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Old 03-31-2010
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Default Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
We were discussing the differences between virtual assistants who work alone, and VA agencies. It was suggested that, particularly when it comes to a business’ internet branding and marketing, the multi-VA agency may provide the smoothest solution.

As a devoted loner VA, I take exception, of course.

It’s a classic argument. What will serve the customer better: the custom, heartful attention of an artisan or the sleek predictability delivered by an ‘organization.’

An agency is a one-stop shop, and most consumers like that a lot. What a pain to have to locate a web designer, web master, SEO expert, social media consultant, PPC wizard, graphic designer, etc., etc.

Even if you’re looking for more traditional... Click here to read the rest of this post at the Virtual Assistance and You Blog.

The Virtual Assistance and You Blog is authored by VAF member Mary of Virtual Writing and Communications Solutions.


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Old 04-17-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
I think this is such an interesting argument, and not one that I had even really considered before reading Mary's post.

It's surprising not to see more comments on this, especially given this paragraph:

"There are many outfits attempting to replicate old structures in what’s called multi-VA businesses. My considered opinion is that this model is outdated and contradicts the true character and promise of the virtual assistant concept."

I don't know that I have an opinion on this as-of-yet, and I guess it would depend on your own definition of a 'VA' - but I'm curious to know what others think about this statement in particular. Does a multi-VA practice contradict your definition of what a VA is/the "virtual assistant concept"?
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Old 04-23-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
Wow....is this ever thought provoking. I think I'm still on the fence with this one. However, I'm not sure that I see it as a contradiction. What I see is an industry that is still in it's infancy but yet experiencing growing pains. As the Virtual Assistance industry grows bigger and bigger each year, the natural by product is going to be change in the way business is done. Some will embrace it and some won't. Just like some have embraced technology and some haven't. And it's that very same advanced technology that has created this whole world we now know as virtual assistance.

Me? I say operate your business however best fits your needs and desires. Do you like working with a team? Then choose to go the Multi-VA route. If you like working on your own than do so? Neither one is a wrong choice, and both have great benefits.

Shellye

Last edited by Shellye Biser; 04-23-2010 at 01:14 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-08-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
Shellye, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't see a contradiction. I see virtual assistant businesses developing and growing. The world is forever changing and like with any other business you have to adapt to what the market wants or you'll find yourself being left behind.

As long as you're making your clients aware of your practices and giving them quality service, I don't see where there's a problem. If you're ethical in what you're doing, I am a fan of both. I think there's a market out there for each route.
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Old 05-20-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
I agree with Shellye and Trena. I don't see it as a contradiction of the definition of a VA. As long as the tasks are completed at a remote location for a client, it doesn't matter to me whether it's one person or a team of people. As long as the tasks are completed as promised.
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Old 05-20-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
This is definitely thought-provoking and while it might be a sensitive subject, I think it's an important one to discuss.

To answer your question Tess: Does a multi-VA practice contradict your definition of what a VA is/the "virtual assistant concept"?

I am a solo VA and am building my business on that model - but that doesn't mean I think the other model is wrong - just wrong for me. The only caveat to that is that I am not sure it is an ethical practice to outsource the work or any part of it to others without the explicit knowledge of the client.

I'm not a fan of any one person or group deciding the definition of a VA. Unless or until you need a certificate to practice by law under which the parameters would be absolutely defined by a national/international governing body, then I don't think any one person or group has the right to judge or define what a VA is or can be for the entire industry.

(I think groups have the right to manage their membership based on whatever criteria they set - but any definitions should be exclusive to that group, imo)


I agree with Trena, there are clients enough for both types of practice. And really, every VA business is as different from one another as there in any other industry - even when comparing same "types".

Interestingly, two of my current clients have come to me after trying a multi-VA model first. While both clients have been respectful, they did communicate that they didn't like being handed around from one person in the group to the next, and they felt a lack of connection with their VA.

Reading in between the lines, I think they didn't feel the VA was putting their business as top priority. Right or wrong, that is how they felt.

As a VA, I cannot know and do everything, so it's in my clients' best interest to have reliable resources for those parts that I am unable to provide myself. Some VA's do this by building their own team to service their clients fully.

The approach I am taking in my business as I transition to a Business Manager role with my clients is to build their team with and for them. Through my relationships and contacts within the industry, I help them add the support professionals to their business team and then manage those parts on the clients' behalf.
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Old 05-24-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
Whoa, I am just now reading these responses for the first time - don't know how I missed this thread!

Really appreciate your comments, everyone. I guess where I was coming from in writing that post was, as Crystal suggests, thinking a VA should be in close personal connection to clients.

But whatever, it's great to hear your feedback, as the true definition of a VA is a concept I continue to struggle with! (See my blog post today, on that very subject, as a matter of fact.)
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Old 07-09-2010
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Default Re: Virtual assistants vs. multi-VA agencies - Virtual Assistance and You Blog
I have to say that at least for me because I'm just starting out and have quite a bit to learn I've been very lucky to find someone who is willing to allow me to subcontract with me! I do have my own business but no clients yet and thankfully she's willing to teach me and keep me on as long as I'm willing to stay with her...thanks Viki!!!
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