In April 2017, I participated in an online survey of virtual assistants. The survey's purpose was to gather information about our industry. The results are out and I'm enjoying reading them to see where I fall in the continuum of the 445 virtual assistants who responded. I hope you'll find it interesting too, whether you're a fellow VA or someone who has worked or might work with one.
Image by Tungilik (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
I'm part of the only 6% who have been working as a VA for 8-10 years; I'm actually at 10+ years but 8-10 was the highest option. This makes sense, as the virtual assistance industry is a fairly new one. I guess that makes me an early adopter :)
I'm in the 61% who consider our VA business to be part-time, as I don't work a full 40 hrs/week (not on VA work anyway, wink).
I fall in with the 67% of VAs who don't have a VA certification (which aren't "real" anyway; I wrote a blog post on that topic HERE). I was happy to see that the way 80% of VAs prefer to learn new skills is courses, since I'm embarking on providing them right here on ErikaFriday.com :).
When I took the survey last month, like the majority (59%), I classified myself as a VA Generalist. I've since decided to become a VA Specialist. Though I'll continue with current clients and Virtual VIP Days to do general 'creative VA' type services, moving forward I'd really like to specialize as a Kajabi VA and Simplero VA. I'll be making updates to my website to reflect some new offers in that direction. Yay, excited!
I was so absolutely floored by the statistic given for this topic that I had to write a whole separate blog post about it. You have to come check it out! (will insert link when it's ready)
I'm in the 80% majority who don't hire subcontractors in our business; in other words, most VAs are solo VAs like me. That kind of surprised me, given how much hiring subcontractors is suggested and talked about in the VA groups. Maybe the people who advocate it are just more confident and vocal? I don't know.
The 2 most popular services offered by virtual assistants in the survey are Customer Service (I no longer do for new clients) and Social Media (I currently do but am phasing it out, unless it's for a Simplero or Kajabi client). I was surprised that 44% of VAs currently are OBMs aka Online Business Managers, a higher-priced VA who oversees the work of others, does project management, etc. Only 30% of us (including me) offer transcription services.
A whopping 79% of virtual assistants find clients via referrals. Referrals are my number one source of clients and I'm so grateful for my clients and fellow VAs who refer me! I pay it forward in 2 ways: 1. I constantly refer potential clients who aren't a fit for me to other virtual assistants, and 2. I show support for my former and current clients by sharing their events, products, specials, etc. on my social media. It's like a big circle of giving 💗
I was happy to see that 63% of VAs surveyed use WordPress for their own websites and only 3% have chosen SquareSpace, with small numbers also using Wix, Weebly, etc. When I mentor VAs, I always suggest they use WordPress for 2 reasons: 1. It's the superior platform in so many ways and will allow for business growth and flexibility that the others won't, and 2. Most clients use WordPress too. Therefore, if a VA learns and uses it for her own site, she's demonstrating her expertise with it and can help clients with their WordPress sites.
It didn't surprise me that Facebook, then LinkedIn were the most commonly used social networks for a VA's business. I had to delete my LinkedIn profile but never booked any clients from there anyway. All my clients that come from social come from Facebook. I find it very easy to network with "my people" (creative entrepreneurs) there and connecting in FB Groups comes very naturally.
As for the most popular project management apps used by VAs, Trello was the winner (33%). In second place (31%) was "Other" which made me laugh because there are SO many out there now. The survey gave 9 choices, there were at least 10 more given by respondents as an "Other" choice, and I know of even more PM apps that weren't listed at all (like Dubsado, which surprised me).
So the survey was a good mix of "yeah, I thought so"'s and "hmm, that's surprising!"'s. I know that most surveys need to be taken with a grain of salt, especially non-scientific ones, but it's still food for thought.
Plus I'll send you the secret password to join The Squad, the private Facebook Group only for subscribers to ErikaFriday.com updates.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared. It will not be bought, sold, or processed :D