Is a UK based Virtual Assistant best?

The best bit about virtual working is that you can literally work from anywhere for anyone and this has led to many coaches opting to work with Virtual Assistants overseas. Why? One of the reasons being that until very recently, although UK VAs existed, it wasn’t on the scale it is now so to outsource, businesses had to look further afield. With the UK Virtual Assistant industry booming, there are a few things you should definitely be considering when deciding where to source your VA.

GDPR/ Security

The first and most important aspect you need to be considering is security. Obviously, under GDPR there are certain rules about where information must be stored, how it can be shared and ultimately keeping it safe. Using a Virtual Assistant from outside the EU probably means they don’t have the same regulations as your coaching business, plus you’ll need to notify your clients you’re sharing information with a third party outside of the EU. A UK based Virtual Assistant should be registered with the ICO and should be happy to confirm this with you. They should also have appropriate software and systems in place and should be able to talk you through these.

Time Zones

Although the majority of your work may not be time sensitive, you still need to consider what happens should you need to get hold of your VA. Sometimes even pre-arranging a Skype call to fit both working schedules can be difficult. What would happen if you needed an answer or document quickly? By using a more local Virtual Assistant, even if they aren’t available immediately, more often than not they can get back to you the same day.

Local Knowledge

Depending on the type of work you want to outsource, it may be a disadvantage to have someone who isn’t located in the UK assisting you and your business. For example, if part of your coaching business is to run conferences and events, you may want your VA to help you find venues and organise suppliers. Using someone from overseas has certain restrictions when it comes to getting this right. Using a UK Virtual Assistant not only means that they can go and visit with venues and suppliers on your behalf if they are local, but very often have connections and the knowledge of them already to make sure you get exactly what you want and need.

Culture/ language barriers

If you’re a small coaching business, or indeed are a solo coach, very often your VA will quickly become the first person you go to for help and assistance and it’s therefore critical to have the right fit for the relationship to thrive. Even the smallest of cultural differences or mistranslations can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately mistakes, and when you’re such a small team this can generate unnecessary work and cost you more time in resolving issues.

There are also some big differences with culture and the use of social media, for example China strictly controls the use of Facebook and in some parts the use of it is completely banned. This causes issues for businesses wanting assistance with social media because the use of it just simply isn’t possible, or the understanding of how to use it for business is not at the same level as you’d expect from a UK based VA.

Skills and experience

Many UK Virtual Assistants have worked as EAs (Executive assistants) or at high management levels for UK based businesses in previous careers. The skills and experience they learnt in those positions, such as project management are transferrable across many industries, which is what makes them such an attractive solution for businesses needing assistance. You’ll also find that experienced Virtual Assistants will be able to help create strategies for your business in areas such as growth, understanding what needs to be done and how because they’ve aided various other UK businesses in the past do exactly the same. Having someone on side who has an understanding of the UK business landscape is a huge asset particularly to smaller businesses or start ups who have never faced the business journey before.

You’ll also find that a UK VA will have such an understanding of the UK business landscape that they’re quick to learn new skills in order to be able to provide the best service for their clients. For example, there has been a huge rise in demand for video being used in business marketing, and in fact for certain industries such as coaching to produce videos for delivering their service, for example training purposes. This has meant that many VAs have learned basic skills in editing and producing videos for use on websites and channels such as YouTube.

In conclusion, a UK Virtual Assistant is likely to provide value in respect of knowledge and connections, skills and expertise as well as providing you with piece of mind that any information you pass will remain secure and most importantly, your business will be compliant with GDPR rules and regulations.

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