Should You Quit Your Job And Become A Virtual Assistant?
Jan 09, 2019
From an outside perspective, the life of a virtual assistant must look pretty sweet. All easy and breezy, right?
VA’s often work from home, they can set their own hours, choose which days they work, and establish a good work-life balance.
What’s not to love? “I could do that” you might have said to yourself.
Maybe, yes, but hold on a second. Before you quit your job and launch your own VA empire, it pays to do what one does when making any major life decision (well, the ones that can’t be solved with a quick game of paper, scissors, rock); you write a pros and cons list or a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ list in this case.
So, should you quit your day job? Let’s find out!
NO, you shouldn’t quit your job to become a VA if:
You suck at sales and feel physically sick at the thought of having to be a salesperson
If the idea of self-promotion and advertising your VA skills makes you break out in hives, becoming a VA might not be the best idea for a career choice. You need to become a full-time salesperson as a self-employed Virtual Assistant.
The only person that can drive business to you, is you! (Yes, eventually client referrals roll in once you build up a client base, but this takes time, hard work, and consistent quality service provision. It’s not a given!)
You hate networking
If you are very shy, quiet, reserved, or socially anxious, being a Virtual Assistant might not be a career choice we would recommend.
Networking is a massive part of building up your client base and getting your business name out there.
If you can’t face networking (and the odd bit of public speaking) your business will suffer as a result.
People just aren't your thing
Are you the sort of person that has Googled: ‘Jobs with no human contact’? If so, being a VA isn’t the job for you.
Although you are your own boss, and can dictate your own terms, you are still in a service role where your entire job is to support people in business.
This means lots of communication across all platforms, as well as polite, friendly interactions with your clients, often their clients, plus your staff, their staff, and any external providers you need to liaise with.
You might be working alone and from home, but the human-contact element is huge!
You think you know everything
No matter how smart or experienced you are, if you feel like you know everything there is to know about a certain VA-specific subject, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Be prepared to be told how to do your job, have people give you eye-opening feedback, and be required to follow client instructions even if ‘you wouldn’t do it that way’.
What’s that old saying? The customer is always right… Pretty much sums it up!
You're not a good communicator
There are many things that dictate whether someone is a good or bad communicator, and hey, let’s be honest – we’re not all good at it!
If you have difficulty explaining yourself, don’t like the idea of keeping someone constantly informed, or can’t keep communications clear and to the point, then choosing a career as a Virtual Assistant might not be the wisest move.
You can't work under pressure
Working to deadlines and budgets with fussy or demanding clients can be stressful. If you’re not a calm, methodical person, that can manage expectations and conflict, it’s probably best to choose a career where the buck doesn’t stop with you.
You have poor attention to detail
Not everyone is a detail-oriented person, and that’s ok! Some people are big-picture thinkers who like to focus on innovative ideas.
It takes all types to make the world go round, but if you are not the sort of person who works carefully and systematically to ensure mistakes and errors are kept to a minimum, working as a VA is probably not a good fit with your skills.
You are a perfectionist therefore rarely finish tasks efficiently and would rather make something perfect than meet a deadline
Maybe you do have great attention to detail, but you’re the sort of person who can get a bit obsessive over ensuring something is perfect. This can mean you take hours longer to finish a project than intended and your time management goes out the window.
That’s fine if you’re not charging someone by the hour and you don’t have other clients to worry about, but as a VA you certainly will, so you need to be quick, efficient, and always meet deadlines.
You shy away from technology and are not very 'tech-savvy'
Uh oh – This is a big one! Virtual Assistants are all about efficiency, and technology plays a giant role in speeding things up and making processes more streamlined.
If you are a bit tech-phobic and not familiar with the latest web tools and apps, you’re going to struggle to assist your clients with all their tech-related questions and issues (and trust me when I say there will be lots of them!)
YES, you could consider quitting your job to become a VA if:
You think you'd be able to handle being a salesperson
If your interpersonal skills are off the charts, you build rapport with people easily, and you’re okay with talking to strangers about your business and personal expertise, then being a VA might be a good career choice for you!
You love the thought of networking and meeting new people
Great! This is a skill you'll be putting to use regularly. Your VA business will thrive if you put in the time to spread the word about your business and make an effort to meet as many new people as possible. Get that elevator pitch ready.
You love people and enjoy serving others
If you’re a self-described people-person and just can’t bear the thought of not helping and serving people, a VA could be just the job for you!
Having a naturally friendly and helpful attitude will go a long way with clients and will ensure you deliver the most outstanding customer service. Anything you can do to make their lives easier, you’ll be all over it!
You have a willingness to learn, are a good listener and take on feedback because you want to improve
These skills are vital for any good VA. Listening to your client and providing a service they are happy with is basically the entire job, so the ability to take on feedback and learn how your clients like things done is highly important.
You have a clear and concise communication style
If you can articulate your thoughts well and enjoy showing others what to do, you’re off to a great start with regards to the level of communication that is required to be a great VA.
Clients need to know where they stand and you need to know how to ask for exactly what you need to do their job correctly. Clear and concise communication is vital!
You work best under a bit of pressure and enjoy having lots going on all at once
Some people thrive in high-pressure environments, so if that’s you, congrats! You’ll always be able to deliver on your promises and won’t be easily flustered when the heat comes on.
Staying cool, calm and collected is essential to keep clients relaxed and able to trust in your ability to get the job done.
You have excellent attention to detail
If you’re the type of person that can easily spot mistakes and grammatical errors from 50 paces, you’re on the right track. A good VA likes things to be accurate and always strives to do a quality job. Your client will appreciate that they can rely on you to spot their errors and make them look good!
You can work efficiently and strive for quality, however, don't agonise over every word or detail in your work
Considering efficiency is important to clients paying by the hour, it is vitally important that a good VA understands the intricate balance between speed and perfection.
You are tech savvy and keep up with the latest tools and apps
If you love finding technology that automates a task or streamlines a process, you were born to be a Virtual Assistant! Your clients will love you when you can help them troubleshoot the random issues they have with their Word document, or their web browser. Plus when you introduce them to time-saving tools like Lastpass, they'll love you for it.
Which category do you fall into?
Did you identify more with things in the ‘Yes’ section, or the ‘No' section?
If you answered mostly no, I’m sorry but I just don't think a virtual assistant business is for you, but I’m glad this list might have given you some food for thought.
Nothing worse than making a huge career move and coming to the realisation that it was a terrible mistake!
If you answered yes to everything, go you! You could be a great Virtual Assistant in the making.
If starting your own VA business is sounding more appealing by the minute, click here to get access to a free guide on how to get started in just 7 steps.
As the founder of New Zealand's leading virtual assistant company, I'm an expert on how to run an efficient and high performing business. As a creator at heart, I love sharing my knowledge with others. Brought up on a dairy farm and attending boarding school from a young age, I am fiercely independent and a confident risk taker. With a love of snowboarding in winter and wakeboarding in summer, the outdoors is where I find joy, but nothing beats running around with my boys of 6 and 5 and have an immensely supportive partner who is also my best friend.