I love being a Virtual Assistant.
When I tell people what I do for a living, the response is usually the same. First they say “oh that’s cool,” followed inevitably by “…but what exactly do you do?”
I am always tempted to respond with, “what don’t I do?” Today, for example, I organized a business trip for my client in Vancouver and wrote a blog for my client in Calgary. Then, I invoiced customers for my client in Chicago and updated last month’s expense reports for my client in Toronto.
Not all Virtual Assistants have the same job description. In general, we are self-employed professionals who provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office. The Virtual Assistant field is relatively new and has grown exponentially in the past few years.
We’ve often discussed the many benefits to companies in hiring virtual staff, but we’ve never really talked about the many perks we enjoy working as a Virtual Assistants:
1. Working From Home
Perhaps the best part about being a Virtual Assistant is working from home. The average Canadian spends over 300 hours per year commuting to their job, but my commute is a 30 second trip to my home office. I can start my day energized, and I never have to deal with traffic jams, crowded streetcars, exorbitant gas bills, parking fees, or the wear and tear on my car. Personally, I’m happy to eliminate the negative impact my previous commuting had on the environment.
Aside from avoiding a long daily commute, working from home has many other benefits. I have a home office that is set up exactly like I need it to be – I can determine my environment, lighting, temperature, setting, and mood. Sometimes that means sitting with my laptop on my deck with a cup of coffee and sometimes that means sitting in my office with a little heavy metal blaring in the background – but I would never have these options sitting in a cubicle in a traditional office setting.
2. Dress Code
People sometimes assume that I am in my pajamas all day because I work remotely. That’s not always the case. What working from home means is that I don’t need to have two separate wardrobes. That alone translates into significant cost savings.
3. Flexible Schedule
Working remotely provides opportunities for flexibility in my daily schedule. Clients depend on me to get that work done, but my virtual arrangement affords me time to take the dog for a short walk, drop the kids’ forgotten homework off at school or throw in a load of laundry. I can often stagger my hours and get things done really early in the morning or really late at night. This flexibility is a huge advantage in creating an important work-life balance.
4. Tax Benefits
Virtual Assistants are independent contractors. Most Virtual Assistants work freelance or through a larger agency, and there are huge benefits to this working arrangement. We do not receive employer benefits or paid vacation days, but the trade-off is that as independent contractors we deduct expenses such as office supplies, equipment, internet charges or even rent/mortgage expenses off of our annual taxable income. Being able to deduct these expenses has had a significant positive impact on my annual financial bottom line.
5. Increased Learning Potential
Most Virtual Assistants work for several clients in many different industries all across North America. The learning curve is often steep when you have to learn the workings of several different companies all with different procedures, protocols and computer programs. However, if you are able to learn quickly and adapt to an ever-changing environment, the possibilities to learn and grow are endless. Most office jobs do not afford such a vast array of opportunities.
As a Virtual Assistant I became instantly more tech savvy. Working from a home office, I don’t have access to an IT helpdesk when I need technical or industry-specific help. Virtual Assistants quickly develop the skill of being resourceful, looking for their own answers and becoming more proactive in finding what we need on our own. Of course we can still ask questions and get help from our clients if we need to – but most of the time we learn to efficiently figure out the answers on our own.
Virtual Assistant work is a great career choice. The benefits only increase when you work for the county’s top agency, also. At Canadian Virtual Gurus, we are always on the lookout for top-notch talent. If you are a virtual assistant with an encyclopedic knowledge of your area of expertise, and a superior work ethic, get in touch and join us.