Working as a VA: How To Leverage Your Skillset From Corporate To Online World

So you have just joined or are planning to join the online space as a virtual assistant (VA). You’re coming in with a specific skillset gained from your corporate or nine to five job and are now trying to figure out how to maximize your time, value, and make a good living off your VA career. Thankfully, there are quite a few opportunities you can take advantage of, depending on your skillset.

I know exactly where you are right now. I was an accountant for eight years and managed an entire accounting department. And still, even with all of that knowledge and skill set, the online space felt like an entirely new world. A world I didn’t even know existed! There was so much to take in. It was an entirely different way of doing business: learning to manage teams remotely, as opposed to in-person; learning different systems to what I was used to in the corporate world and so on. It felt like starting from scratch.

This is unlike going from one accounting job to another, for instance. Your expertise is growing and people trust that you have all this knowledge from your previous accounting role that you’re now going to take to this new role. 

This is not how it works in the online world. The work dynamic is different. You may have this college degree and all of this work experience but it can feel like you are starting from the bottom of the ladder. That means you are likely going to sacrifice money as a result of charging a lot less than you normally would because you don’t feel as confident in this new space.

This doesn’t have to be the case though. You CAN leverage your off-line skills in the online world, you just need to know where to apply those skills. Here are a few opportunities within the online space where you can apply those skills:

Operations Manager or Online Business Manager (OBM)

This is someone who helps to manage the operations of an online business. In this role, your tasks will include managing teams and supporting the CEO with the planning and implementation of their vision and strategy. OBMs tend to do either some of the implementation themselves, have their own team who carries out the implementation or manage the client’s team in doing the implementation of those things that keep the business running. 

This is a role that you could very easily step into, if you have experience in team management, finance, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and managing systems. 

Obviously, not every VA can be an OBM but if the tasks an OBM does is somewhat similar to your experience in the 9-5 or corporate workplace, then it is worth exploring.

Project Manager

As the name implies, in project management, you’re coming in to manage a specific project or goal for the company or the online business from start to finish. A project of this nature will often look like the launch of a group program or an online course, for instance. 

The project manager supports the planning of the launch and coordinating with the team. In real life, that looks like team meetings, setting milestones and deadlines and facilitating what the team needs to be successful in their role, to meet those milestones and deadlines.

Tech or Systems VA

This is a little more niche and perfect for people that are tech- or systems- savvy. To succeed in this role you would need to be tuned in to the mechanics of how systems work, setting those systems up and maintaining them (e.g. by tracking). This is an area you can really stand out and be known as an expert in the use of certain tools or systems instead of a general administration VA.  

So you now have three areas you can explore in your VA journey. You’ve likely noticed that these three areas of opportunities can be roughly divided into systems or management expertise. That means if you have a systems or management background you can leverage those skills from your past life into the online space more easily than just trying to work your way up from positioning yourself as a VA.

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