Ready to outsource some of your workload but unsure if you should hire an offshore or local virtual assistant? Then this video is for you.
I asked myself the exact same questions when starting out. I have now worked with both local and offshore VA’s and in the video below I share what I learned.
For those who are keen readers, below is the transcript of the above video, for your reading pleasure!
Today I would like to talk about something that sometimes people can have strong ideas about. That is using a virtual assistant that is local and Australian, or in your own country, versus a Filipino or other country offshore virtual assistant, that is comparatively cheaper.
What’s the fuss About?
I know some people can have super strong ideas about, "yup, just use the super cheap option. Why would you pay more?" Other people are like, "you need to employ people locally and support your local community." I actually think there's a time and a place for both. And this is based on my experience, as I've used both options.
Benefits of Local
Local virtual assistants, and staff in general, obviously have a better knowledge of local language, our culture, the way we work and the way things get done. They've got more local experience and some businesses need that local knowledge of locations and what's happening locally. They are also in the same time zone most of the time.
Sometimes, and it's hard to say without offending some people, but sometimes local people, and not necessarily all, are better at taking initiative and project managing. I hate to say it, but local people tend to be able to employ a bit more common sense sometimes.
Downside of Local
Local virtual assistants are always, always going to be a higher cost. Just because we have that higher cost of living. Our most basic hourly rate is always going to be more expensive than someone in the Philippines, for example.
Benefits of Offshore
The benefits of using an offshore virtual assistant is that it's cheaper. They have a lower cost of living than us. They're good at following existing processes. If it's something that's repetitive, process driven, they'll do that no problems at all. So if it's something that you've got fleshed out of step by step, and it's something that's Regular, ongoing tasks offshore virtual assistants excel at.
Shouldn’t we be Supporting Local People??
There is often a question about supporting local people vs offshore virtual assistants. People questioned me about it when I hired my Filipino VA.
For me, when I was first starting out and needing more hours of support, I couldn't actually afford the prices of a local virtual assistant for the hours that I wanted. Hiring someone that was a lot cheaper overseas, allowed me to actually grow and get to the point where I could then hire somebody locally. So if I hadn't of been able to do that, I might not have gotten to the point where I was hiring someone locally, and then, I wasn't supporting anybody! So I think it was a good thing for me, and it's a good thing in certain situations.
The way I saw it, and still do, is that people are people no matter where they live. We all need to support our families and get by. It doesn't matter what bit of ground you live on to me. My small budget that I had at the time, could make a huge difference to that family in that place because, even though it was a tiny amount to me, it was actually a decent income for her. I saw that as a win win.
More Offshore Benefits
The other benefits with someone in the Philippines as compared to here on the east coast of Australia, it that there was only two hours time difference. A lot of the time, offshore virtual assistants are even happy to start earlier so that she is starting at 9:00am when I'm starting.
Their English is really great, and we communicated via Skype every day. We were always talking and always chatting online, so communication wasn't a problem. And half the time, even though they had typhoons and all sorts of stuff, a lot of the time her internet was actually faster than mine! There's no issues with any of that stuff!
Downside of Offshore
I got to the point where I needed an extra level of support. I was having to manage what needed to be done too much. My Filipino VA was awesome at the regular tasks that were the same every time. But as my business grew, I had more different and varying things that I needed help with.
It was getting too hard for me to manage both my work load and an offshore virtual assistant.
But using that cheaper option was super beneficial to me at the time when I was just getting started.
What I found, which worked out well for me, was that in speaking with a couple of clients along the way, both of them had worked with Filipino VAs and found it all too hard. The two that I'm thinking of I'm still working with today. They found that there was too much going backwards and forwards. They were having to explain everything to N-th degree. I ended up saying, "I've got my Filipino VA, why don't I explain all that for you? All you do is just give me what you want done. I'll be the middle man and I'll get it done! Whether I do it or my VA does it, you don't need to worry about how it actually gets done." That was my advantage and the advantage for them of having a local, more highly skilled VA on board.
These days, all three of my team members and myself are all local. I do find that it is all is a lot easier. So when you can afford it, I totally believe that local is better. Even though we cost a little bit more, you do get what you pay for. If you can afford to pay that bit more of an hourly rate, you kind of have to weigh up paying a higher hourly rate, but something might get done in an hour. Whereas for the cheaper hourly rate, it might take a few hours and more of your time going backwards and forwards managing and getting them to fix things that aren't right the first time.
So that's my ramble on that topic! I definitely feel there is a time and place for both. It just depends on what stage you're at. Weighing up if you need to save money to grow or is it time to spend money to grow? Have you got the time to manage it or if you just need it done and don't have time to manage it?
As always, I love hearing your thoughts on these topics!
Have you tried offshore virtual assistants? And what has your experience been? Have you worked with local people, and how have you found it? Or are you tossing up between the two options? I hope that this video has given you some insight into my experiences that you may find helpful. Let me know in the comments below!