Ever thought about going virtual?
If you’re currently an executive or personal assistant, you’ve probably heard of virtual assistance. Essentially, you’d be doing the same job function as you do currently, only from a remote setting. It’s a hot topic right now and it can sound very appealing if you dread your commute, crave more flexibility and want to ditch the cubicle farm. But making the switch can be daunting. Will you make as much money? How will you find clients? Will the ebbs and flows be hard to deal with?
Making any transition is always a bit scary. The only way to know if you’re truly prepared to take any professional leap is by sitting down, looking at your own personal circumstances and contemplating the pros and cons. In order to help, we’ve created a list of potential questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not to take your talents virtual.
1.) What do I value most at this point in my life? Our values can change over time. What you most valued most in your 20’s may not be the same thing you value in your late 30’s. Maybe when you began your career as an executive assistant, you were driven by financial security and building your personal brand, and now your focus has shifted to work/life balance and being in charge of your own future, which gears you more toward virtual work. If you still highly value the security of your 9 to 5 and camaraderie at your office, a transition might not be right for you at this point in time. You could begin by slowly entering a research phase and learning more about the virtual assistant industry. However, if you’re close to being burnt out on corporate life, feeling frustrated with your lack of flexibility, work/life balance and are ready to work for yourself, then it’s time to start acting on making a switch. Join some VA networking sites, come up with a business plan and start learning all you can about the virtual assistant industry. There are a ton of great resources out there that can help you get started!
2.) What do I not yet know that I would need to learn? Are you tech savvy enough to perform your work in a virtual space? Are there certain tools or software you need to get more acquainted with before you can comfortably work remote? Look at your skills and the tasks you do on a daily basis, and figure out what you could do remotely with ease, and what might take some investments in your time to learn. Is this a point in your life where you can afford to make that time investment in order to ensure you start out properly? Or would you rather learn slowly and jump in when you feel fully ready? It’s something you should definitely think about in a calculated way before jumping in head first.
3.) What would be the biggest challenge I would need to overcome? Fear of networking? Combatting loneliness? Lack of marketing knowledge? All of these things are required if you are looking into working for yourself as an independent virtual assistant. However, if those obstacles seem insurmountable for you, you can still explore other options such as working for a VA agency, which we’ll dive deeper into in the next point. Weigh how these options play to your strengths and weaknesses and choose a path that most closely aligns with how you want to spend your time. Not sure you could overcome the challenge of unpredictable income? That’s a legitimate concern and may be pointing you more towards staying in your current position to avoid the risks.
4.) Will I work for myself or work for an agency? If you’re thinking about virtual assistance but are not quite sure you’re up to the challenge of entirely running your own business, you still shouldn’t count it out! There are many reputable VA agencies who seek virtual team members and will assist in providing you clients, managing your invoicing and payments, providing support and giving you a more predictable outlook on your schedule and payments. Essentially, handling the backend of your business while you do the actual work, but still providing you the flexibility of working for yourself. Choosing to go this route is an attractive option if you’re looking to get started quickly and easily. Do your research on what legitimate options out there could be a fit for you, and then start applying!
5.) How will this decision affect me and my career in the long-term? When you look 5 to 10 years down the road, where do you see yourself? After all is said and done, and the pros and cons are weighed and debated, the only real question you need to ask yourself is “what career path would make me the happiest?” If the answer is staying where you are, advancing in your current company and continuing to move up the corporate ladder, odds are you’re on the right track for your own personal journey, and though virtual assistance might seem like a tempting option, it won’t fit into your long-term goals. If you see yourself as your own boss, working independently and on your own terms and believe the rewards outweigh the risks, then don’t delay! The sooner you begin building your virtual assistant career, the sooner you can grow and advance within it.
No matter which path you ultimately choose, we hope these questions will help shed some light on what the appropriate path is for you. Everyone has different needs, goals, wants and desires for their professional life, and it’s up to you to find the best ways to achieve them!
Audrey Fairbrother is the Marketing Manager for Worldwide101, a premium virtual assistant company connecting demanding founders and executives with highly skilled, meticulously matched help.
Connect with Audrey on LinkedIn or Twitter.