Interesting discussion at one of the forums I belong to related to the term of title ‘Virtual Assistant’. Some found it hard to explain to people what they do, some wanted the title changed and others were happy to stay with it.
The title isn’t just a title though, it’s a whole industry. And it’s an industry that birthed in the mid 90s, and is here to stay, still evolving as technology changes, still getting noticed by those out there who have need of our services.
It’s like any industry or service (or product) really. People don’t know you exist till they recognise a need and come looking to find you.
Personally I like the title ‘Virtual Assistant’. There was a time when I didn’t in the early days – it seemed to come hot on the tails of ‘virtual reality’ and I wanted people to know I am ‘real’ and not ‘pretend’. However I feel it very adequately describes what I do on a daily basis. I Assist my clients on a Virtual basis.
It has nothing to do with being sub-servient, or people not understanding. Our role is to educate the public what a Virtual Assistant is and what we do – just as it’s the role of lawyers, financial planners, mortgage brokers, etc to educate the public on what they do. There are misconceptions everywhere.
I don’t mind people having that ‘startled-stuck-in-the-headlights’ look. It simply opens doors and provides me the opportunity to explain in more detail what it is I do on a daily basis. I like that people say ‘what does that mean?’ or ‘what is a Virtual Assistant?’ And the quickest and easiest way to explain it is to ask if they understand how a corporate boss and his PA can work together although in separate rooms or buildings or states or countries when the ‘boss’ may be away on a business trip. They communicate via phone, email, fax, etc. Most people say ‘yes’ to that and I then respond ‘well, I work in the same way, except instead of one boss, I have several clients’ and I do all the work in my own office and not theirs. And my particular skill set means I support them with databases, websites, social media, etc. Other VAs have other service offerings, but all are computer based and operate via the internet in most cases. Simple concept really.