VA is not a title. It’s an Industry. Like many of us, when we’re first starting out, we become part of the VA industry and we take on the title of Virtual Assistant. Which, is really not a good thing.
First of all, if you’d rather listen to this than reading it please check out the podcast below.
Titles don’t mean as much in the entrepreneurial world or the solo-preneurial world as they do in corporate America.
For instance, when I was in corporate America, my title was Senior IT Project Manager.
Well, a lot of stuff hung from that title, like what I did, who I worked for, which department, how much money I made, and so much more was actually rolled up into my title.
Now when you become your own boss, titles really don’t matter. They don’t carry the same amount of weight as they did when you were an employee.
Nobody Really Cares What You Call Yourself
No disrespect but what clients want is somebody who can solve their problems. You could call yourself Queen of Sheba as long as you solved your client’s problems.
The point is titles don’t really matter to your clients.
Now back to why you need to stop calling yourself a Virtual Assistant.
When you’re talking to people, whether it be family, friends or even prospective clients at a networking event and they ask you – “What do you do?”.
And, you answer – “I’m a Virtual Assistant”.
You’ll most likely get one of two responses.
- You get the deer in the headlights look. In other words they really have no idea what that means.
- They assume you’re an admin in one way, shape or form.
I didn’t want to be known as an Admin – because I wasn’t one. I was not offering admin type services – I was offering back-end systems and techie services.
The types of services that gave my the freedom I wanted and didn’t keep me tied to my desk certain hours a day like admin work does.
So… when I talk to somebody and they’re like, “Oh, Virtual Assistant. You can answer my phone or you manage my email.” I’m like, “Uh, no. That’s not what I do.”
I quickly realized that using VA as a title or as a business owner wasn’t working for me.
I had to spend too much time trying to explain what the heck it was that I did. So, I changed my strategy to thinking about Virtual Assistant as an industry NOT a title.
And… really that is what it is, it’s not a title, but I know for most of us who’ve come out of corporate American or any JOB with a title, that’s what we kind of glob onto.
We want to call ourself a Virtual Assistant. But… it’s time to move on and away from being a “VA”. Remember people, don’t know what it is, they assume you’re an admin.
Start looking at VA as an industry and focus on what you do for your clients. How you help them – that is where you need to shift your focus.
If you need a title for your business card or an event, use something related to the services you offer. For example Email Marketing Manager, Transcriptionist, Social Media Specialist, etc.
Stop Spending Money On Business Cards
They don’t work! Instead use a Benefits Flyer™. It’s something I came up with myself many years ago because when I handed someone my business card (especially if it said VA on it), we had the same old conversation. “Well, what is it that you do? Can you explain that to me?”
So… I dropped both the business card and the title of VA and went with a flyer that says, “Here’s how I can help you.”
I’ve included a link to “How to create a Benefits Flyer™” at the end of this post just in case you want to know more.
Going forward you want to focus on how you help people and the results they get and not on a title.
For instance, let’s say that I am a social media manager and my focus is the travel industry.
So when someone asks, “Hey Susan, what do you do?”
I answer, “Well, I help family-owned travel agencies manage their social media.” Then people immediately understand what I do.
Use this simple formula: I help, WHO (who do you help – your target audience) RESULTS (what results do they get) and HOW (how do you help them – what do you do).
A few more examples to help you, are:
- I help Business Coaches (WHO) get in front of their audience (RESULTS) by managing their social media (HOW).
- I help Yoga Studios (WHO) get more clients (RESULTS) by writing great copy (HOW).
- I help Virtual Assistants (WHO) launch a successful business (RESULTS) by teaching them how to create and implement systems (HOW).
I know it takes time for many people to come up with these – to summarize them in one sentence.
It took me a long time – it’s part of getting clear on who you help and how. Be patient and practice – it will come. Play around with it. It may not roll off your tongue immediately but it’s really something that you want to start focusing on.
Oh and on a side note… I know many people think that the VA industry is made up of nothing but administrative assistants and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As I mentioned, I’m not an admin, never wanted to be, never was one. I’m not knocking admins they have great skills but it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do.
The VA industry is very, very diverse just like a business. There’s people here from HR, IT, like myself, people who do sales and marketing, systems and technology and many more.
So… don’t think that you have to be an admin if you don’t want to be.
You can learn the skills and the systems that you need to make a difference and that helps you quit your soul-sucking job or do whatever it is that you want to do.
Remember… clients are more interested in results NOT what you’re called. Focus on that!
Here is another article talking about why you need to ditch titles and switch to talking to what you do and how you help your clients.
What’s your title?
I’d love to know!
If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading – Susan