An Honest Review of Get Friday and Abroad Assistant
I went from working solo to having two virtual assistants at my beck and call. How did it happen? Did it work?
A month ago or so, I decided to read The Four Hour Work Week after seeing it in so many recommendation lists on Medium. I had been reluctant to read the book because I had thought it was the same old cliche about some guy becoming a millionaire nomad, but the book was better than that.
What made this book good, in my opinion, is that Tim Ferris’s advice was immediately backed up by real-life examples with very specific tools and tips anyone could apply to their own situations. It was also very smart of him to feature other popular essays at the beginning of his chapters, for example, “My outsourced life” by A. J. Jacobs.
I love Jacobs’s writing. His stories are so engaging, interesting, and funny. “My outsourced life” was no different. It was about his experience hiring virtual assistants from India, written humorously almost like a sitcom episode. With limited attention span, I dropped Tim Ferris’s book halfway through to finish Jacobs’s article and immediately looked into how I could outsource my life too.
I had to give credits to Tim Ferris’s book (I did eventually finish it) for inspiring me to put more effort into my writing. Since then I’ve gone from hitting publish once every 10 days to posting twice a week on my website to writing every single day on various platforms. It was a huge improvement in my productivity. Though, I’m not going to lie — the start of this wasn’t easy. It was actually made possible by the help of — guess what — a virtual assistant service. Yes, Jacobs, I was sold.
After reading Jacobs’s article, I looked up GetFriday and was curious about what this virtual assistant company could do for me. It was right at the time I wanted to expand my website, so outsourcing a few SEO articles would make sense. First, I made an editorial calendar, then I highlighted a few articles that would require research and decided that I’d hand them over to my new assistant — exciting!
But the fun didn’t stop there. A few weeks later, I got an email from another virtual assistant company called Abroad Assistant who offered me a free trial of their services in exchange for a review. I happily accepted. So I went from working solo to having two virtual assistants at my beck and call. Now the question is: Did it work?
Here’s my honest review of these two VA companies:
According to their website, GetFriday is a service with a special focus on assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs across the globe on a wide variety of business tasks that demand a diverse range of skill sets.
They provide assistance on both personal and business tasks including market research, digital marketing, and web development. They cover many different industries and seem to serve many clients from the US and UK.
I got started with GetFriday by going to their website and filling in a form to get a quote for my project. My goal to outsource some research-based articles was clear so the process was straightforward. Shortly afterward, I was contacted by a member of their Sales and Client Relations Team asking me about: writing topics, number of words, sample articles, and deadline.
After some back and forth, they tried to get me on a monthly plan but I insisted on an ad-hoc project. Eventually, we reached an agreement and I proceeded to send them my requirement details.
A few days later, my primary assistant emailed me. I was impressed by how friendly and impersonal she was. She gave me a list of communication points including three shared mailboxes. I have no idea how it works for them but, from my perspective, these were unnecessary and ineffective. I ended up including all of those email addresses every time I sent them something because I didn’t know which one was which. I also didn’t get to interact with my writers but had back and forth emails with two different managerial staff.
Writing 600-word blog posts about relationships and personal growth.
- Staff attitudes: Very friendly, enthusiastic, polite, keen to do well.
- Responsiveness: Mostly yes, but the communication points were confusing and I did have to chase once or twice.
- Ability to resolve issues: Took feedback well, made changes quickly.
Both ad-hoc and subscription-based. Economical, flexible.
Quick; met my deadlines.
Their articles had grammatical errors and required editing. The research was okay, but the quality of the writing itself was not that high — I’m not sure if this was due to the low price or inexperience in the niche. Anyway, I might come to them again for some easy research tasks, but I would be unlikely to go for content writing tasks at this stage.
Abroad Assistant is a virtual assistant company that specialises in “helping busy entrepreneurs organize and manage their work in the most efficient way possible.” They offer a wide range of services including:
- Real Estate Virtual Assistant
- Virtual Admin Services
- Accounting & Finance
- Transcription Services
- Virtual Tech Support
- Graphic & Web Designing
- SEO Virtual Assistant
- Data Analysis
- Internet Research & Analysis
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Customer Support
- Office Automation
- E-mail & Chat Support
- Virtual Personal Assistant
I was contacted by their Affiliate Program manager who offered me a free trial which was worth $240 based on their basic pricing plan. As I had already used GetFriday, I was interested in trying a new VA company to make a comparison so I said yes to them, even though at this point I didn’t really need to outsource any tasks.
I decided that I’d use this service for SEO, social media, and market research tasks. Soon, I was assigned a virtual assistant. My new assistant contacted me a few days later to introduce himself and ask me for task supportive documents or details. For a week, he dedicated four hours every day to me and my requirements.
As it turned out, being a boss wasn’t easy. Making up tasks was hard. I ended up giving him both personal and Tingly Mind related requests while wondering if he was secretly judging my areas of interest.
Research on SEO and a bunch of random topics such as:
- House prices
- Useful blogging stats
- UX optimisation best practices
- Staff attitudes: Polite and nice; didn’t give any profile though.
- Responsiveness: Checked in every time he logged in and out — which I appreciated. Though sometimes he forgot to respond to things I pointed out in my emails.
- Ability to resolve issues: Quick to revise his work to meet my requirements.
Subscription model; probably more economical for a small business to use than an individual.
He delivered quickly all the tasks I had given him.
It was somewhat useful and saved me time googling. He seemed to be well-managed by his company.
However, some of the documents he sent me looked like a copy-and-paste dump without proper thinking and formatting — perhaps delivery speed was prioritised. Thus, it was time-consuming to review his work.
He wasn’t particularly organised in his ways of working either. He didn’t send me the task tracker until I asked for it, and he didn’t do the tasks in the order I gave him.
The Final Verdict:
I could definitely see the benefits of using virtual assistant services when it comes to research and writing tasks. They did free up my time and give me ideas on how I could better automate my business in the future. I also enjoyed how keen and flexible they were. It felt like anything was possible — if you have a task, they’ll try to get it done for you.
The biggest challenge I found was communication. It was easy for task requirements to be misunderstood and expectations to be mismatched while it was a challenge to find an assistant that would instantly get the essence of me and my business and delivery results up to my standards. It was also inefficient to email back and forth and keep track of tasks via emails.
Nevertheless, at this point in my entrepreneurship journey, I don’t think they add that much value yet. Plus, elaborating task requirements and reviewing their work takes a lot of time and I just don’t have it right now.
Overall, I did have pleasant experiences with these virtual assistant services and could recognise their potentials if a working relationship is well established. Perhaps it didn’t really work for my niche at the time but, for others, it might be excellent extra help.
Disclosure: This article is an honest service review at the back of a free trial with Abroad Assistant. GetFriday did not sponsor this article.