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5 Reasons Why Being An Independent Virtual Assistant Could Make You Miserable

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I have been having a bit of an odd time recently with something, I guess I couldn’t get my head around it, but can understand it at the same time.  I had one of the VA’s who works as a part of my team tell me they have decided that being a virtual assistant just isn’t for them, and they have decided to go back to traditional employment. This VA was amazing at her job, there is no way I would have ever considered not using her skills and services in my business, and she is very talented, and could of easily expanded her business in the future. This was honestly the first time I have ever heard of a VA wanting to go back to employment because they simply didn’t like being a VA, and missed being employed and having a boss – I was really quite shocked…

I noticed there were certain things that came up which could be inherent in someone’s character which would mean if they were considering becoming a VA, it may well be worth considering these points to see if they really are going to be able to handle it. Being a VA is about priorities, what some people see as priorities in their life, may simply not fit under the VA umbrella, which could mean it might be a bad choice of career.

1. You’re self-employed

First off, if you are an independent business owner, you are self-employed, and responsible for your own business, you won’t get holiday pay (I used to think what is the point of holiday pay when you are only allowed to go on holiday 4 weeks a year…), sick pay (how often do you get sick, and is your sickness mostly related to job stress anyway?) or any other employee perks that come with a traditional job, essentially you are on your own, and will need to factor these things into your life. If you like the security blanket of employment, you will find transitioning to being a business owner worrying. This is why a multi-VA business model is essential for me, because I still want the business to turn over and an income to come in even when I am not able to work.

2. You’re responsible for your schedule

You have to be highly self-motivated and able to schedule in your work time and your life, if you are not able to manage your time effectively, or able to make that balance, and you need someone else to do that for you, or you need to physically be away from home in order to be able to work, then working from home as a VA will not suit you.

3. You will need to love your own company

Whilst VA’s can work from all sorts of places, really anywhere with Internet access, we tend to spend most of our time at home, and sometimes this can get lonely, even with the interaction of a virtual team, or connections on social media, you are essentially working solo, and this is likely to become depressing for social butterflies who need a good deal of human interaction on a daily basis.

4. You don’t want any kind of hassle

If you don’t work well under pressure, then being a business owner full stop won’t be right for you. Being a business owner means you need your wits about you, you will have to deal with challenges, face problems, troubleshoot and take responsibility. Whilst as you gain more experience and become more used to your work, this can become much easier in time, but the responsibility of your business will always rest on your shoulders. If you slack off, don’t show up, miss deadlines or don’t feel like meeting commitments, you will lose clients, and as a result, lose your income.

5. You like the “system”

To be honest with you, the way the economy changes no job is safe these days, but being employed and working under a contractual agreement for an employer, which includes redundancy money, company pension, dental care, or some sort of traditional employment contract will provide you with the feeling of stability and security, that working with clients on an independent basis won’t provide you with.

To me being a virtual assistant has been one of the biggest blessings in my life, there is no way I could ever go back to working for “the man,” having to answer to someone else, have people tell me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I want to make these decisions for myself, because I want to do something, rather than because I have to. I love the freedom of not being tied down to one location, or one set of working hours. I also like the security that being a VA provides me with of having the ability to take my business with me wherever I choose, controlling my destiny. For me, being a VA is ‘being free.’

But for some, I have learned that the idea of this kind of lifestyle can often be very different from the reality of what they need in their daily life, and if such is the case it may just not suit you. It might later on in life perhaps, but being a VA is something you really need to feel ready for — it’s a high dive, a plunge, a risk, think wisely before making that leap from traditional employment, to working for yourself and being your own boss.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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