WAHMS and Virtual Assistants

George on Estate's Gazette work experience
George on Estate’s Gazette work experience (Photo credit: EG Focus)

Parents who want to work at home but don’t want to go into business or freelance often seek employment as virtual assistants. What is it about being a virtual assistant (VA) that makes it an attractive option for work at home parents?

 

Definition

 

According to Wikipedia, a virtual assistant “is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.”

 

As you can see above, it’s a very broad definition. This makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what skills an average virtual assistant does and what an average VA is expected to do. This broad definition also makes it possible for a lot of people from different backgrounds to find work as VAs.

 

Why WAHMs Love Working As VAs?

 

From the definition alone, you can see right away what attract work at home parents to VA work. Basically anyone who knows how to use a computer and has an internet connection can work as a VA. Whether you’re an artist, architect, scientist, secretary, or stay-at-home mom, you can become a VA.

 

What makes this possible are the different businesses that require VA services. They often look for people with a wide variety of educational backgrounds, skills and work experience.

 

Telecommuting
Telecommuting (Photo credit: Paul-Skinner)

And even people with hardly any work experience can find jobs as VAs because of the numerous training resources provided by employers and those available online. In fact, most VAs learn on the job. There are internet marketing courses now available in some colleges in the Philippines and provided by some groups but none of them can really provide ALL the training your need to qualify you as a VA. It’s only when you start working where you start getting the knowledge, skills, and experience that your clients need for their business.

 

Another reason why becoming a VA is such an attractive option is the work flexibility. Most clients don’t insist on strict work schedules as long as milestones are met and projects are finished in an orderly fashion. You can work anytime you want, anywhere you want, for as much and as little as you want, as long as you deliver the required output. Most clients do require regular reporting but it’s more of a means of keeping track of project progress than keeping track of VAs themselves.

 

Lastly, working as a VA can provide work-at-home parents a stable income. Like any job, the pay for inexperienced workers is rather small. But with experience, general VAs can earn up to $500 a month, while VAs with special skills can earn more.

 

VA Career Track

 

Contrary to popular belief, working as a virtual assistant isn’t a dead end job. Most companies offer regular, fulltime VAs with a career track, where they can eventually get management positions or even serve as actual business partners.

 

Some experienced VAs eventually choose to be entrepreneurs themselves either by helping other business look for their own VAs, providing training, consulting for businesses or going into internet marketing for themselves.

 

VAs can also eventually choose to specialize (copywriting, programming, design, sales) and freelance for companies.

 

Does VA Work Experience Count?

 

Let;s say you’re a VA mom and you’ve decided to go back into the regular office workforce, can you use your VA experience in your resume? Does having VA experience give you an advantage over the competition?

 

The answer to both questions is Yes, definitely.

 

Michigan Virtual Assistant Conference
Michigan Virtual Assistant Conference (Photo credit: cletch)

Having your VA experience (listing the skills and training you’ve acquired plus your portfolio) on your resume actually makes you a more attractive job applicant because it shows that you’ve kept your skills up-to-date and learned new skills in the process. In fact, most of the skills that VAs train for (online marketing, social media marketing, sales) are valued by companies and could serve to your advantage while applying for jobs.

 

Another advantage that VA work-at-home-parents would have over the average job applicants are the work ethics that most VAs acquire on the job. To survive as a VA, you need to learn how to focus, how to multi-task, how to manage your time, how to be proactive and how to take the initiative. Applicants with VA experience can easily assume leadership and management roles because their experience teaches them to do what needs to be done even without supervision.

 

Now that you know what it means to be a VA, where do you start? Where can you get VA jobs? How do you find clients? How can you make yourself stand out in a sea of other VAs? Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about everything you need to know in getting a job as a VA.

 

 

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