Right now, I guess nobody really knows which way this will go.
The feeling in the VA Industry right now
I’m listening intently on social media to what’s going on in the VA industry. I’m hearing many conversations, amongst them was one thread that seemed to be widespread panic where a group of VAs were unanimously agreeing that they should discount their client rates – just in case they lose their clients.
This seems to me like a knee-jerk reaction.
I think, unlike many other businesses, VAs might well be the go-to people in all of this. I’ve personally seen an uplift in enquiries in Vi-VA (my own Virtual Assistant business), which is really encouraging.
I truly believe that Virtual Assistants with the right attitude and the right outlook will thrive.
The Virtual Mindset
It seems everyone is having to get into the virtual mindset.
PTs and Pilates studios are moving their classes online… counsellors are running sessions by phone or video… tradesmen and designers are using the power of the internet to give customers quotes, lining up work for when this is over… even a social catchup on WhatsApp video with friends has become the latest ‘Out Out’.
Perhaps this will all become the new norm.
Virtual working thrust upon us
Some employees who’ve been resisting virtual working are finding it enforced upon them. Business owners who’ve vowed never to employ virtual workers are faced with no other option.
And guess what?
The world hasn’t imploded. And actually, not only does it give a better balance in a lot of cases, it’s a more productive world too!
It’s almost inevitable that in the future, home working will become a large part of business as usual. We’ll have proved it works. That’s a massive game changer, which I believe will have a positive impact on the VA industry.
Is now a good time to pursue clients?
Here’s another view.
I was on a virtual conference last week run by the Entrepreneurs Circle – it covered essential steps to make your business survive Coronavirus (or Corona Chaos as Nigel Botterill described it). Nigel remarked that a lot of businesses panicked, and immediately stopped all their marketing activity when the enormity of Coronavirus was realised.
He pointed out that people have more time at the moment. More time to read emails… more time to browse social media. For once, you have their attention. His view was clear – there’s never been a better time to step forward and stand out, to seize the day and use this as an opportunity to market your business.
WTF (What The Furlough)
As part of my research for this email, I called Noel (our resident Chartered Accountant) to ask if he thought now was a good time to set up a VA business.
Here’s what he said…
Yes, it’s a great time. Businesses have had to furlough staff so they have reduced headcount, but they still have work to be done. They’ll be crying out for the support a VA can offer.
Now there’s a viewpoint I’d not even considered.
To put all that waffle into context
So back to the original question – is this the right time to set up as a VA?
Remember this is just the opinion of me and a couple of others and we could all be wrong… the VA industry could take a hit.
But if it does that would only be in the short term.
The entire country will be more switched on to the power of virtual working than ever. Concerns about security and productivity will have been dispelled. More business owners will be open to virtual support.
For all that time I spent in the under-stairs cupboard (the place I’ve been hiding from my family during the lockdown!), I couldn’t find a compelling case against setting up as a VA now.
For what it’s worth, I won’t be getting cold feet along with some others in the VA population, and I certainly won’t be unnecessarily offering discounts left right and centre to my clients. I’m not going to sit back and stop all marketing just because a lot of others have.
My decision was based around this quote…
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain
Something to think about.