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    #41 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2011
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I've heard the name, Danielle Keister. I am absolutely certain there is no "hands off" attitude here, Farah. Why don't you tell us about her?
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    #42 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2011
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I dislike the word "virtual". When I first heard it, I thought of "virtual reality", which basically means that it makes you think it is real, when it isn't.

Definition of "Virtual" from Wikipedia:
"The term has been defined in philosophy as "that which is not real" but may display the salient qualities of the real. Colloquially, 'virtual' is used to mean almost, particularly when used in the adverbial form e.g. 'That's virtually [almost] impossible'."


However, the definition on dictionary.com that I have learned to live with is as follows:
"having the essence or effect but not the appearance or form of."


Unfortunately, since I really don't want to go into that kind of complicated discussion with potential clients or referrals, I usually just explain to people what it is that I do and not necessarily what my title is.



When I say: "I do various administrative work for small business from my home, like keeping up client records and updating their web site. This would be for businesses who don't want to hire full time help, but maybe just need a couple of hours a week."
I get this response: "That's really interesting. I might know someone who could use your services. Do you have a business card?"


When I say: "I'm a Virtual Assistant."
I get this response: "Oh." and a change of subject. If they actually ask "What is that?", by the time I am done explaining, they have lost interest.


My business cards say "Administrative Professional".
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    #43 (permalink)  
Old 09-09-2011
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I actually like the name Virtual Assistant (VA). Yes, I do use it alongside Administrative Services Consultant. However, that is designed to bring clarity to the services I offer, in a region where the concept of virtual assistance is new, and it indicates the level at which I would like to enter the market.

What I have come to realize, is that the title Virtual Assistant defines the way we operate (remotely), and the value (support) we bring to our clients’ teams. What is beautiful about the title too, is that it encompasses an industry which allows great flexibility and offers so many options and variations. However, the basic skills set required, remains the same for anyone who seeks to operate within the industry. You might wish to review the articles which I wrote on Top Ten Skills for the 21st Century Savvy Virtual Assistant Part I and Part II.

What I think is important, is that we contribute professionally and meaningfully towards the understanding and valuing of the industry. We have the opportunity to do so now, at a time when the industry is in its budding stages. Forums such like these, which allow us to share knowledge and experiences are an ideal platform for shaping the industry.

Someone referred to the change from Secretary to Administrative Professional -- while I embraced that change, I still maintain that it is matter of attitude. When my position was designated Confidential Secretary in the early stages of my career, it did not detract from what I did. My very presence conveyed that I was not a tea maker; yet, when I needed to assist with serving tea in the Boardroom, rest assured that I did it with such class and style, that you did not simply see a maid. I approached the assignment with as much professionalism as I would my other secretarial/administrative functions. Then again, I was also called upon to design and implement office support systems, a function carried out by Administrative Professionals even today.

The reference to Doctors as a profession is a relevant one, and maybe what we should consider is having various specialties within the virtual assistance industry or profession - just as there are General Practitioners, Pediatricians, Gynecologists, Internists and so on.

Thus for all virtual assistants there would be some basic skill requirements, and VA’s who wished to specialize would receive specific training in their area of interest.

So, do we need more than the name Virtual Assistant? It depends on how we individually and collectively choose to develop and brand the profession and industry…
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    #44 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2012
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I think this is a great discussion! I am just starting my VA busines and was actually trying to figure out how I wanted to advertise my expertise. My company's name is Virtual Brilliance. I am adding something to that; for instance, Virtual Brilliance Business Service, but I had a few other options as well. Your opinions would be great!

Virtual Brilliance Business Consultant
Virtual Brilliance Administrative Consultant
Virtual Brilliance Administrative Services

What are your thoughts?
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Old 01-27-2012
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I'd say it depends on your services, Amy. If you're a consultant for any aspect of business - planning, marketing, reporting, as well as admin - then you're a Business Consultant. If you want to stick to admin, I'd suggest calling yourself an Administrative Consultant rather than Administrative Services. Gives you plenty of room to expand!
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    #46 (permalink)  
Old 01-27-2012
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I don't really think there is a right answer for this debate. I chose not to call myself a Virtual Assistant even though I did initially because it was confusing as I live in Spain where VA's aren't really known anyway but the term made them think I was a secretary so use the term Administrative Consultant. Since then, it has been a lot easier for me to market my business.

I think it depends on personal choice and the area where you live but I do agree with the comments about how people view VA's because shoddy work by "professionals" who only charge $2 an hour doesn't do anybody any good. There are freelancer sites that promote these services but they can be used to our advantage as well as our services are carried out by true professionals who actually benefit their clients as opposed to those who provide low quality work for even lower fees. Every industry has people who let the side down but it doesn't have to affect those who apply themselves.
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Old 01-27-2012
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
Hi Amy

Virtual Brilliance on its own sounds great to me. Your tagline would give an idea of your service offering.

Your title/designation would be a slightly different matter and would depend on your preference. Do choose something that you feel comfortable with, as you will use it at the end of your correspondence/communication and possibly in your introductions.
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    #48 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2012
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This is a really interesting thread! I think it is a very hard decision. I´ve thinking about changing my title from VA to Online Business Consultant. Then, my husband suggested creating a second website, offering the same services with the new title, but keeping the company name. I'm working on that idea.

Originally Posted by Canary Admin Services View Post
I don't really think there is a right answer for this debate. I chose not to call myself a Virtual Assistant even though I did initially because it was confusing as I live in Spain where VA's aren't really known anyway but the term made them think I was a secretary so use the term Administrative Consultant. Since then, it has been a lot easier for me to market my business.
Sabrina, I live in Argentina, and am wondering, how do you call yourself in Spanish? Because that is another issue for me, it has to be a title that would fit in English and Spanish.
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    #49 (permalink)  
Old 02-13-2012
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
geesh - got transferred here again -- oh well -- do have additional comment re this. When we see an article that depicts VA outside of what we see the term to mean --
write to the editor if in written format
fb - and make YOUR note
tweet - and made YOUR note
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    #50 (permalink)  
Old 02-13-2012
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
@Alejandra. I understand your dilema. My website is in both English and Spanish. On the English site I am an Administrative Consultant and on the Spanish version, I refer to myself as a Consultora Administrativa but my business cards are in English as it was way too much information to fit (fortunately the Spanish here understand the concept!). I did use the space on the back of my card to detail my services in English and Spanish but thinking about what you just said I suppose it is also possible to have a double-sided card.
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    #51 (permalink)  
Old 02-27-2013
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I have got to add my 5 cents here.

While I do understand that this is a dated post and almost nothing said on the subject is new, here's what I feel about the Virtual Assistant title.

I think many of you are getting hung up on semantics and words that don't make or break our businesses. I mean seriously, when did the word assistant take on such a negative connotation? Just as with all professions, each of us has specialties, professional backgrounds (I hope) and unique ways of caring for our clients. We are not identical.

Rolls-Royce is a well-designed luxury automobile targeted to a market used to the best - but it's still a car. The word doesn't depreciate its value. The Secretary of State is a well-regarded position. I haven't seen any campaigns to omit the use of the word secretary.

And what is all this I hear about having to educate people about what we do? I spend ZERO time educating anyone about the industry. That's no more my responsibility than it is my mechanic's to explain to me the auto repair industry. All I need to know from him or her is can my problem be fixed and how much does it cost. If I'm curious about the industry overall, I'll go home and do a Google search or get a book from the library. Think about that - what other professionals do we work with who feel we need justification for their rates, services or work style? Not gynecologists, not painters, not lawyers, not realtors. None of them. They tell us what they do, what it costs to work with them and we make the choice.

All my prospects and clients need to know is what I will and will not do and how much it costs. That's it. I didn't blink when I was charging $25 an hour and I don't blink now that my hourly rate for non-retainer projects has doubled that. I don't go into a long-winded explanation if my prospect doesn't understand why I don't charge what he's seen on Craigslist or Odesk, nor should I.
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Old 03-13-2013
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
I know what you mean. Most people don't know what a virtual assistant is and even some business people have never even heard the term. I have seen this phrase "Virtual Business Manager", which implies that this person is more than an assistant and manages parts of the business. I think it's the work "virtual" that confuses everyone. I looked in a thesaurus and found "practical, essential, substantial, effective" to describe virtual, but I couldn't come up with anther title for what we do. Great article!
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    #53 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2013
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Default Re: Do We Need More Than the Name Virtual Assistant? - Clerical Advantage Blog
Thank you for the feedback. I was sure that since this topic is so old no one would chime in.
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