When you hear the word “outsourcing,” what thoughts come to mind? Does it imply a cost-effective solution that promotes business growth, or a cheap alternative to the labor and production costs of running a business? Do you think about the stack of papers next to your computer and wish someone else could enter that data or make those copies?
I have known “outsourcing” to have negative connotations in the context of outsourcing manufacturing to locations where labor is cheap and profit margins are high. Conversely, I have read articles and blogs where “outsourcing” is used to describe the process of hiring subcontractors for the purpose of reducing the overhead costs associated with hiring a full-time or part-time in-house employee.
What does outsourcing have to do with a being virtual assistant? I have been wondering what readers think when they see the word “outsourcing” applied to virtual assistants and home-based businesses. Virtual assistance seemingly fits the description of outsourcing. After all, a virtual assistant (VA) works as a subcontractor to a person or company, not as an employee; he/she works from a home office (not at the location of their client) and may even subcontract to another VA. I’ve seen VA’s and VA agencies promote their own business as outsourcing secretarial tasks, bookkeeping, web design, etc. What does it mean for a VA to be classified as “outsourcing?” Does it reflect negatively on the professional, reliable, quality services that a VA offers? Or does your impression of a VA depend on how they present themselves and complete the tasks assigned to them? Would you be more or less likely to inquire about or request the services that are advertised as “outsourcing?”