With our globalized world, business people are connecting with one another everywhere. Smartphones and online collaboration tools allow us to stay on-the-go and a quick Google search can bring up a vendor or a client a few continents away.
If you’re looking to get ahead in your business, a VA might be the answer for you. When working with a virtual assistant (VA) the best part of the working relationship is the fact that they can work for you from anywhere. There’s no office space to provide or commute to incorporate into working hours. But, time zone differences can make communication more difficult, delay editing and approving, and get in the way of a seamless partnership.
Why in Europe?
I’m an American living in Germany, and while most of the VAs I network with are in the U.S., many, many small businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs who primarily work in English live in Europe–and I’m talking to you!
It’s hard to live and work in a foreign country, especially when it’s not your native language, but there is online help for you and your business out there.
The awareness and demand for virtual assistants in Europe is growing. Daniëlle Molenaar of Virtual Efficiency in The Netherlands says,
Companies in Europe are slowly gaining awareness of the value of working with Virtual Assistants. Most of my clients are highly paid executives or entrepreneurs, who see the value of delegating certain tasks to an on-call assistant, so that they can free their time to work on their own projects and work ‘that really matters’, without distractions.
Whether you are an expat building your own portable career or a European businessperson working in English (or your native language) in Europe, it’s worth it for you to see if a VA located in Europe would make a good fit to help you grow your business.
A virtual assistant in the right place
Here are the 4 reasons why you should seek out a VA in Europe:
1. Working across time zones won’t last for long
On one hand, a night-owl VA could be happy to work night hours for you or fit better with the family or personal schedule. On the other hand, people are generally working traditional work hours even when they are at home to better network with clients on traditional work schedules or work while the kids are at school.
That means that if you’re living and working in Europe, you need a virtual assistant who is also living and working in Europe. If you can find the right VA and they are in the same time zone, you’ll both definitely work better together. Madeleine Forbes, a British virtual assistant living in Portugal, says
I think if you’re living and working in Europe then a European VA makes a lot of sense. If you’re looking for someone to support you with the day to day running of your business, having someone in a similar timezone will mean that you can communicate more spontaneously, and respond more nimbly, than having to wait until your VA comes online – or realize eight hours after the event that they’ve flagged something that needs dealing with immediately. Especially with social media, that responsiveness can make all the difference.
My first client found me when she wanted to transition from her VA in Canada to someone here in Europe, and although she continues to work with both of us on different projects, the response and delivery time for both sides has made a huge difference for her. And I got my first client!
2. Mutual understanding of culture, language and location
While sometimes opposites attract, usually people with similar backgrounds and interests work better together, and that goes for the relationship with your VA. You may be a German working in Switzerland so finding another German as a VA may suit your business style. And as a Brit living in Poland, working with another native English speaker living in Europe may decrease miscommunications or errors in writing and editing.
In a virtual world all is possible, but starting out with a similar foundation, whether that is with culture, language or location, sets you and your VA up for better communication.
3. It’s a young, growing market for VAs in Europe
The VA business is booming and that boom is now coming to Europe. Now’s the best time to find a VA with only a few clients to lock in a great package rate or price. As businesses slowly realize that delegating regular or special tasks to virtual help is good for the bottom line, the demand for virtual assistants will grow, and I think more virtual assistants will join the industry.
From expats with non-transferable skills to young moms and executive assistants who want to work from home, many more women and men will be joining the ranks of virtual assistants. If you want your business to grow now, find one quickly!
4. English support for business in English
The global language for business is English so if you’re looking to expand your business to an international market or you are a native English speaker yourself, finding a VA who works in English will be a valuable tool. They’ll be able to navigate the idioms, slang and sayings that bring you credibility among your colleagues and customers. And an expat will bring their knowledge of their home culture to help you reach your target audience.
What are you waiting for?
While I praise the benefits of working with a virtual assistant, I am realistic enough to know that a VA is not right for everyone. Your business may be big enough or growing fast enough to get office space and hire a bunch of employees. You may enjoy the behind-the-scenes work (like me!) and prefer to handle it yourself.
However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and ready to take your business to the next level, take a good look at your daily, weekly, and monthly operations, and see where a virtual assistant could help you out. Many VAs offer a starter or trial package so you can see what it would be like before signing a long term contract.
If there was one thing you could delegate to a VA, what would it be?
Make a wish, and let me know in the comments what that one thing would be.
p.s. Don’t forget to grab your copy of my Delegation Done Right Guide, which will take you step-by-step to getting ready to delegate to a VA.