Her name is Keren. Not Karen. Keren.
And I must tell you, she is absolutely lovely.
It took a long time for me to find her but now that I have, I anticipate that we will be quite close for quite some time.
Already we email each other almost every day and we even talk on the telephone once in a while. The first thing she ever wrote to me was, “Anything you need, I am here for you.” And she even added a colon/parenthesis-created smile at the end. Does it get any better than that?
To have someone so attentive to your needs and so dedicated to keeping you happy at all times is something that few people get to truly experience. But now, my friends, I have entered that sweet realm of bliss, I have joined those selected few. And it’s even more rewarding than I could’ve ever fathomed.
Keren is my new VA. That’s right, my very own virtual assistant. I hired her one week ago and for basically no reason at all. But with each passing day, the decision has proven itself to be one of the smartest I have ever made. Infinitely smarter than when I attempted to bring a blue burqa and a box of Osama bin Laden candies back into the USA from my trip to Afghanistan.
Here’s how it works – I email Keren a task that I need completed, she rephrases it so that I know she understands, she begins working on it and I go to the beach. In the end I need to dish out $3 per hour of work she performs. Most of the projects I send her take less than 2 hours, so after one full week of employing Keren, I owe her $18. Not bad at all considering that by having her complete any web research and organizational tasks I need done, she provides me in return, not only efficient results of the highest quality but also valuable time that I can use more productively.
Did I mention that Keren lives in the Philippines? I don’t think I have. But guess what? She does. And it makes it even better for two distinct reasons. First, I can send a task to her before I go to sleep at night and as a result of the 12 hour time difference with her home in Ormoc City, I wake up to find the task completed and waiting for me in my inbox. Second, I have a Virtual Assistant named Keren from the Philippines!
The process of finding sweet Keren was most enjoyable. Using a website that specializes in connecting those seeking ‘help’ with those offering to work for you, I posted my needs for the world to see. Within four days I had 17 ‘bids’ from agencies and people in China, India, Pakistan, USA, Lithuania and Philippines. They each sent me messages detailing their capabilities, skills and their hourly rates, often adding such intriguing lines as “I would be happy to use me for you Sir” and “We promise our work can be delivered with ‘almost’ 100% accuracy every time I think.”
I ‘interviewed’ each person through email and even some on the phone, during which time I asked such questions as “Could you find me a place to live in the Canary Islands?” and “Are you able to contact a particular sandal maker on the streets of Varanasi and order some shoes for me?” The answers to such questions were always “Certainly” or “No problem at all”, making this a very difficult decision. I just had to keep asking questions until I could whittle the original seventeen down to my favorite one.
And that one was Keren.
In all honestly, everybody needs a Keren, even if you don’t think you do. During this past week, I have made more progress on ideas that I have always wanted to dedicate myself to, simply because she is doing the boring, frustrating and time-consuming tasks that I could never gather enough motivation to work on. And she does it all without complaining and always with a smile on her face. Actually, with a smiley face icon in her email but that works just as well for me.
Anyone else with a VA? Please share your experiences or comments below!