Two Sides To Every Story

February 15, 2008

I recently wrote a post titled, “Disadvantages of Outsourcing To Offshore Virtual Assistants.” Ella P. of Virtual Nook responded with a rebuttal in her blog, called “Bidding Wars of Virtual Assistants.”  Since there are two sides to every story, I am posting her rebuttal:

I came across an interesting blog earlier about the disadvantages of getting an offshore Virtual Assistant. I can’t help but disagree! There are a lot of criticism thrown on offshore virtual assistants like me and I am compelled to react.

Language Barrier – Yes, I agree that English is my second language. In fact, I still feel more comfortable in speaking Filipino however, this doesn’t mean that we are not competitive enough to comprehend or communicate using other languages. If this is the case, then I guess the call center industry here in the Philippines wouldn’t be as successful as it is now if not for our good communication skills. Not all offshore virtual assistants have poor communication skills. Let’s not generalize.

Interest in the client’s business – I can’t seem to understand why offshore virtual assistants are being criticized for not having vested interest in our client’s business. I believe that this has nothing to do with geographical location. As a virtual assistant, your main goal is to protect and help your clients business achieve targets and increase sales. Loyalty and integrity is not based on geographical location of a person.

Internet access – yes, I agree that as virtual assistants, we rely on the internet. It is difficult or maybe impossible to work for a client without it. India’s internet outage is an isolated case and shouldn’t be taken against us.

The industry of Virtual Assistants is now becoming more and more competitive. Bidding wars between offshore and onshore providers continue to heat up at oDesk, iFreelance, etc…Business wouldn’t be fun without competition, right?

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073

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Disadvantages of Outsourcing to Offshore Virtual Assistants

February 8, 2008

As an onshore Virtual Assistant and small business owner, I feel obligated to inform small business owners about the disadvantages of outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants (VAs).

When you choose to outsource offshore, you are going to encounter virtual assistants who are not familiar with our culture and language. Although, they speak English, generally, it is not their first language. This causes language barriers, communication gaps, and lack of understanding. Is the frustration worth the money you save? Keep in mind, offshore VAs’ cost of living is much lower than ours. They can afford to work for less money. If you choose to outsource confidential personal data offshore, it may not be protected. Firms in India currently are not equally subject to any extensive legislative or regulatory data-protection controls.

Offshore VAs work for an outsourcing firm and are not business owners. They do not have a vested interest in your business other than getting more projects. Most of us, onshore virtual assistants, are business owners; therefore, we understand the operations of a small business, as well as what is required to develop it. Our goals are to establish an ongoing business relationship with you in order to help you reach your goals. We want you to succeed in your business. Erin Blaskie of Business Services, ETC stated in her blog, “These companies are working day and night going through a wide variety of tasks just to get them back out the door. They aren’t spending the time to strategize and become a partner in your business. They are simply providing cheap labor.”

Another disadvantage is offshore virtual assistants can’t operate without access to the Internet. Last week on January 31, 2008, India had an Internet outage due to snapped cables in the Mediterranean Ocean. You can read the entire article here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326988,00.html. Onshore virtual assistants’ Internet providers are their phone companies, cable companies or satellite providers. We are not at the mercy of a cable under the ocean.

There are several disadvantages to offshore outsourcing, including drastic differences in time zones. The one main advantage to outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants is saving money. The old adage is true. “You get what you pay for.”

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073


Announcement of New Services

January 24, 2008

I am pleased to announce an addition to our virtual assistant team. Our newest member will handle our ACT! Database projects. Our team now consists of four virtual assistants with skills in various areas. They specialize in bookkeeping, transcription services, Real Estate Virtual Assistant services, website and graphic design, and now ACT! Database. Because of their skills, I am able to offer small business owners most of the services they need to operate and develop their businesses. In addition, these owners do not have to shop around for the above-mentioned services, because we are a “one-stop shop.”

My mission is to provide our clients with the type of value-added service they can trust to be exactly what they desired plus more.

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073


Misconceptions About Virtual Assistants

January 4, 2008

In the business world, we have been conditioned as to the role of administrative assistants. Before the existence of virtual assistants (VAs), administrative assistance was generally performed at “the office.” With the advent of virtual assistants, services are performed from the virtual assistants’ offices. However, the previous type of working relationship or the role of traditional administrative assistants still exists in the minds of some business owners and/or employers when dealing with virtual assistants.

Virtual assistants are independent entrepreneurs rather than employees. VAs do not report to an employer; they work with a client. VAs don’t have interviews with potential employers; they have meetings with potential clients. If a Virtual Assistant (VA) has to directly report to someone or has to go through an interview process, then the VA is no longer a Virtual Assistant, but is an employee candidate. If this is the case, then the employer will have to pay employee-related fees. If an employer hires an employee at $20.00 per hour, the average cost will be $76,960 a year. If the services of a Virtual Assistant are retained at $35.00 per hour, the average cost will be $36,400 per year, a difference of $40,560. Please visit http://www.rjswordprocessing.com/vacost.html to see a Full-Time Employee versus Virtual Assistant Cost Comparison chart.

There are still some business owners and/or employers who are accustomed to the traditional methods. They have to get used to the concept that virtual assistants are business owners, as well as entrepreneurs. They are not employees.

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073


Affordable Marketing Strategies

December 19, 2007

There are a few affordable marketing strategies available for small business owners with limited marketing budget. Blogging is becoming one of the most efficient, effective marketing strategies. There is a post at Home Office Warrior titled “Five Reasons to Start a Blog.” The originator of the blog is Small Business Computing. One of the reasons stated for blogging is: “A blog is an inexpensive form of public relations and marketing.”

Another marketing strategy is submitting ads to free online services; for example, Craigslist.org and PennysaverUSA.com. Sending e-mail campaigns is also an affordable marketing strategy. When visitors visit your website, there should be some way of capturing their e-mail addresses. These addresses are then used for sending campaigns, which could be monthly newsletters and promotions, to your clients and/or potential clients.

In addition to writing blogs, writing articles and submitting them to article banks doesn’t cost anything but your time. These are a few marketing strategies, which are affordable; however, they can be time-consuming. If you don’t have the time, outsource these tasks to a virtual assistant.

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073


Virtual Assistant Services

December 11, 2007

Due to the economy, I have decided to reduce my fees by $5.00 per hour on all of my virtual assistant services. In order to continue to provide my clients with value-added services, I feel reducing my rates at this time is necessary.

If you are a small business owner, this is the perfect time to take advantage of my services. Don’t handle all of those administrative tasks by yourself. As a small business owner myself, I am aware of how time-consuming those tasks can be. Call me today toll free at 866-651-3073 to discuss how I can best assist you.

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://www.rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073


Many Uses Of A Virtual Assistant

November 16, 2007

Virtual Assistants were once thought of as someone who provided virtual administrative assistance. Majority of Virtual Assistants (VAs) were employed as administrative assistants or in some type of administrative support position before leaving the corporate world; therefore, they were capable of offering quality virtual assistant services. Today, the number of single-person business owners is booming, and they need assistance in more areas than just administrative. According to Small Business Trends, single-person businesses account for 78% of all U.S. businesses. These statistics are based on a U.S. Census 2005 report.

When small business owners outsource time-consuming tasks, they have more time to develop and grow their businesses, as well as have more personal time. Tina Hilton is writing a four-part series post on Home Office Warrior’s blog, http://homeofficewarrior.com/2007/11/07/the-top-100-ways-a-home-office-warrior-can-utilize-a-virtual-assistant, about the various tasks that VAs are able to perform, and the many uses of a VA. Part two is located at http://homeofficewarrior.com/2007/11/12/the-top-100-ways-a-home-office-warrior-can-utilize-a-virtual-assistant-part-two. Virtual Assistant Networking Association also has a series of top 10 reasons to use a virtual assistant. The top 10 series can be found at http://www.vanetworking.com/VA-top-ten.

The percentage of single-person businesses is growing, and they need assistance with several tasks, in addition to administrative support. These small business owners are discovering the many uses of a Virtual Assistant.

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://www.rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073