The Holy Grail: How to Outsource the Inbox and Never Check Email Again

What if you never had to check e-mail again?

If you could hire someone else to be spend countless hours in your inbox instead of you?

This isn’t pure fantasy. For the last 12 months, I’ve experimented with removing myself from the inbox entirely by training other people to behave like me. Not to imitate me, but to think like me.

Here’s the upshot: I get more than 1,000 e-mail a day from various accounts. Rather than spending 6-8 hours per day checking e-mail, which I used to do, I can skip reading e-mail altogether for days or even weeks at a time… all with 4-10 minutes a night…

Let me explain the basics, followed by tips and exact templates for outsourcing your own inbox:

1) I have multiple e-mail addresses for specific types of e-mail (blog readers vs. media vs. friends/family, etc.). tim@… is the default I give to new acquaintances, which goes to my assistant.

2) 99% of e-mail falls into predetermined categories of inquiries with set questions or responses (my “rules” document is at the bottom of this post — feel free to steal, adapt, and use). My assistant(s) checks and clears the inbox at 11am and 3pm PST.

3) For the 1% of e-mail that might require my input for next actions, I have a once-daily phone call of 4-10 minutes at 4pm PST with my assistant.

4) If I’m busy or traveling abroad, my assistant leaves the action items in numerical order on my voicemail, to which I can respond to in a bullet-point email. These days, I actually prefer the voicemail option and find that it forces my assistant to be more prepared and more concise.

Each night (or early the next morning), I’ll listen to my assistant’s voicemail via Skype and simultaneously write out the next actions (1. Bob: tell him that…. 2. Jose in Peru: ask him for… 3. Speaking in NC: confirm…., etc.) in a Skype chat or quick e-mail. How long does the new system take? 4-10 minutes instead of 6-8 hours of filtering and repetitive responses.

If you only have one e-mail account, I recommend using a desktop program like Outlook or Mail instead of a web-based program like Gmail for a simple reason: if you see new items in your inbox, you’ll check them. Like they say in AA: if you don’t want to slip, don’t go where it’s slippery. This is why I have a private personal account that I use for sending e-mail to my assistant and communicating with friends. It’s almost always empty.

E-mail is the last thing people let go of. Fortune 500 CEOs, bestselling authors, celebrities — I know dozens of top performers who delegate everything but e-mail, which they latch onto as something only they can do. “No one can check my e-mail for me” is the unquestioned assumption, or “I answer every email I receive” is the unquestioned bragging right that keeps them in front of a computer for 8-12 hours at a stretch. It’s not fun, and it keeps them from higher-impact or more rewarding activities.

Get over yourself. Checking e-mail isn’t some amazing skill that you alone possess.

In fact, checking email is like everything else: a process. How you evaluate and handle (delete vs. archive vs. forward vs. respond) e-mail is just a series of questions you ask yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously. I have a document called “Tim Ferriss Processing Rules,” to which my assistants add rules when I send them via e-mail with “ADD TO RULES” in the subject. Over the course of a week or two with a virtual assistant (VA), you will end up with an externalized set of rules that reflect how your brain processes email. It often shows you how haphazard your processing is. I’ve included my “rules” at the bottom of this post to save you some time.

A few tips:

1. Setting appointments and meetings takes a lot of time. Have you assistant set things up for you in Google Calendar. I use input my own items via my Palm Z22 or iCal, then use Spanning Sync and Missing Sync for Palm OS to sync everything. On my uberlight Sony VAIO, which I still use for travel, I use CompanionLink for Google Calendar. I suggest batching meetings or calls in one or two set days, with 15 minutes between appointments. Scattering them throughout the week at odd times just interrupts everything else.

2. If you jump in your assistant’s inbox and answer anything, BCC them (probably your own address) so they are aware that you handled it.

3. Expect small problems. Life is full of compromises, and it’s necessary to let small bad things happen if you want to get huge good things done. There is no escape. Prevent all problems and get nothing done, or accept an allowable level of small problems and focus on the big things. I highly recommend reading my short article on “The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen” before outsourcing your e-mail.

Ready to jump in and test the holy grail? Here are the steps:

1. Determine exactly which accounts you will use and how you want them to respond to (or just categorize or purge) email for you

2. Find a virtual assistant. See “The Personal Outsourcing Olympics: Bangalore Butler or American Assistant?” and “Extreme Personal Outsourcing” for tips and providers.

3. Test for reliability before skill-set. Have the top three candidates do something on tight deadline (24 hours) before hiring them and letting them in your inbox.

4. Use a probationary period of 2-4 weeks to test the waters and work out the problems. Again: there will be problems. It will take a good 3-8 weeks to get to real smooth sailing.

5. Design your ideal lifestyle and find something to do other than let your brain fester in the inbox. Fill the void.



[Note the Q&A format — some of the questions are my standard points for VAs, some have been added by my assistant, who put together this document.]



Login: XXXX


Google G-mail Account:

Username: XXX


Username: XXXX

Password: XXXX

Username: XXXX

Password: XXXX

Username: XXXX

Password: XXXX

Username: XXXX

Password: XXXX



[I often have exec-level assistants manage 4-5 other “sub-VAs” who handle certain repetitive tasks, often at half the exec VA’s hourly rate. The exec VA takes on an office manager or, in some cases, COO-level function.]

– Download: – Toolbar

– Learn Statistics, Rank for Business Prospect and JV Opportunities

– Deadlines are extremely important. Be Aware of them, and Be Punctual!

– If Tim says “Call me back”. CALL HIM BACK, do not send an e-mail. This is an important point; as Tim has lost thousands of dollars because someone e-mailed him instead of calling him and he does not always have e-mail access because he is traveling a lot.

[See this post to understand why I practice this inaccessibility regardless]

– Even if it is late in the evening, he is up late, if he does not want to answer his phone, he will not. But PLEASE call him back when he asks you to. He much prefers a phone call instead of an e-mail.

– Purchase and read “The Elements of Style” regarding proper grammar and punctuation. We are dealing with high-profile clients on Tim’s behalf and the proper writing techniques and message says a lot about his team.

– Become as familiar as you can with his book and his website as to answer questions accordingly.


Tim Ferriss

[maiing address]

Tim Cell (your use only): [private cell]

Number to give others: [Grand Central number]

Skype: XXXXX

Billing ADDRESS (Private)

[billing address]



QUESTION & ANSWER (Preferences):

(1) How do you feel about Joint Ventures?

I’m open to them, but my brand and respectability is #1. I will not do anything with anyone who comes off as deceptive or amateur. “Make millions while you sleep in our super-insane foreclosure program!” on the website disqualifies someone. I cannot be associated with anyone who might be seen as a liar or snake-oil salesman. Just ask yourself: if the CEO of a well-known company saw this, would he lose interest in speaking with me? If so, it won’t work.

For those who pass that criteria, what have they done already? I’m not looking for first-timers, generally, unless they have an excellent track record and reputation elsewhere.

(2) Do you focus solely on Profit Generating Tasks (I can explain further on the call)

No. I also look for prestige (Harvard, government, etc.), wide exposure, as well as building networks with people who have world-class skills in some area.

(3) How do you handle spam?

SpamArrest and Gmail. I have no problem with spam at this point.

(4) What is your optimal response rate? (i.e. respond to all e-mails no later than 48-72 hours after received)

Same day. I’m bringing you on to respond quickly.

(5) Do you respond to any e-mails?

Yes, plenty, but I’ll want you to filter them first, respond to all you can, then mark the ones I should look at with the label “TIM” in Gmail

[Note earlier in this article how I’m using now having VAs leave to-do’s via voicemail]

(6) Do you put in any events in your calendar?

Yes, but I expect I will move more and more to having you do it.

[I use a Palm Z22 without Internet connectivity to add events to my calendar, which are then syched to iCal on my Mac with Missing Sync for Palm OS. iCal is syched with Gmail calendar, which my assistant uses to manage my calendar, with Spanning Sync. See links earlier in this post]

(7) Do we “manage” your items, or do you delegate? We are cool with both, but prefer to manage. 🙂

I’ll try and give the list to you to take care of. I NEED confirmations that you received the task (“on it — will be done at Xpm” is enough) and like status updates on larger projects with milestones.

(8) Who is on your team?

Me, the publishing team, and some PR folk at this point. I might have you get involved with my other businesses later, but that’s it for now.

(9) Who do we have to collaborate with on a regular basis?

See above. 90% me, then possibly my publicist(s), tech support and web staff, and my book agent. More will come, I’m sure, but that’s it for now.

(10) Who calls the shots for you?

You can decide anything under $100. Use your judgment and report the decisions.

(11) Do you have ‘days’ off (as in no business appts.)?

Let’s shoot for no appointments on Fridays, but let’s play it by ear.

(12) Who has been handling your appts. up until now?

Me. I haven’t had any in-person meetings for close to four years. Things have changed with the book 🙂

(13) Explain to us your ‘optimal’ work week? (i.e. how long between phone calls, how many meetings per week, travel preferences, etc.)

-I go to bed late, so try and avoid calls before 10am PST when possible.

-Try and “cluster” phone calls and meetings so that I can bang them out at the same time, as opposed to having on at 10am, another at 1pm, and another at 4pm. Have them all in a row with 15-20 minutes in between whenever possible. I’d like to do phone calls before 1pm PST when possible (so 10am-1pm). Calls should be kept 15-30 minutes, always with a defined end time. If someone asks to “jump on the phone” with me, send them something like: “To make the best use of every one’s time, Tim likes to have a well-defined agenda with objectives for a call before jumping on the phone. Can you please send over some bullet points with what you’d like to cover and decide on the call?” Something like that.

(14) Do you like us to schedule personal items in with your business calendar? (i.e. order your mother flowers for mother’s day, etc.).


(15) What are ‘all’ the e-mail addresses we respond to for you?


(16) Do you like us to respond as ‘you’ or something like ‘client support for Timothy Ferriss’.

The latter, probably something like “Executive Assistant to Tim Ferriss” below your name — I’m open to suggestions.

(17) How many times a day do you want e-mail checked?

Twice should be fine to start. Let’s aim for minimum of at 11am and 3pm in your timezone.

(18) What are your working hours?

10am – 6pm PST, then often 11pm – 2am PST

[Before you cry, “What happened to the four-hour workweek?!”, realize that “work hours” here could be replaced with “active and available-by-phone hours.” I have lots of projects and do not preach idleness. I am VERY active. More on this in the 6th comment on this post.]

(19) Do you like using IM?

Not really, unless it’s a scheduled discussion. Just leave yourself logged in, and I’ll log in if I need something. [I tend to use Skype chat these days, as I can then avoid a separate IM program]

(20) Do you prefer a phone call or an e-mail to answer a quick question?

PHONE CALL, absolutely. DO NOT email me for anything urgent. I really follow my own advice and don’t check email that often.

(21) What is your favourite colour?

Green like cedar leaves in July.

(22) Call at the end of every day (if) there is something that Tim needs to respond to in his e-mail.

(23) E-books: tell them they can download the e-book from

(24) If Tim says “Call me back”. CALL HIM BACK, do not send an e-mail. This is an important point; as Tim has lost thousands of dollars because someone e-mailed him instead of calling him and he does not always have e-mail access because he is travelling a lot.

(25) Even if it is late in the evening, he is up late, if he does not want to answer his phone, he will not. But PLEASE call him back when he asks you too. He much prefers a phone call instead of an e-mail.

(26) [removed]

(27) [removed]

(28) Label all e-mails from “Expert Click” for Tim. No need to respond or forward.

(29) All Linked-In E-mails can be archived or deleted as Tim receives notification of invites as soon as he logs into his Linked-In Account.

(30) For start-up Inquiries in the Health & Wellness Industry (or BrainQuicken Start-up Inquiries) please see the templates in G-mail titled: Congratulations and General Business Questions — Brain Quicken Templates

(31) For Language Inquiries, please see the templates in G-mail titled: Reader Question on Language Resources — Language Templates

(32) When Tim types ‘dictate’ in the e-mail response; this means that we can say to the recipient: As Tim is traveling at the moment and not able to personally respond to your e-mail, I mentioned your message while on the phone to him, and he asked me to dictate:

This makes the process easier as we do not have to change the context of the person responding.

[This is to avoid having an assistant convert my 1st-person “Please tell him that I…” to 3rd-person “Tim says that he…” – providing shorthand for “cut and paste” save hours of assistant time.]

(33) If someone email blasts a bunch of people and I am one of them, usually safe to ignore or delete. Read them carefully, of course, but if it says for example “a few influential people I know” or something like that then if someone can’t take the time to personalize for me, forget them. If Tim is CCd, of course, that’s a different story.

(34) Tim’s address is XXXX. THIS E-MAIL IS NOT TO BE DISTRIBUTED OR GIVEN TO ANYONE. If you want to copy Tim on an e-mail, please use the BCC field, so that it remains private.

(35) Mark anyone from St. Paul’s or Princeton for me to look at (TIM label). [Note: I’ve since had to modify this due to volume]

(36) If I decline someone and they persist, give them one more reply — “Tim appreciates the persistence, but he really can’t…” etc. — and then archive future requests. Use your judgment, of course, but that’s the general rule. Some people don’t know when persistent turns into plain irritating.

(37) Please also create a rule to respond with “scheduled” for all items I send to be put in the calendar (when they’re put in the calendar). [Missing calendar items can cause big problems, so this is a check and balance to confirm]

(38) No need to follow up with someone after a call has taken place. Unless Tim instructs otherwise, or they request something from us.

(39) Send all Speaking Requests to XXXX and ensure that he confirms receipt. (However, also see items 42 & 48)

(40) Foreign language requests (i.e. purchasing rights, if the book is available in particular language, etc.) send to [the appropriate person at my publisher].

(41) XXXX’s replacement at Random House is: XXXX

(42) Inquire with Tim first before booking any speaking gigs on a specific date, as he may be travelling.

(43) When booking appointments in the calendar, be sure to also ask which topics they would like to discuss, and put in the calendar description for Tim so he can prepare. Also be sure to ask for a back up phone number in case they are not able to reach Tim. [I almost always have people call me unless I am abroad, as this is another safeguard against missing appointments]

(44) Put initials in the subject line of calendar events so we know who [which virtual assistant] put the item in the calendar.

(45) Prepare inquiries for Tim before sending to him for his review. I.E. Get their Alexa ranking, possible dates of the event, a link to past events they have held, their budget, other confirmed speakers, etc. Then send this info to Tim for his review.

(46) Respond to PX Method Inquires with the following response:

Hi [name],

Thanks for your inquiry about the PX Method, however the PX method page is designed as just a template others can look at as a reference for testing their own product ideas.

We are not sure if or when Tim will offer the PX Method for sale, but there are no plans at this time. We appreciate your inquiry none-the-less. Thanks!

[I get quite a few emails from readers who do not see the disclaimer on the PX Method mock-up page and thus attempt to order a product that isn’t ready to ship]

(47) Download eFAX viewer to view Tim’s faxes. His fax number is: XXXX

(48) Event or Speaking Inquiries can be responded to as such:

Thanks for your e-mail and for your invitation to Tim. In looking at the event online, I see that the event is April Xth and Xth, 2008 in Portland, Oregon [for example]. Before I present this Tim, could you answer a few questions for me, so we can make a more informed decision?

— Would you like Tim to be at the entire event?

— How long would the keynote presentation be? Or would it be a Q & A Panel?

— Do you cover travel and accommodation along with a speaker’s fee?

— What is your budget for keynote presentations?

— Have any other speakers confirmed to present?

As soon as I hear back, I can speak with Tim about the possibilities of making this happen. Thanks again!



this email is: [ ] blogable [x] ask first [ ] private


Executive Assistant to Timothy Ferriss

Author: The 4-Hour Workweek (

(Random House/Crown Publishing)

Bio and Fun:

Did you like this post? Please take a second to vote for it here, and subscribe to new posts here to get cutting-edge lifehacks you can really use…


Odds and Ends: Live Seth Godin “Marketing for 2008” panel discussion this Tuesday (today) at 2pm ET

Join me, Seth Godin, Chris Anderson (Editor-in-Chief of Wired, The Long Tail), John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) on a live panel and Q&A about new marketing strategies for 2008. What works and what doesn’t? What’s new and what is a waste of time? Sign up here:

Related and Recommended Posts:

How to Do The Impossible: Create a Paperless Life, Never Check Voicemail Again, Never Return Another Phone Call…

E-mail-Free Fridays and How to Save Your Weekend

Chapter 8 – Outsourcing Life: Offloading the Rest and a Taste of Geoarbitrage

Win a Virtual Assistant for 2008

10 Steps to Become an Email Ninja

How Scoble Reads 622 RSS Feeds Each Morning

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

155 Replies to “The Holy Grail: How to Outsource the Inbox and Never Check Email Again”

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. Tim,

    I’ve always thought using web-based mail, linked into my Outlook and Mac Mail, would allow me to access e-mail wherever I found myself. Seems that’s part of the problem, wanting to always be in touch with e-mail.

    When you use your own Outlook or Mail, don’t you need an outside provider? Maybe you don’t.

  3. Tim,

    I use email like a database and often go back into past years to find stuff. Problem is, every year it seems to grow exponentially. How do you archive email, and back it up so it can be easily accessed?

    Part of the problem is I’m sort of an email pack rat. But it’s my digital diary, sort of.

  4. tim,

    i tried to order PX method several times during the past 9 months but failed every time. is there some place or web site i can get a copy?

  5. Tim,

    A friend shared your book with me a week ago, I am now following you on Twitter, and I am inspired by your time-work vision. I have been trying to change education as a teacher for 15 years with a Pepperdine master’s degree in Ed Tech, been a real estate broker for 5 years to fund life, work about 80-90 hours a week, and was one of the first beta testers for GMail and have used it to leverage both careers. Exploring the idea of VA doing my email is like being a back seat driver – and it’s exciting! Thanks for planting the seed.


    Fresno, CA

  6. CHALLENGE……In my business class we watched Do-Lectures. I need to get some sort of response from TIM FERRISS! Can someone please help….. If not Tim Ferriss, anybody you think is important/prominant.

    I only have until the 17th of November

  7. As always, great article Tim. I do my best to keep my e-mail very limited, so no need for a VA for this, but if it becomes larger this will be very helpful.

  8. I’m a recovering e-mail aholic. For close to a decade I probably spent 1 to 2 hours per day dealing with e-mail mistaking it for real work. I can now say that thanks to the principles taught in the 4HWW that I’m e-mail free. I do not check my primary e-mail accounts any more. My office manager checks them at 11 and 4 each day and forwards to a separate e-mail address on my google phone any that need my personal attention. This has freed up at least 8 hours in my week to spend doing real work like working with customers face to face and I’m dealign with less than a dozen e-mails per week. Thanks Tim!

  9. Dear People,

    I’ve never known how people can exist – subsist – on-line to require remedial help. Grow a head and get ahead: there are no busy persons, only busy personalities.

    Laurence Alter

  10. Sounds like youve basically offloaded any real work (ie that requires your physical / energy… to the people who work for you ) and leave the strategic decisions for yourself to make… Kinda like creating a harem of superslaves to support your lifestyle… I can understand not wanting to carry the load for your like…. but the facts remain that someone (else) is having to do the real work (and yes that includes many distasteful, mundane, daily tasks in life) I think the only real benefits go to yourself…. and to those who enable you thru agreeing to support you…. i can understand wanting this kinda life….. but i really think that its LIVING OFF the ENERGY of others…. in a sort of parasitic way to support you… the point is that someone has to do the dirty work and youve just figured out a way to get others to do it for you….it works for you but i dont know how others are benefiting from suppporting you…. i personally would rather support myself….just my two cents…. sorry to be harsh….

  11. ^


    Essentially, it’s a matter of perspective.

    Imagine if we didn’t have car mechanics, plumbers, garbage men, maids, dentists, doctors, etc, etc. What would happen to us? What would happen to them?

    VAs (Virtual Assistants) provide a service just like those listed above. And like the others, most of them *want* to do what they do because it helps others- not just because it helps put food on their own plate.

    We all fit up there in that list somehow, and we do what we can to help support the system, ourselves and our loved ones.

    Hope that helps.

    -Mr. Clean

  12. Hi Everyone – I’m not trying to dress this up as anything but a gratuitous plug – we’ve made some software that we think you’ll be interested in. Here’s why;

    1. It eliminates 90% of emails and wasted time

    2. It generates an automatic report of what your workers have been doing

    3. It generates an automatic time sheet for the hours your workers

    4. It makes sure they are working and not just cyber slacking

    5. you can easily see what everyone is working on, and get a good overview of everything completed in a day or a week

    It essentially does a lot of management and admin tasks on autopilot.

    Tim, I think this is something you and all of your fans would be interested in. If they’re not, I had may as well give up on the idea!

    We would love for you to check it out and let me know what you think!

    For anyone else who’d like to check out the software – visit timedoctor dot com – Watch the video tour – it’ll explain everything!


    – John

  13. I just discovered the joy of outsourcing.

    It’s not easy to find great people, but if you can, you can get things done SO much faster and more efficiently.

    I don’t imagine I’ll ever outsource email checking, but in general, I embrace!

  14. Hi Tim,

    Not sure if it’s a date-related switchover or how you navigate to respond, but your responses are not always highlighted or accompanied by your Gravatar. For those plowing through large numbers of posts/comments, it slows the pace considerably, and searching on “Tim” is not much use. FWIW.

    Great post!

  15. Congrats Tim, I love the way you write. It’s always refreshing to see so many ideas coming from you. I followed your advice from your book and got myself a virtual assistant. It’s from a company called Uassist.ME, don’t know if you’ve heard about it. At first it was very hard to delegate, but now I LOVE the idea, the company, adnd my assistant.

    Thanks a lot Tim!

  16. Tim,

    Building a blog. I liked the way that its hard to copy things off your site. Looking to do something similar. Would you be able tell me the protocols you used for the same?



  17. great post you have mate, its very informative, thanks to this I love it, you really elaborate on minimizing the inbox and never check email again, brilliant

  18. I really want to live when i first start reading the post but along the run, i can’t live without getting to the bottom of the discussion because of the powerful tips you are sharing. i have really learn many things about how to outsource the inbox now. thanks for sharing the post

  19. Tim,

    thanks you for a great and very inspirational post!

    A few thoughts about part 4 of the post about an idea of using voice mail in communication with your assistant. I found a better tool and wanted to share it: it is a mobile app Talkbits. With it you can leave free voice messages to anyone from your conctact list (and actually to anyoone around your geoposition).

    Certainly, it has several advantages over standard voice mail: firstly, it’s free. Your assistant could leave unlimited amount of messages to you. It is easy to listen to the private messages again and it is also possible to respond with a voice message.

    Hope this helps someone using oursourcing straregy,



  20. Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog soon

    but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  21. Tim, this is the ultimate VA email management list! I have been reluctant to hand over my emails to a virtual assistant but recently made the move and wanted to make it more efficient and landed here.. Nice work as always!

  22. Tim,

    Thanks for this great guide. I’m just starting to outsource email. For the past couple months I’ve had an assistant filter emails into a few categories and deal with some of the simpler ones. Now I’m working on creating processes so they (or their replacement) can reply as me.

    Your guide + the e-myth revisited have been great helps. But there’s still a lot more ground to cover. This gave me a product idea for you. I would gladly pay $50/$100/even more if you produced a guide that described your system in more detail. Some stuff I’ve still been wondering about:

    1. Are there more detailed processes your assistants follow than what’s described in the guide? (this is the meat of it)

    2. Do you still write any emails yourself?

    3. Over the years, what challenges and problems have occurred, and what have been the best ways to fix them?

    I’ve had great success with making systems for other areas, and outsourced much of my business. Email seems the hardest, so I’ve delayed.

    You’re the number one result for “outsource email”. Your VA could probably create this product just by documenting what the system they follow. Since this is a profit center for me, and people like me (freeing up time + mental space = money), I’d pay a LOT for something which gave me a step by step guide and showed best practices.

    Am mentioning this because I suspect many of your other blog posts would also work well with more in depth guides that were higher priced than your books yet require a lot less energy to create.


    Graeme Blake

    p.s. My personal email is [Moderator: removed], but had to use another one because I’m on vacation and your site was making me log in to wordpress for my gravatar email. Followed your advice and systematized things well enough that I could take a week off with no computer 🙂

    Thanks for everything! Am looking forward to many more such vacations now that I’ve set things up so they don’t fall apart if I’m away.

  23. Does anyone on here have any experience hiring VAs to staff a Freshdesk customer service account ? I’m a Strength and Conditioning Coach that generates a lot of content. I’m looking to grow and scale, and most of my emails are recycled questions. While I love being connected with my clients, I want to be more responsive and I feel like training 2 – 3 VAs to respond thru ZenDesk and help me build up some rules etc would be a great way to help more people and begin creating a vulcan mind meld between my brain and a help desk. Scary as that thought may be …

  24. This remains one of the best articles on virtual email management. As a virtual assistant, I see so many clients who don’t want to participate in the process of offering feedback and clarity. I really admire how you took the time to give your VAs the details that they needed to do the job. So many clients want a magic wand of results, but don’t want to particpate.

  25. I’ve read your book and it was a great read!…Don’t you think the title is slightly unrealistic because the kind of work you do is actually a humongous effort compared to the average Joe who works 8 office hours 5 days a week?

  26. Does anyone expect perfection for minimum wage and under? You’re not paying benefits or employer contributions, you want a pro, you have to pay for one.