Many Virtual Assistants (VAs) have had a career change and look to becoming Virtual Assistants as it fits in with their work-life balance better. The world of VAs attracts personal and executive assistants right through to business managers. Some may have been made redundant whereas others look for a better fit around childcare. Whatever the catalyst for change, you will often hear that this was the best decision ever. Here are our reasons why we love being Virtual Assistants.
Reason 1 – Flexibility
As a Virtual Assistant, you are your own boss. You pick and choose who you work for and when. Red Desk love being Virtual Assistants as we can choose to work remotely, or when time permits from our clients’ offices.
Reason 2 – Develop new skills
Working for large businesses has its advantages (regular income, regular hours) but sometimes there isn’t scope to develop new skills outside your role. Being a VA means that you have to be flexible and adaptable. If you enjoy learning something new then consider becoming a VA.
Reason 3 – Network
Some people shudder when they see the word network(ing) but I am talking about the broader scope of the word. As small businesses we heavily rely on the recommendations of others. Whether you meet useful contacts at a networking event or through a Facebook group recommendation, these are all valuable ways to demonstrate your usefulness. Be seen as the go-to person for skills and knowledge.
Reason 4 – Pick work that interests us
When you are first setting up as a Virtual Assistant, you may not know which way your business is headed. You may wish to only provide concierge services (party planning, arranging deliveries etc) but then have client enquiries to do with financial administration. If you are smart (and have the knowledge) then you will accept the work as it comes in. However as time goes on, you will enjoy certain types of work. It is then that you can start accepting or declining work.
NB Always thank the potential client for enquiring and always have someone else you can suggest they contact
Reason 5 – Job satisfaction
Following on from reason number 4, we absolutely love being VAs at Red Desk because of the satisfaction it gives us. From writing social media proposals to finishing a project, we are satisfied that we have done the best we could on that particular task. We also love it when a client then leaves us a review, sends us a testimonial and recommends us to other potential clients.
Over the years Red Desk has built up a number of loyal clients; we tend to work with our clients across several areas of business support, and may begin by offering them social media but then spread our services depending on their needs.
As with all SMEs growing your business and taking on new staff is always a challenge. Our challenge is finding VAs that have a wide skill set to match our clients’ needs. Each of our VAs have their specialist areas but the broader their skill set the greater benefit to us and our clients.
We have recently been recruiting to expand our team and thought we’d share our thoughts.
Skills and Experience
There are many different VA and PA companies out there and each differs greatly with the services they offer, some are very much secretarial or concierge based others, like Red Desk offer a broader business support.
At Red Desk, we support a number of SMEs with their online reputation, online marketing and social media. We therefore tend to look for VAs who have experience in using social media management tools, writing content for posts and managing social media accounts on behalf of clients. It is important for us to have reliable VAs who can step in and support each other at busy times and to cover holidays.
However a VA with skills in project management, property management and content writing are a huge asset as well. With a team of VAs covering all these skill sets we can offer clients a complete package when it comes to supporting their businesses.
We found we couldn’t find the right kind of VA for our business through formal advertising. On previous attempts we’ve posted a job advert on sites including LinkedIn but many enquiries came from overseas which isn’t the right fit for our business.
We’ve found the best ways of finding suitable VAs for our business are:
- Our networks – we are in touch with people via schools, clients and even social networks
- Facebook groups – local VAs or PAs often advertise their services in these groups which make it easier for us to approach them
- Next Door – This is our new favourite go-to website where locals ask questions, post recommendations or even sell items. We’ve asked to connect with local VAs and were contacted by a number in the area
Once a Red Desk VA has demonstrated a talent for a new area of business, we can add this to our website list of services. As well as being able to supply our clients with the services they need we also attempt to attract clients that work in fields that match our VAs. With this in mind we can help our VAs to further their careers in the areas they wish to pursue as well as being able to offer skilled support to our clients.
Recently we have been able to add HR and market research to our website due to some excellent feedback from clients.
We hope to be able to provide work and support to local VAs for many years to come.
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