Does Low Cost Outsourcing Really Work?

Outsourcer figures building a bridge to the word successHave you hired a Virtual Assistant yet?

Let me rephrase that:  Are you tired of doing every single thing in your business yourself?

Chances are, if you are a small business owner or solo entrepreneur,  you have either thought about hiring some help or have already done it. Nearly everyone has thought about outsourcing marketing online – it’s time consuming.  You want help!

Every business owner has one eye on the bottom line – cash flow and controlling expenses are survival tactics. So here’s my next question:

How Low Can You Go?

Virtual Assistants cost anywhere from $1.50 per hour to $150 per hour for most types of work that a solo entrepreneur would need. That covers essentially all online marketing tasks you would want to outsource.

Can you really find a virtual assistant for $1.50 per hour? YES.

That’s the short answer – Yes. In reality, you can find someone who will charge you $1.50 per hour, but your total cost is far higher than that.

I talk a lot about total costs in my ebook: “High Profit Low Stress Business Acceleration”

The real question business owners should be asking about outsourcing marketing and hiring virtual assistants is:

How low should I go? Or better yet: Where’s the Sweet Spot … for me?

Sweet Spot for Virtual Assistant

  • You get what you pay for
  • Salary is lower than you think
  • Factor in training time
  • Factor in finding time
  • Pay for keeps

Let me put these into perspective – the perspective of a solo entrepreneur who is motivated to have a profitable business.

You always get what you pay for, so just make sure you understand what you are paying for, and asking for!
At the $1.50 end of the scale, you can’t assume too much in the way of knowledge, skill, or experience.  On the $150 end of the pay scale, you better really need that level of expertise … and not be able to find it cheaper.

Anything over $50 per hour is usually a cause for pause for most business owners talking about outsourcing marketing, especially in the early years of business.

The 2 biggest problems:  Finding and Training

That’s right, usually it is a question of time – your time, the owners time.   Time is the reason outsourcing is so appealing in the first place; time is the resource to watch when deciding on what type of Virtual Assistant to hire, where to find them, and how much to pay them.

That is why you should pay for keeps – longer term hiring practices reduce your overall finding and training time … significantly!

At first glance, it appears to be a question of money ($), but it almost always boils down to a question of time.

Clock for leveraging your time

I have tried many different tactics for effective leverage through outsourcing, using VAs, freelancers, etc.  There’s more detail in my books about my experience if you are interested – look around on this site.

Here are some best practices that I use:

  • U.S. based plus Philippine based Virtual Assistants
  • U.S. = $25 – $75 per hour
  • Philippines = $5 – $15 per hour
  • Define the job clearly, then look until you find the right person
  • Pay what they are worth

The costs cited above are from my own experience and include some level of my own time investment; actual hourly pay may be lower but I wanted to put them in here for comparison costs.

Some business owners pay $1.50 per hour for online marketing using VAs in the Philippines, India, Hungary, etc.   This has not worked for me.  I use a mix of U.S. and Philippines service providers and my total costs are usually in the ranges cited above.

For most business owners, I recommend Virtual Staff Finder for finding Philippines based virtual assistants.   There are other good companies that I recommend on this site an in my books.   Virtual Staff Finder is a big time saver on the ‘finding’ end.

Does Low Cost Outsourcing Really Work?

Absolutely!  Every solo entrepreneur must find a way to leverage their time – outsourcing is ideal in most cases.  You just need to decide ‘how low should you go’ in your business.


About the Author:
Michael Wilson is an outsourcing specialist and independent business owner who uses, and refines, outsourcing strategies for entrepreneurs.  He is building his Body by Vi business and provides coaching for online marketing plus access to outsourcing services to team members.


  1. says

    Hi Mike
    My outsourcing experience has had limited success. Having a concise plan for the outsourcer is needed and likely where I fell short with the experience.

    • says

      That’s very true – “having a concise plan for the outsourcer is needed”. Not only that, but expect some level of training as well.
      Often an experienced outsourcer is quite skilled, but still needs some level of training in exactly what you want done … or how you want it done.

      I fell short on concise plans myself for a long time, and had to adjust my expectation of training.
      Good luck getting steady production from your outsourcing efforts!


  2. says

    Hi Mike, I appreciate the thoughtful analysis on this topic. Your experiences and research have combined to make your materials on this topic the authoritative reference. -Richard

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