I was alerted to an article by the Sydney Morning Herald titled “The Rise of the Virtual Assistant”. The author has evidently experienced some challenges with their contact with a VA and has written about it. What was obvious to me straight away is that the article confused a VA with being sales staff or a receptionist, handling phone calls. Whilst it is true that some VAs might provide this service, I can say that the majority do not and it’s important that prospective clients recognise this. It is wrong thinking in my mind, and I’ve been in this industry since its inception over 11 years ago.Â They also mentioned about ‘set and forget’ and I don’t know one VA who is put in motion by a client and then forgotten. We have regular client contact, reporting back to them, actioning items, following through and asking questions.Â My longest term client has been with me over 10 years and we have weekly meetings on the phone, not to mention the daily emails that go back and forth. And for my other clients, we work with regular emails or Skype.
At any rate, the following response was written to this article and is waiting to be moderated – if you are a VA I encourage you also to go over and read this article and leave a suitable response about your experience as a VA.
I am a Virtual Assistant and have been operating online since early 1996. I also manage a team of Virtual Assistants, having established the very first network of this kind in Australia over 11 years ago.
It is important to note that VAs do lots of things but they were never meant to replace your sales staff and not many clients use them for phone answering – you are the voice of your business.
But they certainly can do your admin and secretarial support very capably. One of my longest term clients has been with me for 10 years and speaks highly of my abilities and the support to her business. I manage her database, desktop publishing, wordprocessing, printing, registrations for events, and even her broadcast emails and websites. I provide similar services for other clients. Many of my team have similar stories to tell with their own clients.
VAs do need to be properly briefed by the client and there is a settling in period, but again, I emphasise, we were never meant to become sales staff and that is not our function. Seek out a VA with the skills you need provided and you will indeed be happy with your choice.
I encourage your comments here also in the hope that the Sydney Morning Herald and its writer come here for a visit!Â KMT