I’m sure most of you can remember a time when you’d outsource only specific tasks. For example, you’d hire a plumber to repair a leaky pipe or a mechanic to service your car. But that was it.

Happily, times have changed.

Whether you want someone to give you a ride, organize your filing system, or plan your child’s birthday party, you can outsource almost anything. Regardless of the task, there’s probably an organization or individual (sometimes called virtual assistants or VAs) who will handle it gladly.

Outsourcing is not only widely available, it’s also surprisingly affordable… and if you make it a strategic part of your writer’s life, you can use it to generate extra income immediately.

Finding a Virtual Assistant (VA) Is Easy

To find a VA, just hop online to your favorite search engine. Type in phrases like:

  • “virtual assistant [your need]”
  • “outsource [your need]”
  • “[your need] services”
  • “[your city] [your need]”

You might also want to check out some popular freelancer websites like Upwork and help-wanted sites like Craigslist to see if anyone is offering what you’re looking for.

Depending on the nature of what you need done, you might not need your VA to be local, so cast a wide net. Once you have all your options, you can narrow them down based on location, testimonials, or whatever factors are important to you.

Be sure to pay attention to how a virtual assistant’s services are priced. Many work on a timed basis, whether by the hour, week, or month. Some VAs charge per individual request or task; others charge by the entire project.

Four Activities Writers Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

What should you contract out to other people? One school of thought says you should outsource as much as possible so long as it costs less than what you earn.

For example, suppose I make $100 per hour. Suppose, too, that it would cost $25 per hour to have someone run my errands. I should outsource the errands so I can use the time I would have spent doing that to earn $100 per hour instead.

If you like this theory, then try outsourcing. As long as you truly spend your saved time to do more income-producing activities, you’ll essentially be giving yourself a raise!

Here are a few activities that all writers, even new ones, could consider outsourcing:

1. Website development

Creating your own website doesn’t have to be difficult —and AWAI offers a course that teaches you how to set yours up in four days. But if you don’t like working with technology, hire it out.

You might also want to hire someone to design your logo and page header if those items aren’t part of your web design agreement. The idea is to get your site up and running as quickly as possible to be able to show it to prospects.

2. Research

Some writers find researching painful, and even those who enjoy it find that it can be incredibly time consuming. Depending on the project budget and how long you expect the research to take, it might well be worth outsourcing.

3. Transcription

Some writing projects, especially those that use recorded audio or video, require working with transcripts. Attempting to transcribe something yourself is a tedious process. It’s better to hand this off to someone else so you can concentrate on your writing.

4. Bookkeeping

If keeping track of your payables and receivables requires a lot of your time and mental space, it might be worth having someone else manage that part of your business.

Outsourcing Tips for Beginners

Now you know what you can outsource to a virtual assistant as a writer. But if you want to try outsourcing and aren’t comfortable with it yet, you can start small. You could have a local VA do one or two simple tasks to help build your confidence about handing things off.

Keep costs low to minimize your financial risk if things don’t turn out quite as you hoped. Choose virtual assistants with low fees. Websites like Fiverr can help you find people to complete tasks for as little as $5 each. And if you’re outsourcing research, choose a VA who offers hourly billing as an option.

As you get more comfortable, you can start outsourcing more and more, to the point where, if you want, you can even hire a full-time virtual assistant. It costs far less than having an employee, yet can provide just as much value.

So, once you decide you’re ready to give yourself a raise — or even if you just want some extra time in your day — give outsourcing a try. It could change your writer’s life forever.