Archive for December 19th, 2011

What’s In a Name, You Ask?

It’s interesting how many administrative assistants are confused about the difference between them and a Virtual Assistant. Someone sent me something from some administrative assistants listserv (those who are working in jobs) and it’s very clear they do not understand that a VA is NOT someone who is telecommuting, but is in business. They don’t seem to understand that an administrative assistant and a VA are not the same thing whatsoever.

Here again, this is due in large part to the vague and idiotic “virtual assistant” term. People who are running businesses are not assistants, much less employees. They are providing a professional service, and the way they operate and work with clients is by necessity very different from how one provides administrative support as an employee.

This mass delusion and confusion never ceases to astonish me. And underscores the point that words educate (or miseducate, as the case may be), and that’s why what you call yourself is important to your marketing and educating of clients. It is either going to set a tone for the right understandings, expectations and preconceptions or it will do the opposite.

Ignore the morons out there who are always shrilling about “it’s the name of the industry” blah blah blah. Your business and marketing has nothing to do with that at all. It’s about positioning and how you want your market to view you. Do you want to be viewed as an assistant and gopher who they think should be at their beck and call and doing whatever they throw at you (and expect to pay you peanuts for at the same time), or do you want the kind of clients who clearly understand the expertise you are in business to provide, view you as a skilled professional and administrative expert who can really help them improve their businesses, and therefore are more willing to pay for that valuble support and expertise?

If so, then you must understand that this is about shaping perceptions, expectations and understandings and positioning yourself as an expert, not a gopher.

By the way, the morons out there shouting that are the also the ones who don’t know how to do it any differently. 😉 And listening to people like that is keeping you in the poorhouse. Let them keep their idiotic industry. Worry about the financial wealth and success of your own business.

Consider this, too…

How many times have you followed a coach or business expert and all their business building and financial success advice seems to apply to everyone–until it comes time to pay their VAs. It’s such a clear example of how they devalue VAs because they don’t put them on the same level as other business professionals and expertse.

And guess why? Guess who did that to you? Yup, the “industry.” That’s because it has  branded itself as the cheap labor pool of flunkies and gophers… as assistants, not experts.

The industry at large is not doing you any favors whatsoever. So who cares if “the industry” wants to be called “virtual assistants.” That doesn’t mean you have to call yourself that if you want to do better financially in business and attract better clients, clients who aren’t cheapskates, clients who happily pay, clients who “get it” and view you as important to them and their business as their attorney and their accountant and their web designer, etc.

See, the “industry” has spoiled those people and certain marketplaces. They have been trained to think they are getting what basically amounts to employees they don’t pay taxes on.

But if you want to do better financially in your business, not to mention to actually create a business and not merely a telecommuting job, you have got to do things differently. And that really does start with what you call yourself because it affects not only their perceptions and understandings, but your perceptions about yourself as well.