We’ve been having some interesting discussions on the forums about the term ‘Virtual Assistant’ and how we describe to those we meet what it is we do.
I have a simple way of explaining it – I simply ask people if they understand how a PA (Personal Assistant) or a secretary works with their boss – they’re rarely in the same office, could be on a different floor of the same building or futher apart and that the boss may travel but the PA or secretary still work with/for them. They communicate via phone, fax email. Generally people say ‘yes’ and I go on to say ‘well, we work the same way. But for several clients and not one boss’. The light usually switches on straight away. You can see it in their face. But, of course, the next question usually is ‘well, how do they get the work to you?’ at which point I can explore what type of work are they thinking about. I can then give examples.
However, there is another ‘ingredient’ that is very important when you’re speaking to people. And that’s your passion. You need to be passionate about what you do. You need to let others capture that and it can’t be forced, it must be natural.
Which brings me to a question. Just how passionate are you about your VA business? If you simply view it as a ‘job’ and nothing else, then I’m sorry to say, but when the going gets tough, you’ll be moving off elsewhere.
Too many people (including many VAs) refer to this role as a ‘job’ and it’s not. A VA is a business owner and they need to know why they’re in business. The reason needs to be something that lights you up, so that others see that light shining from within. When you speak to them about what you do they need to be caught up in your enthusiasm.
My original reason for working at/from home over 16 years ago was so I could be with my daughters. I was sick of the rat race corporate world that was stealing time away from my family. Your children are only young for a minute time and that time passes ever so quickly. My need and desire to be with them was so strong that I was desperate to make anything work – as long as I could be home when they were. And I was.
Today they’re adults leading their own lives and I’m the proud grandmother of a gorgeous 9 month old grandson. So the reasons why I work from home have changed. It’s become a lifestyle which allows me to pursue other things: writing, photography, spending time with my married daughter and her son, and helping others to set up their own VA practices. If I were to think about regrets one would be I hadn’t realised the importance of my role in leading others in this industry and affording them the time they needed. That has changed and I find myself spending more and more time emailing or chatting on the phone with those who are potential VAs looking to get something of what I’ve had for many years now.
I’m still passionate about what I do and I know it shows. Why? Because people tell me. Every new potential client I meet, or people in general all make similar comments. They can see I love what I do and they go away feeling inspired and motivated. I guess that’s why I enjoy speaking at conferences and events so much. That feeling of leaving people inspired to do something with their lives that they are passionate about.
So, just how passionate are you?