Each year I get hundreds of mums asking me questions about being a VA – they email me, they add comments on the blog, they kidnap me at networking events and say “Oh I’d LOVE to be a VA and not have to pay for any childcare – how do I do it?” Invariably I tell them the ugly truth: They won’t be able to scrap their nursery fees.
Now perhaps that’s me just being skeptical… But the figures in the SVA survey say otherwise. Before you part with your cash to the VA trainer or Business Coach who claims they have the answer to your dreams, spend £25 downloading the actual figures on the industry.
No 1 myth: All VAs are mums working at home without childcare
Nope – the reality is that just 35% of VAs have kids under 12 and just 3.6% of the VAs we surveyed had no childcare in place. That’s comparable to the amount of men who are in this female dominated industry… Not a lot then!
No 2 myth: You can fire the nursery and replace your PA salary
Whilst working round school runs is infinitely easier if you work for yourself, you still need to be available within office hours.
We looked at the rates mums charge compared to the non-mums – the mums without childcare were charging nearly 9% less.
That’s not such a great difference, but we went on to look at the turnover that the mums without childcare earn, none hit our higher earning bracket of over £40k.
Again not a significant difference until you look at the hours these mums without childcare are working… 80% of them are working more than 20 hours a week. So they are working longer hours and getting paid less.
Why is that? Is it because they are only available at specific times? Are they getting interupted constantly so it takes them longer to do the work, but they can’t pass that time onto their clients? Only the VAs know… But perhaps it’s enough to convince those newbies starting out that they shouldn’t fire the nursery just yet!