US-Based Virtual Assistants;
Is Location Really The Deal Breaker?
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There are a large number of virtual assistant companies, but there is some sort of an invincible emphasis placed on US-based virtual assistants, or should I say assistants in your country of residence as being superior over the rest.
So the question is does location really make a difference or does this superiority go beyond just the physical location. Why should one limit themselves to their geography when the virtual world exposes them to a larger talent base. Three factors usually come into play when a USA resident chooses a US-based VA, these factors are effective collaboration, cultural bridge, and security of being tied to USA laws or the laws of the country of residence.
Effective Collaboration: If you are using a virtual assistant then definitely your assistant is working from a remote location, even if your VA is in the USA, time zones may vary as there are 6 different time zones. If the time zones are the same does that add to the quality of service delivery, if your answer is NO then don’t make this a priority. There are people with regular jobs in the USA who work night shifts, yet the job is done and done right, the manager arrives on duty the next shift and all instructions were followed. So effective collaboration and quality service delivery has very little to do with same or similar time zones. Collaboration tools like Slack, Monday, Asana, etc., makes it convenient to assign tasks easily and effectively.
The same collaboration tool you will use for your USA VA is the same tool you will use for your offshore VA. Collaboration, therefore, stems from an organized working environment, a responsible virtual assistant who loves what he does and is dedicated to it. If you assign them 9 am to 5 pm as the requested working hours they will be online and also deliver quality service, collaboration will be a breeze the distance gap will not even be felt.
Cultural Bridge: What most first world countries don’t know is that their culture, is our culture, there are instances where clients in the USA had thought most VAs around the world speak bad English. For most Ghanaian Virtual assistants, English is considered as our first language because the very day they step in pre-school all communication is in English. I have a client in Hawaii who assigned all her corporate writings to a Pixels – VA because she was convinced the VA spoke and wrote better English than she did after a week of working with her.
Culture and landscape? We know the culture of America, we know the culture of the UK, we know the culture of Canada, we know the culture of the USA, why? because they are first world countries and we want to know what happens there every day, we want to sound like them, we want to fit in. We know the cultural touche downs, we are well informed about current events, just because we are curious about what goes on around the world, we are obsessed with knowing about our clients, their surroundings and in the long round pleasing them.
Security of being tied to the laws: The saying, “your word is your honor”, take it seriously, before you work with a virtual assistant or a virtual assistant agency, check their reviews, online reviews are a direct representation of their expertise, reliability, and professionalism. Examine your personal relationship with the company and the VA. That will do a lot of good, because if a VA causes you harm in terms of going against the privacy, laws, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, etc, usually the harm is already done when you have to penalize them for their actions. I believe character and reputations should come first before laws because most damages once caused cannot be erased and no business owner wants to go through drama when work has to be done. So it is true, the US-VAs will be bound by USA laws, but does that erase the effects of the problems caused?
You are better off avoiding the mistake while you can. If you are outsourcing work, factor in trust and reputation of the VA or the agency and trust your gut, you will make well-informed decisions. If you don’t need a virtual assistant to handle things like postage, deliveries or fill a position in a legal or paralegal sector where being familiar with USA legal facts is key then location is not of paramount importance. Obviously, no one will train as a lawyer in the UK when he wants to work in the USA. If you don’t find yourself in such an instance, then location is not important, focus on getting the best talent across the globe.
Outsourcing work is necessary for every business, being able to use the service of a professional without the full commitment is a necessary plus. When choosing a Virtual assistant their expertise, reliability, and professionalism should be considered over the location. So a US-based virtual assistant should not be selected just based on their location but what they bring on the table.