What Are the Pros and Cons of Working as a Virtual Assistant?

G. Wiesen

Someone working as a virtual assistant is likely to find a number of advantages and disadvantages that such a position can provide. Major advantages to this type of work include the ability to work at home, providing someone with options regarding his or her work environment, and a pay scale that is competitive with many other positions. While these advantages can be quite attractive, there are also some downsides to these positions. Many virtual assistants work long or unusual hours, especially when starting up, and the work can be unreliable while developing new relationships.

A personal virtual assistant often works from home.
A personal virtual assistant often works from home.

A virtual assistant is someone who provides services to other people as an assistant, but does so from a remote location using computers, phone communication, and even faxes to facilitate such work. One of the biggest advantages to working as a virtual assistant is that it provides a person with the ability to work from home. This means that someone who may have health issues that prevent him or her from traveling or who has family obligations involving caring for a sick family member can easily meet these commitments or needs while still working. Working as a virtual assistant also allows someone to live just about anywhere and still work in a competitive and rewarding environment.

Many virtual assistants provide basic office administration services.
Many virtual assistants provide basic office administration services.

Virtual assistants are also typically paid competitively with other types of executive assistants. This pay scale can vary, depending on the amount of work an assistant puts in and the types of services provided. Someone working as a virtual assistant may not make as much as a personal assistant, especially when first starting off, but his or her income can increase over time like any other position.

There are also some disadvantages, however, to working as a virtual assistant. Though the pay is usually competitive, it may be unreliable, especially at first. Someone just starting off as a virtual assistant typically has to make contacts and find clients in need of an assistant. This can be difficult at first and may provide little income during the first few months.

It can also be difficult for someone to find opportunities to begin working as a virtual assistant, though some websites and organizations can make the process easier. While a virtual assistant is able to work from home, the hours may be long and unusual. Someone just starting off may easily work more than 12 hours each day to build contacts and establish his or her professional presence within the industry. Providing services as a virtual assistant can also require working strange hours, including nights, holidays, and weekends, to provide clients all over the world with what they need in a timely way.

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