As the gig economy booms on and more and more people are finding themselves considering a remote work lifestyle, the virtual assistant industry is rapidly expanding.
You may have decided for sure that you’re done with the 9-to-5, tied-to-a-desk office life, but now you’ve got another decision to make: is it a better move to be a solo freelancer or to work with a virtual assistant agency to launch your new career?
There are upsides and downsides to both, of course, so let’s break it down and see which path makes the most sense for you.
All By Myself: Run Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
The idea of running one’s own business has great appeal to many people. I mean, who hasn’t dreamt of being their own boss, right? Some of the obvious pros to going the solo entrepreneur route with your VA career are:
You run the show.
From selecting clients to setting your hours and determining your workload, every single choice is yours and yours alone. You don’t answer to anyone, and you have full control and direction over your marketing and branding decisions. In short, you can make your company whatever you want it to be.
You can be super specific.
When it comes to what sorts of services you offer or what industries you choose to work with, being a solo operator allows you the luxury of being really picky. You can focus only on your strongest skills (or biggest passions) and carve out a niche where you only accept work that falls into that category.
You set the rates.
This is a major plus for a lot of people. As a solo freelancer, you’re able to set and manage your rates and payment preferences with clients however you so choose. You won’t lose anything off the top to an agency or manager, and—if you play your cards right—you may be able to score some quite lucrative gigs.
Of course, there are challenges that come along with being a one-person company. Namely, everything falls to you. From client discovery, coordination, and management to chasing down payments and coordinating taxes, everything is on your plate, 24/7. If that sounds a bit too overwhelming, you might find a VA agency to be a better fit.
A Little Help From My Friends
Working with an agency has its strong positives as well. If you partner with a team that’s already wise in the VA game, you’ll stand to glean the following perks:
They help you find clients.
Finding clients can be one of the most difficult parts of the VA lifestyle. If you’re partnered with an agency, they’ll do the lion’s share of the footwork for you. They’ll be able to connect you with clients they think you’ll mesh well with and with whom you’ll hopefully be able to establish a fruitful long-term relationship.
They help with invoicing and delinquent clients.
Staying on top of prompt invoicing for clients as a freelancer can be tough, so having an agency do that for you can be a big help. And there is nothing worse than trying to run down a client who owes you money and hasn’t paid. If you’re working for an agency, that dirty works falls to them instead of you.
They’re there if you need backup.
Life happens, right? Sometimes you might need to tap out to handle a personal crisis. If you’re working with an agency, you have the built-in backup in the form of your team and manager(s). Being able to hand off time-sensitive work in order to focus on an emergency can be huge when you’re in a sticky spot.
They can provide you with training to expand your skill set.
Many agencies work actively to help their VAs expand and nurture their skills. Whether that means learning how to edit a podcast or mastering a new web platform, having continuing education support from an agency can help you diversify your offerings and open yourself up to a broader client base and more varied future work opportunities.
Of course, there are some downsides to working with an agency. While you’re still an independent contractor, you have to remember that you will be answering to a “boss” of sorts. You’ll also have to agree to work for the rates they set rather than having the ability to name your own price.
While there are pros and cons to both the solo life and the agency life, it’s clear either way that working as a VA offers a kind of flexibility and independence that you just can’t find within the walls of a traditional office building. Evaluate your needs and consider your dreams for the future to see which route is best for you, and then get in where you fit in!
If you’ve decided that you want to work with a virtual assistant agency, perhaps Don’t Panic is the right fit for you! Consider joining our team today.
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A textbook Capricorn and a daughter of the Deep South, Erin honed her instinctual love of organization and high-level strategy by watching and dissecting SEC football every autumn Saturday since birth. She thrives on finding the perfect balance between artistry and efficiency to deliver a copy that is both compelling and tight. Her writing and editorial experience span fields ranging from marketing to arts & entertainment, and from animal rescue to fashion design. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, volunteering with animal advocacy organizations, and spending time with her husband John, their two sons Emmett and Vincent, and their faithful hound, Lyra.
Work superpower: I'm a chameleon with a pen. If I get to know someone well enough, I can write fluently in their voice!
Favorite cheese: Cave-aged gruyere
Go-to karaoke song: "Jolene" - Dolly Parton
Beverage of choice: Iced coffee
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