Is it a tough time for Indian virtual assistant companies ?

Virtual Assistant companies in India : Some facts

India is a popular destination for outsourcing your virtual assistant tasks. When we look at the Google trend data , two countries in Asia such India and Philippines show top search trends. In fact , after USA you can find at least top 5 to 6 virtual assistant companies in India. Most of these companies are using online platforms to get projects from overseas clients.

Finding  top virtual assistant companies in India : Best platforms 

As far as I know, 80 % Indian virtual assistant companies make deals on major freelance and online bidding platforms like Elance , Odesk, and Freelancers.com etc. Among all of these platforms Elance is the best because of its brand , number of quality job postings , deal value etc. Odesk was severing at the low end jobs despite its higher turnover. I have interacted with many clients about their feeling  about these online outsourcing platforms, and most of them preferred Elance over Odesk because they found many talented freelance individuals or agencies on Elance. Top 4 ranked companies on Elance are in fact Indian virtual assistant companies.

Challenge in virtual assistant industry: Elance and Odesk merger = upwork

But virtual assistant industry has been changed and faced big challenge in last 6 months when two freelance platform giants Elance and Odesk announced their merger and they planed to shift all freelancers/agencies from Elance to very new platform Upwork which is much inferior platform and has been infested with many bugs and faced intermittent shutdown. Moreover,  Upwork website has very unfriendly interface.

Then what is the impact of this merger on Indian virtual assistant companies?

1. Major top end virtual assistant companies are now forced to move onto Upwork, and this system is full of bugs and very low paying stuff. Most importantly, limited guidance for job application process , connect requirements for bidding and it’s full of scam jobs. Upwork is more like a Odesk but with new look and logo. Very low budget limit for fixed rate jobs erodes the profit margin and increased competition. So this has impacted bottom line of many virtual assistant companies India.

2. Elance is still up and counting it’s day for final death call. New clients are diverted from Elance to Odesk.  New job opportunities getting are reduced on Elance. Some termed ” Elance is like a nice hotel , nice overview , but deserted.” At the same time Upwork has been running at sub optimal level and confusing vendors and clients with clumsy design interface. So corporate decision to merge these two companies left many Indian virtual assistant companies in a fix.

3. Popular slogan ” Upwork=nowork” on Elance forum attracted highest levels of critical reviews from virtual assistants across the globe and they raised “Save Elance” slogan. Most of the freelancers and online agencies are unhappy with this decision.

4. When it comes to client’s views. They find Upwork is difficult and clumsy to manage virtual team members.  Many clients plan not to join Upwork when Elance will be down. I feel this will  also impact bottom line of many Indian virtual assistant companies.

So time has come for indian virtual assistant companies to focus on building new business development capabilities outside Elance or Odesk. They can look for other digital marketing strategies to reach global clients.

Possible marketing strategies for Indian virtual assistant companies could be following

1. Email marketing

2. Search engine optimization

3. Be active on business social media like LinkedIn

4. Strong content strategy

5. Being active in many virtual assistant forum.

How do clients select top end virtual assistant companies from India when you loose faith in upwork or other online platform

1. Look for the online reviews of top virtual assistant companies. Besides these reviews, do google to select few other companies based on your search criteria. Look at their services and ask them to share some samples.

2. You can take referral from members in your social media groups. Request your peers to refer any virtual assistant companies they used.

3. Another good source is virtual assistant forum and few niche forums have dedicated job posting section and you can post your requirements on their platforms  . I have seen many top virtual assistant are active on those platforms.

So virtual assistant industry many face some temporary setback , but with proper planning you can make your virtual assistant company global.

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