I am an Australian Virtual Assistant, my passion is to help small businesses grow to be the best they can be.
When I tell people that I am a VA, I sometimes get a funny look. They either don’t know what a VA is, assume I am one of ‘them’ like the VA’s from overseas, or that I am doing this for a hobby – and it’s not a real job. This really does frustrate me, and I feel that I need to educate them as to what a real VA is.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is any person, male or female, that can do their job remotely. These Virtual Assistants are contractors, and are industry experts that come from a range of fields, including but not limited to:
• Web design
• Admin and secretarial services
• Desktop publishers
• Life coaches
• Business mentors
• Social media marketing
• Financial planners
• Mortgage Brokers
As business owners, we are constantly pressed for time and am constantly juggling all the things that need to be done to keep our business running. We also, get to the point where we think about outsourcing tasks, but worry about doing so – VA’s are only overseas right? No, we have an amazing VA industry right here in Australia.
There are many reasons to outsource certain tasks in your business – it saves you time and in the long term can save you money. But when outsourcing, have you ever considered outsourcing to someone here in Australia?
I was at a digital marketing seminar last year when the person presenting started talking about outsourcing tasks. This really got my interest and I sat up to pay attention. They made comments like ‘Just put what you want on fiver – that’s what I did, someone from overseas did it and now, as a result, I am able to employ staff here.’ and ‘it’s cheap – and you get things done that would cost more if you went to a web designer, but do be careful who use ‘.
Being a VA myself, I quickly raised my hand and asked the question – ‘why would you outsource overseas when you have Virtual Assistants or Virtual Contractors here in Australia who are experts in their field, that could do exactly the same thing, for about the same price?’ Everyone in the room turned and looked at me. I was then asked if I was one of them – I proudly said yes.
Nothing upsets me more than hearing stories of businesses outsourcing tasks overseas as it is cheap, but then complain that the task is not quite done how they like or that it had to be redone because the overseas VA did not understand the language used or the actual task. This gives the VA industry, including here in Australia, a bad reputation. I then shared with everyone the reasons why you should choose an Australian VA over an Overseas one.
- Australian Virtual Contactors understand the Australian language.
- Understand the Australian consumer laws.
- Are in the same time zone and are happy to chat via phone, video conferencing not just email.
- Are qualified industry experts – not someone learning/training to get qualified.
- You are giving a fellow Australian a jobSuffice to say, that day myself and the fellow VA’s I was with did a lot of networking – so many local businesses where keen to know all about what we did, were we were located, and if we could help them.
At a local business network meeting, I was also last year, when I introduced myself and what I did, a fellow businessman said to me ‘oh I have a VA from overseas’. My response to him was ‘So how is that going for you?’ he was surprised but then confided in me that he found out the hard way that he had to be very specific with what needs to be done by this overseas VA, as they did not quite understand what was needed, and he had to redo that task himself. So in a nutshell, he felt he had initially wasted his money, but now he knew what they could and could not do – he was also surprised when I pointed out to him that we had many amazing Virtual Assistants here in Australia – and he was one of them. He was a web designer working remotely from a home office.
The VA industry has grown here in Australia and we now even Virtual Assistant Networks here in Australia that can help you find a Virtual Assistant for your business – I am members of a few of these amazing networks. These networks help to connect business owners with the right VA and also provide amazing support to the VAs that are members of them. Two of the best local networks in my opinion are:
Virtual Assistant Networks
The Virtually Yours Virtual Assistant Network is based in Melbourne and is run by the amazing Rosie Shilo. There are members from right across Australia in this network. You can browse the contractor listing or submit a job lead to Virtually Yours outlining what you need to have done, the experience you need the VA to have, and how to contact you. The members see that job lead, and if that job lead is what they excel in, they will then email you an application for that job. You will then be able to go through and pick the VA’s that you would like to chat with and then pick the one that is the best fit for you. You even have the option to have ‘referenced checked’ contractors only respond to your job lead. Reference Checked Contractors are people that have been vetted to do the task. You can find more information about Virtually Yours here.
The VA Directory
The VA Directory is a global network but has its own Australian branch run by Kathie Thomas from A Claytons Secretary, which has members right across Australia. You can do a search on the state you are in and view the VA Directory listing to find a VA near you, or you can post a job lead for the task that you need to be done. This job lead is then emailed to the VA’s and the VA’s will then respond directly to the job lead. VA directory then goes through these job leads and the VA’s that are most suitable are then forwarded to the client to choose from. You can find more information about the Va Directory here.
If you are looking for a VA to outsource some of your business tasks to, then look in Australia first – I am part of an amazing network of Vas that do everything from Social media content planning and scheduling, bookkeeping, admin and secretarial support, web design, marketing, graphic design and more. Not only will you have an industry expert that will be easily contactable, understand the language used, tasks required, etc– you will be helping a fellow Australian Small Business.
So next time you need a VA – think local. We have some of the world’s best talent right here in our own back yard.