It’s amazing what you read out there about the Virtual Assistant industry and assumptions about how it got started. Some even thinking it started with digital products like Siri, but I want you to know that the industry started back in the mid 1990s and was started by…… Babyboomers. Yes, Babyboomers! People who were born between 1946 and 1964. It began with people, like me, who were operating home based secretarial businesses, because they wanted to get out of the corporate world, and be home for family. And then the Internet entered the scene and changed the way we do business. Instead of seeing our clients face-to-face or having to deal with couriers and postal mail, we were able to start doing things electronically via email. Even before email faxes were being used.
I recently read an article that suggested that the Virtual Assistant industry is daunting and perplexing for those of the Babyboomer generation and that the advent of the human VA concept was adopted originally from software agents. But I’m here to tell you that’s far from the truth. Virtual Assistants came first – the digital applications came much later.
It might come as a shock to those in much younger generations, but yes, Babyboomers were the ones that founded this industry and anyone who thinks otherwise may need to re-think this and do a bit more research. I do have a History of the VA Industry on my site with respect to what took place here in Australia. Sharon Williams of The 24 Hour Secretary has also shared on the history of the first 25 years of our industry. Siri and other similar digital products weren’t invented till 2011, but unfortunately, they chose to adopt the name of our industry. No wonder people get so confused out there!
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.