LOCAL OR OVERSEAS VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
Is it always necessary that a VA should be local?
Choosing to hire a local VA or an overseas one depends on your needs as a business owner. There is no right or wrong answer to this decision. But if you are unsure and you want to make an informed decision, please read on
Why Hire a Local VA?
There are many good reasons why you should hire a local VA instead of looking for one overseas. Here are a few of the reasons:
- No Time Difference – Working in different time zones can slow down communication between you and your VA. You will have to wait a few hours before getting a reply to a question. But by hiring a local virtual assistant, communication will be constant and immediate. While you may be working from different locations, you will be working at the same time.
- No Language Barrier – While overseas VAs can speak English, their proficiency will vary from one virtual assistant to another. With a local VA however, you won’t have to worry about instructions being lost in translation. You won’t need to talk slowly or repeat yourself to be understood.
- Know the Culture – A local VA will know the local lingo and company practices. You won’t have to spend extra time training them or explaining business slang. They will ‘get it’ the moment you say it.
- Physical Presence – Being able to meet your VA at a project site gives you a chance to see how they work. It also means the virtual assistant can get first-hand information from the site and you with zero waiting time.
Why Hire an Overseas VA?
Despite the advantages of hiring a local VA, there are advantages to hiring an overseas one. Some of these advantages can come from the supposed disadvantages.
- Time Flexibility – Working in different time zones means your VA can do specific tasks during specific hours, like 24/7 customer service. While communication will be slow, it’s not a big disadvantage if the VA’s tasks can be done without being monitored.
- Plenty Overseas VAs – When you want to hire an overseas VA you won’t be lacking in choices. By going online and doing a little research, you can create and refine an extensive list of potential virtual assistants to hire. And if you find your first VA’s performance lacking, you can quickly go back online and look for another.
- Cost-Effective – Hiring an overseas VA is great for businesses with a small budget. Virtual assistants from countries like India or the Philippines are willing to work for as low as 5 US Dollars an hour. Local VAs won’t be as willing.
- Quick Learners – Overseas virtual assistants are known to be quick learners because of how competitive the international VA market is. They need to learn and understand quickly to stay ahead of others. This is a good trait for your VA to have, especially if you want them to handle a number of different tasks.
What should you choose?
It must also be said that the advantages listed above are not exclusive. There are plenty of overseas VAs with first-hand knowledge of your local culture, and there are some local VAs who might only work during the odd hours of the night. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, what VA you choose will depend on your business needs.