I see the word ‘job’ mentioned at so many VA forums and also blog posts about the VA industry. And also those who have used VAs to support their businesses the talk is very similar. There seems to be confusion about the role of where the Virtual Assistant sits. And often the new VAs are looking for work in the wrong places.
My thoughts are: You want to be registered with a VA network – something that specialises in VA work only. Not only do you get introduced to clients, you’ll learn about running your VA business and get to meet other VAs online (and if they live close to you offline too) who may choose to outsource to you. I never apply at any of these ‘job’ sites. I’m self-employed and happy to have clients come to me via my VA network memberships rather than chasing jobs. Clients also come as a result of referrals from past and existing clients – or simply people who have heard of me or seen my website. How long does it take for this to happen? It could happen next week if you start putting yourself out there today and let people know you exist. It should be a regular activity – not just now and then.
People, when starting out, often just look at what it’s going to cost them, not what they’re going to receive in return. And the reality is that the fees for joining a VA Network are tax deductible too. After all, we are running businesses – not getting a ‘job’. It is expected that there will be expenses in running a business. The beauty of being a member of a VA Network, or two, or more, is that the clients come seeking a VA, knowing that’s what they need to help them in their business. And (hopefully) they are also not of the mind that they’re going to get a VA at just a handful of dollars, but rather recognise that VAs have an expertise and experience that should be appreciated and recognised.
If a VA was ’employed’ by the one person, that person could be deemed as being responsible for your sick leave, annual leave, taxes, etc. But if the VA sought to support several clients then they are less likely to be viewed as an employee, but rather a business owner in the eyes of the tax dept in their country. Very important that they check with a local accountant to find out what the requirements are for them to run a business and the relationship of the people they provide a service for.
Entering the business world as a self-employed person is a challenge but a very worthwhile one, and in mixing and mingling with your peers via VA forums and networks, you stand to learn a lot and gain so much in your own personal and professional development.