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Should I Hire a Local or Overseas Virtual Assistant?

Should I hire a local or overseas virtual assistant?

There’s many things to consider when hiring a virtual assistant (VA), and whether you hire locally or overseas, is just one.

Which option is right for you depends on many factors like the kind of tasks you need to delegate, and how they need to be completed. Let’s break it down: 

Overseas/International virtual assistants

As the name suggests, an overseas or international VA works from a different part of the world to you. Most commonly they're located in India, the Philippines or Southeast Asian countries. 

Many are highly trained with valuable skills. There are plenty of reasons to consider an international VA. 

Pros:  

  • An international VA is nearly always cheaper than a local. If cost is prohibitive to you hiring a VA, looking overseas is a great option to get you started. Remember to factor in the extra time it might take to check and edit their work. 
  • If your tasks are repetitive or very process driven, and you can set very clear and detailed instructions, your international VA will complete these autonomously and with ease. 
  • The time zone difference between you and an international VA means that they are often working at least partly outside of NZ business hours. Depending on the type of work you need completed, it can be an advantage that work is being completed for you overnight
  • If your clients are based overseas in the same country as your international VA, you will benefit from your VA speaking the local language and working in their time zone. 

Cons:  

  • An overseas VA will need closer management and clear instructions to complete their tasks, taking more of your time than delegating to a local. To ensure your instructions are clear you could provide written instructions as well as recorded instructions using a service such as Loom.  
  • Many countries where you will find international VAs such as India and the Philippines can experience unreliable internet connections and frequent power outages, increasing the chance that your service may be disrupted if one of these is down.  
  • English is often a second language for an overseas VA, so clear communication is a must as there is the risk of misunderstandings, and local client interaction (if any) needs to be monitored to ensure nothing is getting lost in translation.  
  • Maintaining contact with your VA throughout the working day can be difficult or impossible due to the difference in time zones. 

Local/NZ based virtual assistants

A local VA is someone who lives and works in the same geographical location as you. 

Pros:  

  • A local VA will be in the same time zone as you. This is useful if part of their role involves contacting clients, or you need to be in regular contact with them throughout the day. 
  • They’re also likely to need less management and will be able to proactively take on tasks with less time spent creating detailed instructions. This is important if you have a heavy workload with less ability to check work and project manage tasks. 
  • Without a language barrier, there’s less likelihood of miscommunication between you and your VA. They know the local slang and will easily be able to interact with your clients, as well as being able to relate and interact around local events, knowledge and news.  

Cons:  

  • The main downside to a local VA is that they are going to cost you more than an international VA. You’ll need to weigh up whether this additional cost is worth the time you’ll be saving by delegating to a local VA. 
Overseas v Local VA comparison

​Think that a New Zealand based virtual assistant might be right for you?



 

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