A Virtual Assistant Title or any other title in the entrepreneurial world doesn’t mean as much as they do in corporate America. Also, Virtual Assistant is not a title – it’s an industry! Many of us make the mistake to take on VA as a title when we start out. Which is really not a good thing.
When I was in corporate America, my title was Senior IT Project Manager. Well, a lot of stuff hung from that title. For example, what I did, who I worked for, which department, how much money I made, and so much more.
Your Virtual Assistant Title Doesn’t Really Matter To Your Clients
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 about your Virtual Assistant title or whatever 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 that your Virtual Assistant title doesn’t help your clients understand how you can make their life easier.
Why You Should 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, your answer – “I’m a Virtual Assistant”. You’ll most likely get one of two reactions:
- 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 me the freedom I wanted and didn’t keep me tied to my desk for certain hours a day like admin work does.
So when I talked to somebody and they’re like, “Oh, Virtual Assistant. You can answer my phone or you manage my email.” My answer was, “Uh, no. That’s not what I do.” I quickly realized that using the Virtual Assistant title 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 use the Virtual Assistant title but it’s time to move on. 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.
Why It’s Time To Stop Spending Money On Business Cards
Business cards 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?”
That’s why I dropped both the business card and the Virtual Assistant title and went with a flyer that says, “Here’s how I can help you.” Going forward you want to focus on how you help people and the results they will get when working with you 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.
Click here + download the Free Benefits Flyer Checklist
The Simple “Who-Results-How” Formula
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 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, 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. Remember, clients are more interested in results NOT what you’re called. Focus on that!
Please also read my blog post, The 12 Virtual Assistant Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs – Especially If You’re A New VA! if you want to know more about some of the most common errors a lot of new Virtual Assistants make.
What’s your title? Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading – Susan
P.S. If you're ready to invest in yourself and a professional future, please check out my VA Success Training. It's for people that are serious about running a successful Online Business. It includes everything you need from business set-up, getting clients, client management, a WP website, coaching, a supportive community, and so much more.
I have seriously been researching the virtual assistant business and decided that is the path I want to take. In researching name ideas I ran across your post today and it makes perfect sense. Thank you for living out loud.
Thank you Donna for taking the time to comment and the kind words, I appreciate them. So glad you found the post helpful.
Hi Susan, Absolutely epic post! Here I found the exact information I wanted and didn’t know who to ask.
Thank you so much Swati and glad it was helpful to you! Be sure to subscribe!
Susan, Thank You for this article. I love it especially since I was just think about and talking titles recently. Even on my live video’s I talk about VA as an industry instead of my title. I’m very adamant about not saying I’m a VA because yes it’s true people either have their idea of what you do or have on clue about what you do.
I’m a Tech & Systems Detail Connoisseur, who takes care of the important little technical system details that give coaches more time to focus on their clients needs and gives them more freedom to enjoy the other things they love.
Hi Anitra, thank you for taking the time to comment and you’re kind words! I love your title, and your “tag” line is very clear on the who and how – congrats!!
Great article, well said Susan. If you think people in the US misunderstand the VA Industry, it’s definitely a mystery here in South Africa, so great to have a mind change on the title ;o)
Hi Dawn, thank you so much and for taking the time to comment – much appreciated.
Thank you so much ffor this post. This has given me time to think of what I shall say next I was ask of what I do.
Hi Tina, you’re most welcome and thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Be sure to come back and share what you come up with!
WOW! You just empowered every individual not to look as mere VA but totally we’re an industry! Thanks for your inspiring thoughts! Kudos!
Thank you Drell, much appreciated 😉
Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article It is very helpful. Some of my fellow VA are still stuck with though of ‘Virtual Assistant’ as a title. I want to get away from “Virtual Assistant” since most of my friends do not know what it is as if it is a robot like ‘Siri’. I am new to the industry, but I have experience as a temp. (I signed up with various staffing industry). I had worked mostly with mid-sized company and a few small businesses in the construction/financial industry providing administrative tasks: answering phones, bookkeeping, preparing tax and maintaining/updating/creating customer database via MS Access. I have trouble articulating the benefits clients receive. So I don’t know my specialty, yet.
I provide professional administrative, technical and business to small businesses, entrepreneurs, consultants etc
Thanks Dineisha for commenting 😉
Great conversation, Susan. That’s the reason why I’m excited to have you as a guest on Blabpreneur! Can I offer a different point of view.
The title question is tricky. I like to see a more defined, niched title like ‘Webinar Support Specialist’. My expectation is that this teammate is an expert in her field and will bring not only technical but strategic expertise to a team. I think a more specific title allows clients to select you faster, deepen their trust faster and let go faster.
My niche is really unique and unusual. I’m curious what you’ll say about my pitch, Susan.
Im an Outsourcing Matchmaker. I love teaching overwhelmed solopreneurs how to know when it’s time to delegate and what to do to select and lead a smart, caring team who helps them survive and soar!
My niche is licensed professionals like nurse entrepreneurs, lawyers as well as encore entrepreneurs. So lovely to meet so many new resources 🙂
Thank you Dina for your comment. I like to hear different points of view and I understand yours from a client’s perspective. My main goal with the post was to get people to think outside of using titles or just using I’m a VA. Your comment adds more relevance to the discussion – thank you! And you’re pitch is very clear to me – who you serve, what you do and the benefits they get!
Online Support in Administrative Services, Research and Resume Services
Thanks for sharing Leanne!
Hi Susan! Thanks for another awesome post.
I help free up time to do what they do best by handling their bookkeeping, websites and social media marketing.
How did I end up with such an array of clients and niches? How do I specialize, or at least consolidate that statement? LOL
Hi Linda, thank you! Who is your target market?