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.
When you first enter the VA industry it seems to be just one particular type of role but as you become familiar with the types of services many offer or the types of services clients request, you begin to realise you can actually niche yourself based on your skillset or personal preferences.
There are many different services you can offer as a VA and these are just some of them. Those that are hyperlinked will lead you to suitable courses or more information about providing that type of service.
- Association Management: Managing NFP and other membership groups
- Authors Assistant: Support authors in the process of writing and publishing a book
- Contact management support: Maintain ‘keep in touch’ programs and campaigns
- Database management: data entry, database design, database maintenance
- Graphic design
- Project management: manage projects, teams of VAs for clients, etc
- Receptionist: phone answering services, managing emails, client liaison
- Research: provide internet research services
- Resume Writer
- Shoppingcart services
- Social Media Support: Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc
- Transcriptionist: Medical, Legal, Conference, etc
- Web maintenance/design/support
Perhaps you’re a VA who provides a service different to those listed above. Or perhaps you’re a client who has a VA who provides a different service. Why not share it in the comments below?
Readers will know that I own and manage a Virtual Assistant network, as well as moderate two VA forums. We get new readers here every day so I just wanted to mention that before following with this post.
Yesterday I received an email from a lady wanting to know how much work she would get if she signed up to join my VA team. This is not an unusual request and is probably one I get almost every week, sometimes more often.
In this case it was for medical typing but sometimes it’s for bookkeeping, resume writing, data entry – you name it, I get asked about it at some time or another. Below is my response to this question and I expect very similar to what any network owner would advise.
We don’t get a lot of medical typing through our network but we do get a lot of transcription work – there’s always jobs being posted every week.
I can’t promise to keep any member in fulltime work or lots of hours but client introductions are just one of the many member benefits we have. In joining you’ll learn about setting up business at home, how to source clients and to market to them, how to deal with clients, set rates that are right for you, handling work and juggling family and so much more. We have several discounted services and products available to members too.
However, that’s not to say if you joined up today we wouldn’t have a request for medical typing tomorrow. We may well do and you could get that client to be your own – I never know what is going to take place from day to day. I can tell you I started working from home as a typist over 16 years ago (pre-internet) and have not regretted that decision. I’ve brought up 5 daughters in that time and am so glad I did it.
I would encourage you to join up with 2 or 3 possible sources for clients and then also spend time learning to network and meet others – even speak to local doctors in your area. While you do have a young family to juggle, so do many of our other members, and perhaps joining our chat forum which is free and located both on the front of our website and my blog, might be the next best step for you.
I would like to add that the possible ‘sources’ for finding clients are not just VA networks online, although it is good to be a member of more than one and I encourage it – that way you get to appreciate the diversity of the industry and the various cultures that are involved. However, other sources would be local Chambers of Commerce, local council business networks, Rotary, BNI, Leads Club, other networking groups in the area, plus anywhere at all where groups of people meet, such as schools, halls, churches, shops, libraries, post offices and so on. Wherever people meet and mingle and chat to one another, the prospects of finding a new client is very real.
So, if you’re looking for the promise of work when joining a VA network, just remember that none of them can promise you how much work you’ll get but they can promise that they will provide you with the opportunities to secure clients (if they have that system in place) and then it’s up to you to communicate with those clients in the best possible way to secure the work. Some clients will be ‘shopping’ on price only, others on location, others on specific skillsets or background experience. Some clients will accept the first VA they come across to support them, others will be more choosey and speak to several (via phone or email) before making a decision.