The term “VA”, or “Virtual Assistant” conjures up multiple images of someone working in front of a computer, in a coffee shop, or with a child on their lap, or in in the Philippines (as talked about in Tim Ferris “The Four Hour Workweek”).
While all of these can be true, “Virtual Assistant” is actually more a blanket term for a wide variety of skillset, individuals that are able to help your business grow, by taking the pieces of your business off your plate that you either don’t have time to work on, or don’t have a desire to work on.
But before we go into those details, I’d like to take a step back to look at the definition of a Virtual Assistant. Depending on where the google-engine can take you down, VA’s can be described simply, such as as someone who helps business owners with their administrative tasks, customer service agents, technical guru’s or creative masterminds.
So which one is it? While all of these can be true, my favorite definition of a Virtual Assistant is this:
Virtual Assistants are highly-skilled professionals that provide administrative, technical, managerial or creative business services from a home-based or remote location.
Looking at the term through this broader lens helps us open up to the possibilities that can be encompassed by the title “Virtual Assistant”. In fact, anyone with a particular skill in an area that could help support a business can essentially be considered a VA.
I personally know Virtual Assistants in all of the following roles, that run their own company and serve clients in their zone of genius:
- General Administrative Assistants
- Online Business Managers
- Graphic Designers
- Web Designers
- Tech Virtual Assistants
- Online Marketers
- Content Writers
- Tax Specialists
- Social Media Managers
- Pinterest Managers
- Podcast Managers
- CRM Managers
- Marketing Specialists
You name it, someone has done it, and someone can do it for you and your small business.
With the miracle of technology, and the world we are all able to live in, they can do it remotely, from home, or from anywhere in the world depending on their clients needs.
That is where another misconception sometimes rises to the surface. VA’s are not just one type of person. While it is true that there are some VA’s that live in other countries, with lower cost of living (and therefore don’t cost as much as someone in higher cost of living areas), there are many different skill levels all over the world and right in your own backyard, it all depends on your needs.
So who IS a Virtual Assistant?
VA’s come from all walks of life and they choose to step into the world of Business Support for a variety of reasons:
- Freedom from the corporate structure of America
- They live a nomadic lifestyle
- They have children with special needs and are unable to take a 9-5
- They want to do the things they love and are good at, not just what their boss tells them what to
- They want the opportunity to learn more and make a bigger impact in the world
- They want to spend more time with their families
- They stay at home with their children and want to contribute to their family financially as well
- They want FREEDOM from the life that has been prescribed to them
In a lot of senses, they are not much different from anyone who is attempting to reach their goals and serve others, like most business owners out there.
So how do I know if I NEED or want to WORK with a Virtual Assistant? While I will go into this in more detail in another post, the question shouldn’t really be about who you work with, more than figuring out WHAT you need help with, or what you would like to take off your plate.
Try this exercise:
- Write down everything that you do in your business.
- Circle all of the things that generate your business money
- Circle all of the things that you LIKE to do
Everything else can be done by someone else if you so choose and can free up your time to do the things that make your business profitable and that you enjoy. Imagine the possibilities!
So now when you see the term “Virtual Assistant” you will be able to visualize all of the professionals, in every type of profession that makes up the 64.8 million freelancers in the US (Per Statista.com) in 2020. We are your neighbor, your best friend, the parent down the block, the digital nomad in Peru, or the man you saw riding their motorcycle down the highway, working to serve their clients in their zone of genius.