A simple search in Google for the term “Virtual Assistant” (VA) might lead to a conclusion that anyone with a computer, internet connection and a decent knowledge of MS Office can become a VA. However this popular notion, is far from truth. Unlike other professions, this too requires careful deliberation and in-depth research and information gathering – sharing – and eventually learning.
Being a VA almost happened to me by accident. My educational background and academic credentials, did give me a fair chance to involve in the corporate environment. But, for multiple factors on a personal level, I could not progress with my corporate dream. There was a heavy influx of advice from self-proclaimed know-it-all on do-at-home, data entry jobs. I knew my skills were worth more than that.
A casual glance at this article on Virtual Assistants * (at Outlook Money-link at the end of this article) kindled the spark and I rolled up my sleeves and got into research. I had to separate the chaff from wheat from what Google has placed before me. It was about 2 weeks of rigorous search and cross references, and more Googling, when I finally got a grasp on what virtual-assistance is all about. Having a computer, internet and MS Office skills does not even begin to define virtual-assistance.
MS Office suite caters to those VAs who are interested in publishing articles and e-books. For these VAs, MS Office is the most needed tool for their business. But for the rest, MS word, and MS Excel will allow us to keep track of events for a certain project and compile reports. So you see … there is more to virtual-assistance than just MS Office skills.
Most VAs present their CV in a way which express “I – can – do – anything – that – can – be – done – online.” This gives the impression that “They have a lot of time – but nothing to do.” I really feel sorry for them, because, either they have been badly advised, or they are less-informed. Friend, take this from one VA to another. Start by being your own VA, before becoming someone else's VA. I am sure that you have at least three strong marketable skills as a virtual assistant. Tap into those skills and showcase a demo in your profile. You are not begging for job, neither are you a distraught employee. Express confidence in by being self-assertive. By deciding to act as a VA, you are stepping into the path of entrepreneurship.
VAs are self motivated people who have decided to give services (over the internet) for a decent pay. In addition to their respective skills, VAs also have to manage finance, PRO, marketing all by themselves. A Startup company employs at least 5 -10 people to take care of these activities separately. But with VAs, this is a one man / woman show. This should only emphasize the fact that Virtual Assistants are not just “on call or a stand by temp” who is always at your disposal. VAs command more respect than that.
* – Article on Outlook Money about Virtual assistants