$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.

Plans for your VA business

Once the second half of the year has begun it seems the rest of the year moves much faster. Do you find that? So much to do before the year’s end.

Here at AVAA headquarters we’ll soon be gearing up for planning AVAC 2015. We already have the venue secured and the dates set for 20-21 March 2015 at Melbourne Docklands.  So if you’re travelling from the country or from interstate, or overseas, you can definitely plan your travel now, knowing the dates are locked in.

We are seeking two Victorian based AVAA members to join the sub committee to help us plan AVAC 2015. You’ll be helping us to source sponsors, speakers, conference bag donations as well as help promote the event.  Closer to the event we’ll need your help to pack the conference bags and also assist during the event, perhaps on the registration table, answering questions and introducing new VAs to others. There’s always something to do in the planning and running of our annual VA conference.

In the meantime, what are you doing with your business?  How are you progressing? Are you making plans for the new year already? Have you made decisions about new services you wish to provide, or the client type you want to service?

Now is a good time to think about that VA course, or perhaps a software course, to get you ready for the new year.

Perhaps you need to find a mentor? There are many people experienced in business around you, that would happily answer your questions about running a business or point you in the right direction. And there are many experienced VAs who write blogs, books, or provide some kind of guidance or training for those VAs who are just starting out.

Finally, don’t forget the value of joining networking groups, both online and offline. There should never be 100% of one and none of the other. While many VAs start out thinking they’ll only ever work online and never have to leave home, the reality is that we’re all social creatures and we need contact with other people. Going out to meet people face-to-face is both good for our businesses but also good for our mental and physical health. Even if you are shy. Meeting other business people isn’t just about finding new clients (although that helps), it’s also finding out about running a business in your local area, and getting out of your own four walls for a change of scenery.  We all need that from time to time!