It’s pretty amazing when you consider the opportunities that exist to launch your own business these days. Everywhere you look people are realizing their dream of working for themselves. If you ask me, it really might be unprecedented in our whole history.
It’s not just the reach of the Internet that has made all of this opportunity possible, although that’s part of it. And it’s not just the power to market your business through social media, although that is certainly a powerful tool as well.
But just as critical as those in these new business models is the fact that virtual staffing allows you to do so many things that used to be out of the reach of a small budget. At the same time, your virtual assistants free you up to focus on the important job of growing your business and becoming more profitable.
There are tons of great reasons to hire virtual assistants, and some sound virtual assistant tips can go a long way in ensuring that you go about it the right way. Sometimes you may just have a single, specialized task that would be cost prohibitive without a freelancer. Other times, there may be a long-term job that can simply be done more quickly, easily and cost-effectively by hiring a virtual assistant.
This tremendous growth of businesses seeking virtual assistants has also led to a massive expansion in the virtual talent pool as well. In fact, if you’ve never used virtual assistants before, you might be shocked at the broad range of tasks and services that are available. Anything from admin, to social media marketing, email campaigns, website design, video editing and much more can be done very professionally and for a reasonable cost.
Using Virtual Assistants the Smart Way
If you are a small business owner and just getting started with virtual staffing, let me offer you a virtual staffing tip that might save you some time, money and headaches in the long run. For some tasks and for some permanent positions, you will want to hire a native English speaker. There are a couple of reasons why.
When it comes to website content, although there are many very fine writers whose secondary language is English, there will be times when their “technical” English does not accomplish the important task of retaining a reader’s attention. There can also be small errors in grammar and usage or unintended faux pas that tends to crop up in their writing. You may spend more time editing than you really want to.
The second issue is that there are times when small communications errors that are due to mistranslation between you and your non-native VA can have a big impact. It could mean that a project deadline is missed, or something is deleted that needed to be saved, or any number of scenarios could arise.
I don’t want to say that hiring those whose primary language is not English is a bad thing. I fill many, many jobs with non-native English speakers, and they deliver excellent work with no issues whatsoever. But I am also careful about filling certain other positions because there are times when non-native speakers can potentially be a liability.
With that said, my big virtual assistant tip for the day is: If you are U.S. business that is looking for an English speaking VA, there may be some excellent reasons why you would specifically want to hire Australian virtual assistants.
Why Australians Can Make Great VA’s for U.S. Businesses
1) Exchange rates: Many times U.S. businesses look to countries such as the Philippines for VA’s because they do excellent work at such reasonable rates. However, as I said earlier, there are instances when you really should have a native English speaker. That’s when hiring Australians instead can make a lot of sense.
As of this writing (May 2017), the exchange rate is about $.75USD to $1AUD. So there is a built-in 25% savings, compared to what you would pay an American freelancer. Going this way will ensure that you get some cost benefits, someone with excellent native English skills, and there is enough cultural cross-over so that the communications issues are eliminated.
2) Extending your reach: Let’s face it; we Aussies are a breed apart in some ways. We tend to do things just a little bit differently down here than you will find anywhere else in the world. There is also a certain spirit to Australia, and if you’ve never lived here it can be a little bit difficult to understand or capture.
For that reason, if you own a small business in the U.S. that is trying to extend its reach into Australia, it can make a lot of sense to hire native Australians among your pool of VA’s.
For example, having a native Australian write web content that includes all of those little subtleties of the language and culture—placed in the right context—can make your target customers feel much more at home with your business. It might be your social media posts, or it might be writing your ad copy. There are all sorts of situations where you will really need to sound authentic in order to be effective.
Also, as a small business, you may not have the resources to pay for detailed research into Australian markets. In those situations, it can be invaluable to work with people who intuitively understand that market, and know how the people in it generally think and act.
Your Australian VA’s might be able to tell you that a certain approach, or a certain way you are phrasing things, is really going to turn Aussies off. They may also give you a bit of important advice on how things can work—for example, how to rephrase your ad copy to language that your potential Australian customers are really going to respond to.
I know a might be slightly biased when it comes to these virtual assistant tips. But I’ve also had the opportunity to work with VA’s from all over the world. There are great ones everywhere, but in some instances, Australians may just be the perfect fit for your virtual staffing needs.