For this inaugural post, I hope to provide my perspective on the growth and changes in the Virtual Assistant Industry, especially since the launch of Your Versatile VA almost 10 years ago. This isn’t my first foray into the world of providing virtual services. In 1995, I offered remote admin and desktop publishing services from my home office and would occasionally temp on-site as well through agencies. Back then – working remotely or virtually for someone was still a relatively new concept, but I found work with authors doing typesetting and transcription for their books, and monthly newsletter production/physical mail outs. Oh, how this industry has changed and grown since that time! I was lured back into corporate life in 1997 by a client who made an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. Let’s be real – there are just times in one’s life when stock options, full benefits and a kick-butt pension plan have that extra-special appeal! I returned to what is now a very mainstream industry in 2009. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed since my return is, just as the Virtual Assistant industry is made up of talent from all over the world with such an incredibly wide range of skill sets and business models – there are absolutely different markets & potential clients searching for help as well.
As the potential client, when it comes time to begin your search for assistance, YOU need to have a few things crystal clear in your own mind first BEFORE you start your search.
Which Virtual Assistant or Virtual Service Provider (VSP) are you looking for?
What is your budget and how would it be best spent?
What are your overall goals?
What exactly are you looking to do?: Offshore, Outsource, or Contract out
These are V-E-R-Y different things.
I see it all the time…..Someone will post they are searching for a VA. The post is extremely vague, mentions no particular services or skills and ends with “contact me”. As a result, the Poster receives hundreds of responses, comments, friend requests and messages on their business page. It’s hardly surprising they’re quickly overwhelmed! Then a few days or weeks later, you see a subsequent post about how difficult it is to find the “right” VA. Sadly in some cases, this same scenario is repeated over and over again.
Unless you already know EXACTLY what you’re looking for and ask specifically for what you want, it can quickly turn into an extremely daunting task.
- If you’re looking for a professional with a very specific skill set – PLEASE ASK FOR THAT.
- Saying you want someone just starting out and looking to build their portfolio in exchange for testimonials, but is also an expert at “X” is somewhat of a conflicting request.
- Be clear and specific on your requirements and your preferred method of contact. (IMO those who cannot follow simple instructions probably aren’t the right fit.)
The quality of responses you receive will be significantly higher than a vague post with no detail or instruction. As a proud long-time member of both the Canadian Virtual Assistant Association and VA Networking association I have formed relationships with so many incredibly talented and qualified individuals from all over the world. Fit is such an important part of any long-term business relationship. What I love about this industry is that if during a consult with a potential client it turns out we aren’t right for each other, chances are I know someone who may be and can direct you to an excellent resource to proceed further with your search. Beginning your search for a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Service Provider doesn’t have to be painful, difficult or daunting. If you have a clear understanding of your own needs, preferences and work style – AND learn how to ask for exactly what you need & want – finding that perfect fit can actually lead to a wonderful long-term, mutually-rewarding partnership.