Having virtual assistants working for you at low costs is effective and fun. However, there are some disadvantages of outsourcing work to foreign countries. If you are aware of those outsourcing disadvantages, your business will be that much more successful.
Language barrier between you and your virtual assistant
English is the most common language a must have skill for any kind of outsourcing work.
For example, if a virtual assistant only speaks Spanish , the majority of the employers will not be able to work with him.
Outsourcing is not effective if the freelancer
- can’t talk English properly
- can’t express or elaborate well in English
- can’t understand instructions
- and can’t give proper feedback about his work.
The minimal requirement to a freelancer is that he can speak, understand and communicate in English.
Notes to Virtual Assistants having trouble with English:
- If you can’t express yourself well in English, working satisfactory will be hard.
- English skills still can either be learned with free materials on the internet.
- Also, ask your boss to give you extremely clear instructions, so that you can learn one task at a time.
If you were to choose to outsource work to one provider today, I wish you three things:
- You treat your provider with respect.
- You don’t get screwed over.
- You a freelancer who knows English well and is bright.
Everything else is totally optional!
Exception: If you need a specialist
If you are looking for a specialist, perhaps a programmer , you cannot start with a newbie with only English skills. For this you will just have to pay more. There is always a price of high quality.
Look for the optimal freelancer for everything else:
But if you have a specific, private task, you only need a guy or a girl who
- knows English
- is quick with answering
- and honest
Then you can do anything.
Finding the right VA needs experience
One of the bigger disadvantages of outsourcing is that you have to learn it, just like any other skill. The tips on ideal-helper, which come from years of real-life experience from both the employer and freelancer points of view, will help you with that.
And if you want to make your life easier, be sure to choose the right outsourcing company for your needs. My choice lies with Odesk.
Outsourcing work costs you money
This is on of the disadvantages of outsourcing that goes without saying. Still, you should calculate your budget before starting to work with a freelancer. It would be frustrating for him, too, if you were to fire your assistant because you run out of funds.
Fortunately, if you know how to hire a virtual assistant at the right place, you can keep costs extremely low, down to 1$/hour.
What tasks can’t you outsource?
One of the smaller disadvantages of outsourcing is that even if you are hooked on the concept, there are things which your Indian personal assistant cannot do for you, even if he wanted to.
- Physical work
- A medical doctor can’t outsource the treatment of his patients.
- If you are an architect, you can’t hire a virtual worker to carry stones.
- If you are specialist, such as and scientist, you can’t outsource working e.g. with your expensive microscope.
- You should never outsource your tax matters.
You can outsource some of the above mentioned tasks if you write up a real contract to respectable outsourcing company. If you take care of all legalities set up an iron-clad NDA , you might be able to make an exception to some of the examples I listed above.
Managing your VA needs time
Before you start actually saving time by working together with your personal assistant, you need to invest some time training him and adjusting to each other.
Don’t be disillusioned if the first days you pass way more time writing emails and clarifying things when you just wanted to chill out at the beach while someone else works for you.
Here is my method to getting there faster:
Use screen recording software to show him exactly what you want. This goes way faster than writing emails and is actually better suited for training your virtual assistant.
You can’t simply fool around. You now have responsibility for your VA
When you have actually hired a person to work for you, you are in a working relationship. Take it as seriously as your employee takes the money he earns for giving his best for you, and think about some ethics in business basics.
You cannot just abuse the fact that your worker lives in a poor country and consider him a modern slave.
Having responsibility for another person, who probably is looking up to you, is one of the smaller disadvantages of outsourcing. Still, keep it in mind and never take the services of your worker for granted.
Those Outsourcing disadvantages are not much of a problem?
In reality, hiring virtual assistants is easy, fun and effective for almost everyone. Just that many people don’t even consider doing this.
The disadvantages of outsourcing listed on this page are there to help you profit the most from a freelancer when you do hire him. If you keep them in mind, as well as using your common sense, you will be fine.
Outsourcing your work as fixed price jobs or paying for hourly jobs on Odesk is highly dependent on the nature of your project.
There are advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing both types of work that you need to be aware of.
Advantages of outsourcing as an hourly job:
- Hourly paid jobs are well-regarded from your providers due to the secure payment system from oDesk.
- The hourly paid jobs are manageable for the employer since your provider logged hours by using the oDesk team room and you can review their work diaries on a regular basis.
- Many providers apply for hourly jobs online because they need a sustainable income they can count on. It takes time to hunt after numerous fixed price assignments – even if sometimes they can be more profitable.
Disadvantages an hourly wage jobs:
It is sometimes difficult to estimate the hourly wages for jobs done online if you are only habituated to “normal” offline work.
In my personal experience, proposing wages between 1 and 4$/hour will result in finding an appropriate provider for your project.
It also depends on the skillset needed and your budget. Of course, you need to have the right tactics for your hiring process, too.
Advantages of a fixed price projects:
- In fixed-price jobs you don’t really have to overview your provider regularly and you don’t need to really check on what they are doing.
They can surf internet of chat on Facebook as long as they want to, until and unless they deliver the required work by the deadline and after receiving the work you can review their work and then you can release the payment.
- In general, fixed time jobs will cost you less money as an employer: If you ask “I want this result for $50” the provider may be spending much more time than you paid him hourly for the same job.
Disadvantages of outsourcing as a fixed price project:
If the work is not satisfactory you will need to discuss how this will work out beforehand. So some providers agree to work for free until your satisfaction, otherwise they can say that I will not work on this anymore and you can give me bad feedback and just pay me what we decided and I am finished with your project.
It is a weakness of Odesk’s system that it does not guarantee payments on fixed price jobs.
In my personal opinion I see that I was less successful in hiring people on fixed time jobs than if you post hourly jobs.
Providers like hourly paid jobs much more. They are guaranteed to be paid.
Hourly made money is there in their pockets. However, if you make a big project over $100 and you cancel it for whatever reason – then the provider ends up with nothing! So that is why providers don’t prefer it.
Note that there are also exceptions. From time to time, you’ll find providers specialized on fixed-price jobs that are not all small and easy to do.
You’ll have to use your own judgment to find out if the provider is the right person for you.
You’ll have two power tools at your fingertips:
- The interview during the hiring process.
- The feedback information and portfolios from past jobs.