This week I saw a post where someone has posted a ‘job for a fulltime Virtual Assistant’.
Before any of you get excited, let me tell you why this is not a good idea.
First and foremost, Virtual Assistants are business owner/operators – they provide a service to other business owner/operators. Several – not one. If you are in the situation of having only one client, then the tax dept in your country could see your working relationship as that of employer/employee which can open a whole can of worms regarding tax, insurances, sick leave, annual leave and so on. Your clients don’t want to find themselves suddenly responsible for all of those things and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re classed as an employee and not able to claim for tax expenses or having the flexibility you thought you had.
Also, should something happen to that client you’re suddenly without an income. Didn’t you leave a ‘job’ so you could build a business and have flexibility in your working arrangements?
No client should be providing all or most of your income – it’s not a good place to be in. Believe me, I know, as I’ve had it happen to me. Not that any client was deemed an employer, but more that I suddenly lost a large chunk of income when a ‘major’ client moved on, for whatever reason (one died, one retired, another moved on).
The person who posted this role informed me that they have several ‘virtual workers’ in different categories working fulltime for them and that their Accountant is ok with that – they’re not classed as employees. She also told me that any of the virtual workers were welcome to take on other clients as long as they did her 40 hours of work a week – she didn’t mind when it got done.
I don’t know about you, but to me that’s akin to working a fulltime job and then running a business on the side. Who wants to work more than 40 hours a week if they can help it? And they’d have to be doing at least 80 hours a week before this ‘client’ no longer became their main income provider.
Perhaps there’s something in the US tax laws that I don’t know about, but it still seems to me that if this person is engaging people for 40 hours a week, no matter what she might call the role, it is still having an employee – doesn’t matter if they’re not on her premises and they’re working remotely from elsewhere.
All I’m saying is – check with your Accountant (and all service providers running a business should have one) and find out about your relative tax laws, especially relating to portions of income and contractor’s arrangements, and make sure you’re not making things difficult for yourself, and a well-meaning ‘client’. It is your responsibility to be informed of the facts and ensure that you run your business accordingly. Don’t depend on hearsay from someone else.
So, if you see posts and advertisements out there for a ‘full time VA’ please know that the person posting the advert does not really understand our industry at all and are more than likely wanting a fulltime remote employee – or perhaps might wish to consider engaging 3 or 4 VAs so they’re spreading the load and capitalising on each VA’s skills and experience.