This may be a bit controversial, this topic, when the world is in a position where many individuals are out of work and wanting to make SOMETHING while working from home. Nevertheless, it's important enough to bring it up and talk about this subject for the sake of business owners as well as virtual assistants everywhere.
Low-balling gig work is not uncommon. You see freelancers try and beat each other out in pricing all the time on platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Thumbtack, etc., and VA work is no exception. However, time and time again, I am reminded of the reasons why Virtual Cathy's services are priced accordingly, not on my own accord but based on what my clients tell me! I have had no less than FIVE clients tell me in the last 5 months that they've worked with a VA, paying them $15 an hour and it didn't end well. This can support the idea "you get what you pay for," however, the deterioration of their working relationship wasn't due to the quality of work the individual provided. In fact, three out of five clients who shared their experience had this in common:
Their Virtual Assistant went out of business and/or got a full-time job elsewhere.
That's a serious bummer for everyone all around! The VA wasn't making enough to maintain their business or support themselves and the business owner is now on the search for a new VA that can hopefully stick around longer while dealing with a gap in the support they need. If you were in this position as a business owner, ask yourself:
Will you end up with the same outcome hiring another $15/hr VA with them exiting stage right with little notice and leaving you in a lurch?
What kind of effort and resources does it take to find a reliable VA and train them up to where they're a benefit to you?
Guess what! You CAN find individuals who are willing to do remote work stateside for $15/hr! They exist and they're out there, I am definitely not saying otherwise. That being said, what is going to stop them from taking a job that pays them more as an employee? What are they going to do several months down the road when they realize the amount they're charging you is not enough to continue?
Do you want to hire a contractor VA who has entry-level skills that you pour into and train up, or an experienced VA who can lighten the workload quickly?
How much does your time cost?
Similarly, these are the questions I would ask a virtual assistant who is underpricing themselves:
Can you realistically sustain your business and support yourself long term with the rate you're at now?
What are the long-term goals you have for your business and how can you create the stability you need to continue doing what you're doing?
While a VA business can have less overhead than many other types of businesses, there are still expenses to pay: taxes, software, internet, website, insurance, licensing, marketing materials, professional memberships, office supplies, continuing education, and the list continues!
While you as a VA can keep your operations as simplified as possible, it may limit your visibility, staunching your potential to attract more clients which could ultimately drive you to give up your business and find a traditional position to fill.
Business owners, unless you outsource admin work overseas and/or are willing to devote time educating and training your contractor, consider the importance of having consistent services provided and how much time and money that saves you. Virtual assistants, creating a reliable working relationship with business owners and supporting them as they grow is worth bringing your price up to a realistic rate.
And as always, my team and I are here to help you figure out what that can look like. We are here as a resource for you, indubitably. (I always wanted to use that word.)
Until next time!