You've seen them. The virtual assistants that market their services for five dollars an hour. There are even virtual assistants on Fiverr.com that offer 3 hours of virtual assistant services for five dollars.
You might ask "why would anyone hire a virtual assistant at a higher rate when you can hire a virtual assistant for $5 an hour?".
I'm not writing this post to knock anyone but I will say this, you get what you pay for.
At some point, we've all needed to search for an expert to repair SOMETHING, right? Be it our AC or our car brakes or a broken washing machine. There are usually significant ranges in price for their services.
I'll be the first to admit that I have tried to find the most reasonably priced service provider, because why overpay when you can get the same service for less?
Over the years, I've learned a thing or two about the quality of people's workmanship and what I've learned is this:
Buy cheap, buy twice.
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And what usually happens is the second time you pay, you pay a higher price because you're hiring the expert that can actually solve the problem that the "cheap" one couldn't.
I'm speaking from experience. I've had my own business since 2010 and I've hired plenty of overseas virtual assistants. I've hired virtual assistants at $5/hour and I've hired overseas virtual assistants at $35/hour.
Business owners need to work with virtual assistants who can execute and get the job done right the first time with little or no supervision.
The last thing we want or need is to have to go back and forth multiple times because of errors or lack of knowledge on how to execute.
Some time ago a colleague of mine who is an online business manager recommended a virtual assistant that she uses. This virtual assistant is based in India and charges $7/hour.
I gave the VA a small project to work on, the creation of a Word document that would be converted into a PDF. It's something that I have been meaning to create myself but I felt that this small project was better managed by someone else so I could free up time for something else.
When I give a VA (or any service provider for that matter) a project to work on, I expect them to review their work with a fine-toothed comb before they submit it back to me and say "it's ready". That's just what exceptional virtual assistants do whether they live in India or the UK.
So I get this document back and I see not just one error but several. I tell the VA to fix it. He does and sends it back to me again for my review. There are more errors.
After a day of this, I'm annoyed because I'm wasting my time and money. I just don't understand why anyone would want to turn work that is less than perfect. I mean whether you're making $5/hour of $50/hour, you have a reputation and if your work is shoddy and full of errors, you're not going to get repeat business no matter how inexpensive your services are.
By the time the work was done, I'd spent close to $50. What a colossal waste of my time and energy. I learned a lesson that next time I will hire a competent virtual assistant where the focus is not on how much he/she charges per hour, but on how experienced they are. Because I want the job done right the first time as does any other business owner.
When clients hire a virtual assistant that claims he/she can help support your business and they are only charging $5 or $7/hour, there is probably a reason for this.
Each and every virtual assistant that I've ever worked with that charges less than $10/hour has been unreliable. They don't check their work. As a business owner, mother of four and wife, I don't have extra time. I can't afford to work with a virtual assistant that doesn't save me time and energy.
And that's the whole point. Business owners need virtual assistants that can give them back the most important and sacred resource on this earth.....time.
Time to spend with their loved ones, time to work on that project that's been on the back burner. Time to create more offering so they can sell more of their services.
If you're a virtual assistant and you're worried about competing with overseas virtual assistants charging $5 an hour here's my advice.
Focus on giving superior customer service and turning over work that is impeccable. If you can do this, your clients will be happy to pay you a high hourly rate because you're saving them time and money and a huge headache of managing a virtual assistant that can never seem to get the job done right. In the long run, those $5 an hour virtual assistants will cost business owners more, not less.
And to all the virtual assistants of the world reading this that are charging $5/hour, it's time to uplevel. If your work is impeccable and your customer service bars none, you could and should be charging more for your services.
I don't care where in the world you virtual assistants live, all I care about is that you save me time and energy. I'll pay you whatever you ask for if you can make my life easier. That's money well spent.