A good portion of my side income is from virtual assistant work. This can be many things, but basically someone hires me for a task that, while not always glamorous, allows me to make extra money using just my laptop.

I’ve done several things, from data research for a fashion-based business, to building a websites for another client, to typing someone’s X-rated novel.


50 Shades of Grey (Hair, That Is)

You see, it all started with Craigslist. (I bet lots of interesting stories begin like that.)

I responded to an ad in the computer gigs section from a guy who needed someone to type his novel. His ad explained that he was not tech-savvy, so he hand-writes everything. He needed someone to type his writing into a word document, and upon completion, he’d pay extra to have it formatted as an e-book.

It sounded easy enough. I gave him a quote and he gave me the gig. Before I started, I asked him to send over a writing sample so I could make sure I could read his handwriting. It was, so we agreed upon the price and turnaround time. At this point, he mentioned that his book was an erotic novel.

Ok, I read 50 Shades – so what? I mean, we’re all adults here. He sent the pages and I cashed the check. The funny thing is, he included a business card in the package, and it had his photo. He looked like a friendly fella. He also looked like my Grampa.

Good for him, I thought!

Then I started typing… let’s just say that the kink was in full effect. But that didn’t bother me. What bothered me was the fact that the book was poorly written. I mean, it was terrible! It had inconsistencies, and things that just weren’t right. Names didn’t match up, and for someone who is totally Type A, well, this was a major problem.

Keep in mind I was getting paid only to type. I would not be doing any editing. But once I began, the OCD in me wanted to correct things. But how do you call Gramps and say, “No way could she take off her underwear because earlier you said she wasn’t wearing any!”

I emailed him and asked if he’d like to add on some basic editing as a service, and he said, “No. That’s why I don’t let my wife type these for me, because she goes around and changes stuff.”

Smart woman.

So there I am, typing bad porn… and after finishing the 8 chapters he sent, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Not only was it just bad, I had underestimated the time it would take per page, and after doing the math, I was only making about $10/hr. I sent him his book and turned down more work from him.

I felt kind of bad because he said he had already gone through 2 people who hadn’t worked out, but honestly, I understood why.

But I still gotta give it to the old guy. Bad writing or not, his mind was still young, that’s for sure!

What’s the weirdest or most embarrassing job you’ve done?  Leave a comment!

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