Working as a Virtual Assistant. Scam or Legit Long-Term Career?
In the fast paced world of business and online opportunities, it is easy to get lost in the noise.
Competition, diverging avenues of income, bombardment of non-stop advertising and rapidly evolving business landscape, are all factors that can make one feel overwhelmed as a freelancer looking to enter the realm of Virtual Assistant services.
The online paradigm is not the same today as it was say 10 years ago. Companies are increasingly going global with a large chunk of their operations depending on online transactions.
Managing a small, medium or large sized business as an entrepreneur today, is far more of a challenge than it was years prior. This is where the beauty and power of professional Virtual Assistant services come into play.
Unfortunately, many people have had bad experiences with independent Virtual Assistants on websites like say Freelancer.com, Upwork.com and even Fiverr.com as some of these independent freelancers lack the professional work ethic and industry-relevant skills that ensures quality work.
They are not regulated, as compared to a Virtual Assistant working under a recognized agency would. An agency ensures that all its VA’s are fully trained, educated, professional and skilled in every area of necessity.
Such mitigating factors are what set apart a Virtual Assistant operating as a mere scam from qualified VA working under a specialist agency.
Here are a few of our personal tips on how to embrace a rewarding and truly lucrative career as a progressive and well-equipped Virtual Assistant – both as an independent freelancer and as an agency employee – the right way!
Do Your Research
It’s crucial to do your in-depth research before deciding to begin as a Virtual Assistant. What is the market like? Where is it headed? What are the industry trends? What are the patterns of evolving? What kind of demand exists in various niches and categories? What resonates the most with you in terms of your comfort-level and skillset? Where do you see yourself excelling the most?
The power of the internet is a beautiful thing. It allows you to research things at the mere tip of your fingers.
Read up articles, blogs, watch videos and online podcasts, go to your local library and look up books on the subject of Virtual Assistant Services, join online discussion forums and partake in various communities.
Prospect the Right Customers
Not prospecting the right customers (those who will pay for your services) is like walking shooting darts in a dark room! Knowing what prospective clients will be ‘ideal’ for your services, expertise and niche of interest, is as important as the very work you’ll do for them as a Virtual Assistant.
Not all clients are ‘created equal’; hence it’s crucial to do your research in understanding, scouting, scoping and evaluating the ideal avatar or customer demographic for what you have to offer.
A great way is to study companies, entrepreneurs and small businesses on LinkedIn, various business forums on Facebook and other social media, prospecting at trade shows, seminars and conferences etc.
You can’t be a great VA if you don’t understand your client’s competition.
The greatest most successful companies in the world like Coca Cola, Walmart, Apple and Caterpillar – all spend millions every year in merely research and development. And that includes evaluating + constantly evolving with their competitors in the market.
Knowing your strengths and weakness, and identifying that of your competitions is a great asset and the strongest of weaponry you can possess as a professional and highly dynamic Virtual Assistant.
Read up books, articles, online journals, and most importantly the official websites of each competitor to get an in-depth understanding of it all. Locations, business models, industry trends and patterns, these are all important parameters to evaluate when it comes to knowing your competition.
Staying ahead of the competition gives you and your clients the edge that no amount of money can buy!
Freelancers VS Company – Where to Start?
There’s no concrete answer to this, as it really depends on your own comfort level and preference. However, ideally, the best way to start is via a company.
Being associated with a recognized and professional VA agency allows you to polish your skills, gain the necessary organizational, problem-solving, analytical, communications, technological and strategic knowledge to prosper as a VA in a controlled, regulated and highly dynamic professional environment.
A company will invest in your training and self-development and treat you like an irreplaceable asset because of it. Knowledge is power, and working + learning, while you go, is a great leverage to have as someone just starting out.
Growing as a Virtual Assistant
A great way to grow is through constantly marketing yourself and your services via social media and various online + offline channels. Classified sections on newspapers, magazines, websites, local community bulletin boards, paid Facebook advertising, reaching out to prospective clients and professionals on LinkedIn and so forth.
Networking plays a key role in growth as a VA in the competitive and cut-throat online arena today. Like the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
Self-investing in yourself through reading books, learning on new industry trends, adapting to the latest VA challenges and refining yourself as a professional are all elements of pristine professionalism that will make you stand out from the rest and attract clients in hiring you.