If you live with chronic illness, you probably dream about two things — (other than becoming healthy): working for yourself and working virtually.
Do you know about the Virtual Assistant?
It’s a new career - - part of the “new marketplace” of solo entrepreneurs and web-based business. There are even professional associations, including International Virtual Assistants Association, Virtual Assistant Networking Association ). Typical VA tasks include: scheduling, market research, travel arrangements, web assistance, and other administrative tasks. Some VA’s promote themselves as specialists to a specific profession, such as lawyers, accountants and coaches.
In a recent blog post, “ When the Assistant is an Entrepreneur”, Marci Alboher points out that it takes a certain kind of entrepreneurial “moxi” to have a virtual assistant business. I work virtually and I can tell you that the best thing about working virtually is flexibility, a highly prized commodity when you live with chronic illness.
I’m also self employed. And, although there are many benefits to self employment, it’s not for everyone. Comments to Alboher’s post point out that many people can’t afford to go into business for themselves. Start-up costs and reduced salary until you build a client base, paying for your own health insurance and other benefits that are usually provided by an employer - make if financially impossible.
Finally, don’t forget that working for yourself requires mucho discipline! Can you set deadlines and meet them?
I have a client whose severe chronic asthma makes working in an office problematic. I thought that a VA business might be a natural fit for her skills. She researched and found she could start her own business or she could work for someone else.
But VA’s are small businesses who don’t offer benefits or salary security. And they’re often looking for precise skills that will complement their own. Which means there aren’t many jobs available.
After doing several self assessments (in my Working with Chronic Illness Workbook Program ) that highlighted her interests and strengths, we realized this would be a big mistake for her. She doesn’t have the drive to build a business nor can she tolerate living without the semblance of financial security in a steady paycheck.
I think that this is a growth industry and one that would be ideal for certain people with chronic illness. But it requires an entrepreneurial spirit. I didn’t think I was an entrepreneur until I was forced into this position because it was the only option I could think of — and then I found qualities and interests I didn’t know were there.