One of the most popular is to hire a virtual assistant (VA). The internet has made it possible to hire and work with professionals all over the world. There are companies that are just beginning to work with Virtual Assistants. For them, one of the biggest questions is: do we hire Virtual Assistants from our home country, nearby, or in Asia?
Do we hire Virtual Assistants from our home country, nearby, or in Asia? There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
In-country VA – Every nation has thousands of virtual assistants willing to work for you. The real problem is that they are part of the same economy. Consequently, they are likely to need the same pay rate as someone who is working right in your office. The major advantage is the likelihood that an in-country VA will be able to communicate easily. Both because they are in your time zone and because they speak your language.
Offshore VAs – Throughout Southeast Asia, China, India, and elsewhere, there are hundreds of thousands of Virtual Assistants that offer their services. These are hard-working competent people that can be excellent for certain needs. For a general VA, you will want someone that you can communicate with easily. This means they need to speak your language fluently and be in the same time zone. For European companies, this likely won’t work. For some services, such as the development of a mobile app or a website, the time difference is not usually a problem. But for a VA that is meant to be a general assistant, such as answering phones or tracking your appointments, this can be hugely inconvenient.
The most significant advantage of Asian VAs is that they can be significantly less expensive. The cost of hiring a VA from Asia can be less than 10% of working with a VA in-country.
Near-shore VAs – In Europe, there is one major advantage that the Americas and even Australians don’t have. There are tens of thousands of professional VAs who can help you perform all of your work. Nations like the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine have excellent and qualified VAs that can offer much of the cost savings of Asian employees, as well as the language and time zone advantages of an in-country VA. Many of these professionals have lived and worked around Europe, giving them the linguistic advantages you need. Of course, the time zone difference is likely less than a few hours, so no one needs to work in the middle of the night.
The only major caution is to be sure to use a qualified agency to work through. There are several agencies in Europe that have VAs in Eastern Europe that can work for you. An agency will help you find the right people to do the job, without the risk of being taken advantage of.