I had a lady ring me yesterday about becoming a Virtual Assistant. She wanted to know if she could join my network. We talked about what office-based experience she might have and it turned out she had very little and was studying at college currently. She also had a health problem which is why she was looking to work at home.
I explained to her that VAs are business owners and, as such, are responsible for making decisions about how things are done for their clients. The buck stops with them. I told her she wouldn’t have anyone to run off to, to sort out a problem if something came up. That there are VA forums to ask advice at but ultimately she still needs to have a good 5 years working experience behind her first so that she had the skillset needed to run a business of her own and be responsible for making the decisions needed.
I also told her that many give up on being VAs in the first 6 months simply because they overestimated their own abilities or how quickly they might secure clients. This, in turn, makes them feel like failures, can make them depressed, and they look to return to the workforce. It also gives clients the wrong idea about our industry because they’d engaged someone who wasn’t yet ready to provide the services they’d been offering.
The lady thanked me for being so honest and forthright. You see, her health challenge related to a mental health illness. The last thing she needed was to be setting herself up for failure before she was really ready to start. I suggested she do some volunteer work for a good 12 months, offering the services she wants to get experience in. There are many not-for-profits, sportings clubs, school groups, churches, etc who love to have willing helpers. She thought this was a great idea and thanked me.
Much as I love having new members join my VA team, I do want to make sure they’re the right fit for the industry too, and that they are going to enjoy what they’re doing, rather than losing confidence very quickly. Not good for them and not good for our industry.