Government career outlook predictions aren’t developed yet for the Virtual Assistance industry, whether that’s because it’s a relatively new field or because the tasks done by VAs are as varied as the VAs themselves remains to be seen. One has to examine similar fields and skill-sets to see how VAs will fare in the years to come. By looking at these similar fields, you can see that the growth outlook for Virtual Assistance is above average. The question of “Will this job still be around in 20 years?” can be answered by looking at the services that a specific VA is offering and closely-related “traditional” employment fields.
The most important thing to remember, though, is to keep current with technology and software that can progress your business. If you only know outdated technology, then you and your business are outdated and your clients may go elsewhere for service. Keep adding to your services and learn everything you can about your niche market and what they currently need.
With many businesses restructuring and downsizing (getting rid of middle managers), companies are utilizing more and more secretarial and administrative support staff to take over those duties. If you offer administrative support as a VA, and market yourself as an off-site solution to those downsizing companies, your “job security” looks pretty good. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you will have competition from on-site employees for these positions.
If you offer more specialized services than administrative support, you have different chances for sustaining an ongoing career. Here are two examples:
If you offer Public Relations (PR) services, your occupational outlook is rosy. With so many different types of organizations — such as businesses, nonprofits, universities, hospitals and more – looking for media specialists and PR specialists to do more than just “tell their story.” Creativity, initiative, good judgment and the ability to communicate effectively are some of the skills necessary to succeed in this job. There’s lots of competition in this role, but employment/contracts for PR specialists is expected to grow faster than average, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
If you offer Desktop Publishing services, your occupational outlook is also great. Many companies are beginning to outsource these services, as opposed to having in-house staff. With experience and/or a degree in graphic design or a related field, desktop publishers have a variety of different organizations to market themselves to. VAs offer an affordable alternative to hiring a graphic design firm.
Whether you specialize in desktop publishing and graphic design or public relations or another niche specialty, it’s clear that Virtual Assistance is catching on and the VAs who are out there aren’t going anywhere. With more and more employers and companies looking to outsource projects turning to offsite personnel to fulfill these needs, the view of using “virtual” workers is changing. It’s no longer as common to hear objections such as “How do I know you’ll really be working?” when proposing using a VA to someone who never has before. Many people have heard of VAs now or know someone who uses theirs. In most cases, once someone has a VA on their team, they don’t turn back to in-house staff to fulfill those duties.
To check out similar fields’ occupational outlooks, visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2006-07 edition) put out by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics at bls.gov.
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