Having spent years building my business in this industry, I get to meet and talk with A LOT of people, which is great, because I love a good chat! After a while you begin to pick up on common reservations business owners experience when they first consider outsourcing a Virtual Assistant.
Most recognise that they need assistance, but are unsure of exactly what a VA can do for them and how to function in a remote working relationship. The fear of the unknown, and the preconceived pitfalls of global outsourcing can also make a potential client hesitant to explore their options.
There are four fears of outsourcing that keep cropping up when I start a conversation with a business owner looking into outsourcing – a lot of the them.
1. The Cost
The ideas of what an international VA costs can vary, with some people expecting an bargain basement hourly rate, whereas others take a more realistic approach – it’s wise to not be too much of a price shopper and to look at the savings you will make with a good offshore VA, compared to what you would pay onshore. In Australia’s high wage high cost economy, hiring an employee has many accompanying overheads such as equipment, utilities, super and paid holidays. These are the types of expense you bypass when you outsource. For a monthly sum that is less than a quarter of what you would pay an employee with the same skills you can have a full time Virtual Assistant. Having a VA will free up time for you to work on aspects of your business that bring in income – think of it as an investment in the your business growth!
2. The Language Barrier
I chose to recruit my VA’s from the Philippines, where English is an official language together with the Filipino language and the literacy rate is 92.6%. Most of my VA’s have years of experience working virtually so are used to communicating through virtual means. The key is to be clear and concise in your instructions – have regular skype meetings and draw up detailed written procedures for the tasks you require. If you do this right, you’ll find that there really is no language barrier at all. Walk down your street, go to the shops, pick up a phone and you’ll hear an accent – in this global economy people are becoming used to working with people from different cultures and countries and what may have seemed foreign ten years ago is commonplace now. Rest assured that both you and your VA will adjust to each other’s styles and ways of communicating.
3. The Time it Takes to Train
This is a toughie, as there is really no easy way to avoid spending time training your VA. Even a highly experienced assistant will need to be shown the ropes and be trained in the how, what and why of your business. If you want to get this right the first time around, I suggest spending time before you contract your VA writing out task lists and procedures and setting up the programs you’ll need. This will be an immediate help once you’ve hired your VA and its go time! Knowing this, I have created a special premium service called the EASY Start Package that addresses this need, by helping business owners lock down exactly what they need their VA to do for them, setting up procedures and planning the best way to run your outsourcing.
4. The Time Difference
Living ‘Down Under’ you will find that the two major players in global outsourcing (China and India) have a vast difference in time to us, so working with a VA from there on a day to day basis can be difficult to schedule. The same can be said for a lot of the European countries where outsourcing graphic and web design is popular. Thankfully, because all of our VA’s come from the Philippines they are only 3 hours behind us, so on an average day you can expect your VA to be online from 10am to 7pm Monday to Friday – a difference that is comparable to the lag between eastern and western Australia!
So if you’re considering an offshore VA for your business, don’t let fear stand in your way. We’re here to answer your queries and support you at every step!
If you’ve any questions, leave a comment below!