There’s been interesting discussions in Australia and the US via the various VA forums, about businesses outsourcing offshore versus inside their own shores. We feel that it is often important to do business with people who know how business is done in one’s own country, and all that entails with respect to legalities, taxes, IP, and so on for many of the services provided. Not all, but many.
A VA colleague recently came across an article in the US that discusses those same things and the concern for local jobs within their own shores because of the constant promotion about outsourcing offshore. Actually there are quite a few articles. When I began looking into it I found links for several others such as these here, here and here. This Australian article is about what has happened to one bank in Canada due to their decision to offshore some of their workers. And here are some articles relating to businesses in Australia here, here and here. The first discusses the pros and cons of off-shoring versus engaging in Australia. Cost should never be the only factor the writer says. The last one raises an interesting point. If you are an Australian based VA and you are working with a team that are in different countries, what information is being sent where relating to your clients? And do your clients know this? The reality is that technology is now global in many cases – our hosting, backup services and even software programs are in the cloud. But what about who is actually working on the documentation, databases, bookkeeping, etc? And who has access to what? Are there the same concerns in other countries relating to this?
This article talks about what we can learn from India and what they are doing. It also raises about the changes happening here in Australia and involvement from our government.
I agree that there is room for off-shoring some services but find comments that they couldn’t find anyone here in Australia difficult to comprehend, or that they’re a brand new business and can’t afford to pay Australian rates. All of us have been brand new in our businesses at some stage and have had to engage support here in Australia to help us get things going. I’m sure this is the same for those in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and elsewhere. In this case I’m speaking about the Virtual Assistant industry and related industries of bookkeeping, graphic design, web design, transcriptions, and so on. If you Google “Australian Virtual Assistant” or “Virtual Assistant Australia” there are lots of references to Australian based VAs, their networks and their Industry Association. So I have no idea what potential clients may be searching on if they’re not finding Australian based VAs. And if you’re a brand new business it’s important to think about how you’re going to build your business here locally. Are you networking, meeting people face-to-face and building a support team around you as well as a set of resources? Are your own potential clients local or overseas? Engaging local support will help widen your local business circle and many VAs help their clients to make connections in many different ways. Remember, while I’m talking about Australia above, this very much applies to any country where the Virtual Assistant industry is present.
So, going back to my original question. And this is a message for anyone in any country – not just Australia. This post is directed at those who engage Virtual Assistants to assist in the daily running of their businesses. Where have you sourced your VA from? And if you chose to source a VA outside of your own country, why was that? Share with us here the difficulties you might have faced trying to find someone locally (if that applies) and likewise, those who do use local VAs (irrespective of which country you’re in) how did you find your VA? Was it word-of-mouth? A Google search? An article or something else?
I’ve created a Survey on this topic that covers the above questions and more, and invite you to participate. Just 10 questions – so it should only take you a minute or less. I’ll share the results in a few weeks.