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Should You Hire VAs Overseas for Cheap or Keep It Local?

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Big question, right?

I remember the first two years of doing my show were a mess. Why? Because I was doing EVERYTHING. I mean everything. If something needed to be done, I did it. No matter what, no matter when.

The problem is, if you try to do everything yourself, two things are bound to happen:

  1. Your biz will have problems growing (that sucks).
  2. You will burn out (that also sucks).

My solution, which began a couple of years ago, was to start hiring virtual assistants (VAs according to the cool kids). I decided I wanted to pay a bit more and both my VAs are working in the US (although one is British!).

The first two things I outsourced?

  1. My schedule/scheduling (i.e. guests for the show), which is now completely handled by the lovely Linda.
  2. Making my posts “pretty and ready to post” (meaning actually posting a new show, getting the images together, formatting it, putting in the links, etc.), which is handled now by the lovely Lisa.

Now, you might be slightly worried about hiring a VA (aka. freaking out) and thinking about things like: WHEN AM I GOING TO FIND THE TIME TO TRAIN ‘EM?!? AH!!!!! or I’M A TERRIBLE MANAGER OF PEOPLE!!!!! or THE ONLY WAY TO GET SOMETHING DONE IS TO DO IT MYSELF!! BAHH!!!!

Don’t worry. Help is on the way. One thing I love to do on the show is bring in people who have a DIFFERENT perspective (whether you agree or disagree, you will learn something). John Jonas joins me today on the show to talk about outsourcing and why he prefers to send it overseas for $1.82 an hour.

Love to hear your thoughts on this.


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John JonasLinks Mentioned: (note: John is the owner of this company, I didn’t know that until after the interview)


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  1. Jeff Jones says:

    I have a graphic artist in the Philippines and have used him to do all of my graphics for over a year now. My decision is simple. Without him, my business would not exist at I struggled for a long time due to ethical questions, and then I began using and began to develop a relationship with my artist. He has actually turned into a great friend and he is someone I hope to grow my business with for a very long time. I recently gave him a raise and am currently paying him $3.67 per hour. The best rate I could find in the United States for a competent artist of equal quality was around $50-$60 per graphic. Now it cost me around $3.00 per graphic.

  2. David Siteman Garland says:

    Going to be interested to hear your thoughts on this. John says during the interview that he doesn’t hire American VAs because (paraphrasing) they will learn your business, quit, and start their own. I disagree completely, do you?

    1. Lisa Morosky says:

      Here are my thoughts on that particular notion.

      1. This is a non-issue if you hire a professional VA (as in, someone who earns their living by providing VA services to clients). Call me crazy, but if I was ripping off my clients’ professional ideas, models, and plans, I wouldn’t be in business. Things like totally screwing someone over tend to follow you when you work online and work mainly off of referrals.

      2. And actually, hiring an assistant with the understanding that you’re being a sort of mentor to them is really a great way to work (apprenticeship, anyone?). Often times, you can pay them less (because they’re getting the benefit of your expertise), they’re actually engaged in your work and their work (because they aspire to be successful like you), and when/if they quit you can share resources and contacts going forward because there’s a mutual understanding and respect.

      3. If you’re hiring help and you’re legitimately concerned about these things, you should treat yourself like a business and have some precautions in place like NDAs and non-compete agreements.

      4. Most people don’t want to assist the boss their whole lives (and the people who do, the professional assistants who rock, they COST because they’re exceptional at what they do) – so I guess I find it kind of weird that it would be surprising that someone would start low on the ladder, work themselves up, and then want to move on to more fitting opportunities. Though of course this view is based on (for better or worse) the culture I grew up in (US) and my generation, both of which very much stress that you aren’t a victim of your circumstances, you can do/be more, and you’re entitled to certain things. I guess I can see how it would be annoying to deal with these expectations, and how working with people who don’t have them is appealing.

      5. In this interview, VA seems to = worker bee. That’s fine if it’s your definition and if it’s what you want, but it definitely isn’t the only option. I’m a business owner with skills, knowledge, and resources that I bring to the table that my clients don’t have/don’t want to learn/don’t have time to care about. As much as I’m an implementer, I’m also an adviser, consultant, and friend. It sounds to me like I am a totally different service provider than those mentioned in this interview, offering totally different VA services, to totally different clients (I’m sure lots of other US VAs would agree – it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges).

      There is a time and place and situation for the set-up John is talking about. Totally agree there, and it’s been successful for a lot of people. But there is absolutely a time and place and situation for other arrangements. I’m concerned that we’re making outsourcing look easier than it is (for both service providers AND clients), providing a one-size-fits-all solution (there is no one-size-fits-all outsourcing solution), and bashing other paths just because it didn’t work in one specific situation.

      1. David Siteman Garland says:

        Very good points, L. Really appreciate the insights that will be very helpful for peeps.

  3. Looking forward to this interview, David. I really want to add VAs to my business but I have trouble (1) picking the tasks that aren’t the “only I can do”; and (2) then finding someone with the correct skills and price points that make it worthwhile.

    I like that you mentioned in your text above that you source out scheduling and blog posting. Those would be great things to start with, but I also look at the price point for doing that (based on your VA) and realize my “hourly” rate isn’t yet above that number – unless of course it takes more than an hour, but I can usually get it done in 30 minutes.

    Anyway, looking forward to listening and hearing both your thoughts. Thanks for the great topic.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Jeff – For sure, everyone is different. I strongly believe though more in leverage than hourly rate theory. The common hourly rate theory (which you know of course) is in theory I make X per hour so anything less than X per hour should be outsourced. I view it more from a business perspective. What needs to be done? Who is the best person to do it? How much does it cost? What does it add to the bottom line/how does it improve the biz?

  4. matt coffy says:


    it all depends on what you need. My VA’s are about $8 a hour… they can do everything for me and work with my clients as well on things…. yes my guys are expensive in general, but they will do anything i need from setting appoints, social media, etc.. The KEY IS you need to work with someone consistently over 6 months and have them really get to know HOW to work with you.. I will play more for higher level of competency, its work paying Mcdonalds pay scale for a college educated and mature VA, my two cents.

  5. Ryan says:

    This was a great webinar. Thanks David and John! A bit disappointing that John didnt disclose he owns though < but that doesnt take away from it being an awesome resource.

    1. John Jonas says:

      Ryan, Normally I do disclose that I own…but when I do i feel the need to tell the back story why I own it. We didn’t have time to get into the story so I didn’t want to mention it.
      I’ve been helping people do this for much longer than I’ve owned We started it out of a need to have a better way to find Filipino workers.

      1. Ryan says:

        Much respect John. An inspirational talk and enterprise. Well done.

  6. Brad says:

    Great show as always. I followed the guidelines to the letter and am very satisfied with Ivan, my va. It’s a great feeling to transition from a soloprenuer to the role of a business owner. John made the process very simple and easy to follow.

    Rock on David.

  7. Rosieteapot says:

    Loved all your giggling in this one David – haha. Really helpful interview though, thanks!

  8. nice list for work online here is a website you can earn money online or offline

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8 Steps to Turning What You Already Know into a Successful Online Course

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