Who being a Virtual Assistant is not for:

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.
READ  Becoming a new VA

Anything I’ve missed?

5 Comments

  1. Sarah Bradley on 18 July, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    It is not for people who find it hard to motivate themselves and, perhaps more importantly, those that are shy of sales/selling. If you can’t sell yourself then you’re dead in the water… you literally have no business!

  2. Carole Meyrick on 18 July, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Neither is it for people who lack patience and want instant results, or who think it’s easier than being employed! A business is like a good wine, or a French cheese; it takes time to mature, and getting it to its best requires a lot of hard work and effort on your part!

  3. Helen Stothard on 18 July, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Its not for the faint hearted either, you have to be able to say NO to clients when they ask for unreasonably short time scales, out of hours working or something you are just not comfortable doing, and you also need to be able to chase debt when needed as not every customer will play fair with you.

    On the other hand you do need to be flexible to accomodate the odd out of hours/short notice request on the odd occasion.

    That being said it’s the best job I ever had and I have never once regretted the move, it is hard work, a lot harder than you suspect at the outset, and remember, you’re not just fitting in hours working for clients, you do need to allow those hours to work ON your business as well.

    I second the VASG support as well as this forum, great places to get the support you miss from the office.

  4. Emily on 18 July, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    One of my bugbears is the women’s mags who offer it as a quick, easy way to make extra cash! It’s not easy and it won’t be quick! You do need to work hard and get stuck in, if you just have a CLAIT or other IT qualification, then be warned you will need a whole load more skills to succeed and you can’t fake it either!

  5. Heather Greig on 26 July, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    It is not for people who are disorganised!

    To run a business you need to be organised and also be an organiser! Clients need support – some of them a lot and the last thing you need is to be unable to find that important document, or timetable, or bank statement, or email address or …. the list goes on.

    Remember your client is relying on you to do all the back-office work so he doesn’t have to think about it – be super organised!!!!

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