I feel saddened when I hear about VAs who have set themselves up as a trainer, or coach, or mentor or something and then start giving inaccurate advise. It’s so important for you, the one who is wanting to learn, to do the research and make sure that whomever you’re going to pay for advice, is qualified to give you that information. Or that the information they are giving is accurate. This includes how long they’ve been operating as a VA. Generally if it’s less than five years – they’re still getting established even if they have years of experience behind them working in the corporate world. Operating as a self-employed business operator is very different to being an employee.
So, if the advice relates to legalities, taxation and other important matters, check with an accountant or legal officer in your region, to make sure that what you’re being told definitely applies to you. It’s possible that generic information might apply to some, but not all.
And for those sharing information, please qualify if it relates to your region, state, country or otherwise. For example, talking about contracts probably should be very much country or state driven – make sure you explain that when sharing your post. If talking about rates, start sharing which currency you’re talking about. No one rate fits all and can vary considerably depending on the cost of living, currency and experience of those who want to be VAs.
Likewise, if you’re giving advice, make sure you’re qualified to do so, or have verified it with those who are in a suitable role to do so, i.e. accountant, tax officer, legal officer, copyright advisor or similar.
For those wanting to learn and those who want to share what they’ve learned, always do the research to ensure that you or others are not being led astray, no matter how good the intention.
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.