I’ve been working with support from the Philippines for coming up to two years now, and more recently have been helping other people hire offshore virtual assistants with our 90 Days to Your Gun VA Program. When I talk to people about hiring offshore, there are three recurring objections / concerns:
- You’re taking jobs away from Australians. I’ve always been a bit perplexed by this argument. I’ve travelled in India and The Philippines, and to be honest I reckon there are people there who need jobs a lot more than we do here. The other point here is that it’s not one-for-one. With my business as it is I’d only hire one assistant in Australia. Currently we have two in the Philippines, and we’re hiring two more … which means that there is lot more work being done and value being created than if we were just in Australia. Likewise many people who couldn’t afford local support can afford an offshore VA.
- How can you trust someone you’ve never met? I think there is something else underlying this. I don’t think anyone would be asking that question if I hired someone in Perth without meeting them in person. Interestingly, so far I have never heard of any theft or fraud happening from a virtual assistant … and I’ve yet to work with anyone in retail who hasn’t had a problem with staff theft.
- It’s not the same as being in the same room. I think this is actually true, but not necessarily a bad thing. And to be honest I actually prefer it. (I’m an introvert if you hadn’t guessed.) Having said that, with Skype and GoToMeeting it’s possible to get pretty close to the experience of being in the same room. But for some people this is a deal breaker, and fair enough.
Contextually I think this is part of a bigger trend. Similar to manufacturing moving offshore over the last 50 years, more and more admin tasks will be moved offshore over the coming decade … whether we like it or not.
I think there is a great opportunity in this. If you have a local assistant, how much more effective could he be if he had a virtual assistant working for him? If you have a job, how much more productive could you be with someone supporting you … even if you were paying for it? And if you run a business or a practice, what would two or three people supporting you look like?
Love to hear your thoughts – what do you think about the trend towards offshore support? You can leave them below.