There aren’t a lot of movies or TV shows out there about virtual assistants. I guess that’s probably why some people get this confused look on their face when I tell them I’m virtual assistant. I actually like it better when they don’t know what a virtual assistant is because I enjoy explaining to people what I do for a living.
What I don’t like are people who think they know what a virtual assistant is without bothering to ask an actual virtual assistant. Those who can’t even be bothered to do a simple Google search and would rather believe 3rd hand information from dubious sources.
I’m sure we’ve all hear different versions of these misconceptions. That’s why I’m listing down the top 13 here. I think it’s about time that people get to know what virtual assistants really are, what we do, and what we can do.
- Virtual assistants are just secretaries with fancier titles. Yes, some of us do secretarial work but that’s not all we do. In fact, most of us actually have a lot of useful skills needed in a wide variety of industries.
- All virtual assistants work from home. Most of us do work from home but there are also a lot of VAs who also work in offices and some telecommute.
- Virtual assistants only work for internet businesses. There are plenty of brick and mortar business that hire virtual assistants. Any business that needs extra staffing but don’t have the space or the budget for one can outsource that work to a VA.
- Virtual assistants are dirt cheap. Hiring an entry level virtual assistant is usually cheaper than hiring someone in-house because you’re basically hiring an independent contractor; you don’t have to provide office space or pay benefits. But if you want a VA with experience or you want a VA who specializes in SEO, content marketing, or project management then you have to pay premium rates.
- They’re only good for part-time or short term projects. If you have a great relationship with your VA, you could hire them on full-time. In fact, most VAs prefer to work with the same clients for years. And the longer you work with a a virtual assistant you know, the better you work together.
- It’s a dead end job. Virtual assistants don’t stay in the same place forever. As they gain experience, they can either specialize in a certain niche, become entrepreneurs themselves, serve as consultants for businesses or train other VAs.
- Virtual assistants are not entrepreneurial. Working as a virtual assistant is actually a business. We take in clients, we market our services, and network with other VAs and potential clients. It’s a small business model that we can eventually expand as we take on more clients.
- It’s an easy job. Some of the work we do is pretty easy but if you want to last as a VA, you have to gain more skills and experience.
- They’re only good for easy, tedious, repetitive jobs. Virtual assistants are hired mainly for tedious administrative tasks but a lot of the work we do also require a lot of creativity and some can be quite complicated.
- All virtual assistants do the same thing. Most of us have some skills in common but eventually our experiences and skills vary depending on our interests and the needs of our clients.
- You don’t need to tell a virtual assistant what to do. Experienced virtual assistants can work on their own but we all need some guidance, especially with new clients or when we’re working with businesses that we’re not familiar with. We also need regular feedback and communication with our clients to make sure we’re doing our jobs well.
- You only need one virtual assistant to run all your businesses. Even the most dedicated virtual assistant can only do the work of one person, not three. If you have a ton of work you need to outsource, you’ll need to hire more than one person.
- You can have a virtual assistant build your business for you. A virtual assistant can help you build your business and can help make your business grow. But they can’t build your business for you, you still have to do most of that yourself.