Changes for GVAN

While reading The Obsolete Employee by Michael J. Russer I began seeing the need for virtual employees from the employers side. The ideas expressed in this book are critical to the success in reaching out to potential employers. Russer writes, "For the last ten years, I've used Virtual Outsourcing to transform the way my businesses work for me. I have no employees, yet I have teams of people (most of whom I have never met) that do what needs to be done, often brilliantly, without management or training".

Russer breaks down the savings for the average company in the US when using virtual outsourcing:

Wages: $18.82/hr
Cost to hire (interviewing, testing, evaluation): $1,370.00
Cost to train: $955.00
Logistics (office space & equipment): $10,000.00/yr
Benefits: 5.22/hr
- vacation
- sick pay
- holiday pay
- health insurance
- paid family leave
- company functions
- retirement & savings
- awards
Regulatory compliance: $2.16/hr
- taxes
- insurance
Payroll & Accounting: $459/yr
Termination: $2,288
- Exit interview
- regulatory compliance
- payroll/accounting adjustments
- legal costs ($25,000 + if sued)

The Obsolete Employee also points out the importance of having the companies standard business practices and procedures written down; this will be given to the virtual employee as well as a well written out list of job descriptions.

I have given a lot of thought to the name: Global Virtual Assistants Network; I don't think it accurately portrays what we are trying to achieve. I have discussed this with other GVAN members, who have agreed with my thoughts. I find two problems with the title:
1. Assistants suggest that we will only do administrative work, when this will not be the case.
2. The word virtual suggests something that is not real (as Russer points out - virtual reality & virtual assistants sound to similiar)

While I really like the term virtual outsourcing, the word virtual could be problematic. I also think that by changing the word virtual, we may be able to stand out from the crowd.
Russer made some great suggestions; I am hoping we might implement one of them:

  • remote outsourcing
  • remote consultants
  • remote assistants

Again, there is the problem of the work assistant, and it rings true for consultant as well.

Russer points out that there are two type of virtual assistants: VAs and Virtual consultants. VAs are long term employees; whereas consultants are per project. I however, in my experience have not found the distinction.

Perhaps the most exciting subject in this book is the reality that all businesses, from the largest corporation to the smallest mom and pop shop can benefit from virtual outsourcing. They can benefit by using such services as:

  • bookkeeping
  • marketing
  • advertising design
  • Human Resources
  • Website development
  • strategic planning
  • telemarketing
  • point of sale computer systems
  • etc

Russer's book supports the use of specialized VAs and warns against those people who are "jack of all trades". When implementing GVAN, we should create specialist fields; i.e bookkeepers, marketing etc. It is also possible to specialize in a specific industry such as real estate (real estate VAs however have saturated the industry).


Some of our promotional strategies could be that:

  • any size business can benefit from virtual (or remote) outsourcing.
  • Outsourcing saves businesses a lot of money
  • By hiring a VA the business can focus on what it does best: being a business

-Andrea O. [5-02-2009]

About the Author:
Michael J. Russer

Michael Russer is a renowned international speaker, author and columnist. He specializes in helping independent professionals and businesses of all types incorporate innovative productivity strategies to achieve a higher level of personal and career fulfillment.

He co-founded two Virtual Assistant organizations and is a strategic advisor to major sales organizations on the use of Virtual Outsourcing. Michael owns several companies and has been blissfully "employee free" for over 13 years, but has many incredibly talented people all around the world who conduct business for him, most of whom he has never met face to face.

He lives with his wife, two children and two dogs in Santa Barbara, CA.

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