It’s a dreary, rainy day and I’m grateful that I can cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and my laptop and do my work from home. Iced coffee and my two fur babies are by my side which makes it even better. Talk about bliss!
If you’re thinking about becoming a VA, you might be wondering what some of the pros and cons are of having a virtual assistant business. I’ve been a virtual assistant since 2014 so allow me to shed some light on what I think is good and bad about running a VA biz.
(Note: I originally wrote this article when I was a VA. I now focus on mentoring VAs.)
THE PROS OF BEING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
1) I have freedom
I crave freedom. Being a virtual assistant helps curb that craving and makes me an all-around happier person!
- make my own schedule – I can work, take breaks, schedule personal appointments, take a vacation, etc. when I want to
- location freedom – I prefer to work from home on the sofa or in bed, but if I wanted to work at a coffee shop or while traveling I could
- ease into my day – instead of rushing through my shower, breakfast, and commute to work, I can leisurely drink my coffee and not have to worry about being late
- sleep longer if I want to – sometimes I don’t sleep well, so having the freedom to sleep longer is ideal for me!
- work as late as I like – I can start work when I want and work as late as I want
- take it easy when I’m sick – I no longer have to ask if I can call in sick! I have the freedom to take it easy and rest!
2) I work from home
Working from home was a dream of mine for a very long time. Becoming a VA allowed me to finally make that happen! I no longer have to commute to work or sit at my desk wishing I was at home! It’s perfect for introverts, like me!
3) I choose who I work with
If you’ve ever worked in customer service, you’ll understand why it’s a big deal to work with whoever you want. Some people are just plain cranky and take it out on everyone they come across. I don’t miss that at all!
Before I started working with any clients, I got really clear about who I wanted to work with. Not only did this help me determine if a prospective client was a good fit or not (someone I wanted to work with or not), but it also gave me an idea of where to find my ideal clients.
4) I set my own rates
The days of someone paying me what they think I’m worth and giving me a raise when they’re ready, are gone. I now have control over how much I charge and when I raise my rates.
5) I can wear yoga pants and tees
I love that I can wear whatever I want, which usually ends up being yoga pants and a tee or p.j.s. :)
6) The costs of starting a virtual assistant business were minimal
I just basically needed a laptop (which I already had) and a few tools to get started and that was it. I also invested in some courses and ebooks to help me learn new skills, like web design (which isn’t necessary, just something I wanted to do).
7) I do work I enjoy
I first started out as an OBM (Online Business Manager), but now I’m a Pinterest manager. Being a VA means I can create new services and discontinue others.
THE CONS OF BEING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT (AKA WHAT I STRUGGLE WITH)
1) Working from home can be distracting
Dishes, my doggies, life in general, can be distracting and throw me off track. I’m always working on my time-management skills so that I can be as productive as possible (and get my work done!)
Time-blocking (blocking off chunks of time throughout the day for what’s most important) helps me stay focused on the most urgent tasks or those that I want to make time for (like working, cleaning, walking the dogs, eating dinner with my husband).
I’ve also learned how to block out distractions. Turning off the “dings” on my phone and computer, staying off social media, and not working with the t.v. on help me stay focused.
Another trick I learned is batching my time by setting a timer for an hour to do work, then taking a break for 10-15 minutes. It really helps with focus and reduces fatigue.
2) Sometimes I’d rather be doing something else
Even though I enjoy being a VA, every once in a while I’ll have a day where I’d rather be Netflixing than doing client work. Sometimes I can push the work to another day, but sometimes there’s a deadline and I have no choice but to get the work done.
Something I like to do to combat this lack of motivation is bundling a task I want to do with a task I don’t want to do. For example, I’ll allow myself to watch 1 show if I work for 2 hours. It’s basically negotiating with myself!
3) I don’t get paid vacations
Even though I can take vacations when I want, they’re not paid! I do have the option of working extra hours before and after my vacation to get my hours in and not lose any money.
4) I have to do mundane business tasks, like paying taxes
Some business tasks, like paying taxes or doing monthly bookkeeping are not the most fun, but they’re an important part of running a business. I now have step-by-step procedures for my business tasks so I can finish them as quickly as possible when they’re on my to-do list.
To sum up, there are more pros than cons to starting a VA biz. And as far as the cons go, I just try to make them as enjoyable as possible! I feel blessed that I’m a VA and I only have one regret – that I didn’t start sooner!
Interested in learning more?
If becoming a VA is intriguing, I invite you to learn more. Here are a few articles to get you started: