When I tell family and friends that I earn my living as a Virtual Business Assistant, I usually get a confused look from them.
I totally understand the reaction. The term 'Virtual Assistant' was also foreign to me even at the time when I already started working from home. While I knew I was helping small business owners and start up entrepreneurs run and grow their business from the comforts of my home, I didn't really think of a particular job term for it. I learned about the term 'Virtual Assistant' only after a year of working online when somebody invited me to take on a marketing related job and the term 'Virtual Assistant' was included in the job description.
So, what's a Virtual Business Assistant? It is basically just like it sounds. It refers to people like me who provide business support to business owners virtually! Meaning I don't need to be physically present at my client's workplace in order to assist her on her business needs.
I usually get different reactions and lots of questions when I talk about my work and I would like to share with you 5 of the most frequently asked ones with my corresponding response to each question:
1) Do you mean you just sit in front of the computer the whole day, click on a few things here and there, do almost nothing and get paid for it? Wow, I would also like to do that!
I was taken aback when I first heard this from someone. I thought, “Are you kidding me?”
I find this the funniest reaction too because my then 6 year old son once complained that I spent so much time at my computer and less time playing with him. It's sad, I know, but that sometimes happens especially to mothers like me who work from home. So, to quickly dismiss him, I asked him to stop complaining because that’s where the money I use to buy for his toys come from. The following day, I saw him pressing my computer’s keyboard and angrily complained that there’s no money coming out from it.
Yes, I work in front of the computer but I do real work to get paid for it. My job varies from routine tasks such as research, powerpoint presentations, reports, data entry, bookkeeping, newsletters, calendar management, answering emails, to special projects like marketing plan, website building, setting up business systems, etc. These are normal tasks that people do when working in a traditional or regular workplace.
Should you consider working online, bear in mind that it is what it says it is. It's a job. A real one. You do real work but you do it from home or from wherever your computer (must be connected to the internet) is. You don’t just sit pretty behind the computer, drink coffee and then expect some money. :-)
2) You must be a tech wizard to be able to work online.
Sometimes I think that technology is the “boogeyman” of online job. For some reason, there’s this mistaken belief that one needs to be a tech wizard to be able to work online or do virtual jobs.
I am telling you now that this is not at all the case. While online opportunities abound for tech wizards, there are also online opportunities for non-tech people and non-wizards like you and I. If you’re reading this blog right now and you know how to Google something, then you have what it takes to learn the technology necessary to start working online. You just have to be open to learning and really commit to it!
3) Are you a blogger?
No, I am not a blogger by profession and I don't blog for a living. I don't blog for clients as well. I blog only for me to share information to my peeps and tribe. I would love to monetize my blog post but writing is not my forte. It's the reason why it takes me a lifetime to share some of my thoughts in writing.
If you are a good writer or has a potential to be one, there is an abundance of online jobs for you out there. However, you don’t need to be one in order to find an online job. Click here for a sample list of different job categories that are available online.
4) Do you really get paid for it?
Yes, I do get paid for it and you will get paid for it too if ever you decide to venture into online work. Others call it "work at home job". Just like any other type of work, salary rate varies depending on expertise, skills, experience and actual job performance.
When I started about 10 years ago, I worked so much harder and longer for much less in terms of pay/income just so online employers would try me out. You need to build an online reputation first (which does not take years … not even months if you know what to do) and once you have that, you can steadily increase your rate. If you are a start up, online jobs are often paid much less than offline jobs but there are many perks that you get from working online that you don’t get from working the traditional way such as flexibility of time and the freedom to bring your work wherever you are in the world and so much more. One summer, I travelled to 7 countries without disrupting my work and still enjoyed my travel. I think that's cool! Don't you?
5) Are online jobs for real?
Some of you may have received emails or have seen advertisements such a this once in a while:
"EARN THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS/EUROS BY WORKING FROM HOME! NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! VERY EASY COPY AND PASTE JOB! APPLY NOW!"
Sounds very much like a hoax, right? Well, you are right. While the promise of thousands of dollar/euro earnings is a BIG FAT LIE (especially if you are just starting out), the good news is online work, work from home, virtual jobs and remote work options are 100% for real. I’ve been working from home for and with remote employers/clients for 10 years now and I can definitely attest that it is all for real. I work only for small businesses and growing entrepreneurs but even the corporate world offers both partial and full telecommuting job opportunities. Here’s a good read about work from home and a list of some of those big companies offering online jobs. Click here to read the article.
So there you go. I hope that gives a bit of light about what online work/work at home is all about.
If you want to go in depth and learn how to land your first online job, check it out HERE.
P.S. If you're an entrepreneur who wants to run and grow your business without the technical (and yes, also non-technical) overwhelm, you need a Proactive Virtual Assistant. I’ll be happy to chat with you about it.
P.P.S. If you're someone who's keen on becoming a Virtual Assistant, I have lots of good stuff for you too.
Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to contact me.