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Fifth Harmony – Work from Home – Live
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It’s called a “Virtual Assistant” and it has proved to be the perfect career for those who want to work at home or others who have limitations, obligations, or, in my case, are military spouses and are relocated due to permanent change of station (PCS).
First, let’s start with the question of what exactly is a virtual assistant?
According to the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA), a Virtual Assistant is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative, and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in their area of expertise from their own offices on a contractual basis.
When I first started looking at this type of career, I had SO many questions and I am sure you do too. You may be wondering:
What is a virtual assistant and what do they do?
How much money can I make working at home?
Where and how do I find clients?
What skills or training do I really need?
In a nutshell, the main differences between a virtual assistant and an employee who works at home is that a virtual assistant is considered an independent contractor, which has special tax implications. Also, as a business owner, the virtual assistant (VA) sets her own hours, fee structure, finds her own clients, and pays her own taxes.
An employee, on the other hand, receives an hourly pay or a salary, answers to a manager or supervisor, and most likely works around a regular work schedule and performs tasks as instructed.
Can you see the difference between the two? Now, the special designation that a virtual assistant has compared to other independent contractors is that you are providing “virtual” support rather than providing on-site assistance.
What can virtual assistants do?
Back when I launched my VA business in 2005, there were a few industries that used virtual assistants, such as real estate professionals, consultants, and a few coaches. Virtual assistants did a lot of “generalist” tasks such as calendaring/scheduling, word processing, Powerpoint presentations, proofreading/editing – many of the types of tasks that you learned on the job working in an office. And then there were those who had specialties, such as graphic design, bookkeeping, and website maintenance.
Things have changed over the past few years! Due to the popularity of outsourcing and advances in technology, there are dozens of virtual assistant specialties working in a variety of niches – many of them relatively new.
Not only will you find generalists, real estate VAs, marketing support (tech VAs), but there is a plethora of social media managers, podcast administrators, even video VAs cropping up! You can turn your narrow skillset into a full-time job or work within an industry doing a variety of tasks.
I can sing the praises of being an entrepreneur all day long but I must also tell you that there is HARD work involved. In the beginning, I worked way more hours than I ever did at a regular job and my family complained when I claimed the dining room as my workspace. But it will be the hardest job you’ll ever love 🙂
So, are you ready for the virtual lifestyle? Ask yourself these questions:
1. How much of a financial risk I take right now? It may take a while to launch your business and get clients – sometimes even a few months (I didn’t have any clients for six months), can you afford it?
2. Will starting up a new business impact my current lifestyle in a negative way? Contrary to popular belief, starting a new business, even a home-based one, will take up a lot of your time. You may have to work nights and weekends in the beginning. Is that something you or your family are willing to accept?
3. Will I be supported by my family? This may be an odd question, but I can tell you that one of the biggest factors of your business failing is that your significant other wasn’t emotionally or financially supportive. This is a big decision, so have an honest, open, and frank discussion before jumping into entrepreneurship.
One more thing – this is not for the get-rich-quick crowd. You will be an honest to goodness business owner! But it does take work, lots of action, and a strong mindset. If this sounds like you, then maybe a career as a virtual assistant is for you.