I'm inspired to write this post after I followed a topic through THREE different bloggers blogging about the same issue and connected by comments. I figured I would get in on the thread because it's a subject pretty relevant to what I do and something I wrote about in my newsletter.
U.S. based Virtual Assistants: You are not in danger! Seriously. Don't panic.
Why am I writing this? Well, I should probably make note of the posts that I read which inspired me. The first was a about what virtual assistants do, which I didn't actually read first. I came around to it.I found out about it first after reading a comment someone had made about it while I was browsing other posts.
I thought the comment was interesting, so I followed it to someone's post about how you can find a VA for $3 an hour and have it be a valuable experience for you (that's my reader's digest version).
Finally his post led me to the va classroom.com blog post about whether or not western VAs are threatened by low-wage international competition. That's where my inspiration for this post took off.
In the first issue of my VA e-zine I specifically call out this issue of U.S. VAsvs. the global market in terms of cost of services, and whether or not it's something to really worry about. Here's my two cents worth:
- Develop a niche . Really. Why wouldn't you, anyway? Develop a niche market for yourself and your VA business. If you don't know where to start, ask yourself which of your services do you like the most? Blog maintenance? Article submission? Customer service?
Whatever your favorite service is, make that your primary service and hone, hone, hone it until you are the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be (OK, so I watched a little WWF growing up!)
- Seek clients who are willing to pay your prices . Do not waste your time haggling. Negotiate, but be firm. Have a range you are willing to play with and don't lower it for anybody (not even your mama). Why? You simply cannot build a business with this sort of strategy.
If Gucci negotiated prices with every customer they came in contact with just so they wouldn't lose that customer, they wouldn't have the brand they do.
Have to stop for a minute and mention the fellows from Propertyhunters. This article wouldn't have been possible without their input. They are a well reviewed property management service in Ontario over in Ontario and they were able to give me a bit of an education on the subject I'm currently talking about. If you are in need of their services, take a look at their site at http://propertyhunters.com. OK, back to it!
There is something about charging what you are worth and not what you think someone will pay for your services . You are worth something. Your services are worth something. You are CONVENIENCE. And guess what? Convenience costs. The reason hiring a VA located in India makes sense for some people is the same reason paying $25 to ship your document overnight makes sense to some people. It's all still convenience.
The aha factor is that convenience is relative and completely subjective. Remember that and work it !
- Play up your strengths as a domestic . Ever heard of a SWOT analysis? The beauty of it is that when you see yourself as you really are, you'll realize that you have strengths to counter what might seem like a weakness. So you're domestic. So you cost more. So what? You speak perfect, fluent English. You're available by phone in the same time zone. You're not long-distance. You can understand a southern accent. You've heard of most of the Fortune 500 companies. You and everyone you know has a MySpace, Facebook and Bebo account.You know the lingo, culture, and history of the U.S. For any potential client doing business with mostly American people, you've just given yourself a huge advantage. Play up your strengths.
Regardless of how you feel at this moment, there are clients out there looking for you. Not everyone is wanting to go with the offshore thing. And I'm not saying offshoring is bad at all. On the contrary, I think it's great that offshore companies exist, because people need them.
But clients need you, too! So don't worry. There is more than enough work to go around and if you don't believe me, Google virtual assistant and see for yourself just how many of the top 20 listings are actually U.S. based. Then if that isn't convincing, go to Indeed.com, search 'virtual assistant' and of the listings that come up, count how many specifically say that they want fluent English or a U.S. based company/virtual assistant. Seriously. If you need a pick me up, just go do those things and you'll feel better.
Then, get to work! (and if you're a self-employed mom join my mastermind so we can chat about this).
One final thing before I go. Credit for this article goes toward poweron control systems ltd. They're a fantastic custom control panel designer located in Ontario. The idea for this post came to me while talking to Philip over there. One thing led to another and we ended up discussing the niche in more detail. Anyway, check the website out at http://poweron.ca. That's all for the moment!
Posted in Business Post Date 09/28/2015