This is a wild idea I read about recently, and with my extremely busy and hectic work life- it looks like I will be trying this out. I have heard some really wonderful things about it, thats right….a virtual assistant.
Its actually a real person and you hire them to do whatever you need them to, as long as it doesnt require them to be physically present. My need for this service is derived mainly from the need for help with certain business and marketing aspects of running my little photography school etc. I would much rather focus on doing what I do best, ie, photography and making training videos, and have someone help me out with some of the business aspects (think expansion, sweeter school interface, forum, store, etc) I would much rather be developing the content instead of figuring out how to deliver it.
The diagram above is how it works. You are assigned a PA (personal assistant) who has access to a group of experts who can help with all kinds of things, from doing research, web design, sending flowers, making appointments, sending faxes, etc. This particular company I am interested in is based in India and you can hire a team for $7-$12 an hour. Get Friday has received rave reviews and there are also many companies in the US that offer the same type of service.
Side note: Be sure you talk on the phone with the person you will be working with to check his language skills. Generally they are outstanding, but you never know.
If this is a service you might be interested in, check it out, you can hire by month, project or whatever.