There was a great post by David recently at Webby Online. David lists himself as an Internet Entrepreneur and he was on the search for suitable support for his business. He’d done the usual search in places such as elance.com and had to work through a number of rather varied bids but then came across vanetworking.com and placed an RFP there. He actually explained what things meant, even what a VA is and then the processes he went through. He has now found a VA who ‘has a real penchant for internet work’.
It was an excellent message of value versus dollars and again demonstrates how important it is to really look at what you’re getting for your dollar. If you’re only paying $5 an hour for a service obviously what you get from that person is going to be very different from another who charges $40 an hour. The other thing that needs to be taken into account is the currency differences from country to country. His observations for the difference between the two groups were that many at elance.com had a poor command of written English and were not true VAs although they responded to the call for a VA. Some were programmers, whereas the responses from vanetworking demonstrated that the VAs who responded really did ‘know their stuff and offered good detail in their proposals’.
I placed a comment on his blog that said:
Going through a VA network is definitely the right way to find a VA. They are already business minded, have good office experience and frequently have a corporate background. Their rates will vary considerably depending on their geographic location (cost of living) and their skills and experience, and also based on the particular services they offer. Basic typing is obviously going to cost less than something that requires a lot more brain power and knowledge such as database maintenance, website design and maintenance or even bookkeeping.
The beauty of the industry is that you donâ€™t have to one one VA supporting you – you can have a few, each working in their own specialisations. Me? Iâ€™m in Australia (hence the non-US spelling) but do support clients outside of my own country and work towards being conscious of their spelling, grammatical and other cultural needs.
If you are looking for a VA I encourage you to read David’s post in full and consider carefully that the $$ you pay for a VA is an investment in your business – after the initial settling in period you should be able to expect that the VA gets on with the work so you don’t have to be constantly checking things and can get on with what you do best – building your business! KMT