Is Virtual Assisting For Me?

Isn’t technology a wonderful thing? I am a technology fan-girl. I love the fact that I haven’t had to call my pizza order in for over 3 years. In fact, I can order almost anything online and have it delivered to my place. Our offices have become more technologically advanced as well. Eight years ago, I used a fax machine on an almost daily basis. Now, I wax nostalgic when I hear the dial tone emanating from the copy room. With the increasing use of and advancements in technology, even new types of job opportunities are opening up. One such job opportunity is called virtual assisting.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is a self-employed or organization-employed administrative or personal assistant who works remotely for various clients. Usually, virtual assistants work from home. Virtual assistants are called upon to complete all kinds of tasks: web design, research, writing letters and press releases, coordinating travel plans, planning events, managing customer service, transcription, and answering emails. The tasks you complete are usually based on your qualifications. For example, if you have no knowledge of web design, you won’t be completing those types of tasks, but you may be called upon to research and vet a web designer for your client.

The Pros

  1. If you are self-employed, you set your own schedule, including vacations and days off. This allows for flexibility in your personal life. Working in an office doesn’t always afford that type of flexibility.
  2. You are in control of your income. The more you are willing to work, the more you can make.
  3. You don’t have a dress code! Working from home allows you to wear whatever you desire and this saves you money. Also, not having to commute saves time and money.
  4. You are your own boss. You have the freedom to choose the projects you are capable of and find enjoyable.
  5. You get to set up your office space how you would prefer, not a predetermined cube.

The Cons

  1. It is easy to become burnt out because you overwork yourself to make more money.
  2. You have the inherent distractions of working at home (tv, cell phones, games, kids, etc.) and it can be difficult to find time to complete your work.
  3. Lack of social interaction. Often, one of the perks of working in an office is getting to interact face to face with other humans on a daily basis.
  4. Because you are often your own boss, you likely won’t have benefits (vacation pay, sick pay, health insurance, etc.).
  5. Being your own boss means that you will probably end up paying your own taxes (employment and Social Security). This can be a hassle and you have to remember to set aside enough money from each paycheck to pay those taxes.

Is it for me?

This question is a hard one and one that requires you (and you alone) to take a deep look at what you want out of a career. If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur (ups and downs included) and taking charge of your income potential and working from home, this might be the career choice for you.  If you need the social interaction of being in an office or are not super motivated to be your own boss, this may not be the career choice for you.

To learn more about virtual assisting, check out these great sites:

– Alesa Little
CS Student Support Team

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