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Save A Virtual Assistant!

One of the issues I dealt with while an employee in the professional world was a conflict of business morals. Bosses who unscrupulously would use others to further their own goals was not unusual. One day they would have lunch with another business person in the same profession, and the next day they were using information they gleaned against that same person. I found it all very distasteful. I was told that one had to be cutthroat in order to get ahead and get an edge on the competition. I didn’t want to believe it.

Now as a business owner myself, I’m testing my belief that one can be a ‘nice guy’ and still finish first. I believe in honesty, so if a potential client contacts me and is looking for a service that I don’t feel I can provide at a high level of excellence, I do my best to find another virtual assistant in the industry that can. I’ve had business people raise a skeptical eyebrow at me because of it.But I feel strongly that if I can help another person in some small way, even if it means referring a potential client to someone else, that’s the right thing to do.

I also believe that helping another individual within my industry is the right thing to do. So tonight I’m going to do something that my prior employers would consider pure business suicide. I’m going to ask you to hire a fellow VA. April Tara is struggling with a decision I hope I never have to make. As a single mother, she feels she has to choose between the dream of owning and operating her virtual assistant business or once again becoming someone else’s employee. I’m hoping that by getting the word out that there is a great virtual assistant out there, just looking to provide fantastic service that she’ll become indispensable to someone stressed out and in need of some help. And I’m not the only one within our industry trying to help. Cheryl Allin of VirtuAllin has even gone so far as to offer two free hours of web/graphic design to anyone who hires April by midnight tonight (Sept. 5, 2008) PST.

It seems I’m not the only one who feels strongly about helping others and doing what is right.

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10 Comments

  1. halosecretarialservices on September 6, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Wow, that is really inspiring and thoughtful Tina! I totally think we VA’s need to stick together. I hope this helps April.



  2. halosecretarialservices on September 5, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Wow, that is really inspiring and thoughtful Tina! I totally think we VA’s need to stick together. I hope this helps April.



  3. April on September 6, 2008 at 2:43 am

    First, I wanted to say a HUGE thanks to you and Cheryl on a personal level. I’ve been debating for the past two weeks, ever since I lost my day job, if I should keep plugging away at my VA business and I’ve put as many hours as I can into it but unlike working for someone else, I don’t get paid just for being here. So I started to think I’d be better off putting those hours into earning a paycheck instead of chasing a dream.

    Now I want to comment as another VA. I don’t know if its the nature of the industry or if its because its a female-dominated field or what but I’ve never seen so much support! I’ve noticed this since I first got started. I couldn’t figure out why all of these established VAs were writing articles and ebooks telling people how to start their own VA business! I thought “Why are they creating competition? Aren’t they afraid they’ll lose business?”

    But it makes sense now. We support each other. We help each other because it doesn’t just help the other VA, it helps our industry as a whole. I love sending referrals to other VAs if I know someone needs a service I don’t offer or a VA with a skill I don’t have.

    You don’t see that happen in too many other business, especially online businesses. But, hey, a doctor or lawyer would never take on a client/patient if they couldn’t help. They would refer them to someone else who can.

    Thanks again! You and Cheryl both have been such a big help!



  4. April on September 5, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    First, I wanted to say a HUGE thanks to you and Cheryl on a personal level. I’ve been debating for the past two weeks, ever since I lost my day job, if I should keep plugging away at my VA business and I’ve put as many hours as I can into it but unlike working for someone else, I don’t get paid just for being here. So I started to think I’d be better off putting those hours into earning a paycheck instead of chasing a dream.

    Now I want to comment as another VA. I don’t know if its the nature of the industry or if its because its a female-dominated field or what but I’ve never seen so much support! I’ve noticed this since I first got started. I couldn’t figure out why all of these established VAs were writing articles and ebooks telling people how to start their own VA business! I thought “Why are they creating competition? Aren’t they afraid they’ll lose business?”

    But it makes sense now. We support each other. We help each other because it doesn’t just help the other VA, it helps our industry as a whole. I love sending referrals to other VAs if I know someone needs a service I don’t offer or a VA with a skill I don’t have.

    You don’t see that happen in too many other business, especially online businesses. But, hey, a doctor or lawyer would never take on a client/patient if they couldn’t help. They would refer them to someone else who can.

    Thanks again! You and Cheryl both have been such a big help!



  5. Donna Caissie on September 18, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I hesitate to say this since, on the surface, this looks like a wonderful idea. Don’t get me wrong; it is a wonderful idea. I commend Tina for her support of a fellow VA. April’s problem, though, is not unique. Many of us, including me, are struggling with the same problem — having no clients and being a mortgage payment away from disaster.

    I’m not saying that successful VAs shouldn’t refer their overflow to currently less successful VAs because it does my heart good to see a successful VA go to bat for others in the industry. What I am saying, though is: “wouldn’t it be better if we taught April, and other less successful VAs, how to fish rather than throw them a fish every now and then?”

    Wouldn’t it be better if, as an industry, more successful VAs volunteered to mentor less successful VAs to success — without charge?

    Yes, I know that there are many mentoring programs, coaches, marketing, skills training, etc. programs out there, but if you have no clients and are on the financial edge, how are you going to pay for them?

    Wouldn’t we be doing April, and others like her, a better service if we gave them FREE mentoring?

    I’d volunteer in a heartbeat, if I wasn’t in the same boat as April. Although, I wouldn’t be a good mentor, I would be delighted to organize volunteer mentors and implement such an effort — gratis.

    Anyone got a couple of hours a week to mentor a struggling VA?

    =>Donna



  6. Donna Caissie on September 18, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I hesitate to say this since, on the surface, this looks like a wonderful idea. Don’t get me wrong; it is a wonderful idea. I commend Tina for her support of a fellow VA. April’s problem, though, is not unique. Many of us, including me, are struggling with the same problem — having no clients and being a mortgage payment away from disaster.

    I’m not saying that successful VAs shouldn’t refer their overflow to currently less successful VAs because it does my heart good to see a successful VA go to bat for others in the industry. What I am saying, though is: “wouldn’t it be better if we taught April, and other less successful VAs, how to fish rather than throw them a fish every now and then?”

    Wouldn’t it be better if, as an industry, more successful VAs volunteered to mentor less successful VAs to success — without charge?

    Yes, I know that there are many mentoring programs, coaches, marketing, skills training, etc. programs out there, but if you have no clients and are on the financial edge, how are you going to pay for them?

    Wouldn’t we be doing April, and others like her, a better service if we gave them FREE mentoring?

    I’d volunteer in a heartbeat, if I wasn’t in the same boat as April. Although, I wouldn’t be a good mentor, I would be delighted to organize volunteer mentors and implement such an effort — gratis.

    Anyone got a couple of hours a week to mentor a struggling VA?

    =>Donna



  7. […] will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime” Almost two weeks ago I posted on my Conference Table blog in an attempt to help a fellow virtual assistant obtain clients to keep her in business. Donna […]



  8. April on September 19, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Donna,

    You have a very good point and its one I have mentioned many times when talking to others.

    My problem is not that I don’t know “how to fish”, its that I just don’t have access to any lakes. I can’t afford to pay for subscriptions and memberships to places where I can bid on jobs and RFPs and I have absolutely no money for marketing so I’m doing what I can to utilize free marketing. I’m using networking as much as possible. I’ve asked others for advice and suggestions only to be given links to their paid membership sites or subscriptions (with the exception of another VA who has helped me out tremendously.)

    I am getting clients and jobs, just not enough to support my family as a single mom which is why I’ve considered just going back to working in a cubicle because I can’t let my kids go hungry while I work on finding more marketing opportunities.



  9. April on September 19, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Donna,

    You have a very good point and its one I have mentioned many times when talking to others.

    My problem is not that I don’t know “how to fish”, its that I just don’t have access to any lakes. I can’t afford to pay for subscriptions and memberships to places where I can bid on jobs and RFPs and I have absolutely no money for marketing so I’m doing what I can to utilize free marketing. I’m using networking as much as possible. I’ve asked others for advice and suggestions only to be given links to their paid membership sites or subscriptions (with the exception of another VA who has helped me out tremendously.)

    I am getting clients and jobs, just not enough to support my family as a single mom which is why I’ve considered just going back to working in a cubicle because I can’t let my kids go hungry while I work on finding more marketing opportunities.



  10. […] will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime” Almost two weeks ago I posted on my Conference Table blog in an attempt to help a fellow virtual assistant obtain clients to keep her in business. Donna […]



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