So, you’re thinking of becoming a VA, eh?
Let’s assume that you’ve got the skills and the equipment you need. Before you leap into what you imagine is your new dream career, consider these few points from a more personal perspective…
First of all, would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Or put it this way – do you enjoy time to yourself? Do you like it when everyone is out of your hair so that you can put your head down and get things done? Or do you like to bounce ideas off other people, enjoy the lunch room chats, and look forward to work-related social events?
If the first few descriptions fit you the best, you’re like me and you’re a bit of an introvert, and chances are you’ll love having everyone out of your bloody way so that you can get things done! Of course you’ll have client requests coming in all the time (hopefully) and you’ll still have to deal with various types of interruptions as you learn to order your tasks and your time, but you will get to handle all that how you want, when you want.
And if you’re like me and you like to talk to yourself out loud, and sometimes tend to huff and puff as a pressure release, I’d say it’s actually better to be at home on your own because then there’s nobody around to misinterpret your audible blurbs or take offence to the more colourful ones!
On the flip side if you’re leaning towards the other direction you’re probably more of an extrovert and you may (or may not) eventually have difficulty with being at home alone all day. Yes, you can join online communities and discuss ideas that way (VAnetworking.com is an excellent resource!); yes, you can pop out for lunch and meet someone for a chat but only providing their schedule is as flexible as yours is. However, the majority of your time will be spent on your own with not a lot of social contact, and remember that there is no such thing as a company barbecue or Christmas party when you’re self employed!
As for me I have my two kitties to keep me company, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. They’re lovely to have around when they sit on my lap and keep me warm while I work, but they can become a pain in the butt when I’m working furiously to get something done and I’m on a roll, and one of them decides that they need my attention asap and sits directly in front of my computer screen and won’t move. Or when the girl, Sous-Lit, sits on my lap and then wraps herself around one (or both) of my hands and won’t let me type or use my mouse!
However, I love to be on my own. I relish every moment, and sometimes the end of the day comes too quickly and I still don’t want to be interrupted or drawn away from my office. On the other hand I’ve met a few people who reach the end of their first year and are just about to go mad from what must seem to them to be major isolation.
So if you’re considering becoming a Virtual Assistant, take a moment and figure out which type of person you are – introvert or extrovert – and then try to imagine a year or so in the future and how you’ll be feeling after spending most of your time working alone.
If anyone has any entrepreneurial experiences to share about their own personal intro- or extro-vertedness I’d love to hear them!