The Case of the Disappearing Virtual Assistant

This article written by a Virtual Assistant made me cringe this morning. In it they claim to have ‘crashed and burned’ several times in their VA career.  And then the author goes on to claim that it’s ‘a rather common occurrence’ amongst virtual assistants and then extends it to ‘Western freelancers and other people who work from home.’   And then the kicker:

“ …most of us either tend to just disappear, or go AWOL, because we’re so ashamed that we let our boss/es down. Basically, I could trace that feeling to FEAR. Fear of facing how disappointed your boss is in you. Fear of coming face to face with the fact that you’ve failed, in more ways than one. ”

There are so many things that bother me about the above excerpt from the article I don’t quite know where to start.  Perhaps I should start with this.

I’ve never disappeared or gone AWOL on a client. Ever.

On the contrary, I’ve had several clients go AWOL on me, but even when the results of a project haven’t quite been what a client expected, I didn’t just simply stop communicating with them.  I’m a professional business woman, and as such, I know that sometimes no matter how hard you try you can’t get it right.  That’s no excuse to just slink away into the shadows and pretend the problem doesn’t exist.  In fact, you should face it head on and view it as a learning experience.  If the blame is yours to shoulder, do it with grace and apologies, offering to try to remedy the problem in some way.  If the blame isn’t yours, be diplomatic in explaining where the failure lies. And be damned sure it doesn’t lie with you before you begin.

Of course, I could just say that this crash and burn disappearing act is what you can expect when you bargain shop for a virtual assistant.  This particular one describes clients as ‘bosses.   And perhaps that’s where their theory of the fearful virtual assistant comes from.  My clients are not my bosses, they are clients with whom I have a working relationship. We are partnered together to make their business run smoothly, free up their time for other things and to help them achieve success.  I do not fear my clients, even when a mistake is made.

They see me as an equal, not an underling. After all, I’m running my own business too.  They’ve come to me because I know how to do things they would rather not, or perhaps even things they don’t know how to do.  They gain my expertise and abilities in these areas and in turn, the success they achieve increases my own success.  Unlike these runaway virtual assistants, I have a vested interest in doing my very best on each and every project I do for my clients.

It’s not about getting the project done, it’s about getting the project done right.

Really want to work with a virtual assistant but worried about them doing a disappearing act?   I tell you how to avoid disappearing virtual assistants in this post.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.