Outsourcing Overseas virtual assistants

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing to Overseas Virtual Assistants

By Staff Writer

Did the latest "expert" tell you it's time to hire a virtual assistant for your coaching business?

Did they also tell you that you can find someone cheap overseas?

You might want to do your homework before you jump in and hire an overseas virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants are individuals who work remotely. They provide businesses with the administrative, technical or creative support services they need. 

The term Virtual Assistant was first used in the 1990s. During this time there was a rise in high-speed internet, document sharing, and other technological advances. These advances made it possible for many people to work for companies without having to come into the workplace.

Today, the use of virtual assistants is widespread. Coaches and consultants now have the option to outsource work to overseas virtual assistants. But, hiring assistants outside of the United States isn't always the best choice.  So, entrepreneurs must consider the pros and cons of hiring overseas.

overseas va

The Pros of Overseas Virtual Assistants

Overseas virtual assistants can help coaches in many ways. They save coaches money, do important work and can work during hours when the average American worker is at home in bed.  For many coaches, the work that off-shore virtual assistants do is very important. These might be jobs it isn't easy to find an American worker to do.  

In Great Demand

Coaches need the help that virtual assistants can give.  They often need help to grow but don't have the space or money to hire full-time workers.  Many new small businesses are not able to get their work done without the help of virtual assistants. Virtual assistants from foreign countries can make it easy and affordable to get many important jobs done.    

Advantages Of Foreign Virtual Assistants 

There are many reasons coaches and consultants look overseas for the virtual assistants they need.  Some of those reasons include:

  1. They Cost A Lot Less
  2. Foreign VAs Are Always Available 
  3. They Have Experience
  4. Well Educated Workers
  5. They Celebrate Different Holidays

1. They Cost A Lot Less

The number one reason coaches hire virtual assistants from foreign countries is that they cost a lot less. The amount of money paid to virtual assistants from other countries is a lot less than their American counterparts.  A virtual assistant in India, China or the Philippines will gladly work for $6 an hour. The cost of living in these countries is often much lower than it is in the United States. Most American workers can't live on the same low wage.  Coaches can keep their expenses down by hiring overseas virtual assistants. 

2. They Are Always Available

There are hundreds of millions of people in China and India who cannot find work.  They are regularly available to work for American businesses. There are many people around the world that have the time and the skills to work as virtual assistants. Because work is hard to find in their countries, they would be glad to get the chance to make some money.  They are always available to small businesses who want to offer them work and regular pay. 

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3. They Have Experience

In many places outside the United States, people have been working as virtual assistants for a long time.  This means there are many people who already know how to do the work small businesses need to have done. They are often trained with specific skills useful to completed tasks that many small businesses depend on.   

4. Well Educated Workers

It's not uncommon to find people with college degrees that can't find work in their home countries. These people are happy to work for low pay.  In the U.S. most people with college degrees would not be willing to work for such low pay. By hiring virtual assistants overseas, small business owners can have their pick from millions of unemployed people with bachelor's, master's and even PhDs who would be glad to get any type of work.     

5. They Celebrate Different Holidays

People around the world celebrate different holidays than they do in the United States. When small business owners have trouble finding Americans willing to work on holidays, there are many people in China, India and the Philippines that don't observe those holidays. They will be glad to work as virtual assistants on any day of the year without asking for higher holiday pay.  

american va

The Cons of Overseas Virtual Assistants

Disadvantages Of Hiring An Overseas Virtual Assistant 

In many cases, there are several advantages to hiring virtual assistants from overseas. However, there are also disadvantages to having someone from overseas serve as a virtual assistant.  They include:

  1. Language Differences
  2. Internet And Phone Connection Problems
  3. Better Customer Service
  4. No Time Difference
  5. Better Knowledge Of Culture
  6. Security Concerns

1. Language Differences

Many virtual assistants in countries outside the U.S. may be comfortable and competent speaking English as a second language. But there are often words and phrases that can be misinterpreted.  This can cause the overseas virtual assistant to misunderstand questions or the instructions given to them. It can cause a problem with details that someone who grew up speaking English usually won't have. As a coach who is hiring to save time, this communication gap can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Instructions may need to go through several iterations before the VA truly understands the request.

2. Internet And Phone Connection Problems

In some countries, it's difficult to set up internet and cellphone connections and keep them working properly.  This can make it difficult to work with a virtual assistant that is overseas. Coaches need to be able to always reach their virtual assistants so they can get their work done on time. If the virtual assistant doesn't have dependable internet and phone service, it can prevent them from getting the work done on time. This can make businesses lose clients and money. 

3. Better Customer Service

One of the number one complaints about customer service is dealing with overseas call centers. Clients prefer to communicate with English speakers without thick accents.  They feel more comfortable with American virtual assistants. Ones that can understand what the customer wants faster, easier and better. American virtual assistants understand American clients better, can understand and solve their problems quicker and help the client to have a better overall experience.  Clients get exactly what they need and are happier and more satisfied when the phone call ends.   

4. No Time Difference

One problem some small business owners have when working with virtual assistants who are overseas is the time difference.  The coach may tell the overseas virtual assistant they want something done by the end of the day. But because there's a 12 hour difference in the time zones they are in, that can cause confusion. Working with an American based virtual assistant where there's little or no time difference can make things go smoother.  If you ask for something to be done by the end of the work day they know exactly what you mean. This is something to consider when thinking about hiring a virtual assistant

5. Better Knowledge Of The Culture

Another problem with virtual assistants in another country is their lack of familiarity with the culture. From local places to commonly accepted points of view, culture plays heavily in most small businesses. Google Search can only help overseas-based virtual assistants so much. Often simple requests like finding an Airbnb near the airport or expressing the latest trends in marketing can leave an overseas virtual assistant stumped.  However, a U.S. based virtual assistant can fulfill that same request in a flash. And when it comes to business decisions, the time it takes to get work done can mean the difference between success and failure.

6. Security Concerns

Scam operations, privacy and data breaches, and intellectual property vulnerability are all potential security concerns when working with overseas VAs.   Laws vary greatly from country to country. Overseas virtual assistants don't have to follow the same laws as American virtual assistants. If you need to go to litigation against an overseas virtual assistant for any reason, filing a lawsuit can be extremely challenging. 

Pros and cons of outsourcing to overseas virtual assistants

Pros And Cons

There are several pros and cons to hiring overseas virtual assistants. It's important to know what these are when evaluating options. Business owners must look at both the advantages and disadvantages and decide if hiring a virtual assistant from abroad will make the most sense for their business.

Consider both the time as well as the investment before making your decision. And remember, a Virtual Assistant may not actually be what your business needs.

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