how i hired a virtual assistant to help with my blog

Posted on November 10th, 2010

Oh, I have to tell you about Alf and Freelancer.com.au. Oh, my.

thank-you-for-calling

I’ve been making a few changes to my blog. It’s a gradual thing. Mostly I don’t really know what I’m doing and haven’t had the time to do it…so I hired a virtual assistant. And it’s made me so happy. A stack of people have asked me about this. So here’s a little rundown:

* Why a virtual assistant?

A VA is someone you hire online to help you with stuff you’re, quite frankly, over doing. People use them to help with their kids’ homework (which I find sad), to manage their diaries, to transcribe stuff…a guy hired a freelancer to plant a stink bomb outside his mate’s place on the other side of the planet!

A VA, though, is perfect for blog help. You can hire someone to transcribe, tag, format, design, upload your posts and videos and images, copy edit (and spell check) posts, manage the comments, do all your social media interconnecting, manage your SEOs (and simply do all the stuff that you need to do to optimise traffic…which does my head in, personally), research stuff, write stuff…pretty much run the whole bloody thing…which is what a lot of corporates and doctors etc do.

* Where does one find a VA?

I used Freelancer. It’s the largest outsourcing service site in the world and they’ve just launched here in Australia. I met them on a Morning Show segment and they offered to lend me a hand finding someone. You simply log on and post the job on their messageboard, then sit back as experts around the world bid for the gig. You need transcribing done? A typist in Calcutta will put their hand up. You need your blog posts tagged properly? An IT graduate in The Philippines will respond to your tender with a rundown of their previous work and a rate.

* Expensive?

Nope. We’re talking about $5-$10/hour for qualified expert help. I wrestled with the idea of paying someone in a second-world country so little…but realised I’m paying them to do what they trained to do, and am paying them more than what they’d be paid by local customers…all of which ensures these new economies are able to foster their skilled labour.

* Me, I’ve hired a VA to…

…help with upkeep and technical tweaking. Alf (more on him in a moment) doesn’t upload stuff or research. He simply moves stuff around for me, advises on SEO stuff, cleans up things, suggests improvements…it’s a work in progress. I’ve used a VA in the past for small tasks. But I went to Freelancer to find someone who could actually work on my site with me, and actually tell me what to do. I like this. I get tired of having to know what I want. Often I don’t. So I posted asking for someone who was a WordPress expert and social media advisor and asked applicants to suggest what I needed done to my site before we started. Ergo, Alf.

* Interested? Keep this much in mind…

- The Project Name should state clearly what you need e.g. ‘Bright Logo Required for Edgy Wine Company’ not ‘I need a logo’

- The more detail in the Project Description, the less chance of misinterpretation

- Providing examples helps

- Browse other projects similar to yours for ideas

- Set an appropriate budget – if you have a significant amount of work, set a realistic budget (use other similar projects as a guide)

How do I know which freelancer to choose?
- Price – don’t always choose the lowest bidder. The bids will be low anyway – approx $5/hour – so go for other factors…

- Reviews – Just like eBay, Freelancers are rated upon completion of each project.  Look for Freelancers with a high star rating and who have completed multiple projects.

- Portfolios and past work – take the time to look through the freelancers portfolio to see if they are at the standard you are looking for.

- Private Messages – give priority to those Freelancers who have personally taken the time to message you in detail about your project.

- Request samples from freelancers before you award them the project, to prove they fully get what you’re after.

* And so it was that I employed Alf from the Philippines…

Alf has changed my life. I chose Alf cos he totally got what I was after and was able to tell me in his response what HE THINKS HE COULD DO TO IMPROVE MY BLOG. His work is great. But more than that he is the clearest communicator I’ve ever come across. And starts his emails off with lovely little openers like: “I hope you are in the best of health and spirit.” You can check him out or employ him here. He has two degrees – a bachelor of science and a bachelor of entrepreneurship and has been a freelancer for 9 years, specialising in wordpress, blogging, social media and graphics work.

* Consider a retainer

I’ve hired Alf on a monthly retainer. I flick him questions and requests as they arise and he tweaks things as he sees issues, too.

* Which brings me to my number one tip for employing a VA:

Communicate clearly and kindly.

If you’re not sure what you’re after, say so and that you’d like two suggestions. Or whatever. This has been one of the really beneficial side effects of the VA process – it’s got me communicating clearer. And forced me to think about what I really want from my blog. Which quite, frankly, is to:

Communicate clearly and kindly.

Do you have any questions? Post them below and I’ll have someone from Freelancer try answer them for you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Madison

    Such timing! I was just looking for a WordPress helper to do some tweaking (and paying $165 an hour in Australia is not feasible!).

    Alf – is there a particular theme that maximises our SEO? Cheers!

    [Reply]

    alf Reply:

    Hi Madison. there are great WordPress themes out there (WooThemes or ThemeForest – to name a few) that employ valid markup and SEO-friendly code. I do create my own theme/code from the ground up to achieve a 100% valid markup and make it more SEO-friendly, aside from using plugins such as All In One SEO and Headspace

    [Reply]

    Madison Reply:

    Oh i”m so hiring you! thanks for taking the time out to reply :-)

    [Reply]

    mav21 Reply:

    how do i get started?

    Alf Reply:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Looking forward to it!

    qasim Reply:

    Hello, I have just started freelancing and to be honest having quite a difficult time. I have been posting bids for one month now but haven’t been able to score a single project. I know all the bells and whistles, and believe me I have paid attention to each detail (complete portfolio, professional communication, previous work etc). I don’t know whats wrong and I am becoming depressed. Just came across your success story and was wondering if you could help me in my critical condition. I shall be greatly thankful to you. Kindly contact me at ebukspalace@gmail.com as I wont be able to keep track of your response at this blog.

    Waiting for your resopnse.
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Algie Reply:

    Hi Alf! Cheers from your kababayan!!! Nakakatuwa na isang kababayan ang na nakilala sa kanyang magandang gawa!!! I’ve been in freelance since 2004, doing some administrative task, simple/technical data entry and I got lots of feedacks and good ratings on freelancer too :)

    Freelancer change my life. I used to rent a computer in a computer cafe 5 blocks away from my home. I waited one year before I got my first job there. There are lots of experienced indian freelancer there that outbidded me and winning a project on that site from a non experienced freelancer like ME is very impossible. But since then my hard works and patient bidding on each project has been paid off. I got my first project on 2008 from australian client, at that time, I know nothing but the kind client trained me doing data mining projects. Since then, I got my first review and hired again and again. My review and good feedbacks from my past clients really helps me to find a new project.

    Now, I have done lots of project there, some of my clients keep using my service in or out on freelancer. The payment is done on paypal or sent through western union :)

    Through my hard works and patient, I’ve finished my study and now, sending my two sister and three nephews to school too. I never expected this will happen to my life now that I work in the comfort of my home, have my own dual core/flat screen computer, reliable and fast internet connection.

    Freelancer helps many people specially those people in a second world country like Philippines. All of the project I have done and clients I have worked with are brilliant and treasured memories in my life. From being a tambay (don’t know what is tambay in english..LOL) to become a experienced virtual assistant is the real proof that Filipino are true hard workers!

    Anyway, I will seize the opportunity to post my service here..Please do kindly consider me if you are looking for Experienced Virtual Assitant doing some administrative task. Here’s my freelancer profile : http://www.freelancer.com/users/263346.html

    Thanks and mabuhay!!!

    [Reply]

    ebeecroft Reply:

    Hi Algie,

    I like what you posted and I really admire you for being such a wonderful person helping your siblings to go school. Good on you girl. I can really relate and for some reason parang gusto kita maging kaibigan. Hope you didn’t find it weird.
    Let me tell you a little bit about me. Obviously I am from the Philippines, Pinay ako and I am now in Australia. I am happily married with a 2 year old son. Stay at home Mommy and namimiss and Pinas.
    My email is vermillion_yuii@yahoo.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers.
    E

    Karen Reply:

    Were talking about virtual assistant here. Not wordpress themes.. You’re making the topic irrelevant.

    Well, if you’re looking for a qualified virtual assisting, I recommend Assisting U Virtually which help me succeed on my online business.

    Visit their website now at http://www.assistinguvirtually.com.au to avail their daily VA deal.

    Who knows you can get 4 hours of virtual assistant for $20.

    I always check their website (Not their wordpress themes)

    [Reply]

    toke Reply:

    new job

    [Reply]

  • http://www.destinedfornow.blogspot.com Kara @ Destined For Now

    That sounds like an amazing service. I am constantly awed by the wonders of the internet.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.babybuggs.com.au Louise

    oh wow that is awesome
    so many of us ‘small’ bloggers and business’ can really use someone like Alf – talk about a perfect mutually beneficial relationship!!

    [Reply]

    Diljinder Reply:

    Hello Louise,

    I am an article writer , blog designer and an evid blogger with an experience of more than six years in freelancing. A virtual assistant is really helpful for someone who want to get the work done on time and can build a long time working relationship with them in case they are satisfied with the Virtual assistant .As the world gets smaller by the day thanks to the marvels of world wide web you can rest assured that you can find quality work with little investment . You can find me on Freelancer.com here

    I am happy for alf to have gotten the much deserved appreciation .

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention how i hired a virtual assistant to help with my blog | Sarah Wilson -- Topsy.com

  • http://natthepagodatreecomau.blogspot.com/ Nat Kringoudis

    Ahhhh Sarah! Brilliant! This is what I need, well I don’t know exactly what I need but somebody like Alf might be able to help me find it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I’m off to visit and find me an Alf.

    [Reply]

    Diljinder Reply:

    Hello Nat,

    I am an article writer , blog designer with an experience of more than six years in freelancing. A virtual assistant is really helpful for someone who want to get the work done on time and can build a long time working relationship with them in case they are satisfied with the Virtual assistant and as the world gets smaller by the day thanks to the marvels of world wide web you can rest assured that you can find quality work with little investment . You can find me on Freelancer.com here

    I am happy for alf to have gotten the much deserved appreciation .

    [Reply]

  • Kristy

    How cool is this! Thanks Sarah! I seriously had a dream last night that I wanted to find someone like this – and here is the answer. What a perfectly functioning Universe!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.impresario1.com alf

    I am a Web creative and Blog Designer. Being a virtual assistant stems from a desire for the flexibility of being self-employed. With my clients, I’m not someone who just “does their work and gets paid,” I look at it as a partnership where I can help them grow their business and be as productive as possible.

    Besides, one of the best things in hiring a VA is that you get to focus on your core business endeavours, increasing your output while decreasing your input.

    Thank you Sarah for the opportunity to work with you on your blog and social media, an honour indeed.

    [Reply]

  • sTyLo

    wow ALF you did a good job. Sarah you too Thanks for appreciating his work. It is too much for we freelancers to heard good from others.

    [Reply]

    alf Reply:

    Thanks sTyLo. I guess the key here is passion. Our clients are passionate about their work so we have to be just as passionate too. Yeah Sarah’s real nice too. Well, I must say, I’m fortunate!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.dreamsoftindia.net lightcresent

    If you one is looking for similar service, contact me on freelancer.com. My username is “lightcresent” and i am among top 20 freelancers here for past 5 years.

    [Reply]

    lightcresent Reply:

    Here is link to my 500+ feedbacks so far… http://www.getafreelancer.com/users/feedback_209751.html

    Feel free to get in touch..

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • http://www.freelancer.com/users/1492211.html Lova

    I am a freelancer and I advise everyone to post their projects directly on freelancer.com. There are many jobs about web development, article writing but not yet enough of multimedia jobs for example. I would also like to have larger choice for jquery jobs.

    [Reply]

  • http://lisaamartin.wordpress.com Lisa

    I’m glad you had such a positive experience with Freelancer, Sarah! There are quite a few Freelancer-haters who complain about the quality of freelancers using the site, and it’s true – there are a lot of “have-a-go” providers who seem to view Freelancer as an easy way to earn money. It *is* easy, but only if you have the skills and experience to do the job that you’ve bid on! Unfortunately, many don’t, but as you’ve found, writing a well-described project post and careful consideration of the bid proposals and private messages you receive can lead to the discovery of some absolute freelancing gems like Alf (and me!) :)
    I would urge everyone who has responded to your blog post with cries of “YES! I’ve found the answer to my problems!” to do your homework about Freelancer because it’s not for everyone. Before you sign up for an account, make sure that you read the terms and conditions and their code of conduct so that you understand exactly what it is you are signing up for, and what activity and behaviours are allowed or not allowed. Lots of people slip up and then wonder why their accounts were suspended. Over on my blog, I’ve started to write about some of the problems that people encounter when using Freelancer, and how to work out these problems. I hope you’ll find it useful!

    [Reply]

  • Moyo

    I am fascinated by this and really want to get into it.
    however.
    doesn’t all that instruction take longer than actually doing it yourself??

    also…

    how does it work in terms of uploading things. wont you have to take the time to upload it initially to get to alf? and then he reloads it?

    i’m genuinely interested. but every time i’ve been so close to hiring a VA i’ve thought that it might take me more time

    i assume this is wrong! but how??

    [Reply]

    Madison Reply:

    For me? It was easier to specify out to my freelancer what I wanted and let him do it. They usually work off their server, so its a quick zip.

    And all for $50 my site finally works how I want it too – hooray!

    [Reply]

    Moyo Reply:

    Thanks M
    I think it would be a good practice in ‘letting go’! And challenging my belief that ‘only i can do it the way i want it’….
    It sounds ludicrous when written down. But I sense that’s where my hesitation is coming from

    So would you usually load a whole lot of stuff to their server and then they take it from there as per your instructions?

    [Reply]

    Madison Reply:

    it depends on your requirmenents (alf?! help!).
    i zipped my theme and gave explicit instructions on widgets, plugins, colours etc i want.

    i’m too precious about my content to outsource that!

    then they give you the zip file back and you upload it back to our site. for me, the zipping process was 3 mins.

    but writing the instructions definitely clarified what i wanted done. and i got great feedback too. ;loved it.

  • Julie

    This is just brilliant, seriously thinking about hiring Alf. The coding on wordpress is driving me up the walls and I haven’t been able to write in a week. I prefer to focus on the creative stuff, so this might be the perfect solution…Love, Jules

    [Reply]

  • mercy

    Dear All,

    Sorry, i would like to know how freelancer work, i mean, i want to be hired as a form filling worker, please, how do i get started.

    i really need assistance.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    alf Reply:

    Heya Mercy. Head over to Freelancer.com.au and sign-up as a Provider. As soon as you register, then its time to shop. Look around for some work offers in your field of interest and when you find something that you are confident to do, submit your quote/proposal and connect as much as you could. Send offers to different Buyers (Clients.) The more you send out, the bigger the chances someone will catch your attention.

    Happy Hunting!

    [Reply]

  • dejavu19free

    Hi,

    Hi regards to all the people reading this. I’m from Philippines and i am looking for a job like virtual assistant or article writings. I need a job to help my family from financial needs. I have my own laptop and an excellent internet connection. I hope someone can give me a shot. I am a reliable person and can commit to deadlines specified by my employer. I just finished 2 projects in freelancer.com and both are article writings.

    I hope someone out there can hire me urgently. Long term is more better but i am willing also to work for part time. I am available 24/7 and always online. Search the name that i used here at freelancer.com to see my profile. I am willing to work for $3-$5 per hour.

    Thanks and Kind Regards,
    dejavu19free

    P.S. Alf- can you help me find a job or employer? Its my honor to be helped by you. :)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.infinity-web-solutions.com Ms. Virtual Assistant

    I have just bookmarked this site! Anyway, why to hire a virtual assistant ? Simply because they are the one you need! No worry for those jam packed jobs they can do it for you in a reasonable expense!

    [Reply]

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  • Melanie

    Hi Sarah,

    You mentioned:

    “I wrestled with the idea of paying someone in a second-world country so little…but realised I’m paying them to do what they trained to do, and am paying them more than what they’d be paid by local customers…all of which ensures these new economies are able to foster their skilled labour.”

    Can you elaborate on this a bit and perhaps share what lead you to that conclusion that this “ensures these new economies are able to foster their skilled labour” and what good things that can lead to for the freelancers? I ask because I’ve been sort of struggling with the idea that people are paying Virtual Assistants (who do often live in impoverished conditions) as low an amount as $5-$10 an hour (or less in many circumstances), which is minuscule compared to what the work is actually worth and what they’d be paid if they were living there in Australia or here in the states. That you’re paying them more than what they’d be paid by local customers doesn’t really seem helpful to me – it feels more like people who hire Virtual Assistants at such a low wage are perpetuating the problem by purchasing cheap labor in order to make a ton of great deal more for themselves, which to be honest is what your blog does for you (and people like Tim Ferriss, who is a huge advocate of hiring VAs). I’m also not sure that hiring them to work on your blog is any better than hiring them to help with your kid’s homework or schedule your doctors’ appointments when the same people are performing the various functions.

    I really like your blog and I’m not trying to be critical, but again this is something I’ve been struggling with a bit, and I’m not quite sure how to begin educating myself on the realities of the situation. You seem to know more about it, so I’m interested in knowing how you came to your conclusions, especially since you wrestled with the idea initially and decided, ultimately, to do it.

    [Reply]

  • Emily

    Melanie – I’m not Sarah obviously but the way I see it is this – what’s the alternative to not hiring them for $5-10/hr? Not hiring them at all? Then they and therefore their economy isn’t getting the money. Or if they move overseas, then their country loses that talent and the future benefit of their experience and skills.

    I don’t see money as a static measure of worth. In our country, you may get paid AUD$20 an hour because it costs $10 to buy a meal. In a developing nation, they may get paid AUD$10 because it costs AUD$5 equivalent to buy a meal due to varying exchange rates. It’s all relative. If we were paying them the same rates as over here, it would push inflation up over there, making things less affordable to those not in the IT industry not earning Australian wages. Time is money, but money is not a static measure of worth. It’s relative to the other goods & services available within that economy.

    That’s how it works in my basic understanding of economics anywho.

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    Emily, thanks so much for weighing in on this, that helps. The concept of an individual outsourcing work vice a large corporation is kind of a new concept for me, so I’m trying to learn about whether it impacts the freelancer/VA in a good way or is exploitative. It’s not that I see not hiring them at all as the solution (if indeed this type of outsourcing is exploitative), it’s that I want them to be paid a truly fair, livable wage.

    I myself do not want to contribute to the exploitation of others for personal gain, so it’s important for me to learn about how my hiring a VA in a second-world country, providing me with “virtually unlimited labor at next to no cost” (direct quote from freelancer.com.au) is beneficial to the worker and not just to me.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.w3gmedia.com website design gold coast

    Thanks for valuable information

    [Reply]

  • dejavu19free

    hi alf,

    i followed you on twitter and response to your message. i hope you can help me to find a good job. i need money for my family. I am a bread winner and now that i am unemployed, we are having crisis at home. too many bills to pay. :( i am beginning to lose hope………

    thanks and kind regards,
    dejavu19free

    [Reply]

  • http://freelancer.com Taseerali99

    dejavu19free
    We are hiring 200$ per month virtual assistants.10 articles per day for 6 days need to be rewritten.If you think you are up for the job follow the address at jeemail.

    [Reply]

    Diljinder Reply:

    Hello Taseerali99,

    I am an article writer , blog designer and an avid blogger with an experience of more than six years in freelancing. A virtual assistant is really helpful for someone who want to get the work done on time and can build a long time working relationship with them in case they are satisfied with the Virtual assistant .As the world gets smaller by the day thanks to the marvels of world wide web you can rest assured that you can find quality work with little investment . You can find me on Freelancer.com here
    Looking forward to working for you

    I am happy for alf to have gotten the much deserved appreciation .

    [Reply]

  • http://freelancer.com Taseerali99

    dejavu19free Plz keep this in mind we will pay thru freelancer.com at the end of each month.If you agree we will post a seperate project for you.Thanks

    [Reply]

  • dejavu19free

    Taseerali.. i sent an email to you. my name is arnie c. and i’m please to know the details of the project. any higher rates than 200$ per month?

    thanks and kind regards,
    arnie

    [Reply]

  • http://www.jonathanfleming.com Jonathan Fleming

    Great perspective! For the price of coffee weekly someone can get help growing their blog to grow their brand or business! Kudos to you for writing something very informative, helpful and simply put of the powers of crowdsourcing talent around the world to buyback your time to focus on other greater tasks..

    [Reply]

  • jabbar

    hello all dears,
    here is dhoom please tell me about this web site that how it works

    [Reply]

  • shovon

    i am a new comer

    [Reply]

  • shovon

    i am a new comer
    plz give me some advice about freelancer.com

    [Reply]

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  • http://www.tuliptechsolutions.com training Indore

    One day i just found freelancer.com . I created account and start bid .
    suddenly afte a few days Iost . Till that time I didn’t win any project on freelnacer.com .
    But when I lost job after that 10 days i won my first project . This begining give me a lot .

    Today I have a good team with me . i have lots of reviews (100+)on freelancer.com . And I am making 4 times of salary of my friends of my last job . We are providing all it related service .

    Thanks Freelancer .

    [Reply]

  • peter

    Hello, I have just started freelancing and to be honest having quite a difficult time. I have been posting bids for one month now but haven’t been able to score a single project. I know all the bells and whistles, and believe me I have paid attention to each detail (complete portfolio, professional communication, previous work etc). I don’t know whats wrong and I am becoming depressed. Just came across your success story and was wondering if you could help me in my critical condition. I shall be greatly thankful to you. Kindly contact me at ebukspalace@gmail.com as I wont be able to keep track of your response at this blog.

    Waiting for your resopnse.
    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Afiong

    Hi,
    I have been following this blog since last week, and I love all the comments and issues tabled here. Well in the spirit of this blog (comments, appreciation etc) I will love to add my piece and it is to appreciate freelancer.com.

    I am from a country where things never seem to work. As a graduate I was unemployed for as long as 8 years – no Job, no money; the experience was downright deplorable.

    Do you know that my first job on earth came from freelancer.com? I joined this platform as a freelance writer, and within one week I got my first writing job, which lasted for a year. Since this initial job breakthrough I have been involve in one writing project on the other. I have been transformed from no salary earner to an income earner.

    Freelancer.com provides great opportunity for everyone. Unlike many sites online, freelancer.com is not cultural, racial, language and gender bias. There is opportunity for everyone and as long as you are dedicated, hardworking, efficient, and good at what you do, the sky will definitely be your starting point.

    Cheers to freelancer.com, and to all the freelancers.

    [Reply]

  • murhan

    how to get started and what should I do thank you

    [Reply]

  • http://www.absolutelyvirtual.com.au Monika

    This just sounds like a huge “plug” for Freelancer.com?

    How about a huge “plug” then for locally homegrown VAs?

    You may find that they are just what you are after and you will be supporting a local industry, which in turn is supporting the local economy and who are also the readers of your newspaper column, therefore helping to support and keep you in a job Sarah.

    Warm regards
    Monika

    [Reply]

  • http://www.virtuallyyours.com.au Rosie Shilo

    Thank you for highlighting that we should all be looking overseas to lower-income countries to get services. If I need a journalist or blogger for my association I will certainly look overseas before considering hiring someone like, for example, Sarah, who lives in Australia and probably costs way more than $5 per hour. Why use Sarah when I can put my $5 per hour to better use by feeding an impoverished family? It certainly would make me feel better and leave much more of my income in my own pocket. Bonus!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.vos.net.au Korryn Campbell

    Wow, how insulting for the Australian VA industry. I have gained so much knowledge from the VAs here in AUSTRALIA. There are VAs here who specialise in all the areas listed above (plus so much more) by Sarah and in my opinion, give a premium service and its all done in Australia by Australians.

    This is very disappointing to read. As Rosie and Monika have outlined, we could all go off and outsource a journalist or blogger for a fraction of the price overseas, however, what would that do to the Australian economy?

    Come on Sarah, why not “plug” your fellow local small business owners?

    Give Australian VAs the credit they deserve.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.bridgelandadmin.com.au Brigette Garland

    Hello

    After reading this blog post, I feel incredibly sad that for a country that boasts “buy Australian made”, people are looking at supporting economies of other countries rather than their own. On the upside however the great thing about this post is that you are actually making many people aware of the Virtual Assistant Industry. Many business owners may not actually be aware that VA’s exist, let alone in Australia. Sure, we don’t charge $5-10 per hour for our services, but we still do a really good job!

    In the end it is always up to the individual where they decide to source their help from, but please be fair and also mention that us VA’s do exist in Australia, because we are fighting a constant battle to have our presence known here.

    [Reply]

    serviprofer Reply:

    Well, it was great to find this site. It all began while I was looking for “Excel” entries in Twitter. I had ever heard about VA’s, but really I think and feel it’s something that doesn’t work in my country (Venezuela-South America). Right now I saw there are some VA’s nets in Latin America and I began to like it,and I’m really interesting in it. While I was reading all of the comments I couldn’t avoid to involve in the delicate subject matter of salaries or wages. It’s really something to think and reflect quite a lot.

    Sara, Brigette Garland, Korryn Campbell, Rosie Shilo, Monika: I want you to know it’s all the same in all over the world, Australia, Spain, Venezuela… it’s a matter of moral and dignity in each person while considering the fair and deserved salary and individual must earn/be paid for.

    It was really great “to meet” people more than 5000 miles away from my country, hear their need through their words. What I’ve concerned in sites like Freelancer.com is that I’m not going to be a beggar, I’ll do my best in my knowledge area and that’s why I’ll bid what I consider is a fair amount of money. I won’t be based on just how much do they pay in their own country.

    Words that attracted my mind:
    Brigette Garland:
    “In the end it is always up to the individual where they decide to source their help from…”

    Afiong :
    “I am from a country where things never seem to work.”
    Afion: I think as you do about my own country. I feel I can understand you. The world is the big business of politicians and powerful wealthy people.

    Finally, doing as a devil’s advocate,
    …Melanie, Brigette Garland, Korryn Campbell, Rosie Shilo, Monika:
    Please, tell me the truth, put on Sara’s pants, Would you really go with australian VA’s?

    God bless all of you!

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    Rosie Shilo, Virtually Yours Reply:

    Hi Serviprofer
    Your post is very good. And to answer your question – yes! I use Australian VAs all the time even though I get offered support from overseas at seriously cheaper rates. I truly believe that if I expect people to hire me at my rate, I should be setting the example. I have absolutely no issues paying my Australian counterparts the amount they are worth and each and every one of them is worth more to my business than just money – they become a part of my team, involved in development, ideas and the enjoyment I have in running my business.
    Warmest regards
    Rosie

    [Reply]

    Brigette Garland Reply:

    H Servipofer,

    Thank you for your post. To answer your question, yes I would use VA’s in Australia at the higher rate than an overseas VA. 1. it would not involve a time zone issue, 2: Australian VA’s are incredibly good at what they do 3. Being in the VA networks, I can see the experience and knowledge that these people demonstrate each and every day, which proves their qualifications are correct 4. I would support the local economy 5. I would worry about the quality of work being provided at such a lower rate. 6. Being a business owner in Australia, I know how hard it can be to start a business and/or keep it afloat, so why not help out someone else locally?

    As I said in my previous post, in the end it is up the individual where they want to source their help from, but the reasons stated above are why I would source my resources from within my own country.

    Algie Reply:

    @Briggete Garland, if your concern is all about local employment in Australia, please do not underestimate VA’s overseas like us. Using freelancer.com would help you select the right candidate for your job requirements by looking at their feedbacks and ratings as the quality of works reflected there. :)

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    Hi,

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    Hi Arnie! Which site you are using??

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    arnie Reply:

    Hi Algie,

    Thanks for the response. I am using freelancer for writing and facebook projects while Odesk for link building and writing as well.

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    Algie Reply:

    I have a project posted on freelancer and I want someone to help me out with my blogger account. You can view my project here, maybe you are interested. http://www.freelancer.com/projects/Articles/need-forex-creative-writer.html.

    The forex writer is already filled up, I need a writer for my “freelancer guide” blog. Maybe you can help me out. Drop me a note at giepicardal@gmail.com

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    algie Reply:

    would you like to work with me Arnie?? please send me a note on my email….

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  • arnie

    Anyways, you can reach me at acrisostomo19@gmail.com if you want to hire me. My kids are growing and I need to find better job to sustain my family needs. I hope someone would give a shot.

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  • http://www.myonlinevaservice@gmail.com My Online VA Service

    Hi Sarah – have you ever investigated the onshore VA Industry??? There are many, many very skilled and qualified people such as myself who offer quality services at a very affordable price. Why not check it out! There are many networks of VAs in Australia and if you are interested, I would be happy to put you in touch with them. Outsourcing to overseas cheap labour has its place, and I absolutely acknowledge that, but how about promoting our home grown industry as well!

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  • Hanna

    The ‘buy Australian’ thing really gets my goat, sorry. Sure, if you have access to a good Australian VA, by all means use them. My business is partly based overseas, and I’ve worked a lot overseas. I can’t find what I want here.

    And, if you support only employing Australian VA’s, may I ask, are all your clothes made here? Do you only buy local food etc etc etc.

    The biggest supprt we can give underdeveloped countries is to provide work for their people. I note that a numbwer of the freelancers replying here are from the Philippines, as are many of the admin and IT staff I worked with overseas. Ask yourself, why do people leave their own countries en masse looking for work? Could it be that there is no work in their own countries?

    We are all citizens of Planet Earth. I don’t draw boundaries with my own business, and I don’t really respect those who draw boundaries with other people’s.

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  • http://www.absolutelyvirtual.com.au Monika

    Hanna it’s great that you can find the virtual assistance that you need overseas but there are so many VA’s also trying to make a living here. Do you deny them the right to work?

    I just ask for balance – Sarah’s blog is pushing underdeveloped countries, Australian VAs just want a fair share of the publicity that the underdeveloped countries are receiving. There are many many people in Australia doing it tough, working at menial jobs and taking jobs that they are way overqualified for because they can’t find work. It’s also very demoralising to have to remain on the dole, living at the taxpayers’ expense because there is no work available.

    We need to be fair and also look after the people in our own backyard – yes it is a global economy and this is why we must make sure that all people of the world have a sustainable income to provide for themselves and their families, should we ignore our immediate neighbours, is this ethical business?

    Are you asking Australians to buy your products or services, at possibly a lot higher prices than what you would pay for a VA per hour?

    Your sentence “we are all citizens of Planet Earth” says it all – we all have a right to make a living, why are you drawing boundaries around Australian virtual workers’ rights to make a living?

    Let’s be honest, the ulterior motive in all this is about making more profit for the business owner, not about giving work to underdeveloped countries.

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    I read this article last year and loved the idea…but I only got around to it last month! Should have done it much earlier (that’s always the case, right?)

    I now have two different VA’s, one from an Indian group and another from an Australian run company called FreeMyCould http://freemycloud.com.au/ They hire out Filipino’s and have been excellent so far – or should I say my VA has been great ;)

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    Employing offshore freelancers is exploitation pure and simple. No different from exporting jobs overseas. Rather than making the world a better place – it makes you feel like you are doing good, if you care to view paying a pittance which is slightly greater than the average pittance in the foreign country, as doing good – it infact perpetuates massive wealth disparity, whilst making the employer very wealthy. You may kid yourself that there is a trickle down effect or whatever form of justification you choose – but you are only kidding yourself. Anyway keep on happily making money through exploitation of the third world…and its also one less job for an Australian too – double whammy!

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    I found this post and read it with anticipation that quickly dissolved into the usual frustration and disappointment at yet another Australian business person outsourcing their work to overseas companies to save a buck. Let’s face it, there are a plethora of fantastic virtual assistants and online secretaries here in Australia who may charge a more realistic fee, but would certainly have loved the work. I wonder how these aussie business people would feel if the rest of us started “throwing them over” for cheaper overseas businesses? As a proud Australian businesswoman, I condemn you for your exploitation of third world workers and your unwillingness to support Australian small businesses! So, you’ve lost me (and all those I tell about this blog) as a reader or supporter. (and remember, in business for every one person who forms a negative opinion they will tell approximately 28 other people negative things about you!)

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