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 with its countless advantages can also be risky sometimes. If you pay attention to all legal dangers of outsourcing before hiring a virtual assistant, you can avoid many consequences that may hit you and your business.
If you are unaware of any legal dangers of outsourcing you may hire a virtual assistant from another country who seriously damages your business’ goodwill, for example by providing your business secrets to your competitors.
You are screwed!
What would you do?
If you sue someone in India, China or any similar country for hurting you or your business, chances are minimal that you will succeed.
Outsourcing is very much a trust based activity
Outsourcing to a country where you can’t pursue your case well and where the judicial system of that country does not support strong enough laws to follow up the case, chances are high that you will not only lose lot of money, but lose the trust as well.
For example, you are a doctor and you outsource some work relating to some secrets of your patients. Your virtual worker puts it on the internet. Your patient finds it and sues the doctor (you). Then, the doctor is completely ruined and cannot practice anymore.
Prevention is better than treatment
Always consult your lawyer for any legal dangers of outsourcing before you outsource your sensitive work. Make a contract and protect it solid with laws, paragraphs and disclosure agreements.
Real contracts may cost money, of course. But you should afford it.
If you follow that, outsourcing can become a future opportunity. You can get experts to do stuff on much lesser price than a beginner who would be doing the same job in Europe or in the US, for example.
Give it a chance.
Hiring a lawyer is too expensive! Is there an alternative?
To avoid the legal dangers of outsourcing, a screen recording software or a team-viewer is ideal to track the activity of your VA. It is also always profitable to involve a third-party freelance provider (like oDesk), where you can file a dispute for fraudulent activities and stop payments of your VA by a third-party.
Not involving services like oDesk can lead you to big trouble.
You may suffer serious damages, such as lawyer’s fee and charges for following your provider. With this, the success still is not guaranteed. Either way, you lose a lot of money, time and efforts.
In a nutshell
If I hire a guy and spend 50 dollars and a lot of my efforts on him and it does not work out… Well, I just hire another guy and keep the best guy, in the end.
It’s a step-by-step process until you finally get the best VA for you.
Trusting people is not negative as a whole. I have a policy in my life to “trust people”.
When I am dealing with people from all over the world I am sure that there are people who are less soft hearted than me. This does not change the fact that I can screen people and prepare for all legal dangers of outsourcing before hiring them.