$2 an hour VAs, says Sydney Morning Herald

If you are a VA in Australia, have you seen the article in the Sydney Morning Herald “Outsourcing Puts a Price on Spare Time”?  This was brought to light at a VA forum on Facebook and has had a fair bit of discussion. Rightfully so too. When are journalists going to do the research and show things on an equal basis? Let us share with you an email of complaint our President sent to them.

I wish to complain about the article “Outsourcing Puts a Price on Spare Time”

In it, people are given the idea that they can get a VA for $2 an hour. This is terrible. It doesn’t even state where those VAs are or what currency.

“Virtual assistants can be found for as little as $2 a day. VAs can be hired to do personal and professional tasks – anything from making dinner reservations to surveying customers.”

For your information the VA industry has been here in Australia since 1996 and is alive and strong. There is no way any VA here would work for that rate. Would you work for that rate? It wouldn’t even pay for our internet connection to run a business here in Australia.  VAs’ rates range from around $30-$70AUD an hour here in Australia, depending on the service being provided. We have an industry association, run annual conferences, have training courses, etc.

Even mentioning Airtasker and Freelancer – why not mention actual VA directories or networks that outsource VAs? And yet you go on to mention Concierge and Lifestyle Managers which is here in Australia at obviously a higher rate than the $2 VAs mentioned.

This is very disappointing. Did the author actually research our industry in this country? Or did they just take the word of those other ill-informed people who write about these ‘cheap offshore VAs’ without actually finding out for themselves? Would be nice to see our industry accurately represented in articles.

Clearly it was not in their interests to research our industry here in Australia and this is something we often see in the media. What are your thoughts? And would you like to share your concerns about this article too? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Australian Business Owners – are you looking for an Aussie VA?

We recently held our 4th annual Australian Virtual Assistants Conference, this time in Sydney. The event was well attended and we had great presenters. We were very grateful to our sponsors in their assistance towards our event.

We also elected to open one session as a brainstorming discussion, facilitated by Rosie Shilo of Virtually Yours, relating to the mindset of outsourcing, and in particular, Australian businesses who are seeking Virtual Assistants to assist them.  It was probably fortuitous that two of our speakers actually mentioned how hard it was for them to find Australian based Virtual Assistants to assist them with their particular needs. This came as a surprise to many of us and of course, we were asking questions, and discussing, at the forum, how we can work together to help Australian business owners find us and to see us as a valued option. The result of this session has now opened a formal group for Australian based Virtual Assistants to discuss the importance of collaborating and educating the public, in general, that we do exist and we are available.

So, if you’re an Australian business owner, seeking to outsource and find Australian based help, where do you go to get that help?

There are a small number of Australian Virtual Assistant Networks available in Australia and we encourage you to visit them to find a VA who can support you in your business.

A Clayton’s Secretary (VA Directory), est. 1996.  Provides membership for VAs throughout Australia and overseas, providing a number of member benefits, including Client referrals. Also provides VA Training services, web hosting services, discussion forums and general advice re setting up a VA business.  Clients can place a job request at the site and receive responses from several VAs for them to choose from.

Australian Virtual Business Network, est. 2006. The AVBN was founded by Lyn Prowse-Bishop (Executive Stress Office Support) who identified a need in Australia for provision of online support and training for those interested in starting their own VA practice – and also for the provision of top quality, pre-qualified VA support for clients. It is now run by Rosie Shilo and is the home of the Certificate 1 Virtual Business Administration course and is providing both face-to-face and online training opportunities to VAs at any level.

Virtually Yours, was established in 2004 and offers support and guidance and useful tools, including client job leads, to both new and established Virtual Assistants in Australia. Virtually Yours is a warm and supportive network which is a wonderful asset to any virtual business.

It is important for people to understand that ‘outsourcing’ does not mean ‘off-shoring’ and while the two can be used together, one should never be used to mean both.  To outsource means to contract the services of a third party, outside of your own business, rather than engaging internal staff. Offshore means active engagement of services or staff in a country outside of your own. So while people can outsource work offshore, they can also outsource work within their own city, state or country. There’s no off-shoring involved.