In a previous blog post, I answered the question – What is a Virtual Assistant?
This time, I would like to dispel some Virtual Assistant myths. This is a collection of myths I used to believe when I didn’t know better, those that I’ve heard from people who are not VAs and comments I’ve read in social media.
Myth #1: “I have an internet connection and a computer. Boom! I can be a Virtual Assistant.”
Truth: While it maybe be easy for some to invest in all the necessary equipment to start working as a VA, there is so much more to it than that.
Let’s set aside the skills and traits that you have to possess for now and focus on all the home office investments you have to consider.
|Must have before you start||Can get later on|
|Private and quiet work space||Printer|
|Comfortable ergonomic chair||External hard drive|
|A sturdy desk||Laptop (optional) It would be good to have one though so you an work anywhere!|
|A very good desktop computer||Scanner|
|A reliable headset with noise-canceling function||Phone/ Paid Softphone|
|Back-up internet connection||Emergency power source (if you can afford it)|
|Cloud storage (Dropbox)||Productivity apps|
|Good old pen and paper so you can write down notes||Office Supplies|
Myth #2: “It is just for mommies.”
Truth: Personally, I fell in love with this career because I get to supervise the household while earning. I suppose this is the reason why being a VA is appealing to moms.
But being a Virtual Assistant is not just for mommies.
Anybody (mommy or not) who hates the following can be a VA: commute to work, office gossip, being micro-managed, discrimination against disability/age, paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, limited opportunity for growth, etc…
Myth #3: “VAs are employees.”
Truth: By definition, VAs are any or all of the following – independent contractor, sub-contractor, self-employed or business owners but NEVER employees.
It can be quite confusing especially since we always regard someone we work “for” as our boss or our employer.
As a VA though, you will be working “with” your client. You are expected to be more of a business partner than an employee.
This is where the importance of knowledge or leveraging on your corporate background comes in.
There are instances though that Virtual Assistants are employees. (More on this in my future posts…)
Myth #4: “It is easy money.”
Truth: Being a VA is definitely NOT a get-rich-quick-scheme.
It’s all about hard work.
You would have to unleash your inner dragon to conquer the daily task of online collaboration, research, learning, actual task implementation, reports + distractions at home and other things.
When you learn to juggle all these things, that’s when the money comes.
Myth #5: “Virtual Assistants are just order-takers.”
Truth: This is definitely wrong.
But come to think of it, I guess it depends on the individual.
Some VAs are completely fine being order-takers. They would never take the initiative to suggest process improvements and the like. That’s completely fine.
We all have different personalities.
But if you want to grow and succeed in this industry, and if you want to hone your skills, don’t just be an order-taker.
Myth #6: “I don’t want to be stuck working from home.”
Truth: VAs work anywhere there is an internet connection – at home, at the beach, in a hotel…
There are VAs too who work in a company office.
So, VAs are not just stuck at home.
Myth #7: “… and work in isolation.”
Truth: Despite the remote work setting, VAs are not isolated. Being independent is different from being isolated.
In fact, VAs are excellent collaborators and communicators. Those who isolate themselves will not be in the industry for the long haul.
Myth #8: “It’s work that is best for night owls.”
Truth: Not true all the time.
Sometimes, in an effort to exceed client expectations, VAs work extra hours.
But this is not required.
If a VA is doing it for a client, the client should know about it because it should be paid work hours.
Some VAs also work at night to match the timezone of their clients.
So if some VAs are up at night, it’s because they chose to work at that time.
Some people are just night owls.
Myth #9: “You just need to know a little of everything and you’re all set!”
Truth: Not true. Knowing a little of everything is not enough.
You have to eventually figure out a special skill to offer if you want to thrive as a Virtual Assistant.
Specialization is key to a successful VA career.
Myth #10: “I’ve got an extra 4 hours in my day. I can do VA work!”
Truth: Now, this one is NOT a myth. Actual work hours is not what matters but the quality of work you provide.
I know someone who works as a Nurse from 9 am to 5 pm and works as a VA from 6 pm to 10 pm.
So really, working part-time as a VA is possible.
Now, that’s the truth.
Feel free to share this information and let us together dispel these VA myths! 🙂
Your comments are most welcome. Add them below!
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