Using A Virtual Assistant For Your Startup

According to a story at ReadWriteWeb, Lindsey Harper recently wrote about her experiences using Mechanical Turk to validate her startup idea.

Noting that friends and family are unlikely to be objective when assessing whether or not your idea is viable, she spent $28 on the Amazon service in order to poll 200 people on her concept.

Her survey asked whether or not they’d use the service, example of how they might use it. In addition to asking for general feedback on the idea, she also captured gender and age demographics, so she could have a better idea of who her market might be.

“The information I got back was INVALUABLE,” she writes. “I found from that 1 survey, how to basically build my product for launch. What features I had to have based on how users would use the service. I also realized I could basically cut my current feature set in 1/2 because what I thought people would want, wasn’t even mentioned.”

The value proposition of a VA deals with how you monetize your time. If you monetize it at $50/hour and you can pay a VA $6/hour to handle administrative tasks, this frees up time for you to create real value in your business by developing new features or expanding marketing efforts.

Virtual assistants can be useful for startups to develop proof of concept. But they can also be utilized following launch to handle small administrative tasks.

If the first virtual assistant you hire doesn’t work out, find another one. But don’t give up on the whole process after one go, says Walling, as it takes time as an entrepreneur to find how to best utilize this sort of service.

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