelax credits that are good for thirty minutes of work – but you don’t get a dedicated assistant. If you step up to the Comfort plan you do get a dedicated assistant, and you get twenty-five credits – ideal if you regularly need help with tasks on a day-to-day basis.
Fittingly, the top plan is called Relax. It’s pricey, but it includes 100 task credits. And, if you buy an annual plan, those monthly prices drop down so you can make big savings if you sign up for a year of access.
OkayRelax’s assistants can tackle those basic scheduling, research, and phone call tasks alongside social media management, content writing, inbox hunting, and travel planning, and they can even help with gift purchases and job hunting – so you’ll get a well-rounded service that should reduce your stress levels.
Woodbows is a well-established company that supplies a broad selection of services alongside its impressive virtual assistant product.
If you do choose this firm for your virtual assistant, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Woodbows hires English-speaking college graduates with more than ten years of experience, and assistants can handle email and social media management, research tasks, content writing, scheduling, and basic bookkeeping tasks – like most other virtual assistant services.
Woodbows offers a free consultation so you can see if you’d benefit from the service, and if you sign up for a flexible plan you’ll be able to start working with your new assistant the next day. This is one of the more affordable options around.
Woodbows doesn’t just offer virtual assistant services, either. Busy business staff can hire graphic and web designers, marketing professionals, customer support staff, writers, and content developers from the same site, so it’s an expansive choice if you often find yourself needing trustworthy help at work.
Prialto tries to provide top-quality assistance services by combining effective, experienced staff with a hands-on approach. If you sign up to the service you’ll see what we mean: before you start work with an assistant, Prialto’s managers will assess your needs and create a plan, and the extensive onboarding process involves meeting your assistant and their support team and immediately delegating key tasks to your new hire.
As time goes on, you won’t just work with your assistant – you’ll also stay in touch with your engagement manager, who can help make your Prialto relationship more efficient. Your assistant will also proactively develop ways to improve their performance – which, in turn, helps you.
Prialto’s assistants handle your emails, schedule, phone calls, and meetings, and they can also deliver reminders, manage your campaigns, and help with sales and marketing support. If you’re hiring for an organization, Prialto’s staff can usually take on bookkeeping, CRM management, and professional networking support for executives.
Pricing is straightforward, too, which is always refreshing. Individuals can buy hours of monthly support in packages. It’s not the cheapest choice, then, but Prialto’s hands-on approach could pay dividends – and help make your dividends better.
Fancy Hands is a straightforward and transparent virtual assistant service that is ideal for individuals who need regular help – but who don’t want the hassle of a big contract.
The assistants at Fancy Hands can take care of your schedule, purchase, and research products, tackle your inboxes and handle travel requests, and you can access their services by text, email, or through Fancy Hands’ own Android and iOS apps.
Fancy Hands’ services are accessed by buying requests – a small package costs $18 per month and includes three, for instance, while the XL product costs $149 but also includes a whopping 30 monthly requests. Dedicated assistants are available if you need a bespoke service, and Fancy Hands also offers larger service packages for businesses.
This is a more easy-going virtual assistant service, without the contracts and formality of some others – but don’t make the mistake of thinking that Fancy Hands isn’t professional. It’s still a top-tier choice, especially if you need casual help and don’t want to sign up for a contract.
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What is a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants provide services without having to be physically present. They can be located in any of the continents across the globe. All files are shared online, and, since you’re in different locations, effective communication is key to maintaining a smooth flow of all the tasks at hand.
Most remote employers have turned to services offered by remote workers because of a number of reasons. Not only are the overhead costs significantly more affordable, virtual assistants also provide competitive and efficient services from their competitive skillsets. There are over a hundred services you can hire a virtual assistant for to get a load of tasks done in time.
Some of these tasks include Social Media Management (SMM), accounting, data entry, digital marketing, content writing, web developing, graphic design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), order management, bookkeeping, real estate, customer support, appointment setting, editing & proofreading, conducting interviews, recruitment, email marketing, lead generation, auditing and many others.
Since remote work is offered, everything is done online - from interviews to training for skills, to giving feedback, to sending paychecks (more convenience, but we’ll get to that later).
Why hire a virtual assistant?
Some entrepreneurs, likely the ones who are not ready to embrace this modern solution to end their day to day struggles of maneuvering from one task to another, albeit not always ending up successfully doing so, are still hesitant to hire a virtual assistant.
If you think you’re still one of the few hesitant employers, don’t fret. Maybe seeing what it really entails can help you make a decision.
Hiring a virtual assistant will give you the following benefits:
1. Considerably low overhead expenses
Having a number of employees can help get more things done every day, but that’s not to say you’re maximizing the costs of keeping each employee. For example, if you need to get your SEO done, you will need to hire an SEO expert full time, even after all the SEO tasks are taken care of. Hiring several virtual assistants on an hourly basis is a different story altogether. Not only are you able to maximize the investment you’re making in paying them for their expertise, you’re also able to make sure prioritized tasks are always completed on time.
2. You’re not only saving money, you’re also saving time
Virtual assistants come with core competency in different fields. Your graphic designer will only focus on the graphic design part, while your content writer will only focus on the content part. When all tasks are delegated according to each virtual assistant’s specialty, you can expect more things done in much less time because each task is performed regularly and continuously.
3. Avoid burnout
Having less to do everyday can significantly reduce your stress level, so a number of handpicked virtual assistants to perform certain tasks for you effectively can take a lot from your hands. On the other hand, trying to do everything on your own can make you a lot less efficient, wastes your energy, and eventually sucks you dry. Forget time management. If you’re seeing all your efforts to manage your time and get more things done every day as a futile, it probably is. Delegating tasks is a proven way to get them done, period.
4. More on the low overhead expenses
Having employees will require having an office space which you need to rent. There’s also Internet connection, electric and water bills, office equipment, maintenance, and even transportation costs. Virtual assistants mostly work from home and don’t mind forgetting about the daily commute altogether, so they won’t mind using their own resources while they work either.
5. Explore talents from across the globe
The most talented graphic designer might be curled up in his bed in a rural area in Indonesia, waiting for the perfect opportunity to share his skills. Your local graphic designers are definitely going to charge more than him, and you would not want to pass up on the opportunity to get the best services- the ones you deserve. Having virtual assistants means you get to handpick the best talents from across the globe as opposed to having a limited pool of talents to choose from in your area.
Which virtual assistant service is best for you?
When deciding which virtual assistant service to use, first consider what your actual needs are, as you need to clearly identify which specific tasks and skills you need to cover, and that the virtual assistant service you are considering is capable of handing this. This way you can be assured that the work you want doing can be done, rather than handing out random work in the hope that the virtual assistant service can handle it.
How we tested the best virtual assistant services
To test for the best virtual assistant services we first set up an account with the relevant service, then we tested the service with a variety of tasks in different situations. The aim was to push each individual virtual assistant service so as to get an idea of the actual range of services offered as well as competency, so as to be able to report on the actual skills on offer.
Read more on how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.