Recently I had a wonderful conversation with a potential client. He was thrilled with the idea of working with me in my Virtual Assistant (VA) practice and all the benefits gained. But, when discussing the various tasks he needed to delegate, with nearly half the items he would say, “You don’t need to do that, I’ll get an overseas assistant—it’s cheaper.”
That working relationship didn’t work out for other reasons, but it did make me wonder, if this established businessman thought so many of his tasks could be outsourced, “What are the differences of working with an overseas versus a stateside Virtual Assistant?”
Since I am a stateside Virtual Assistant you probably think I will resolutely say, “Go with a stateside Virtual Assistant!” Nope. What I will do is give you some things to think about so you can decide which is best for you and your business. If you want the quick answer, scroll down to the red text.
Working with someone who gets work done while you sleep and works for a tenth of the price of a stateside Virtual Assistant could look very appealing. Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Consider these points.
How will you find an overseas assistant? You can look at foreign job boards for Virtual Assistants who possess the skill set you need. This is time intensive, but can produce good results if you clearly know what you’re looking for, have experience interviewing candidates and have enough free time on your hands to qualify the candidates.
What type of work can you outsource? To name just a few:
Are offshore assistants really so inexpensive? It’s true off-shore Virtual Assistants are cheaper by the hour — I’ve seen $3 to $15 per hour — but that can be misleading. Before delegating to an offshore Virtual Assistant, you may do a lot of up-front work to convey what you want, time they charge for. Even then, sometimes you spend more time (and money) managing that person than you anticipated.
A friend of mine recently hired an offshore assistant for a one-off job formatting a 172 page document. The whole job was quoted for $25 — super cheap, right? What he got back was a bill for $46 (without advance notice), and a half a day of proofing and reformatting the same document because the offshore assistant didn’t do the work according to written instructions.
Do you know who is working for you? Most offshore Virtual Assistants are not business owners; they usually work for an outsourcing company. So even if you spend a lot of time qualifying your overseas Virtual Assistant they could be replaced tomorrow. There’s also the security and legal complications. You don’t really know where or to whom you’re sending your files.
Even if you’re sending non-sensitive information for formatting, is there any sort of proprietary information included that you don’t want the competition getting their hands on. Some tasks may be a non-issue, but that’s not an Assistant, that’s freelance work.
You can find us through Google search or through trusted organizations like the AssistU Registry. A stateside Virtual Assistant can take care of all the same tasks an overseas VA, and usually a lot more, like project management or event coordination.
We can also speak and write for you; not only in your native tongue but also in your voice. Stateside Virtual Assistants can listen to you speak just a few words about what you want done, and make it happen. The more a stateside VA knows about your needs, and the longer we know you, the less time it will take to do your work.
Also, stateside Virtual Assistants are business owners. We are invested in your business, we spend time strategizing and becoming a partner in your business. Our goal is to establish ongoing business relationship with you to help you reach your goals, and develop your company. It’s mutually beneficial because your success is our success. And, you can reach us easily by phone or by plane if necessary.Yes, the downside of a stateside Virtual Assistant is that we are more expensive than someone overseas. Sorry…I have to say it, “You get what you pay for.”
One caveat here: Even with stateside Virtual Assistants, please make sure you work with someone who gets what it means to run a business profitably. If someone is trying to run a Virtual Assistant practice for less than $30 per hour then they’re probably not going to be around for long because that is just not profitable. A good median price is $50 per hour.
Here is your short answer: Choosing between working with an overseas or stateside Virtual Assistant boils down to the type of relationship you want for you and your business.
>> A stateside Virtual Assistant becomes your long-term collaborator and partner for success.
>> An offshore service can help you with various tasks for the short-term.
If you know you want the type of VA that invests in your business, and will offer support that moves you forward, contact me and let’s see if we’re a good fit!