Before writing this article I Googled the term virtual assistant and got 2,510,000 results. We’ve come a long way. When I first began researching the possibility of starting my own virtual assistance business in the summer of 2007 I didn’t get nearly that many results. In fact, just 8 months ago it only returned 1, 440,000 hits for the same search. It’s nice to see that at least a portion of those hits are valid, respectable sites giving honest information regarding virtual assistance. However, more and more are popping up describing virtual assistance as an easy work from home job.
I personally get inquiries from people looking to enter the virtual assistant industry; so I know that those five words grab the attention of thousands of people unhappy in their current job situation. In light of that fact, I thought perhaps it was time I shared some of the advice I’ve been giving to others. Simply put, If the reason you’re interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant is listed below…don’t. Don’t become a virtual assistant that is.
1. I want a career that is so simple it practically runs itself. Being a VA requires work. It requires dedication, business acumen, knowledge and expertise in not only computers, Internet and applications, but also in administrative procedures and tasks. Prior experience working in an actual professional office atmosphere is a requirement. Just because you use e-mail, shop online and play Pogo all the time does not make you expert enough to be a virtual assistant. Neither does answering phones for Smelly Shelley’s Seafood Shoppe.
2. I want to do what I want, when I want. As with any home based business, one of the perks is being able to write your own schedule. If you do your best work at 2 am, then you can work then. If you need to be at little Cameron’s Christmas Pageant at 11 a.m., you can schedule around it. But as a business owner you still have to work. And you generally end up putting in more than 40 hours a week. Remember, not only will you be doing work for clients, but you’ll have to invoice, market and work on your own business as well. I’m pretty certain there are few, if any; virtual assistant’s working a true 4-hour work week.
3. I want to get rich quick. Didn’t your mother ever tell you there’s no such thing as getting rich quick? That doesn’t mean that you can’t become financially successful as a virtual assistant, but it requires lots of hard work, setting up multiples streams of income and above all, time. Sometimes we should listen to our mothers.
4. I don’t want to answer to anyone. Sorry, just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you don’t answer to anyone. If you want a successful virtual assistance business your goal is superior client service. That means listening to and answering to your clients. Sure, you’re the boss, but what good is being a boss if you have no clients? You also should remember that you answer to the IRS.
So there it is. You won’t often find me giving you reasons not to become a virtual assistant as I really love my job and enjoy teaching others about the benefits. Starting a virtual assistance business is just that, a business, and requires time, energy and patience. Lots and lots of patience.