If you’ve never visited oDesk.com or elance.com to browse the available applicants you don’t know what you’re missing.  I just posted an ad for a part time virtual assistant working 4-5 hours per week to begin with.  Once you’ve created your job posting, oDesk gives you 10 recommended freelancers who they feel fit your job.  Then you can dig deeper and search the freelancers and ask them to view and apply for you job.

Page after page of seemingly “qualified” applicants.  Their stats are enough to get your heart pounding and your palms all clammy.   3.33 per hour, 4.59 per hour, 5.88 per hour.  You can search for those with prior real estate experience, call center experience, or any qualification you can dream up.  It does take some work to verify and locate a good candidate, but I’m pretty sure you can find whatever you’re looking for.
I’ve got it in my head that a female virtual assistant is less threatening when negotiating with a seller.  Am I right or wrong, who knows.  But could you imagine posting in the US and saying I only want female applicants.  Or you must be from Asia and between 20-30 years old?  Some equal rights group would track your ass down and sue the crap out of you.   On oDesk or elance, you can profile til your heart is content.
I page thru the profiles and dream of one day outsourcing my whole business.  I know incorporating VA’s from the beginning will allow me to build my business so that it can run without my constant oversight down the road.
Most people, if they won $10,000 in the lottery would take a vacation or buy a new TV or toy.  I’d head straight over to oDesk and hire a full time assistant.  God that’d be nice.  We all experience those days when your life is crazy and you can barely find time to eat, let alone dedicate a few hours to your REI biz.  Now imagine no matter what your day is like, there is a dedicated employee working 8 hours on your tasks and to-do list.  Pulling leads, returning calls, setting up mail campaigns, or any task you assign.
As soon as I can pay and support hiring a full-time VA I’ll be all over it.  For now though, I’m searching for a part-timer who will slowly take over some of the routine day-to-day tasks bogging me down.  Have you hired a VA?  Why or why not?