Dear Danielle: Can the Visually Impaired be a Virtual Assistant?

Dear Danielle:

I am with a state vocational commission that enhances employability, maximizes independence, and assists in the development of the capacities and strengths of people who are blind and visually impaired. Would it be possible for a person who is blind or visually impaired to do the job as a virtual assistant. Many of our consumers have the skills and desire that is needed for these types of jobs. With assistive technology, such as a screen reader for the computer, accessibility is not a problem.  –CD

Great question, and thanks for asking.

There are first some basic understandings that need to in place so we can communicate properly.

First, this is a business one goes into, not a “job.”

Further, we do not use the term “virtual assistant” here.

“Assistant” is a term of employment and has no place in the vocabulary of business ownership.

We are Administrative Consultants. An Administrative Consultant is someone who is in the business of administrative support and works directly and collaboratively with clients in a one-on-one relationship.

If you are asking in the context of whether someone with some physical challenges can start an administrative support business providing administrative support to clients, my answer is ABSOLUTELY, as long as they have the administrative skills and extensive, real-world administrative experience, and are equipped with whatever assistive technology they will need to communicate with clients and perform services.

The business side of things is another skillset they will also need to learn if they don’t already have it.

If you are asking the question within the context of a “job,” then we aren’t talking about the same thing.

What you’d be referring to in that case is correctly terms “remote working/telecommuting.”

In that situation, the person is an employee of a company and is supervised, directed and paid a wage dictated by the employer.

Since that is not what we are, I can’t be of assistance there. My suggestion would be to search under the keyword “telecommuting.”

Caveat: Most telecommuting jobs advertised on the internet are scams. Typically, they will require a fee upfront and the person never receives the materials. Or they might receive materials, and it turns out to be bunch of worthless information. Or, they take the “training” or jump through whatever other hoops they just paid their hard-earned money to jump through, and then are never given a job and/or never hear from the company again. If someone is interested in a telecommuting job and not going into business for themselves, my advice would be to contact virtual staffing agencies or larger brick-and-mortar companies and explore opportunities with them.

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