Updated: Nov 22
“Becoming a member of the new rich is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.”
Tim Ferriss’ pearls of wisdom in the outsourcing bible, The 4-Hour Workweek, ring especially true for modern entrepreneurs.
Tired of carrying the weight of running a business all on your shoulders? Desperately looking for help but don’t have a lot to shell out? If you’re a busy entrepreneur stretching themselves too thin each day, hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) is one of the best things you can do for your business (and yourself).
When it comes to finding the perfect virtual assistant, don’t let geography limit your reach. You’ll find an abundance of talent in countries across the globe. In addition, the worldwide outsourcing economy is growing by leaps and bound every year – in 2018, the global market size of outsourced services stood at USD 85.6 billion.
So where can you find your perfect virtual assistant? Let us explore in detail the best countries for hiring a virtual assistant and the most popular services you can outsource.
The best countries to hire a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants hold an incredible variety of skill sets. No matter which industry your business operates in, you will be able to find one right for the job. Globally, the United States hires the most number of VAs. US companies are quick to take advantage of ample qualified talent in developing countries who work at a fraction of the cost. On the flip side, according to a 2016 survey by Gallup, nearly 40% of the US workforce was composed of VAs. It was also estimated that by the year 2020, this figure would cross the halfway mark due to volatile and uncertain global economic trends. Apart from the United States, China, India, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines have an extensive VA workforce across diverse work profiles.
Entrepreneurs looking for affordable solutions look to Asian countries – India, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. In fact, India and the Philippines have emerged as the top two destinations for outsourcing virtual assistant services. These two are a perennial source of talent. Apart from being highly educated, virtual assistants from these countries are adept at working with people of other nationalities and diverse cultures.
Here’s an overview of the best virtual assistant services offered by various countries.
Located at the crossroads of trade in South East Asia, Philippines has endured successive waves of colonization in recent centuries. It has leveraged this experience to become proficient in English, French and Spanish. This has made it one of the most preferred destinations worldwide for outsourcing, in particular from Spanish speaking countries. Here are some of the top virtual assistant services you can source from this country:
Hire a VA to bring clarity and a sense of coherence to your online marketing strategies. A VA will plan and streamline all your marketing strategies to achieve the desired results. They can remotely manage all your social media marketing efforts efficiently and inexpensively.
Here are some tasks your digital marketing virtual assistant can perform:
Zeroing in on keywords for various search engines
Promoting posts on blogs, pages and in classifieds
Creating engaging content for your social media handles
Developing and implementing AdWord campaigns
Performing customer care and support
If your business runs on SEO and content marketing, hire a VA to craft engaging blog posts. The VA will monitor and manage your content and editorial calendar. They can also coordinate the efforts of various writers and ensure that submissions are on time.
Here is a sample list of tasks a blog management virtual assistant can perform:
Proofreading and formatting posts prior to uploading
Adding links and hashtags to a post
Ensuring the post is SEO-friendly. For example, the VA will check whether keyword requirements are met
Picking out appropriate non-licensed pictures in the public domain for a post
Adding lead magnets and opt-ins to a post to expand the subscriber list
The United Kingdom has always been proactive in taking advantage of new employment opportunities and emerging trends. In addition, the country takes advantage of being the centre of the Anglosphere. Indeed, being the birthplace of the English language allowed it to capitalize and corner a portion of the virtual assistance industry in record time. Here are some popular virtual assistant services the United Kingdom offers:
Your virtual human resources assistant is adept at recruiting, hiring, onboarding, etc. This means you no longer have to build an in-house team of recruiters and support staff.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual human resources assistant can perform:
Posting job requirements on employment websites
Creating task requirements and employee contracts for your perusal
Reviewing resumes and previous work experience of prospective candidates
Conducting the initial phone interviews
Conducting background checks and finalizing interviews
Your internet marketing virtual assistant specializes in marketing your business online. Their primary job is to enhance your business’ presence on the internet and get quality leads for the sales team. From content syndication to making and posting videos, they can handle the entire spectrum of your internet marketing efforts.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual internet marketing assistant can perform:
Creating and updating the business’s social profiles
Managing content marketing efforts
Social media management
Creating web feeds
Optimizing website and contact forms
Search engine optimization
Not far behind the United States, Canada’s much-touted multiculturalism has translated into benefits for its virtual assistance industry. In fact, having bi-lingual and even tri-lingual workers has allowed it to perform virtual assistance services for many other countries in their native languages, such as in South Korea, Japan and several European countries. Here are some popular virtual assistant services offered by Canada:
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual graphic designing assistant can perform:
Designing with software such as CoralDraw, Adobe PhotoShop etc.
Creating banners, icons, logos and other art for your social media and branding
Presenting website design mock-ups for your approval
Creating design for ad copies and landing pages
Creating designs for brochures, flyers and leaflets
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual personal assistant can perform:
Taking down dictation
Performing remote receptionist tasks such as checking messages, leaving voicemails or answering calls
Filing all your digital documents
Converting files from one format to another
Sorting through customer feedback and to locate pertinent issues for your attention
India was one of the first countries to grab the chance to develop itself as the premier outsourcing location in the world. In the mid-1990s, Indian companies worked alongside US companies in Silicon Valley and today, the Indian outsourcing industry has matured to include virtual assistant services well beyond just the IT sector.
According to AT Kearney’s 2016 Global Services Location Index, India is the leading destination for outsourcing. The country offers a unique depth and breadth of skilled, English-speaking labor that other countries simply cannot match. With a strong US Dollar, India’s competitive advantage only increases with time.
Today the Indian virtual assistance industry has expanded to be the best in the world in the following services:
Social media management
Every entrepreneur spends a number of hours per week wrestling with social media. Whether creating brand awareness or marketing campaigns, it is far more effective to delegate these tasks. Your business’s presence on various social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on can be handled by an experienced VA.
Here are some tasks your social media virtual assistant can perform:
Creating business pages on Google+, LinkedIn and/or Facebook
Putting together an attractive social media profile for the business
Posting fresh content
Scheduling the posting of content on various social media
Strategizing to keep current customers and attract potential ones
Measuring performance and analyzing results
Watching out for competitor strategies on social media
Every bit of communication involves some form of writing. Fresh, engaging content for your ads, blog posts and social media pages can turn the tide in your favor. Hire a copywriting VA to create new content or repurpose existing one.
Here is a sample list of tasks a copywriting virtual assistant can perform:
Writing blog posts
Writing copy for flyers, brochures and web pages
Creating snippets for social media
Content creation for case studies and white pages
E-commerce is a globally booming industry that sees cutthroat competition. What better way to outperform competitors that to hire an e-commerce VA?
Here is a sample list of tasks your e-commerce virtual assistant can perform:
Product data entry
Product taxonomy and classification
Daily inventory management
Monitoring shipping and deliveries
Creating SEO-appropriate content
Selecting and editing product images
Monitoring returns and exchanges
Managing profiles on eBay, Amazon, Magneto, Shopify
Your business’ customers are its priority, their 360-degree satisfaction its ultimate goal. To incorporate customer suggestions and resolve complaints, delegate routine customer interactions to a VA. This will free up your time to focus on improving product offering and delivery.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual customer support assistant can perform:
Resolving customer service issues
Creating FAQs for common questions and bulk email responses
Following up with customers to ensure that their issues have been solved satisfactorily
Coordinating with delivery agents and technicians
Dealing with requests for exchange and/or refunds
An essential part of the Anglosphere, Australia’s USP lies in the massive English proficiency it can offer. This coupled with the high professional standards of every Australian industry has allowed having a virtual assistance brand right from the get-go. Today, it is a preferred destination for businesses who want to hire affordable virtual assistants from a first world country. Here are some virtual assistant services Australia offers:
With the right virtual telemarketer, you can boost the growth of your business and convert customers at a rapid pace.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual telemarketing assistant can perform:
Researching on locations for telemarketing campaigns
Narrowing down call prospects
Cold calling prospective investors and customers
Following up with leads
Presenting customer complaints which require immediate attention
Hiring a full-time employee for research is a costly proposition, especially for small businesses. With a virtual research assistant, you can get all your research tasks complete at a fraction of the cost. Your research VA is trained in leveraging the web for sourcing information.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual research assistant can perform:
Creating and updating databases
Finding flight schedules
Locating networking opportunities
Performing competitor analysis
Any research task that needs the Internet
The United States is the mother ship for all virtual assistance services. Due to various economic upheavals in the past two decades, several thousand workers were laid off. Also, first time workers entering the economy were unable to find full-time jobs which their parents and grandparents could. This, combined with massive internet penetration, led to a mushrooming part-time industry where people could work from home and manage several commitments at once. Here’s a lowdown of the best virtual assistant services in the USA.
Your secretary or executive assistant typically represents your business to customers. This friendly voice on the phone no longer needs to be at the same physical location as you. With a changing landscape of work, it makes complete sense to hire a virtual executive assistant that works for you remotely. No longer restricted by geography, you can tap into a global talent pool and land highly qualified executive assistants.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual executive assistant can perform:
Banking tasks such as transferring funds and managing different bank accounts
Billing customers and vendors
Maintaining a calendar of important professional commitments and helping you prepare for meetings
Preparing codes of conducts and training manuals for workers, employees or even other VAs
Maintaining crucial cloud computing resources of the business such as OneDrive, Google Drive and DropBox, also ensuring that regular backup of data is being maintained
Search engine optimization is undoubtedly critical to being found on the internet by your customers. With a remote SEO specialist, you can get your website to rank high through the use of the right keywords. Your virtual SEO assistant can hold expertise in different areas - website analysis, keyword analysis, copywriting, SEO campaigns, etc.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual SEO assistant can perform:
Creating and managing a landing page
Researching high traffic websites for ad placement
Monitoring traffic on website using Google Analytics reports and creating monthly or even actionable reports
Designing and implementing SEO strategies
Sourcing publishers or content marketing agencies to promote online content
Setting up follow-up emailing mechanisms for instant responses to frequently asked questions
Because all your customers are on the web, it only makes sense to invest in your online presence. Given the democratizing force that internet is, your VA can work from any part of the world. Your web development VA is an integral part of your business that understands its larger vision and continuously works on the face of your brand – the website. With a virtual web development assistant, you can maintain a user-friendly and updated website that boosts your business’ credibility.
Here are some tasks you can delegate to your virtual web development assistant:
Building a user-friendly and responsive website navigation system
Installing ticketing and payment gateways
Preventing data loss by creating a secured data management system
Coding for affiliate marketing
Famed for its miracle economic growth, the service industry is the backbone of this city-state’s economy. Singapore is a seasoned player in providing VA services, in particular, the following:
Today, the top real estate firms in the world hire VAs to streamline their costs so why should you fall behind? Once you communicate which task you want to be performed and how a VA will handle the rest. Whether it's compiling and filing paperwork, arranging meetings or responding to calls and emails, the VA will have you covered.
Here is a sample list of tasks a real estate virtual assistant can perform:
Scouring through real estate classifieds from both print as well as online media
Posting ads on Zumper, RentLinx, Zillow, Postlets and others
Responding to potential renters about preference-based listings
Following up with prospective buyers and renters
Working with other professionals in the field such as appraisers, home inspectors and insurers
Researching and reporting on potential property acquisitions
It is vital you maintain the right amount of inventory to serve customer demand and keep operations running smoothly. It is expensive to stock inventory, so policies such as Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory management should be implemented. A VA can monitor your inventory levels remotely and ensure that you are kept informed about re-stocking levels and dates.
Here is a sample list of tasks an inventory management virtual assistant can perform:
Checking inventory guidelines are followed
Regular stock taking to ensure inventory levels are maintained
Updating and maintaining records on incoming and outgoing inventory
Responding to purchase orders and sales enquiries
Spotting discrepancies between physical stock quantities and records
Maintaining relationships with vendors as a support to the production department
The availability of accurate information is crucial for effective decision making in your business. Not only should the information be credible, but also actionable. However, research can be a time consuming and arduous process. Fortunately, you can hire a VA to perform all your internet research needs.
Here is a sample list of tasks your virtual research assistant can perform:
Locating credible websites for the latest information
Double checking for data’s relevance and reliability
Compilation and presentation of information in an understandable format
Researching on competitors’ moves
Comparing quotations and prices for selecting a cost appropriate vendor
With its dynamic economy and a fast-growing urban population, Malaysia found itself in need of urgent jobs creation. Consequently, it focused on developing a robust outsourcing industry. Today, an increasing number of young people joining the workforce get a head start with providing the following virtual assistant services:
An event management VA can remotely set up and coordinate various vendors for all your online classes, conferences and webinars. Many of them will even be able to perform event management offline, such as getting wedding invitations designed, picking the florists and decorators within budget, etc.
Here is a sample list of tasks an event management virtual assistant can perform:
Putting together a list of eminent guest speakers
Communicating and making arrangement for the guest speakers
Promoting the event on social media
Setting up an online platform for a webinar, such as on Adobe Connect, Google Meet and Join.me
Monitoring the event for any glitches
Acting as a remote moderator, for example sorting through questions and comments from the audience which the speaker can then respond to
Every business has to create and manage effective ad campaigns online if it wants to survive. Hire a VA to write, design and post your ads on various social media platforms. This is a highly specialized skill, so it has to be done right to attract attention.
Here is a sample list of tasks a digital marketing virtual assistant can perform:
Segmenting the audience by demographics, income bracket, gender etc.
Researching on what attracts customers currently and capitalizing on that
Graphic designing and copywriting your ads
Monitoring how viewers react to an ad and what actions they take and their comments
Conducting a cost-benefit analysis for each ad campaign
The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. This has significantly hampered the country’s efforts to attract clients interested in outsourcing from the English speaking world. However, Brazil has made up for this handicap by focusing on providing the following technical VA services:
Data entry is crucial to your business but that doesn't mean you have to like it. Cumbersome and irritating, data entry is also immensely time-consuming. Here, a data entry VA can prove to be a messiah for your business and your peace of mind!
Here is a sample list of tasks your data entry virtual assistant can perform:
Collecting, sorting and compiling data for system entry
Performing a final review of the data to determine accuracy, relevance and credibility
Regularly updating the database and deleting outdated files
Generating and forwarding system reports on the data for decision making
Bookkeeping is the cornerstone of all organizations, whether commercial or not. This essential function requires time, effort and money. A small business can ill afford such demands on a constrained budget. Here, hiring a VA is a bargain, a supremely affordable option compared to taking on a full-time employee.
Here is a sample list of tasks a bookkeeping virtual assistant can perform:
Maintaining accurate and complete bank records
Payment to vendors and employees on time
Preparing and filing taxes and returns
Recording, classifying, summarizing and entering data into the system
Preparing reconciliation statements for bank accounts, credit card payments, vendor receivables and payables, etc.
In recent years, China has worked tremendously hard to build English language proficiency in its people. Although it is still far behind India and the Philippines, it has managed to take the first steps in developing a VA industry. Today, these are the virtual assistant services China specializes in:
Delegate all the draining administrative tasks to a virtual assistant to save time and hassle. The VA will perform efficiently while you can be effective to concentrate on core business processes.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual administrative assistant can perform:
Managing and updating your contacts
Handling elementary payroll duties
Invoicing and filing
Responding to calls and emails
Data entry and bookkeeping
Scheduling meetings with customers and vendors
Making travel arrangements
Managing your daily personal commitments – such as delivering flowers on your loved ones’ birthday or scheduling a dentist’s appointment
Every entrepreneur has experienced the sinking feeling that a full email inbox brings. Wading through the mass and sorting the important emails takes away a huge chunk of time. Conducting business online involves even more email. This is where the organization skills of a VA can help out in inbox management.
Here is a sample list of tasks a virtual email assistant can perform:
Checking your inbox
Labeling and sorting emails
Prioritizing emails to be responded to
Archiving important emails
Forwarding emails which require a personal response from you
Forwarding emails to core team members depending on their profile
Being able to accurately locate customers looking for your services in time can give you a serious leg up over the competition. So, you need a reliable person to perform this time-consuming task. An efficient and detail oriented VA will be up to the challenge!
Here is a sample list of tasks a part-time virtual assistant can perform for lead generation:
Sourcing leads by setting up Google Alerts for specific keywords
Creating a system to collect and categorize leads by location, product etc.
Cold calling or emailing potential customers
Reaching out to potential leads on social media
According to The Week, there are 5,000+ virtual assistants listed on Upwork, 74,000+ on Guru, 26,000+ on Freelancer. But as a busy entrepreneur, do you really have the time to profile each candidate, test their skill set, and finally train them?