Are you a multi-tasker? That might not be a good thing. A study by the American Psychological Association found shifting tasks causes temporary mental barriers, which swallow up to 40% of your productive time.
If you're keeping busy with tasks that are necessary but don’t contribute much value to your company or career, it might be time for a virtual assistant.
These seven email templates make working with a virtual assistant quick and easy, saving you valuable hours to work on higher-impact projects. Click here to jump straight to the templates -- or read on to learn more about virtual assistants first.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who offers support services from a remote location. They often work on a freelance basis for many companies at a single time.
Virtual assistants are commonly hired to help with administrative tasks like calendar and email management, appointment setting, bookkeeping, and customer support.
They usually require freelance contracts and are paid hourly, by the project, or by the month.
Where to Find a Virtual Assistant
- The Virtual Hub
- Fancy Hands
- Task Bullet
Here are a few popular virtual assistant platforms:
- Associate, $8/hour for 20/40 hours/week; Analyst, $10/hour for 20/40 hours/week; Specialist, $12/hour for 20/40 hours/week
The difference between The Virtual Hub's pricing tiers is the type of service your assistant can and will provide. TVH pairs you with an in-house trained assistant who can meet your needs, from booking and schedule management to data mining and cloud organization.
- Entrepreneur Plan, $398/month for 12 hrs/month and one user; Startup Plan, $698/month for 24 hrs/month and two users; Small Business Plan, $998/month for 36 hrs/month and three users; Team Plan, $1398/month for 50 hrs/month and five users
Zirtual offers you a dedicated, college-educated, U.S.-based assistant who’s available to you from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in your unique time zone.
- Upwork is free to join, post jobs on, and source candidates from their individual freelance database; Upwork Pro, $500/hire + 10% of invoice for premium, pre-vetted, and hand-picked talent; Upwork Enterprise, price varies as technology and services are custom for every company
Upwork offers companies and individuals options for hiring virtual assistants. Use their free platform to source candidates for one-off or ongoing projects, or choose from their pro or enterprise plans and let them do the heavy administrative lifting while you enjoy the benefits.
- Individual freelancers from $5 and $40/hr
From data entry to graphic design, Fiverr is a platform where you can find, connect, and hire virtual assistants. Filter by price, vertical-specific experience, and more.
- Individual freelancers from $5 to $50/hr
Hire a freelancer from their expansive directory, or post a job and have freelancers bid to give you their best price.
6) Fancy Hands
- $29.99/mo for 5 requests; $74.99/mo for 15 requests; $199.99/mo for 50 requests
- Available for iOS | Android
Fancy Hands is a service that measures tasks as “requests,” which are defined as 20 minute blocks of time.
You can place standard requests (answered in 24 hours), live requests (answered within one minutes via SMS or chat), or recurring requests that are completed on a repeating basis.
- Starter Bucket, $10/hr for 20 hours; Light Bucket, $8/hr for 60 hours; Expert Bucket, $6/hr for 240 hours
TaskBullet pairs you with assistants skilled in the tasks you need. With their clock in, clock out method of tracking work, you only pay for the work that’s done, and each month’s hours roll over if they’re not used up.
How to Work with a Virtual Assistant
Former HubSpot VP of Growth Brian Balfour says, “I used to trick myself into feeling ‘busy’ with smaller tasks, when I was solely wasting time. My stress levels skyrocketed as my to-do list grew into a never-ending nightmare.”
Brian discovered that he could prioritize his to-do list to identify unimportant tasks and share repeatable email templates with a virtual assistant to automate them.
This allowed him to focus on tasks that required more of his unique skills and knowledge. The result? He saved at least 10 hours every week.
1) Project assistance
Hi [First name]
I’m putting some finishing touches on this project and I need your help. Here’s what I’ve got so far: [Insert project description].
Here are a few things I need your help with:
- [Example 1]
- [Example 2]
- [Example 3]
Could you have this completed within the next 48 hours? If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m happy to jump on a quick phone call to tell you more.
2) Travel bookings
Hello [Assistant name],
I have a trip coming up that I’d like some help booking. I’ll need a round-trip flight from [departure city] to [arrival city] as well as a hotel and car rental. Here are some details:
- Departing flight - [departure city] to [arrival city] on [date] - I need to arrive by [time].
- Returning flight - [departure city] to [arrival city] on [date] - I need to arrive by [time].
I prefer the lowest price, followed by these preferences:
- Non-stop flight (required)
- Aisle seat (preferred)
- American Airlines (preferred)
- Three- or four-star hotel with good reviews (please use TripAdvisor.com to validate for good reviews).
- Cost should stay between $175 and $225 per night.
- Hotel should be located within 5 miles of [address I’m visiting].
Car rental details:
- Please use a dealership at the airport, so I can pick up and drop off the car there.
- Please book a Toyota Camry or Honda Civic (if those aren't available, choose something at a similar price) for my total length of stay in the arrival city.
Please respond within 24 hours of the three best package deals for flight + hotel + car rental, which meets these requirements.
3) Appointment scheduling
Hello [Assistant name],
I need the following health appointments scheduled this month, located within [number] miles of [address].
- [First appointment] (ex. vision, chiropractic, dental, doctor, etc.)
- [Second appointment]
- [Third appointment]
Here are the dates and times I’m available:
- March 9-11, 13, 16-17, 19-20
- 7 a.m. - 10 a.m., 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. (EST)
I don’t have these healthcare providers established yet, so I’ll need someone who covers my insurance. Please use the following steps to find a doctor who accepts my coverage:
- Look up doctors www.findadoctor.bluecrossma.com who accept my insurance - [insert insurance provider].
- After you find doctor’s through that website, look at Yelp.com for doctors who have at least 3 ratings at 3.5 star or above.
- Schedule an appointment with doctors who are available for those dates.
- Put the appointment on my calendar and send me an email to confirm the details.
4) Call scheduling
Hi [Assistant name],
Can you please coordinate with [First Name #1] and [First Name #2] for a date and time that works for all of us to have a conference call next week? Here are the details:
- [First Name #1]’s email address is [email address]
- [First Name #2]’s email address is [email address]
Once you found a time that works for all of us, please set up a conference call, invite us all via email, add the call to my calendar, and have your conference caller connect us all at that time.
5) Personal updates
Hello [Assistant name],
Can you please make this change? I need to … [Insert problem description]. Here is my account number:
- Time Warner - XXX XXX XXX
- Westfield Gas and Electric - XXX XXX XXX
- Chase - XXX XXX XXX
- Capital One - XXX XXX XXX
- Fidelity - XXX XXX XXX
- Allstate - XXX XXX XXX
You can patch me in on my cell phone for security verifications if needed. When completed, please email me a confirmation with the company that you’ve made the change.
6) Inbox management
Hi [First name],
Thanks for the message -- it’s nice to hear from you. Unfortunately, I'm swamped right now and can't meet.
Let’s touch base again in six months when things have settled down. Thanks again for reaching out, and best of luck.
7) Internal vetting
Hey [First name],
I’m open to discussing this, but two questions:
- Is this urgent?
- Is it directly related to our current team quarterly goals?
If no to both, let’s hold off on discussing this until our weekly scheduled meeting.
If yes to both, great. Just send a calendar invite and email an agenda five minutes before our meeting.
These templates are a great place to start. Once you’ve implemented them into your virtual assistant’s workflow, take stock of where else you can streamline communication and outsource administrative tasks.
Devote your time to the tasks that matter most to your company and your career -- the results will be tangible immediately.
Originally published Nov 8, 2017 2:50:00 PM, updated June 10 2021