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While reading fellow VA Rita Cartwright ’s blog, I came across an article she wrote speaking about outsourcing to offshore Virtual Assistants (link found below).  Needless to say, this topic sparks lots of emotions on both sides of the debate. 

Below are my comments posted in response.  I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the subject.  There are pros and cons to both, and I respect opinionson the subject.  These are my thoughts.  What are yours?

This is a subject that is close to my heart. While, I understand the economics of outsourcing, I have to agree with Ms. Kon’s observations. To me, offshore contracting in general is a major contributor to the economic downfall Americans face today. So many jobs have been lost to a company’s decision to hire offshore contractors and employees, resulting in Americans losing homes, cars, self-respect, ability to seek medical attention, being forced into bankruptcy etc., etc.

It’s just reality that Americans cannot compete with $2.00 an hour, less than what some Americans pay to ride a bus! And every time I see a posting from an American company looking to pay someone this type of rate for all of the work that they are doing it angers me a bit.   And one of the reasons is, not only do I feel that there is no loyalty to America and the sustainability of Americans and America’s economic outlook, but Americans businesses KNOW that they are taking advantage of the individuals who are doing this work at these rates. They know the true value of this labor.

So, while it may be great for business, operations are running smoothly, and you are getting more than you’ve paid for in many instances (however, in some instances you really do find that you got what you paid for) is it right? 

As a business owner, I could subcontract to an offshore VA and still make a good rate, but as an American, could I feel good about doing this?  No, I couldn’t.  And I’m not passing judgment on those that do hire offshore workers.  I’m simply stating that this is my opinion and saying what is right for me.

I am glad for the opportunity to have respectful dialog on the subject and wish everyone, on both sides, good luck, prosperity, peace and blessings!

Below is the link to Rita’s article.

 

http://rjswordprocessing.wordpress.com/

 

Peace and Prosperity,

 

Evelyn Mack

http://www.emackulateassistants.com

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When I started writing my blog, I started off full of enthusiasm, bound and determined to make sure I post regularly, but that enthusiasm waned quickly. Not because I didn’t have the desire, but because I just could not find the time to do it.

What this told me really was I really needed to get a handle on managing my time. Now, don’t get me wrong, when it comes to servicing my clients, I am VERY organized, but when it comes to organizing my time, there is some definite improvements that need to be made.

When reading other VA’s blogs, I see a consistent theme, and that is to be a success, you have to have superior time management skills. In just trying to build up clientèle, I find myself working ungodly hours–I mean, it feels as if I’m working 24/7, and truth be told, it might not be 24 (not quite), but it’s definitely seven!

I was ranting to my sounding board–my Dear Husband (DH), and he made such a simple comment that just really spoke to me. He said, “Evelyn, you have to treat this as if you are working for someone else, and 8 to 5. Consider what your “work hours” are going to be and stick to them.” Get up, grab your coffee, start your day, take your morning break, take your lunch break, take your afternoon break and clock out after  nine hours.”

And you know what?  He’s so right! If I am up at 3:00 a.m. working, there is no way in H-E double hockey sticks that I should still be sitting there working at 8:00 or 9:00 at night!!

Ideally, I’d like to schedule my day to begin at 6:00 a.m. and end by 6:00 p.m. and have Fridays-Sundays off. Now, I know there will be occasions, where I will have to adjust my schedule and work earlier, later, or weekends, as necessary, but for the most part, I’m going to try to make this schedule work.

So, I’ve made a new commitment to really schedule accordingly, not take on more than I can handle by myself, look into building a team of VA’s I can call on to assist me because I am actually great at marketing and getting the work, but although I love to think of myself as Wonder Woman, I’m not. I know I can’t do it all.

So, we’ll see how it goes and hopefully, I can, as I had planned to when I started the Emackulate V.A., post to my blog on a regular basis. I’ve only been an official V.A. for nine months, so this is all part of the learning curve. So, stay tuned!

Virtually Yours,

Evelyn “The Emackulate VA”

www.emackulateassitsants.com

P.S.–I’d love to hear how you handle your workday scheduling issues!

If you have the skills and experience, transcribing is a great niche, or a great area to focus on while building your clientèle in other areas of virtual assisting.

Contrary to popular belief a transcriptionist is more than just a “typist.” We have to be excellent spellers, be patient, be able to decipher various accents and dialects. We have to have a great eye and be a good proofreader. We have to be able to listen to people speak, use a foot pedal, type at the same time, and be relatively quick about it. And a good transcriber should be an intermediate to advanced user of Microsoft Word. Continue Reading »

When starting my virtual assistant business, the dilemma of what to charge literally kept me up at night. I had done my research, so I knew what the ballpark figures were that professional virtual assistants were charging. I also knew my value, but I’m just starting out. How could I possibly demand $25 to $60.00 an hour for my services? I thought, if I charge that, I’ll never get clients as a new V.A.!

Eventually, I settled on an hourly rate between the median price ranges. However, in my quest to obtain clients, I found myself accepting whatever the client wanted to pay,  and soon became very disillusioned.  Because I had to start earning some money, I began answering ads from people who wanted to pay hourly rates of $15, $10, and oh my gosh, I even accepted a job for $8.00 an hour. This was performing marketing-related services. I began thinking to myself, “I can’t do this.” Evelyn, what the heck are you doing?” I wasn’t that desperate. Was I? I cannot sell myself short. I haven’t made $8.00 an hour since I was a freshman in high school for God’s sake! If this is what it’s going to be like, I’m going to back into the corporate world, where I was at least paid a decent salary and received benefits!

However, my husband, who is my sounding board and head cheerleader, reminded me that starting this business is what I had been praying for and that I had to press on; but to be consistent and not to sell myself short. I have great skills. I’m good at what do. I have over 18 years of professional experience. I successfully ran programs with budgets of almost a half a million dollars.  Sure, I was in business, but I didn’t feel proud of myself knowing I was allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I felt violated each and every time.  Continue Reading »

Do not panic! Houston, we’ve got a problem! But thankfully Google had the answer. I was in the middle of a transcription job; on my last hour of six hours of transcription, when low and behold I pressed some odd combination of keys and my screen turned sideways! What the heck is going on here?! I didn’t know what combination of keys I pressed, nor did I know what combination of keys to press to fix the problem. So I thought okay. Continue Reading »

Seven months ago, I was unemployed-but very employable-and praying for a way that I could earn a living and have the flexibility I desperately needed at that time in my life.

My husband had suffered a major stroke (at 38…listen to your body folks!) and is on dialysis, which necessitates my being available to take him to doctor’s appointments and so forth. Also, we live in the Atlanta area, where traffic is horrendous. My last job as a project manager for a well known international ministry had me commuting two plus hours each way, and I worked 10 plus hours a day. I couldn’t do that any longer. My family was my priority and I while it was a great job, with great pay, my family was suffering, and I wasn’t there for them like I needed to be. Continue Reading »