Virtual Assistant Israel provides virtual assistant services to small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs based in the US. The company was established in 2008 and employs American VAs based out of their home offices in Israel.
At the helm are Director Alyssa Magid, Community Manager Aviva Blumstein and Administrative Manager Naomi Schneider.
About VA Israel
Alyssa explained their people are what set them apart from the competition. All Virtual Assistant Israel VAs are native English speakers (most hail from the US) with college degrees and a minimum of 3-5 years of work experience, but due to not necessarily speaking Hebrew and other employment restrictions, have a hard time working for local Israeli employers. So they work online for people like you instead!
When I spoke with Alyssa, she added that they have a pretty demanding screening and testing process. What that means in terms of raw numbers is reviewing over 7,000 resumes to find the fewer than 50 top VAs that make up the Virtual Assistant Israel team today.
Virtual Assistant Israel Intro Video
Virtual Assistant Israel VAs specialize in remote administrative, marketing, social media, and writing / content-creation tasks.
They have a wealth of experience in these areas and can help run your office and set-up strategic marketing plans for your business. In terms of social media, they are responsible stewards of your online brand, and can execute a social presence on the most important channels.
Each VA works on US east coast time and is available through a US-based phone number up until 5pm EST.
For full disclosure, the company also lists several services they are NOT a good fit for, including playing virtual receptionist, accounting/bookkeeping, website development, sales, and graphic design.
Plans and Pricing
With Virtual Assistant Israel, there is a one-time $199 set-up fee that gives you access to interview as many candidates from their pool of available VAs as you like. Alyssa explained the fee primarily serves to weed out tire-kickers who maybe aren’t as serious about adding a team member. She also offered $100 off for VAA visitors:
VAA Exclusive: Mention VirtualAssistantAssistant.com during sign-up or on your intro call and get $100 off your Virtual Assistant Israel set-up fee.
Normally how it works is prospective clients have an intro call with the management team to assess their needs and delegation opportunity in their business, and are provided with 3 VAs to interview. After the interviews, you pick your favorite and begin the relationship with your new dedicated assistant.
If you don’t find an assistant you love within 14 days, your set-up fee is 100% refundable.
The company has a couple different price tiers that are dependent upon the skills and level of experience you require from your VA. The first tier is $26-30/hour and the higher level tier is $34-39/hour. There’s a 10-hour per month minimum engagement, but other than that no contracts or long-term commitments.
Once you engage, your virtual assistant uses Freshbooks to track their working time to the second and invoices you only for the time they spend. In that manner, you don’t have to worry about unused hours in a month or counting tasks.
Virtual Assistant Israel Alternatives
With VAI, you have the advantage of an experienced, professional dedicated assistant. Along those lines, there are a few other companies that might be worthy of your consideration, including Time Etc and other US-based VA companies.
Have you worked with Virtual Assistant Israel? If so, please share a quick review of your experience below to help others with their decision.
I’ve been working with my VA from Virtual Assistant Israel for over a year now, and I have been so very impressed with her work ethic and commitment to do the job 100% right 100% of the time. I’m based in Sydney Australia, and the time difference is nothing we cannot overcome – we use the fact that she works while I sleep to our advantage! My VA is extremely flexible and accommodating – always thinking one step ahead. She quickly adapted to my working style and has become an indispensable part of my business. She trained herself up on new project management software and has since become our in-house expert. My VA has freed me up to focus on growing my business, and during recent peak periods has ensured that I haven’t dropped any of the many balls I have in the air at any one time.
We have relied so heavily on VAI for so long (over 7 years!) that our first reaction was to send this review to our amazing VAI assistant to proof read and edit it first. VAI has been instrumental in helping us maintain and grow our small business. They have been way more than just assistants to us. They have helped us with client relationships, creating and editing content, facilitating online classes, website maintenance, event planning, social media content and growth and with strategic business develop ideas that been fundamental to our success. We view that fact that they are based in Israel as a huge plus because it enables us to be a business that “truly never sleeps.” The VA’s we have used make sure they are available when needed during NYC working hours. However, if we leave “tasks” to be done at the end of the business day in NYC, when we wake up the next day, due to the time difference, they have all been completed which maximizes are profitability! Perhaps the most dramatic example of how much we trust and rely on VAI was when hurricane Sandy occurred. Most members of our team had no power for over a week and therefore limited computer access. But because our VA was so capable, the week of and the chaotic weeks after Hurricane Sandy had no impact on our business. To the outside world, it was “business as usual” thanks to VAI! We are truly so thankful to have connected with VAI when we were first starting out and have recommended their services to many other small businesses.
We’ve been working with VAI for several years now and all of the VAs we’ve worked with have brought tremendous value to our company. Their attention to detail, effective time management, and reliability allows us to breathe easier and focus on growing our business. Even though the scope of our needs is constantly changing, there is always someone at VIA that has the necessary knowledge and skills. I would highly recommend VIA to any business owner looking to improve on efficiencies — it’s a game changer for sure.
We have been working with Naomi of Virtual Assistant Israel for over a year and she has been amazing. All of VA Israel’s people are Americans who worked in the USA for years before moving to Israel, so they know how to write an email, talk professionally on the phone, and so on–Naomi talks directly to our clients about scheduling, unpaid invoices, or problems in a way that makes clients feel taken care of. Yes VA Israel costs more than many other VAs but it is totally worth it for the high quality of the assistants available.
In addition, Naomi loves to work, works hard, is interested in learning more about our business, and is more professional than most of the in-house employees we have hired over the years. She has figured out how to work equally well with my partner and with me, a big accomplishment since we have totally different work styles. Naomi has made it possible for my partner and me to spend our work time on the things only we can do, while she takes care of everything else.
The flexibility has been great too — some weeks Naomi works 10 hours, and other weeks she works 20, depending on what is going on in the business.
I have recommended VA Israel to lots of people because they offer high-quality professional assistants which we have not found anywhere else.
I have been a client of Virtual Assistant Israel for 4 years now. Previous to that, I have worked with a plethora of VAs from all over the world. I have worked with everyone from Elance to Odesk, Philippines to India, Argentina to Canada even a few in North America. Since I have been outsourcing for a good long time, I feel that I have solid experience in it. And I can provide some insight into the good and bad of outsourcing in general, and Virtual Assistant Israel in particular.
First of all, let’s talk about their management structure vs. finding a freelancer on Upwork or other site. In one word: Accountability. I find that a lot of aspiring freelancers who want to widen their scope hear the siren song of using VAs while you sleep and frankly, get a little too excited about it. The core issues that many come across is organization in general and accountability in particular. Let me give you an example:
You contract a nice, educated person from the Philippines at a great price. You lock up her time with a weekly (or monthly) and start sending over assignments. In my experience, if you haven’t done the job before yourself, or if you’re not such a great communicator to begin with, you’re very quickly going to run into issues. Power goes out there – A LOT. Although their isn’t a language barrier, the definitely is a cultural barrier. (Try explaining what a 401k plan is, or someone who has never been to a Fresh Market, for example). VAs from the Philippines are great! And if your business is properly set up to move projects through a pipeline, you’ll find a very dedicated workforce there.
In my experience, I prefer to minimize the amount of friction (and education) that I need to deliver to my VAs in order for them to be successful with me. All of my VAs from Virtual Assistant Israel are ex-pat US citizens, born and educated in the North East, and college educated. They have all made the choice to raise their families in Israel (a first-world country with fabulous infrastructure) for various cultural and often religion-affiliated reasons. This, to me, makes them VERY MOTIVATED to plant roots, and utilize the tools that the Internet has offered to all of us to truly work from anywhere. Virtual Assistant Israel hires them as full, tax-paying employees. This is an important distinction for two reasons:
1. I know that my VAs are getting unemployment insurance, health care, and maternity leave as part of their core package.
2. If a VA becomes unavailable for any reason, a new VA is assigned and there is an established switch-over so that there’s no interruption of work on my part.
These two reasons alone (if managing your HR is important for you) are the best reasons to go with Virtual Assistant Israel.
The 7 hour time difference doesn’t bother me (I’m in Miami). My VAs leads busy lives as well. They send their kids off to school and have a few hours to work before the sun rises here to get things done. Then afterwards, after everyone has been fed and put to sleep, they work again for a few hours, often a good time to catch up with them on the phone and clarify any remaining issues. Lastly, since I have everyone’s tasks organized on Teamwork (teamwork.com), it’s easy for me to keep track of what has been done, and what is pending.
So now when I pitch clients, I can proudly tell them that Yes, I do use outsourced help. And No, there will be no cultural barrier to getting the work done on time with impeccable quality. Virtual Assistant Israel has been instrumental in helping me scale up and a key factor in the success of my business.
I’m available for any questions if you’d like to discuss this further.
They have great VAs who are excellent English speakers, and their leadership is very responsive. The VA I had while I was with them was great, but she left for other opportunities (I get the sense that they didn’t get paid as much as they deserve), which essentially ended my relationship with them. Their hourly pricing is on par with US based VAs from the last time I checked (and more expensive than TimeEtc), which is a decisive hit against their value prop, but their staff hail from uniquely accomplished backgrounds. It would be great to leverage them again, but the time zone difference between US West Coast and Israel is too hard for me to overcome, especially since this forces almost 100% email conversations which slows things down quite a bit. An additional challenge is that, because they are Israel-based, they have to “officially” observe Jewish sabbath work rules. Translation: PST people lose their VAI VA from Wednesday evening until Saturday evening (VAI is back at work on Sunday, though). Having a dedicated VA available by phone for only a few hours each day for just 3 days in the US workweek is too much for my business to overcome. The further fact that they cannot engage in marketing or sales work keeps me from being able to use them, which is unfortunate, since they are otherwise a very capable entity. If your business is EST based, not particularly time-sensitive in operation, and doesn’t require the functionality that they do not offer, then they are worth a look, but they may not be price-competitive with newer US based VA companies, especially the more full-service offerings.