VIP VA is a TOTAL passion project for me. It gets me spine-tingling excited, and always has, to think of supporting, nurturing and championing VAs for the better of the entire industry.
It made sense from the beginning, in the absence of an industry body, to pioneer in setting standards for the VA industry, and so here we are!
Our virtual assistant industry is still a relatively new one. There are people out there who still don’t know what a virtual assistant or VA is or most importantly, what they can add to their businesses. Of those that do, their understanding might bear little or no resemblance to how we as those doing it see our role.
And this isn’t in the least bit surprising given that there is a huge range of people working under the banner of VA in all different ways for all sorts of different reasons.
And also for very varied sums of money and for hugely different skillsets and experience. There are even books that describe how to hire yourself a team of Philippino VAs for pennies (or cents because it’s a USA based book).
What picture does this paint of our profession? Of course, like any industry, there are varying standards. Everyone just needs to get out there and promote themselves, don’t they? Why does it need a group or a movement?
Well the business owners that work with VAs don’t have the time or energy to give VAs a huge amount of thought. It’s not their business! They might use an accountant, a web designer and a host of other services and what matters to them is not the state of the world of accountancy or web design, it is simply getting the best they can for their budget. That’s the real extent of their interest. But suppose they have had a VA previously and it was a disaster? If they decide to go down that route in the future, they are going to want to protect against that happening again.
One thing small businesses can’t afford is time clearing up mistakes. So, to make a better choice next time there are some avenues open to them.
They can get a referral from a fellow business owner. That is perfect if they have a trusted Network and the VAs that are referred are of the right type for them and have the capacity. But what if they need a social media specialist or a VA that has experience with a very specific type of software? A referral might not be possible (or even helpful). At that point you want someone else to have done some due diligence for you. Got references, checked insurance paperwork, had conversations with existing clients. And as someone not in the VA world, a client’s knowledge of what due diligence looks like is limited probably to some references from existing or past clients.
And this is where VIP VA comes in. There are lots of VA directories, free and paid for people to search. But not every applicant to VIP VA is accepted – for those that don’t currently meet the criteria, I make sure that they are contacted directly for further guidance and support, so help them reach a level where they DO meet the criteria that is asked of them.
And this is what business owners need when they pay for a service, a safety net, some reassurance that they are getting a VA that has been tried and tested by someone who does know the industry.
And with these matches comes quality and delighted clients. And eventually with quality comes an understanding that there are different levels of VA – as there are with web designers and plumbers and bookkeepers and builders. That understanding is that yes, you can go on upwork and select a likely looking person and you might be lucky.
But if you want the best that a VA can be – a long term working partnership with someone who is experienced and smart, then clearly that’s not the way to do it. And after a personal referral from someone you trust, VIP VA really is the next best thing.
On top of this, I also spend time supporting and nurturing the VAs in my VIP VA membership, listening to how they want to continue to develop professionally and providing them with the solution.
As VIP VA grows its membership of serious, highly professional and skilled VAs then the number of delighted clients who start to understand what an amazing VA can do for them also increases – and our industry standard is created.
With VIP VA I am proud to have pioneered the setting of industry standards for VAs! If you want to find out more about hiring a VA, joining a network of likeminded VA business owners or becoming a VA, please do get in touch!