Interesting question and I do understand why I get asked that periodically.
For the record, the answer is ‘no’. I am not an employer. I am, however, the founder of the VA Network, “A Clayton’s Secretary”, and that network operates as an industry based group to help those who want to be Virtual Assistants develop their businesses and meet clients.
There is a big difference. Members pay a subscription fee to belong to the team and have to meet our criteria to be eligible. They fill out the application form, submit their resume and choose which subscription option is right for them. After that their application is processed, they are added to our website and given access to our jobleads system and given information via a member’s pack and also via email and forums, to help them shape their businesses. Each member is a self-employed business owner/operator, choose their own rates, run their own businesses the way they want and choose what type of services they wish to provide. They’re also responsible for paying their own taxes, and other overheads including insurances, furniture, hardware and software as well as their own training.
If I were an employer of Virtual Assistants I would be responsible for their rate of pay as well as taxes, insurances, training and their working environment. I would also have to take responsibility for all the work completed by them and passed to the client – I wouldn’t have enough hours in the day for all of that!
No, I’m not an employer but I am a facilitator and help introduce clients to their Virtual Assistants through our job request process. I prefer to keep it simple – connect the client to a VA or VAs and then let the two groups do the work and discussions between them. Why do they need a third party in the middle for that process to be completed? They don’t.
Virtual Assistants should be experienced in the service offerings they promote and should not take on work they don’t have the skills or ability for. In effect, they are totally responsible for the choices they make in their businesses because it is their business – no-one else’s. They don’t have a boss but the VA communities do give them the opportunity to have others to turn to when they need advice or assistance in any given job.