How Can I Use a Virtual Assistant in My Business and Where Can I Find One?

Services for Real Estate Pros

You've probably heard or been told that a virtual assistant (VA) can be an invaluable resource for your business.  For most, that's probably as far as the discussion went.  What exactly does a virtual assistant do, how can they help me in my business, and where can I find them?  Some VA's are generalists.  Many are specialists in the services that they provide.

There are resources on the web that can answer these questions far better than I can.  So, I've assembled some links to help you answer these questions for yourself:

Why and How to Use A Virtual Assistant 

One place to find virtual assistants is right here on ActiveRain.  Visit the virtual assistant groups here.  Go to your home page and click on the link that shows your ActiveRain state ranking.  Select "All States" from the state drop down list.  Select "Virtual Assistants" from the drop down category list.  You should get a list of virtual assistants on AR.  Click their links to read the profile pages and read their blog posts.

Virtual Assistant associations and groups are a great source for learning more about the virtual assistant industry and finding virtual assistants that you can hire.  Below are some of the better known or more established associations and groups.  If they have public forums, it can be interesting to read some of the discussions and get a feel for the members who are posting.  This list is by no means complete and I will add more links as I come across additional organizations.

Virtual Assistant Associations

Linkedin Groups

Go to the Linkedin groups where virtual assistants network and read their discussions, blog posts, and comments.  Some groups are public, some require logging into your Linkedin account.  You can get a good feel for the VA's skills, interests, and personalities here.

Or simply type "Real Estate Virtual Assistants" into Google and see what individual VA websites come up.

Each virtual assistant brings different skills, abilities, and knowledge to your business.  Here is a good post on Four Key Lessons I Learned from my Rotten Virtual Assistant Experience.  Personally, I don't agree with the fourth point.  Many top VA's get to choose who they want to work with and aren't accepting any more clients.

Take time to visit some of the links above and begin envisioning how a virtual assistant can help to accelerate your business plan.  Think about tasks that you can delegate and projects that you'd like to get started or completed.  Maybe contact one or more virtual assistants that intrigue you and begin exploring whether you'd like him or her to become a part of your professional team.  Remember, VA's are professionals and business owners like you.  They are independent contractors, not employees.

There are websites where you can post a job offer and receive bids from freelancers.  Some of the better known ones are:

Bidders tend to compete by price and oftentimes you get what you pay for, so be careful with this approach.  Sometimes the cheapest approach becomes the most expensive one for you.

If you know of any other links that should be included in this list, feel free to post them in the comments section.

Posted by

Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest.  He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.

To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook.  You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.


Comments (36)

Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

I'm so glad to see this post, and will bookmark it for future reference. I have a couple of projects for the year that a VA might be perfect for.

Jan 23, 2012 02:50 PM
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate



Great post. Time for a bookmark on this one

Jan 23, 2012 03:02 PM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

When you do decide to use a virtual assistant, come back and post a comment here about your experience.

Jan 23, 2012 03:56 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Rick--thanks for this comprehensive list.  I was talking to someone just last week who also suggested a virtual assistant.  Now I am going to check this out. 

Jan 23, 2012 04:27 PM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Rick,

A great post with helpful information.

A VA is a terrific way to get some things done without paying the salary and overhead of a full time staff.



Jan 23, 2012 04:36 PM
Daryl B. DeShaw
The Wilk-DeShaw Group - Las Vegas, NV

I've had awesome success with ODesk.  Taking it to the next level, I never supervise the VA myself, but have my executive assistant do so.  I make the final decision in the hiring process, but let her do the initial job post and narrow the field for me.  I've hired 3 amazing ones with complimentary talents.  My assistant can do everything they can, but it's far more efficient to have her delegate as many tasks as possible.

Jan 23, 2012 04:36 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the information and the links. I will bookmark this post and read later.

Jan 23, 2012 11:24 PM
Brent Wells
The LivingWell Team - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Broker serving all of North DFW

Hi Rick,

We have been debating on a physical office assistant or a virtual one. This is a ton of good info to review, but as in all things its 'buyer beware'. I have been burned so many times from websites to marketing plans that I now cringe everytime someone asks for my debit card...


Jan 24, 2012 01:08 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Brent & Deb: It helps to have a very clear understanding of how you are going to integrate that tool or assistant into your business before you spend the time and money.  What do you want to accomplish and what will be your return on investment?  Are you prepared to consistently spend the time and effort on whatever project you have in mind.

There is a good list of activities that a physical office assistant can perform in this ActiveRain post.  Get recommendations and start small, maybe part-time for a few days a week.

Jan 24, 2012 01:24 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Bookmarked!  Seems a VA is a stepping stone to increasing productivity and hiring a "real flesh and blood" one that brings more business to the table. Thanks for the great post!

Jan 24, 2012 01:38 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Karen: A VA can be a stepping stone to a physical assistant.  Or you can have a physical assistant for administrative and more local tasks and a VA for more specialized work.

Jan 24, 2012 01:51 AM
Heather Anderson
214-317-1964- - Allen, TX
Real Estate Concierges

Thank you for the article.  I am so excited to work some of these services into my business plan.

Jan 24, 2012 03:05 AM
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

When I hired my VA, My production improved odesk and Craigslist

Jan 25, 2012 03:23 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

My podcast interview with Jason Hartman about using virtual assistants is now active on his Accredited Income Property Investment Specialist website.  I hope that it will encourage more people to consider hiring a virtual assistant to help build their business.

Jan 26, 2012 06:23 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Here is a good blog post called "5 Tips for Outsourcing" with some things to consider when finding someone to hire for outsourced projects.

Mar 01, 2012 12:37 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

This article also has a lot of good information and links to resources for outsourcing business tasks.

Apr 04, 2012 11:54 PM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

This virtual assistant website has links to a lot of national and regional virtual assistant associations where you can find professional assistants.

May 11, 2012 11:43 PM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Laura Monroe wrote an excellent article worth reading in Inman Next called Real estate virtual assistants: Your secret weapon for productivity and technology.  She has worked as a virtual assistant and speaks from in-depth experience about the benefits of using a virtual assistant.

Feb 01, 2013 06:37 AM
Daniela Schmidt
Keller Williams Lifestyles Realty, Brokerage - London, ON
Daniela Schmidt, Sales Rep, Keller Williams Realty

Thanks for the article. I am thinking about getting a va. Any Canadian Realtors using virtual assistants? Willing to share what that experience has been?

Jun 14, 2013 03:41 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Daniela: There are two links in the article to some Canadian virtual assistant organizations.  You might also try this site, which shows registered virtual assistants by province.

Jun 14, 2013 05:38 AM