VIP VA Member & Uber-VA Lucy Messaritis gives us her view on why the Time to EleVAte campaign is so needed…
For me, it’s usually whilst I’m on the school run or watching my daughter learn how to do handstands/front crawl/etc. at one of her after-school activities. I know I’d ask exactly the same question if I saw a mum always at the school gate/after-school club sidelines but knew she worked from home during the school day. I’d be mad not to be at least intrigued!
OK – now hands up how many times when you try and quickly explain what you do (because, if like me, you have a 7-year-old who either needs feeding or shepherding to the next ‘event’), is the reply along the lines of, ‘So you do admin work – how easy is it to get into? I could do that’.
Absolutely – I’m sure you could do admin work. It’s not rocket science!
But when I get asked that now, my first question is loosely based around, ‘What would be your niche/how many years’ experience have you had working as a PA or EA?’ (I say loosely based – I don’t want to make a name for myself as being ‘that smug *?£&*$!’– no one likes that person!!)
Ah. You see, yes – admin work isn’t rocket science. My daughter could look at a pile of folders and decide if they should be on the A, B or C shelf. But VA-ing isn’t just admin work. In fact, VIP VA conducted a quick straw poll to find out the sheer breadth of talent and skills each VA in the group has and where their niches lie. The results were amazing!
And yes, in there is admin work. Of course there is. By its very terminology, ‘Virtual Assistant’ would have some kind of administrative angle. However, we are no longer living in the 1950s where assistants were Chanel-suited bee-hived secretaries who did a bit of dictation. Entrepreneurs and SMEs now want someone that can create and host their website, write blogs, organise their diary, manage their workforce, do their bookkeeping, consult them on back-office business decisions AND do a bit of dictation (or transcribing)!
My niche is, in fact, admin based. I ADORE making spreadsheets look neat, sorting out electronic filing so that you can find anything within (ideally) five clicks max, plus I have a sincere and deep-rooted desire to feel needed (pathetic, but true!). I genuinely want to help those around me with getting from A-to-B as gracefully as possible and give those I support no need to question that I don’t always have their back…be it chasing clients for payment on their behalf, thinking about their diary and how busy they are, reminding them of their wife/husband/partner’s birthday, basically – what can I do today to make their lives easier?
But while what I do isn’t exactly triple-heart-bypass surgery with one-hand tied behind your back, I have spent 15 years working my behind off learning my craft so that when I now go into a pitch, I am 100% confident in my business offering and I know that I’m damn good at it – that’s why I charge what I do. Plus when I work with said client, I am confident in my knowledge and expertise to also find areas where I can make extra impact.
PLUS, because I am also a business owner, with all the intricacies that entails (marketing, promotions, new business, finance, admin, IT, security, legal regulations and requirements, etc.), I pretty much know exactly what my clients are worrying about at any given moment (mainly tax and their bottom-line!) because I also think about them on a weekly/daily/hourly basis!
So yes, it might seem from across the playground/swimming pool that I’m living the dream – full-time mum and ‘doing admin work’ at home during the day.
But in reality, in the 5.5 hours I have between school runs, I am working harder than I EVER did before, and if it weren’t for those 15 years of working through the ranks, I would have never been able to get where I am today or even considered doing it in the first place!
I’m ALWAYS up for helping those who are interested in becoming a VA – the VA world is an amazing industry to be part of and it’s only getting bigger and better. But please remember – it’s a career, not a hobby…and it’s bloody hard work!!!!
ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER
Lucy is Founder of Nixon Executive Support, a huge supporter of the #TimeToEleVAte campaign and an all-round cheerleader for the VA industry in general. With over 15 years experience (7 of which were at McKinsey & Company), Nixon Executive Support provides a safe pair of virtual hands to start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs who want to find order in their chaos.
If you want to get involved with our campaign and help us redefine and elevate the VA profession, you can do so HERE.