Last post, I talked about how much I love IAAP. There is also an association for VAs – the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). I joined that organization as well. They also have regular conferences, but they are virtual, as you might expect. (They used to have in-person conferences every other year, but had to discontinue that because expenses far exceeded registration/sponsorship revenue.) There is also a conference called the Virtual Assistant Virtuosos Summit, or VAVS, put on by Tawnya Southerland’s VA Networking group. I attended that in spring of last year, and heard a presentation that wowed me to the point where I sought out the presenter afterwards. That presenter is my current coach / mentor, Regina Lewis.
One advantage to being a VA over being an admin in a traditional company is that in most cases, the business owner that seeks out a VA is a little better-informed about the skills and work ethic needed to be a VA, as opposed to the clueless corporate manager that refers to admins as “unskilled labor.” Yes, you may still encounter an out-of-touch client who doesn’t know or respect what you do. But many entrepreneurs that seek to hire a VA usually have a better idea of what they want and need, and are less stuck in the “oh, you’re an admin, so all you do is paint your fingernails all day” mentality. It’s more “I need someone to manage my website and social media content” or “I need someone to do my bookkeeping and financial records upkeep” or “I’m starting a podcast and need someone to do all the back-end stuff and keep me out of technical trouble” and things of that nature. I specialize in the tasks that require writing or editing, such as website articles, blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, or re-purposing older content (like what you’re reading now, a post I originally wrote two years ago).
A drawback to being a VA is isolation. You can find this in most word-from-home professions. You’re often without much human interaction. A lot of people work from home so they can spend more time with their families, including being able to care for their children and be able to attend all the events and activities the kids are involved with. That can alleviate the isolation some (although if the kids are very young, you might have some adult interaction deficit to contend with). In a way, this isolation is beneficial if you’re an introvert. This came up in the Facebook group of Regina’s VA 101 Mastermind recently. It was amazing to discover how many of us in that group are introverts. When you think about it, you can see where introverts would be attracted to work-from-home careers, since we usually need alone time to recharge and reset, whereas extroverts need outside interaction to gain more energy. Just as I found IAAP membership to be a source of great bonding, I have found the VA groups I’m in to be just as bonding – a real family feel. I believe that is due to the fact that while VAs are business owners instead of just another cog in the wheel of someone else’s business, at the core we are still admins. It’s just that we’re running the show while doing these administrative and business support projects. It only further reinforces my belief that admins bond faster, stronger and longer than people in any other profession.
All in all, working in administrative support roles can be quite rewarding, especially those that make the leap into the Virtual Assistant world. If you need a VA, Click here to see a list of available services, and contact us to see how a VA can help your business grow.