Would you call your highly paid business mentor a VA, or an outsourcer?
What about your lawyer….
I bet you wouldn’t….
So why do you call your highly skilled designers, web developers, accountants & graphics designers “virtual assistants”, when in reality they are highly trained specialists.
As someone who’s highly trained (tertiary level), with a lot of industry experience (10+ years), it’s pretty offensive when I see business owners talking about how amazing their VA’s are - often in the form of
“She’s so amazing, she manages my whole business and only costs me $___ an hour"
“He’s so great, he made me a new logo for $___"
I’ve probably spent more time at uni honing my craft than you have in your shiny new business.
In the race to the bottom of outsourcing and contractor sites, standards of pay and respect towards highly qualified & competent individuals is rapidly eroding.
I’ve got no problem with people who charge $5/job.
I’ve got no problem with people that buy those services.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for, and nobody has to offer their services for cheaper than they want to.
What annoys me is it leads towards the behaviour I see online time and time again with requests such as: “I’m looking for a VA who can setup wordpress, membership sites, landing pages, Facebook ad campaigns as well as be an expert in SEO, 1-1 client coaching and some sales”
It tells me more about the person making the request than the role - and I wouldn’t work for them in a million years.
That person you’ve described is not a VA. That’s a marketing strategist with a high level of website technical skills & competency. Perhaps you’d should ask for THAT rather than the cover all term VA or Outsourcer.
I’ve got nothing against hiring offshore labor or getting a great deal on your staff.
I know a lot of entrepreneurs who have great “VA’s”. They don’t tend to call them assistants though.
They tend to call them part of their team, by name & by their title. Like Administration Assistant, Book Keeper, Accountant, CMS Administrator. Just like you would normal staff - because after all, they ARE real staff.
Having studied 6 years at uni and worked incredibly hard good at my craft - I understand the work it takes to get good at creating websites, software, CRM’s, custom integrations.
I can drive Illustrator and Photoshop to a competent level, but I’d never dare call myself a designer – mainly because I understand the incredible level of commitment it takes to become a good visual, UX or industrial designer.
So next time you need to hire some talent for your next project… why not take 2 seconds to think about their actual role in your business – and when looking for someone to fill that role, use that title.
By doing that, you’ll attract high quality, competent team members who’d be repulsed by you using the term VA to describe highly skilled tasks. Ultimately, you’ll end up finding better people – who’ll get your project done right.