Being a VA is not for everyone, and that is okay

Question to a VA: What do you do?

Answer: I am a Virtual Assistant (VA)

Question: Okay and what exactly does that mean, what does a VA do?

Answer: a VA offers multiple PA and operational support to individuals and/or companies who are in need of these services but do not require someone to be physically present at a desk. In essence, a VA works for themselves, manages their own hours and invoices their clients on a monthly basis.

Question: Sounds like the perfect position. Would you say anyone can be a VA?

Answer: The simple answer is no, not everyone is cut out to be a VA. Being a VA takes a lot more dedication, time management, change management and discipline than one may think.

The so called “Perks” of the job, is that one works for themselves, has flexible hours, one does not need to rush in the morning to get dressed and out of the door in time to hopefully miss the traffic, there is no sitting in an office at a desk one does not like or with people that one doesn’t like either. This is called the “one-sided-glass” view. Here is an inside look into what being a VA is really like.

1. Mindset is Key

One may only need to dress the top half of their body, twist their hair up and you are ready to be seen via a PC camera, but one still needs to get into the VA mindset, ready to be productive and get tasks done. Personally, I always make sure I get up early, just like everyone else, get in a gym session, have a shower and get dressed as if I am going to sit at a desk with all the other VAs. Although one works from home, they still in fact work with someone else, and that someone is paying for a service. Therefore one needs to be on their A game, giving it just as much attention one would sitting in an office.

2. Always be switched on

One can never really switch off. All of those who don’t like emails on their cell phone, and when leaving the office at the end of the day get to switch off, a VA does not. A VA is continuously interacting with others, working on different projects for different individuals and/or companies. The hours in the day are filled with different tasks, in different roles. There is no time to switch off and especially for those who bill according to hours worked, time switched off is time not being billed.

3. Failing to plan, is planning to fail

As a VA,  this is the most important part of the work.  Every day needs to be planned out when one works on an hourly rate basis for a client.  Hours need to be tracked  and more importantly one needs to show that the hours put in have been meaningful and produced results. There is no room for excuses.  One needs to be accountable and responsible for the tasks at hand.

4. Be a “Master Juggler”

A Virtual Assistants scope can range from being a personal assistant to one or multiple directors, managing HR, managing accounts, managing people, etc. therefore one needs to be able to juggle a number of tasks in one given day. The needs and requirements of the managing director, will differ from the sales director, the marketing director, etc.

Understanding this and understanding the different needs will allow one to be a better VA, and allow the juggling to be a mastered skill than a master disaster.

5. Know what you are good at

Being a VA means wearing many different hats but also in doing so one needs to be careful of biting off more than one can chew. I ensure that I never take on the responsibility of any task without full understanding and commitment.   Faking it until you make it doesn’t work. One should be upfront about their strengths and weaknesses and rather concentrate on those strengths than filling the basket with all the eggs and never being able to finish one task to the best of their ability. Know who you are and what you can offer and stick to your guns.

6. Miss Independent

Being a VA means being independent, being able to work alone, and able to be alone. Being a VA can be a lonely job, so if you a person who doesn’t like to be alone, is easily distracted or like to be in your own space, then being a VA is not for you, and that is okay.