I may earn a commission (at NO cost to you) if you buy using links on this page. This helps keep content free on Project Untethered, so thank you for your support! (See full disclosure)
Considering becoming a virtual assistant?
It’s a career path that’s gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason.
Virtual assistants have freedom to work from anywhere in the world, set their own schedules, and choose the clients they work with. However, like any job, there are pros and cons to consider before diving in.
Let’s take a gander at the pros and cons of being a virtual assistant so you can decide if it’s the right path for you.
Table of Contents
Pros and cons of being a virtual assistant
Virtual assistant advantages
One of the biggest advantages of being a virtual assistant is the ability to set your own schedule.
You can choose to work during the hours that suit you best, whether that’s early in the morning or late at night.
In theory, this flexibility allows you to balance your work and personal life, so you can take care of your family or schedule work around other fun hobbies. (In reality, it’s not so simple. More on that later.)
You’re the boss
When you work as a virtual assistant, you’re in charge.
You get to decide which clients to work with, which tasks to take on, and how much to charge.
You have the freedom to run your business the way you want, without answering to anyone else. This autonomy is incredibly empowering and rewarding.
Work from anywhere
As a virtual assistant, you can work from anywhere with an internet connection — whether that be at home, a coffee shop, or a co-working space in Bali.
This means no long commutes and a work environment that’s comfortable and conducive to productivity.
Speaking of commutes, avoiding them is a serious game-changer that saves both time and money.
You can avoid rush hour traffic, crowded public transportation, and the expense of gas and parking.
This also reduces your stress levels and improves work-life balance.
Offer Services You Enjoy
As a virtual assistant, you have the freedom to offer services that you enjoy and are passionate about. This makes work more fulfilling and enjoyable.
For example, if you love social media, you can specialize in managing clients’ social media accounts (or even specialize in just one platform, like a Pinterest VA). If you enjoy writing, you can offer content creation services. If you like online shopping, you can become an Amazon virtual assistant. And if you enjoy management, you can even manage a team of other VAs.
With all the types of virtual assistant jobs out there, you’re bound to find the perfect fit for you.
Diverse Work Experiences
If you don’t know what services you enjoy, you can find out pretty quickly by working with all kinds of different clients and industries. You’ll quickly discover the tasks you love doing.
Having a range of skills and experiences makes you even more valuable to potential clients.
If you’re someone who loves learning new things, virtual assisting could be right up your alley.
No Income Cap
As a virtual assistant, your income potential is unlimited.
You can charge what you’re worth and increase your rates as you gain experience and expertise. You can also take on as many clients as you can handle, which can increase your earning potential.
When your schedule is packed full, you can continue growing by outsourcing your work to your own team of VAs.
Low Bar to Entry
Becoming a virtual assistant doesn’t require a lot of upfront investment.
You don’t need a physical office or expensive equipment to get started.
All you need is a computer, internet connection, and the skills to provide valuable services to clients. This makes it an accessible and affordable option for anyone looking to start their own virtual assistant side hustle.
That said, if you’re completely new to running an online business, you can cut down on the learning curve by taking one of these top virtual assistant training courses.
Cons of Being a Virtual Assistant
Isolation and Loneliness
One of the biggest challenges of being a virtual assistant is the lack of social interaction.
Working from home can feel isolating, and it can be hard to stay motivated when you don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off of or share your successes and failures with.
You may also feel lonely if you’re an extrovert who thrives on social interaction.
If you need a pick me up, you can read up on some virtual assistant quotes for motivation.
Lack of Job Security
Virtual assistants are essentially self-employed.
This can feel less stable than someone who works for a company. If your clients decide to terminate your contract, you could be left without work or income.
That said, the same thing can happen to a normal employee. As a VA, you at least have the option to protect yourself by landing multiple clients.
Difficulty in Finding Clients
One of the biggest challenges of being a virtual assistant is finding clients.
You need to be proactive in marketing your services and reaching out to potential clients. This can be time-consuming, and it’s time you’re not paid for.
That said, once you land a few reliable clients that send you ongoing work, you can take your foot off the gas with marketing.
If you know how to find virtual assistant jobs for beginners, your life becomes much easier.
Lack of Benefits
As a self-employed virtual assistant, you won’t have access to the same benefits as someone who works for a company.
This includes things like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement benefits. You’ll need to factor these costs into your business plan and budget accordingly.
That said, you also get to deduct self-employed business expenses from your taxes — a perk you don’t get as a normal employee.
Working from home can make it difficult to separate your work life from your personal life.
It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to take breaks or to work longer hours than you intended. This can lead to burnout and can mess with your mental and physical health.
That said, by using these free tools for virtual assistants, you’ll instantly be more productive. That means less time working and more time living.
Requires Extra Discipline
Without a boss breathing down your neck, you’ll need more discipline and self-motivation.
You need to be able to manage your time effectively and stay focused on your tasks.
With Netflix and a comfy couch constantly calling your name, it’s easy to get distracted and give in to procrastination.
Since you’re not an employee working in an office, you have to deal with your own tech and internet problems.
This is especially true if you want to become a digital nomad virtual assistant and work while traveling in remote areas. Reliable wifi may become the crux of your existence.
The Truth About Being a Virtual Assistant
Being a virtual assistant can be a great career choice for those who want to work from home (or around the world!) and have a flexible schedule.
The benefits of being a virtual assistant far outweigh the disadvantages.
Not only can you work from anywhere your heart desires, but you also have the freedom to set your own schedule and work at your own pace.
Feeling extra productive? Crank out that work and earn more money. Have a hangover? Take it easy.
Virtual assistants also have the opportunity to work with loads of different clients, industries, and projects.
This can be both challenging and rewarding. You’ll gain valuable experience and develop new skills — and you get paid to do it!
That said, it’s not all roses and butterflies. Working as a VA requires discipline and a heck of a lot of self-motivation.
Nobody is going to hand you a job on a silver platter. You need to be a go-getter, willing to take action and make things happen.
If that sounds like you, check out this mega list of services you could offer clients to earn more money:
Discover 100+ virtual assistant service ideas you can start offering clients today
Stuck on what your niche should be? Wondering how you can stack your services to charge more? This mega list of VA service ideas has you covered.
After the pandemic put an end to her peaceful art museum job, Lianne went full-on beast mode to learn everything about digital marketing and online business she could get her hands on.
This helped her snag her first virtual assistant gig. And then another. And then another.
Now, instead of fighting Manila’s horrendous traffic every day, she’s island-hopping around the Philippines with her trusty laptop.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Going Cheap Flights Newsletter - Get flight deals from your airport up to 90% off sent straight to your inbox.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).