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Who Are Your Virtual Assistants?

So you have hired a Virtual Assistant or even a Virtual Team to help your business. Much has been said about what they have to offer to your startup, the expertise they bring to the table, and how they are affordable due to the benefits of remote working and outsourcing. But let’s a step beyond that and ask: Who are these VAs? Who are these productive remote workers chugging away helping small businesses and startups grow while their clients rest easy with newfound work-life balance? Let’s find out:

Hard-working parents

According to Fox Business, being a Virtual Assistant is one of the best careers for working moms. It makes sense, working as a VA allows people to have flexible hours and more time to be with those most important to them, like their children, spouses and families. This is much like how their clients, small business and startup owners, benefit from VA services in terms of work-life balance and quality time with their loved ones. It’s a real win-win situation and shows how technology can change the workplace and help improve the quality of people’s lives.

Ordinary Joes and Janes

The modern workplace is changing. People young and old alike are eager to leverage the opportunities provided by mobile technology and digital connectivity. There are TED Talks on normalizing working remotely and working from home. An ever growing percentage of employees are opting to do so, coinciding with worsening congestion and rising rent. Objective studies have shown that these companies saved a lot due to these alternate workplace setups. At the same time, the employees themselves became even more productive while growing healthier and happier. For workers and employers alike these alternate work setups are rational and convenient choices. So expect occupations like Virtual Assistants to become more common in the future.

Seasoned Professionals

A lot of these VAs are seasoned pros who have decided to bypass the ordinary workplace. They have skills that are sought after by employers. So by leveraging telecommute technology they can cut to the chase while making life easier for themselves. Kathy Gourghenour did just that. She left the corporate world and became a VA and an entrepreneur, growing her own business and subcontracting to other VAs. Aside from a healthier lifestyle, she also enjoyed career flexibility. This resulted in what Forbes called “ a million-dollar, one-woman business.” Woah! These experienced VAs include careerists who have retired from their day jobs. They work remotely with flexible schedules to keep themselves busy and make a little moolah while they enjoy their golden years. CNBC has a fascinating article on how “Women age 65 and over are finding new success in business,” and that includes the VA business.

People with good reasons to work outside of traditional offices

Developments like Virtual Assistant field and remote work options have proved to be really useful for people who have a hard time with traditional workplaces. Conditions like chronic fatigue can leave many drained after commuting, with barely anything left in the tank by the time they’ve reached the office. Those with mobility issues might also prefer to just telecommute rather than navigate inconvenient spaces. This is even if the area complies with regulations like the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). People who aren’t neurotypical may also have difficulties with bustling workplaces. They do so much better in alternative setups, like working from home or more comfortable surroundings. In this excellent Guardian article, Catherine Gladwyn recounts how she set herself up as a Virtual Assistant after beating a brain tumor. This arrangement proved healthier for her and also resulted in her income doubling! Such individuals are productive members of society and valued members of any workforce. But all too often their concerns and preferences are under-looked. So they shouldn’t be excluded from conversations regarding the benefits and uses of remote work options.

Virtual Assistants Can Be Anyone!

This might seem like a no-brainer, but the Virtual Assistant field is truly For Everyone. Your VA can be a backpacker traveling across Asia, using those flexible hours awesomely. Or a working parent balancing spreadsheets before helping the kids with their homework. He or she could be an introvert who prefers cozier surroundings than a crammed and noisy office. The best thing about being a Virtual Assistant is that it is an accessible career without the barriers of other fields. Meaning that more people can become productive as VAs, actualizing themselves while living a lifestyle that’s more amenable to their own terms. It mirrors how VAs’ clients benefit from their services by being able to have more balanced lives. -John Li

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