If you are like most business owners, someone has told you that you need to outsource to be genuinely successful. You’ve made a list of the tasks you would like to outsource and think you know what sort of skills you need your ideal VA to have. Now, if you have gotten this far on my website, then you probably already know the value that a Virtual Assistant can bring, but maybe you still feel like you have questions: should you find a VA in the Philippines or one in the US/UK/Canada? How much should you be paying? How much responsibility should they have?
The answer to all these questions is: It depends. Something I have noticed about being a VA is that the relationship between VA and client is like dating. Similar to dating, there are different kinds of relationships you can hope to aim for. Sometimes you want a one night stand: something quick, easy, with no commitments that fulfil your immediate needs. Other times you want something more profound. You are ready to put in the work and build the relationship. You know that communication is vital, and there will be struggles, but ultimately the hard work will allow both of you to grow. Other times you don’t know what you are aiming for but are open to see where things go.
Whilst having a list of tasks that you want your VA to complete is an essential step towards finding your business bestie, knowing what sort of partnership you are aiming for will also help you immensely.
If you want things done exactly as asked and want it done cheaply, then perhaps search for a VA in the Philippines or on UpWork. The overseas VA can be especially useful for tasks that aren’t on a tight deadline, as you need to factor in time differences when thinking about back and forth communication.
If you are ready to bring on a partner for the long haul, then you will need to invest more time upfront in searching for the right person. I highly encourage you to search for someone who has not only the skills but also the personality to compliment you. This person should be excited to help you grow. They ideally should believe in your mission and what you are hoping to do in the world. They should be able to look at their task list, ask the clarifying questions and potentially suggest other ways of solving the problem. They become your business bestie, an indispensable member of your team.
While this form of relationship can be created with an overseas VA, it tends to be rarer. When building these long term relationships, it can be helpful to have video meetings to go over strategies and goals, and this can get tricky with the time difference. There are also cultural factors to take into consideration; if you are working with someone from a culture you do not know well, misunderstandings can arise. None of this is insurmountable, just a factor to consider when interviewing and researching.
The biggest drawback to the UK/USA/Canada VA is cost. These VAs, especially if they handle technology-based tasks, will cost considerably more than their overseas counterpart. It can feel scary to throw down a large sum of money but done correctly; this investment will be returned not only in currency but in time spent doing more of what you love. If you had more time to spend with your family, would you? What about more time to create? To write? How much is that worth to you? It may be that the cost to invest in a local VA isn’t worth the money to you right now, and that’s perfectly ok. However, getting clear around that will allow you to be more effective in your VA search.