THE STRUGGLES OF VA LIFE (& HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM!) | VIRTUAL ASSISTANT CONS
I’ve talked about the many benefits of working as a freelance VA. If you missed it, be sure to check out my blog Why You Should Overcome Your Fear Of Ditching The Cubicle For Freelancing. But of course, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Just like any career, there are hard parts too.
I have good news though! Knowledge is power, and by simply being proactive, you can nip all of these VA struggles in the bud — before they even become an issue.
Ready to dive in?
HERE ARE 4 "CONS" OF BEING A FREELANCE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT:
LOSING THE COMFORT OF (COMPANY) BENEFITS CAN BE SCARY
If you’re transitioning from corporate culture to freelancing, losing the comfort of your benefits can be scary. That is, if you don’t prepare for it! While most companies take care of providing benefit and pension plans for their employees, as a freelancer, you can purchase health benefits and insurance plans on your own (sometimes at a cheaper rate!), establish automatic savings plans to set money aside each month as a way to “self-insure” and/or contribute to special employment insurance or retirement savings. With a little bit of education and diligence, you can ensure that you and your family have the coverage and savings you need. Be sure to chat with your CPA or Financial Advisor about options that are available to you as a freelancer — understanding and establishing your own financial plans is empowering.
WORKING FROM HOME CAN BE DISTRACTING
I mean, there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, dinner to be prepped! Not only that, but it can be difficult to separate work-life and home-life when they share the same space. This is why it’s so important to have a solid morning routine to transition you into your work day, as well as a dedicated office space that you can “leave” when your work is done. Not only does a separate space help minimize distractions, but it can help you establish better boundaries too. I also started taking a short walk through my neighbourhood at the end of my work day and it has done wonders for my mental health.
I think perhaps the biggest difference between in-person and virtual support is the connection piece. Which brings us to our last two "cons"…
SELF-EMPLOYED = SELF-MOTIVATED
Yep! While this means that nobody’s going to write you up if you don’t start work at a certain time… it also means you have to put in the work if you want to get clients, keep clients and build your personal brand!
Gretchen Rubin outlines how we can harness our self-knowledge to build a happier and more productive life in her book ‘The Four Tendencies.’ Not only do these tendencies tell us a lot about what motivates us, they actually shape many aspects of our behaviour — from making decisions and meeting deadlines, to reducing stress and engaging effectively. Understanding my productivity tendency has been a game changer in my biz. Take the quiz here.
BEING A SOLOPRENEUR CAN BE ISOLATING
Running a business isn’t for the faint of heart, and not everyone’s going to understand your desire to go all-in on your VA biz. As freelancers, it’s so important to intentionally seek connection with others. I make a point of regularly meeting with other freelancers that I’ve gotten to know over the years. Booking someone for a 15-30 minute coffee chat is a great way to stay connected with people who understand freelance life, and can also be mutually beneficial in holding each other accountable (something I need as an obliger!). Time has a way of slipping by, so booking your next chat before you hop off the call is a great habit to get into.
PRO TIP: When you’re struggling in your business, remind yourself WHY you started it (or wanted to start it!) in the first place.
That covers it! If you're anything like me, you'll find that the pros greatly outweigh the cons of being a virtual assistant. If you have a question about the VA struggles I’ve shared, or are struggling with something else, be sure to drop it in the comment section below.