In defense of my CHEAP Virtual Assitant

My last post about my VA search got me lots of comments and a few trackbacks. Laurie and Kimberly, who both run web based businesses, wrote about it on their blog, and with some other people, are telling me you get what you pay for.

True. You always get what you pay for.

Except when you globalize and send labor to a cheap country.

I’d never work for 3 dollars an hour but in India, that is a decent wage. And, my guy in india (not affiliated with the actual service called “myguyinindia” – cool name huh?), works for 3 dollars an hour.

I can say that with cheap labor you do have some problems but with expensive labor you can too. After thinking about it more, I thought I was being a bit unfair. When I was an assistant, it took me some time to get used to my boss and him to me. So my VA has to get used to what I want and expect. That takes more than a week over e-mail.

This week was much better. As he learns what I want on a number of task, I don’t really have any problems. and the research he has come up with is great. Very detailed. I’ve decided to keep him.

Three dollars an hour is great for the tasks I have him do right now- automated, easy, simple. Is he going to be writing me articles and spin articles or sending out link requests? Nope! Laurie and Kimberly are right about that. For that, you need better help. And I plan on getting it. All this article writing for SEO is boring me so I’m going to have someone else do it. That will cost me more than 3 dollars but I’m ok with that. It’s a business expense.

But to the reality of the situation- You get what you pay for doesn’t really apply when the 3 dollars goes a long way in the person’s home country. I work for Asian wages (well top end asian wages) because I’m currently chilling out in Asia. Plus it’s easy and simple work I have to do. But why pay someone an American/Western wage when I get that same task down for a fraction of the price.

That is why businesses offshore. Save money. Cut costs. Welcome to a globalized world. Don’t believe me? Check out a site like elance! You’ll find people from all over the world selling their services and competing against each other.

For higher end stuff, I want some one with more skills. My article writer will probably be western, my VA is indian, my flash designer is Korean, my business partner (Christine from Almost Fearless and I are partnering) is American, and my social marketer (who I’ll hire when I get these new sites up and running) lives in Romania. Welcome the 21st century.

The internet allows me to get the best people all around the world and it is in that market that VAs compete.

Why pay more for something I can get cheap? My VA does what I need cheap. For 3 dollars an hour, I’ll type a more detailed explanation.

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3 Comments on “In defense of my CHEAP Virtual Assitant”

  1. T-Mobile agrees with you. That is why everytime I call 611, it takes 2 minutes after the operator picks to even explain my question. The other day, I wanted to know how much it costs per minute after my monthly minutes run out. Seriously, two full minutes to explain the question. And I never did get an answer.

    So, cheap labor, but I still haven’t ever seen hard evidence that small scale offshoring is a time-efficient way to go. You’ve been tooling around for a month trying to get someone to be just responsive. Most people don’t have the time or inclination.

    And elance buyers don’t want overseas writers, unless they just want content which doesn’t have to be coherent.

    Do keep us informed though! Maybe that hard evidence is on its way. 🙂

  2. Kirsty Says:

    Hey Matt! Sounds like you’ve got some exciting things on the go. It’s really inspiring to see you going for it in such a full on way. Reminds me of me about three years ago when I worked full time in London then came home and worked 7 hours or more some nights. It seems like you’ve got a good team and a lot of ideas so I am excited to hear how things go. Can you point me to where you found your VA? I would also be interesting in knowing what sorts of tasks you get them to do.

  3. sammy Says:

    Can you email me as to how you went about finding your VA ? I want to get one myself.

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