It’s one of the great fallacies – that everyone with a computer can be a virtual assistant. The more seasoned VAs will be falling off their seats laughing at the concept of someone being able to print out some business cards and suddenly become a VA because they know the hard work that goes into creating a business and, more importantly, staying in business. In fact, according to Society of Virtual Assistants’ records, more than 30% of VAs will give up. Which is a real shame on a personal level for the VA, because I know the work which goes into launching a business. And as an industry we want to help VAs stay in business – for every VA who gives up, they leave behind clients with a poor impression of the industry since they now need to go find someone else to do their admin.
So what can we do to avoid people giving up? Well I think being honest from the start helps. So many VA training courses play into the myth that being a VA is easy, that anyone can do it and that it will be the work-from-home flexible job that you dream of. Let’s bust some of those myths!
Who being a VA is not for:
- Mums without childcare – If I have to explain it once, I have to explain it a million times – being a VA is not a substitute for childcare. You cannot work with kids interrupting you all the time and I don’t know of any successful VA earning a proper living who doesn’t have childcare in place. Whilst you might like to work through the night whilst your kids sleep, your clients will almost certainly expect some form of contact during office hours.
- People who like office buzz – It’s a lonely business working on your own. There’s no office banter or anyone to show off your new shoes to. The flip side is that you skip the office politics, but you’ll be surprised by how much you miss the human interaction of being in the office. Top tip for this: talk radio and the VASG Skype Chat.
- People who need a regular income – It is possible to start earning from Day 1, but it’s fairly unusual. It might take you as long as 3-6 months to gain a regular income, so make sure you have savings to live off during this time.
- If you don’t have at least 20 hours a week to dedicate to your business – Starting a business involves huge chunks of time. Quite often you can do that in the evenings or at weekends whilst you are working, but you do need to set aside time to work on your business.
Anything I’ve missed?