I periodically get emails from new VAs who are seeking work as a VA. Most of the time they are from countries in which English is not their native language, and they offer to take on my work and do it at a much cheaper rate so that I am still getting paid by my client at my normal rate but they’re doing it for me at a cheaper rate. Whilst, in theory, this might seem like a good idea to the new VA who is keen to get established, there are a number of problems with this approach:
1. Virtual Assistants need to be seeking clients of their own to gain experience in dealing with clients. There will be times when another VA will outsource to them but usually after a relationship has been built.
2. If a VA chose to subcontract to another VA there is still responsibility that needs to be undertaken to ensure the job is completed satisfactorily to the required standards. This means that if a senior VA (shall we say) gave a job to a junior VA to be done at a cheaper rate, the senior VA still needs to spend time checking the work to ensure it is suitably completed before passing it to the client. In some instances it would mean that the senior VA makes very little on the job once the junior VA has been paid and time has been spent going through the job to ensure it is at their own particular standard. Although the junior VA may charge a much lower rate, chances are the senior VA could complete the work in a faster time period – very little ‘saving’ is therefore made on behalf of the senior VA to outsource to a newer VA.
3. Most VAs are not going to outsource work to someone they do not know and have yet to learn anything about with respect to work standards and abilities.
4. Many of the VA networks on the web provide an opportunity for all VAs to learn and share from one another, and on occasion, outsource work to a VA that they feel they’ve come to know over time and trust.
5. If a VA already belongs to a network they are more likely to outsource or share a jobload with someone they’ve developed a relationship with, rather than to an unknown who has approached them by email.
My advice to new VAs: Please take the time to get to know and understand the industry you’ve just joined and become a member of some of the VA networks. Learn how to respond to ‘real’ client requests so that you can work with the client, rather than through another VA. There really is little advantage in many cases to outsource to another VA work that still has to be checked thoroughly before being passed onto the client.