As the summer of 2020 draws to a close, we watch new skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 sweep across the U.S. People everywhere are holding their breath.
We all wait for the other shoe to drop. We ask ourselves, “What are we in for next?”
While physical health and safety are at the forefront of most of our minds, I’m willing to bet on what the next worry in line is...
-Keeping the lights on.
I imagine that educators and teachers are wondering if they want to go back to school and potentially get the virus. Or is it time for a career change.
People working in the hotel and travel industries are wondering what to do as the hotel chains, airlines, and airports aren’t returning to business-as-usual.
Others, whose work relied to some extent on a physical location, like:
-a physical office for administrative assistants and office managers to run
-convention centers for live event planners to set up
I imagine are finding their work has been significantly reduced or their jobs cut altogether as a result of their companies now being remote-only.
There's a rosy alternative both real and lucrative.
I’ve painted a bleak picture, I know. It doesn’t have to be that way. There’s actually a rosy alternative both real and lucrative.
There is an incredibly viable career option that is available right now as the business world goes virtual. A career option that even Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank endorses.
You can become a Virtual Assistant (VA).
Right now, the world needs more VAs to help business owners and entrepreneurs navigate this new virtual landscape. There’s an abundance of opportunities, limitless possibilities, and money to be earned.
Job #1: Admin/Executive Assistant
Dynamite administrative/executive assistants are like giving a leader an extra lung to breathe. Leaders (or business owners) can focus their energy on envisioning and running the show while their support (the assistant) ensures that the show goes off without a hitch - on time and as it was intended.
Business owners still need administrative support in their operations.
Admin/Exec Assistants often:
as well as other details that require their agility, organization, time management, and ability to see both the big and the fine details.
Tons of virtual business owners - from coaches to speakers to accountants to designers and everything in between - are looking for someone they can pass off these administrative tasks to, with the assurance they’ll be taken care of.
Job #2: Educators/Teachers
Amazing educators are those that can command a classroom with multiple individuals and lead them through learning collectively while also not forgetting they each have strengths and areas of improvement.
-serious taskmasters and timekeepers,
-always operating off a schedule,
-knowing when this class or that subject ends and another begins,
-keeping track of which assignment is due, and
-when or how they’re going to get their curriculum planning or grading achieved.
Above all else, VAs need to be able to balance having multiple clients in their portfolio at one time. While an individual client may not know their VA has another six clients, they need to feel like they’re the only ones in their VA’s universe. Who better than a teacher who already knows what it’s like to juggle the needs of multiple people at one time?
Add to that amazing communication, public speaking, and planning skills and you’ve got a VA who can easily support business owners in planning and developing presentations, courses, training, workshops, etc. that deliver the business owners’ content to their intended audience.
Job #3: Hotel Industry Professionals
Hotels are all about customer care and hospitality. When you travel you remember how your stay was at a hotel based on the friendliness and care of the staff.
From the guest concierge to the front desk receptionist, to the hotel manager, to the events/conference coordinator, how they treat you and the information they provide is paramount to the way you feel when you leave. You might even decide you’re only going to stay at that hotel chain whenever you travel.
People who have worked in the hotel industry make successful VAs because they are usually familiar with systems. Think about the number of systems the front desk receptionist probably needs to know to book a person’s reservation, help in the event of a flight delay, assist in local transportation, resolve payment issues, etc.
They usually have excellent ways with people which makes them ideal for not only working with their clients directly but also working with their clients’ clients. If hotel professionals were a part of arranging hotel events/conferences, then they have experience in planning events and the number of tasks and details that are involved.
Job #4: Live Event Planners
Live event planners make concerts, conferences, seminars, training, summits, product launches, book signings, speaking gigs, and personal milestone celebrations successful.
They have a plan with all the details and then a backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan. If something occurs that couldn’t have been prevented or wasn’t considered during the planning stage, they are resourceful and quick to resolve the issue.
Because they’re putting on an event which means a lot of people, they know how to communicate to a variety of stakeholders while not losing sight of the planning itself.
How this translates to VA services is simple. As many live event planners we needed before COVID, we now need more. The one big exception, of course, is that we need them to plan virtual gatherings instead of live events.
Job #5: Office Managers
That behind-the-scenes person that is ensuring the supply closet is stocked, the vendors are paid, the office resources (conference/meeting rooms, A/V equipment, etc.) are shared, the items needed for employee onboarding are available, is probably the office manager.
They’re keeping the office in tip-top shape for all the people to operate within it, having everything they need without even having to ask. Just because companies are going virtual, doesn’t mean the “office” ceases to exist. The employees that were sent home are now setting up home offices and those things still need to run optimally for employees to be successful.
Much of the same responsibilities can be applied to a career as a VA.
A VA’s clients still need supplies, equipment, or furniture even if they’re working from home. If the VA works from home but the client's office is still brick and mortar, that ordering can still happen. There are still accounts payable/receivable to be managed as it pertains to vendors.
Job #6: Travel Agents
If you’ve ever worked with a good travel agent, you know that they are excellent at truly getting to know their traveler(s).
To create the most customized travel arrangements, they’ll ask questions, truly listen, and learn the preferences of their clients.
When planning a trip, the agent provides a package specific to the requirements of the traveler(s). All of this requires strong communication and active listening skills, extensive research, attention-to-detail, organization, and planning.
VAs must effectively communicate and actively listen to their clients. They understand what’s being asked of them. They know their client and the client’s business so well, they can be proactive about what might be asked next.
A VA often has multiple clients with multiple projects organization. Attention to detail and planning is required, no matter what the VAs tasks are.
Is it time to consider life as a VA?
This pandemic has rocked our nation in ways we don’t even have enough words (or the right ones) to express. There’s no denying how much devastation, stress, chaos, and uncertainty has come along with it. Great opportunities - like inviting people to re-evaluate their careers and explore other professional paths - are available.
Are you assessing your means to make money, weighing your financial options, or needing to pivot in your profession? I invite you to consider life as a VA. Visit my YouTube channel where you’ll find the videos that will help smooth your new career transformation. (Like, comment and subscribe while you’re there.)