Ditch Your Virtual Assistant Title + Start Communicating How You Help Your Clients Instead!

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.

Freebie 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 Assitant 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, service packaging, a WP website, coaching, a supportive community, and so much more.

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You’ll have immediate access to more than 7 hours of how-to video information about the VA industry. Get to know The Techie Mentor™ and learn how to get started, find clients, and much more.

Written by Susan Mershon

Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor™ in 2013 to teach her no-fluff approach to the strategies and skills that Virtual Assistants need to create, build and grow a profitable and sustainable business.

With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer in-depth training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants.

She’s taught thousands of Virtual Assistants her proven strategies and systems for getting started, getting clients, and charging premium rates that can earn them 4x more than typical admin skills.

To learn more about her, how she’s different, and what she offers, please go to The Techie Mentor website.

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59 Comments
  1. Whitney

    This is a great post! I’m still working on my pitch and narrowing down my target market. What I have so far: “I provide virtual administrative support to small business owners in order to help them optimize their time by increasing their productivity.” I’m still working on it 🙂

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Whitney – great start and thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Kate

    Great article
    Susan! My title is “Webinar Support Specialist”, and my elevator speech is:

    “I assist health and wellness coaches in overcoming their administrative frustrations and take their webinars from stressful to successful.”

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Love it – thanks for sharing Kate!

      Reply
  3. Kathryn

    Also when working for yourself you can assume many titles and if using clients’ email accounts you wouldn’t sign yourself off as “Virtual Assistant”, you will adopt a title which will fit the type of work you are contracted to undertake under the client’s banner.

    So your contract would reflect that role you are doing, but your next client may be totally different. So makes sense that “Virtual Assistant” is an industry and an “Assistant” is a title within someone else’s company, so they are an Assistant to a superior. However, you could take on an Assistant role for a client if that is what is called for.

    But in your own company you are not someone’s assistant, you are your own boss, and your capabilities have to be flexible to take on different roles when the need arises, unless you are going to specialise in one area.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Well said Kathryn, thank you!

      Reply
  4. Sheila

    Thanks for this blog Susan! As usual, I have learned from you, my favorite VA Mentor! I have revised my elevator speech to the following:

    “I enjoy providing my clients with two essentials: an exceptional work product and a reduction in administrative related costs.”

    Please let me know what you think. 🙂

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you! I understand the reduction in costs, but not clear on the product or who you do it for? Does that make sense?

      Reply
  5. Kim

    I’m thinking of having Real Estate be my niche, but until I 100{118470d0f4f3718dfdd0f3eeb2eb014ae26d46ca78c59b6a979d3ffc612de011} decide I’m using: I help small business owners stay on track while managing HR related tasks and social media.

    ? sound ok?

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Small business owners is rather vague – it’s a huge market but until you decide I think it’s fine. It’s clear what you do 😉 Thanks for posting.

      Reply
  6. Sonia

    I help entrepreneurs clear their to-do lists so they can focus on what’s important.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Sonia!

      Reply
  7. Laura

    My ‘job title’ on my email signature is “Time-slicer & Procrastination Buster”

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Love the Procrastination Buster!

      Reply
  8. Chrystal-Lynn El

    Great post Susan, I’ve narrowed mines down to a solutions specialist because that’s literally what I do on an admin and consultant level.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Like it! Thanks for posting.

      Reply
  9. Kelly Pimm

    I am an Off Site Business & Administration Manager

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thanks!

      Reply
  10. Yolanda Crowley

    “I help entrepreneurs in the health and fitness industry save time and money by outsourcing their administrative tasks.”

    That’s the elevator pitch, although I rarely say it. I need to go to more networking events. 🙂

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Love it Yolanda! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  11. Monica

    Hi Susan, indeed you are correct in saying that the VA title is a bit vague. I am a “VA” and find myself most of the time explaining, in a very long-winded way, what a VA does. However, here’s my message: I help freelancers, consultants and SMEs to save time and money by managing their office admin, business projects and streamlining processes remotely. Should I change it? Thank you!

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Hi Monica, thank you! To me it’s a bit vague but does your Target understand what you do? My question is what types of freelancers, consultants SME’s? What market are they in?

      Reply
  12. Christina Lemmey

    I’m a Multimedia Content Strategist who creates online content for internet marketers & small businesses.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Christina for sharing!

      Reply
  13. Sara

    I was talking on the phone with someone on Tuesday and she mentioned that the title “virtual assistant” didn’t accurately describe what I do.

    I think we are so ’employee’ focused that it’s hard for us to ascribe big titles or responsibility to ourselves.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      So true Sara, the employee mindset is a hard one to leave behind. Thanks for posting!

      Reply
  14. Trudy Finlayson

    I’m a real estate entrepreneur and financial advisor helping homeowners & business professionals spend smart, invest wisely and create generational wealth.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Awesome, thank you Trudy. Very clear and concise.

      Reply
  15. SE Mershon

    Thank you Helen! Great title – love Procrastinating Solopreneurs that is a target all of it’s own!

    Reply
  16. John Hardy

    The virtual assistant I subcontract for has given me the title of
    “administrative support specialist”, I support this business owner in helping her get tasks done.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thanks for sharing John!

      Reply
  17. Taryn Cross

    Awesome read. We have just discussed this very topic in our Mastermind Group and most of us fell short. The exercise was to say what you do in ten words or less. As can be seen, I am still battling. I run a company that meets your HR, marketing, legal and administration needs with a highly skilled team, we try and make your life less complicated. Thanks for the read.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Hi Taryn, thank you for taking the time to post and comment. Glad you enjoyed it. Who is your Target Market? I understand the what and why but not the who.

      Reply
  18. Diane Coville

    Great post Susan. Per your formula above, mine is “I enjoy helping small businesses develop and implement strategies to grow their business online with customized Inbound Marketing and Social Media Plans”. You are correct, too, in that many people are unclear about the role of a Virtual Assistant.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Diane for posting and for sharing your message 😉

      Reply
  19. Danny

    *digitally*

    Reply
  20. Danny

    Well I did have “Helping you to grow digitaly” but had some doubts. What do you think?

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Hi Danny, thanks for commenting. My question is helping “who” grow digitally and what does grow digitally mean? In other words how? It’s not clear to me 😉

      Reply
      • George

        True about the unstated meaning of growing digitally. I’m of the school that aims for a tag that gets them to ask. A number of business people who have heard my tag get be excited on that very point. My tag? “I do the work you hate so you you can do the job you love. ” I got a client just by asking, “What are the things you need to do that you’re too busy to get to?”

        Reply
        • SE Mershon

          Well said George – thanks for posting!

          Reply
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