Regular readers know I belong to LinkedIn, which is a very large international professional business network. I have met so many people there and have been able to secure new clients for my team as well. It’s been a great group.
A new connection asked me some questions and I thought they were so good, I would add them here. I told him I was curious to know why he asked but I answered all the same. He’s a professor of Finance and Economics so it’s most likely professional curiosity and/or interest.
Q: In growing your VA business, what are some of the challenges you face now or have faced in the past? What do you feel is hindering your growth today? What are your biggest threats?
A: Biggest challenges? People writing about our industry but not really knowing or understanding it. They promote that business operators can get VA help at $5 an hour and that is not true. They can get people from countries with very low incomes for that rate but those people generally do not have the skills or experience to become a Personal Assistant to a business operator in western countries. And that’s what a Virtual Assistant is for the most part – a PA only virtual.
Hindering my growth? A similar mindset to above but from those who are looking to enter this industry without paying a cent. I have to explain to them that they’re looking to set up a business and it is going to cost them time and money. Time to learn the ropes and get set up, time to get experience and wisdom, and money to pay for the things they need to operate, which includes marketing and advertising and belonging to industry groups – all of which are tax deductible.
Biggest threats? New VAs who think they know it all after 6 months in business and then they set out to start new groups or new coaching programs, effectively watering down the professionalism of our industry. I’m not against VAs wanting to get ahead but believe they should get some experience and knowledge behind them first before taking that next step. Generally those running networks and/or coaching programs successfully have been in the industry for several years and have the credibility and experience required.
I realise that all three of my answers above are probably going to put some noses out of joint but I do believe that I have the knowledge required to say the above, having been in the industry since its inception. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, and networks come and go, and it’s not all plain sailing. There’s a lot of hard work involved and a lot of hours too – to maintain networks or courses and service clients as well. Not to mention help those just starting out and answer the same questions over and over without getting sick of it. I love helping new VAs get started and I love sharing my knowledge. You have to be committed and driven.