December 19, 2014

11 Freelancer and Virtual Assistant Outsourcing Sites

Ever since Tim Ferriss wrote The Four Hour Workweek, the small business owner market has been aware of outsourcing and its benefits.  Find a virtual assistant or contractor of just about any flavor and your work life will be easier.

That’s the promise. The reality is a little different. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right person (as in regular employment), and it often takes more management than you expect, especially when the person is working from a remote location.  However, I have used several of these services as a business owner and can attest to their value.

If you know you need help in marketing, in technology (think programming) or with  administrative issues, but really don’t know how to get help, this review is for you. It is for small business owners that want to find contractors, not employees, who can work locally or remotely to get the job done.

For many jobs, you need a full-time employee, but for some projects and tasks you can get work done faster and more cost-effectively with an independent contractor.  Each of these services offers a way to get a job done through a contract, and they often offer 1099 tax services, too.  Unless otherwise noted, none of these sites charge a fee to list a job or project opportunity or to look for a freelancer.

virtual freelancer

Guru.com is one of my favorite outsourcing services, hands down. I’ve been using it for years and still have two great virtual assistants that I use via their service.  I find it fast and easy to use.  Guru.com handles your 1099 tax service and let you pull reports on who you paid and when.

Elance is another service I’ve used and really like.  If you already manage a variety of contractors, their business solutions package is worth a serious look.  It is a contractor management tool that lets you automate invoicing and payments.

TaskArmy is well organized.  I really like how they organize and showcase their freelancers (via portfolios).  Beyond the standard “how it works” type button, they have very specific calls to action for those trying to get their heads wrapped around outsourcing.  This is one of the buttons above the fold:  “Start with a small task: One of our freelancers will find the contact details of 30 bloggers in your niche for $5.”  Great suggestion, and I’m sure lots of business owners give it a try for that small fee.

oDesk is another of the heavy hitters in outsourcing and freelancer communities.  The site is easy to navigate and also has robust contractor management tools. As with the others, you can post a job and keep it private to only those you invite to the bidding process.

Rent a Coder is the place to go if you need a tech person. Need that Facebook or iPhone app built? This is the place to post.

TaskRabbit is a terrific concept in the freelance, temporary and outsourcing marketplace.  Instead of focusing on remote workers, they focus on local people in your area who will do small and large projects.  Need your drycleaning picked up? Or maybe you need a desk built and a computer set up?  TaskRabbit vets each person on the service and then matches you with the right person. You post your task; they find someone nearby who can do it.  The big downside is TaskRabbit is currently only in six major cities.

Freelancer.com is one of the largest outsourcing marketplaces for small business. The site touts “over 2,753,810 employers and freelancers globally from over 234 countries and regions.”The average job is just $200. From coding to writing, they have a wide range of skill sets available.

ScriptLance is another great outsourcing company if you want to focus on computer programming and need tech help.

It might surprise you to see Craigslist here, but despite some risks in payment (meaning there is no escrow service like most of these Web services), you can still find some great people locally. It is a convenient and easy place for people to look for and receive work. That’s both a positive and a negative.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work that entails what they call a “human intelligence task.”  I’ve used Turk a fair number of times and if you don’t mind managing a lot of details, for simple research or data collection it can’t be beat.  If you want to use it and really make it sing, then you have to use Smartsheet.  You’ll pay a little premium to use the online project management tool, but it is worth it.

I’ve used it for tasks such as cleaning  data, collecting website information and phone numbers, categorizing items, creating and moderating content, or getting relevant feedback, such as product feedback.  Feedback Army, which I’ve mentioned in other posts, is built upon Turk.  You need to like spreadsheets, though, if you’re going to do it all yourself.

PeoplePerHour.com caught my eye because it is one of the first sites I’ve seen to have a Facebook or LinkedIn login process.  Like the other services here, they make it easy to post a job and start receiving bids right away. The average job gets approximately 16 bids.

Tim Ferriss certainly didn’t start the outsourcing trend, but I’m thankful to him for motivating me to go out and find my first virtual assistant.  If you’ve been waiting for the right time to try outsourcing, try one of these services and let us know in the comments how it goes.

49 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

49 Reactions

  1. In regards to finding the best sites/resources for outsourcing admin tasks and so on, you can either go the Do It Yourself (DIY) or the Done For You (DFY) route.

    Going the DIY route:

    1) Check out Virtual Assistant Forums such as VirtualAssistantForums.com and VaNetworking.com. Virtual Assistants from around the world hang out on sites like this to network and exchange ideas. You can go on there post your job request.

    2) Check out Freelancing sites such as Odesk.com, Elance.com and the great thing about sites likes this is that you can get to review the feedback left for the providers and ratings on similar work that they have completed.

    3) Make use of Job Boards like and if you are specifically looking to place ads for Philippine based Virtual Assistants, check out Jobstreet.com.ph and BestJobs.ph. Just be ready for a flood of responses.

    Going the DFY route:

    1) Virtual Assistant Placement companies such as Zirtual.com and VirtualStaffFinder.com for a one time fee will help you find a VA who matches your requirements and can get the job done.

    2) Virtual Assistant Services Providers are firms like ContemporaryVA.com. AskSunday.com and HireYourVirtualAssistant.com (full disclosure – this is my firm) who provide Entrepreneurs with a team of Virtual Assistants and also project managers to handle all you time consuming business tasks so that you can focus on what really matters in your business.

    My final point is that even though you find a Virtual Assistant to help implement the work, you have to realize that you have to monitor and manage the process so that you get the outcome you want. It’s never going to be totally hands off don’t believe the hype! That said when you hire the right VA, or team of VAs they will make your experience pleasant!

    P.S we now offer a free 7-day trial of our Virtual Personal Assistant services so that you can indeed try before you buy and believe me we are freaking affordable! see http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com

  2. Another great service is Tasks Everyday http://www.taskseveryday.com

  3. These are some great sites. I really like iFreelance.com as well.

  4. I enjoyed your article however there is one very important issue you left out. Who says your virtual assistant has to be human? I found a computer VA that cost $180 and serves me just as well as a human would. No this is NOT spam and no I do NOT work for the company who created the software. But I think this poses a really interesting issue. Hire a human who cost an annual salary or pay $180 for a program that never sleeps.

    Look at this video and tell me… could this replace a human or would hiring someone who is flesh and blood be more beneficial?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W52TL9Akv4

  5. Freelancer.com I find is the best, there are so many more workers and my jobs get done cheaper.

  6. Thanks for the resources TJ. I’ve used Elance and Odesk in the past, but I’m intrigued by some of the newer options you mention.

  7. Nice list with plenty to choose from. I used Elance with success, and I have heard a lot about Amazon’s mechanical turk, but I had no idea there where this many services. Looks like I have some research ahead of me.

  8. TJ: I agree that Timothy Ferriss should get cred. for bringing up the virtual assistant as an important role in your workflow. I want to outsource some of my work stuff in the future.

    Have you heard about Fancy Hands?

  9. You haven’t mentioned any of the Virtual Assistant Networks out there. Some were operating long before any of the sites you mention and were instrumental in the development and growth of the Virtual Assistant industry that we know today. Clients can place a request for work to be done and have several VAs respond with their quotes and turnaround time. The VAs invoice client direct. If you googled Virtual Assistants you are sure to come across many of the networks in the listings on the first page or two.

  10. Dear TJ:

    Thanks for writing about the Virtual Assistant industry and its value to business owners and entrepreneurs.

    As Kathie said, there are additional sites where you can post an RFP (request for proposal) and list exactly what you are looking for from a Virtual Assistant. VAs will submit a response to your RFP with their capabilities, pricing, etc. at which point you can select the ones you feel potentially match up with you and your needs and can arrange for an interview from there.

    One thing to remember, this person is going to be helping to maintain your business’ face and reputation. You should find someone with experience in this role. Keep in mind – cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better and often times “you get what you pay for.”

    Thanks again!

    Virtually Yours,
    Anne-Marie

  11. TJ:

    Great list and a few I wasn’t aware of. I have been hoping that TaskRabbit will come to my area because there are often days I would love to have someone run to the bank, post office, etc. for me. I know that’s not the “true” definition of a Virtual Assistant but it still falls under the heading of outsourcing.

    For those who need actual, local help I just recently discovered Care.com. Initially set up as a “babysitter” type service they now have an area for finding people who do all types of odd jobs – cleaning, cooking, running errands, etc. I haven’t actually hired anyone off of the site yet but I plan to so I can have someone on hand to help with the local tasks I need completed.

  12. Hi Kathie and Anne-Marie, thanks for your feedback. My focus was elsewhere for this post. I did another VA type directory post at American Express not long ago and felt I needed to cover it from another angle. Your points are well taken. You get what you pay for. I have used Guru for years and have some very reliable, professional people. And I’ve also had a few lame ducks…so to speak.

    Michelle, awesome heads-up on the Care.com service. That sounds super useful. Since I don’t mind saying that we’re friends and plugging that you’re one of the top VAs that i know — I hope you get a slew of clicks to your site (even though I know you are already maxed out with biz! I know you got here on your own, through Google Alerts, I assume or one of my tweets. But I’m glad you’re here and I always love that you share great resources. Thank you.

  13. This is a very good list of outsourcing sites and I use many of them myself. I tell you something though, when you start using them it is a steep learning curve.

    I agree with the author that Guru has a great service providers.
    Odesk is another of my favorites but like many things it helps if you are outsourcing because you don’t have the time rather than if you are missing the expertise. Expertise in the chosen project allows you to define what you want, screen candidates properly and understand the work involved.

    Go into a project without the knowledge and skills to manage the project and you will get into all sorts of trouble with unfinished projects and shoddy work.

  14. I was trying to figure this out. Thanks!

  15. PaEveryday is also another virtual assistant provider :)

  16. Working with virtual assistants is like anything else — it takes practice. I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way but ultimately I’m better off.

    Personally I’ve found some great long-term hires on Elance (and have also been burned badly by contractors on the same platform).

    I’ve spent the past year and half researching different VA companies, compiling a list, and collecting honest customer feedback. In the end I think it’s a valuable resource for anyone looking for the right place to find a VA. Please check it out here and let me know what you think: virtualassistantassistant.com/virtual-assistant-reviews-ratings

    Nick Loper

    • Nick, great site, but how do you know that the reviews are legit and not planted by armies of VAs who specialize in that exact skill?

      • I do my best to vet each review that comes through. With more than 500 on the site and thousands and thousands marked as spam, I feel like I’ve developed a decent eye at spotting the legit ones from the fake ones. Of course with any user-generated content site, it’s always a risk and I won’t pretend to have a perfect system :)

        If you have any questions on a particular company, feel free to reach out!

        Cheers,

        Nick

  17. You haven’t listed any of the VA Networks either Nick. How have you sourced the VA businesses you’ve researched?

  18. Great resources of freelancing site, TJ. I’ve been hiring freelancers and there is one thing that I realize. Even you are hiring on a legit site there’s still no assurance that you will hire the right person you desire for the job. I also encounter hiring freelancers who is not capable for the job. One thing that I learn from this mistake is before hiring a freelancer you must test them first. It will help you assure that the person you are going to hire is capable for the job. Right now I’m hiring freelancers on Staff.com, which allows me to interview or have a trial first before hiring the freelancer of my choice. I’ve been hiring on this site for months now and so far so good.

  19. Job Stock is another great website to go to hire virtual assistants. I definitely recommend registering and hiring a freelance virtual assistant from there.

  20. adtriboo.com is a worthy mention, it is relatively new freelancer marketplace in comparison but with exclusive jobs from clientele in Latin America, Europe and USA. Ive found some great work on their platform and their freelancer profiles range from creativity, videos, content writing, music, business services too and of course, programming and software plus Mobile Apps. Its FREE for freelancers to join! http://www.adtriboo.com/en_US/ operate bilingually in English and Spanish

  21. If you are a small business – I hired this new and upcoming Virtual Assistant company named iMysecy.com. These guys might be a little new but boy they do wonders. They helped me
    – create a website
    – Social media and seo
    – write content for me

    Try them out…they have a phone as well which is great ..

  22. Claudio Thomas

    My experience using an Indian VA (taskbarge) is satisfactory….I’m impressed with their responsiveness and quality…I got this company refereed by my friend because of their plans. I can say Go for it.

  23. It seems like it’s less money to do it yourself with the services that are out there vs. higher quality when you have someone do it for you. Higher quality seems to come at a cost, but you know what they say about getting what you pay for. I guess it depends on where you’re at when you need a service like this. DFY is better for most business owners but there just aren’t many options out there.

    Full disclosure here as I am involved with Task Anything – I have used crowd sourced design services and been quite happy, though it took quite a while to get to the final product.

    This was a good post I hadn’t heard of Smartsheet either.

  24. I would like to add http://worldwide101.com/ to the list virtual assistant companies. With team members in North America and Europe, and a solid track record. I have appreciated working with them!

  25. This is great list. I also want to include a new freelancing website CodeXPlace in the above list. Thanks

  26. I have found the Virtual Assistant services from Hello Smarter to be a very unique offering. It provides an avenue to rapidly improve my productivity in both my personal and business initiatives.

  27. All great suggestions and I think the market is greatly changing and expanding. I have been working with a new start-up crowdsourcing freelance platform that I think is unique and innovative. 1st they aggregate workers from ODesk, elance, and Freelancer allowing you to manage all of your workers from one interface and build inter platform teams of freelancers. 2nd they build integrations into the existing business programs we use like Optimizely, Microsoft PowerPoint and browsers like Chrome that allow you more easily and efficiently post jobs and manage your freelancers. I have tried many of the platforms getting to know the industry and like the direction of http://www.mycrowd.com to expand a platforms use from just connecting with workers to becoming more of a tool!

  28. Great list. I am just about ready to take the plunge and hire a VA for some of the tasks you outlined. It is a bit scary but I think that for my business to grow I need to start delegating more of the daily tasks.
    Thanks for the content. I’m new but so far it looks good.

    • Hey Dominic,
      I have used pretty much all of the different platforms and recommend MyCrowd. I have a few promo codes that you can use on http://www.mycrowd.com to test them out. I was skeptical at first as their site is not the greatest but I have done 5 projects with them and have had good experiences so far. They gave me some extra codes to for a special promotion to share with friends when I signed up so here friends! LOL You can use FEB15 for a $15 credit and for $25 2014-F2. Hope that helps..

  29. We use Atlassian for managing our internal team and use ProcedureRock.com for our outsource team. It’s a good combination.

    Kelvin

  30. Check out http://myndconsulting.com They have been in the VA industry for more than 8 years.

  31. The list of 11 Freelancer and Virtual Assistant Outsourcing Sites above are useful however I feel when it comes to outsourcing I’d much rather a complete end to end support package, rather than just a “Gateway” as such. I like to feel secure with the Virtual Assistant who is doing my work, and know there is a Company to be held accountable for any misdoings.

    I was very happy to discover Job-Drop.com – they claim to be innovating the Outsourcing industry, offering a complete end to end support package, instantly!

    We’ve used them four times now and the great thing about them is they don’t just deliver high level Virtual Assistance – but deliver these services in lightning speeds (Longest we’ve waited is 37 Minutes for our Job to start). Also, for any apprehensive first time VA users out there (As I once was), all of their Virtual Assistants are Non-Disclosure Act signed employee’s also.

    For these reasons I believe Job-Drop.com should undoubtedly be on this list,

    James

  32. Great post here TJ :) Although, there’s one thing which your readers might want to know about is that there’s always a possibility of sharing your business plans, business model and all your ideas to the Virtual Assistant. Just make sure you put in place an agreement (Non Disclosure) to protect your Property and your business.

    It might also be great if you deal with Local companies from the area who can make sure you’ and your business are protected :)

  33. Our company is very happy to have Ideas Unlimited LLC as one of our partners. They provide the best representatives and also support bilingual and multilingual.

  34. I am the owner of virtualassistantsolutions.me and I too have noticed the dramatic increase in outsourcing. My company stands firm on quality work and customer satisfaction. Please swing by and check out our website!!

    ~Chastity

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