What Does The ‘R’ Word Mean For Virtual Assistants?

By November 26, 2008 General 25 Comments

So far, I’ve resisted writing about the current economic climate as it’s not something that I want to focus on. We’re being bombarded in the media with doom and gloom reports, and while the repercussions for people are certainly very real, I feel that some of it is self-perpetuating.

Let’s take an example: If I were to get depressed about the economy and worried about its impact on my business, this could lead to a downward spiral. I may not have the energy to market myself in a positive way. This would then lead to me getting fewer clients because of my downbeat attitude. Ironically, this would impact on my business, because of my change in mindset.

If on the other hand I decide that the current economic climate is going to be positive for business – I’ll tell you why in a minute – then how do you think that would affect my marketing and my ability to attract clients?

I believe that the Virtual Assistant industry will actually benefit from the downturn because more and more companies and business owners will be seeking to save money by using the services of Virtual Assistants, rather than an in-house employee. A traditional employee costs much more than a VA, in terms of benefits (sick pay, holiday pay, retirement benefits)  and other costs such as office space, equipment and furniture. In addition, using a VA is much more flexible than having an employee. Businesses only use a VA when work needs doing, they don’t pay to have someone sitting in the office twiddling their thumbs.

Also, if you’re working for someone else, you’re at the whim of one employer.  However, if you’re a Virtual Assistant, you have many different streams of income, because you have more than one client. You’re not dependent on one ‘entity’ for your earnings.

It’s also tempting to believe that things ‘come to a halt’ when there’s a recession. Let me assure you they don’t. One new client of mine is setting up a new finance broking business, and others are carrying on as normal. They are not letting go of my services just because they fear a recession. They are continuing to invest in their businesses, just as you should.

So, if you want to work at home, or already work at home, there is no reason to let the doom and gloom get you down! Please add your comments below.


  • Alessandra says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I perfectly agree.
    I love your positive attitude and what you usually write.
    Alessandra – Venice – Italy

  • Great comments Lisa,

    We specialize in the training & implementation of marketing programs and database management, escrow coordination, listing loads, etc for Real Estate Agents. It has been a tough haul, but it has finally clicked for us and I am bringing on my 3rd VA to help with the work load. – This market is working for us!

    Cheers, Carrie

  • I totally agree Lisa.

    My VA business has been running in the UK for over 5 years and in the last two months we have doubled our client base.

    Best regards,


  • Rebecca says:

    Hi Lisa

    Thanks for the positive comments, I am currently considering setting myself up as a VA and this has given me the motivation to pursue my ideas.

    Rebecca, Ireland

  • Hi Lisa,

    I agree wholeheartedly. Over the past month I have taken on three new clients with a further two “potentials” next month.



  • I have been saying for quite some time now that this “recession” is being created by the media. I am a start-up and have had lots of RFP’s to respond to. I feel this climate is really good for a start-up VA.


    Janet – Wisconsin, USA

  • Marie says:

    Hi Lisa, I wholeheartedly agree. In fact when people ask me if I feel that small businesses will not hire virtual assistants because they can’t afford it right now, I say they can’t afford not to!

    Virtual Assistance is the perfect answer, especially for small businesses right now. They can’t afford to be sitting in the office tending to administrative work, they NEED to be out in the community and meeting new clients, they need to be devoting their time to doing the work their clients pay them for. And they need to do the work well – that means not worrying about all the paperwork to be done because they can’t afford an in house assistant.

  • Diann says:

    Yes – in these times business owners are going to be looking at cutting costs any way they can and virtual office assistants can play a key role in any business that plans to survive the recession. Thank you for your article and a chance to give feedback.

    Diann Handy

  • Debbie says:

    Your email updates are a real inspiration to me. I have just been made redundant and am in a real pickle as to how to move forward with my VA plans. It’s such a huge black hole out there but your emails have really inspired me to go for it with this. Anyone looking for an associate, let me know!

  • Renee Zeliff says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I totally agree with you. Now is the perfect time to expand your business or to start a new one. I believe that as times get tough for most small businesses they will look for economic alternatives and the VA industry fits in that catagory perfectly.

    Great entry!

    Have a wonderful and productive day,

  • Fay Hudson says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words. I just secured my first attorney client to work as his virtual bankruptcy assistant. There is work out there we just have to be creative and imaginative.

    Fay Hudson

  • Jackie Eden says:

    Hi Lisa,

    This is a great article about the economy. Your positive comments are very encouraging and I believe what you say to be very true. This is a great time for the Virtual Assistant industry to thrive.

    As a VA, I plan to promote my business by letting companies and business owners know that I am available to help them save money and prosper even during difficult times.

    Your great! Thanks for your Newsletter!

    Your USA friend,

  • Vicki, Indiana, USA says:

    It makes perfect sense that a VA would be more valuable now that ever before. I am just getting started, but hope to expand soon.

  • Lisa Taliga says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments! It really is a good idea to turn off the television, stay away from those scaremongering newspaper headlines and get on with building a profitable business for the long-term. By acting positively, we are also doing our part to ‘stave off’ a recession by assisting other businesses and growing our own.

  • Thank you Lisa for the feedback. I am still trying to get my VA business running and had hesitated due to the economy. However, I never doubted that this time would be a great opportunity for VA’s due to cut-backs, job losses, downsizing, etc.
    I will take your advice and act positive and less focus on the media.

  • Ezra Shua says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for looking at this issue with a positive eyes. I believe that successiful business is all about problem solving and asking money in return for problem solved.

    Therefore VAs should work hard and be professionals towards problem solving and when he/she demand cash inturn, the business out there who are looking for those who can solve their problems are ready to pay any amount.

    Good luck VAs!


  • Lisa Taliga says:

    Here’s a news story that’s just been posted about this topic:


    It tells the story of someone who lost their job as a tech specialist a year and a half ago, who is now working from home as a VA.

  • The “R” word certainly carries a lot of weight and brings with it a lot of fear. I’m glad that being a virtual assistant allows me the opportunities to control my income that some working in jobs don’t have. I can nuture those relationships I have, network more, pass out more business cards, and apply to more RFPs. Over at VAnetworking.com the RFPs coming in have been steady — with several requests a day. It’s been really nice being a VAInsider and having the RFPs come right to my inbox.

    As many have already expressed the cutbacks have opened the doors to outsourcing like never before. Businesses that scale back still need to have internal work completed and partnering with a VA for a set number of hours each month is a viable and budgetary way to get things accomplished.

    My hope is that once the recession has passed (projections for mid-2009) that many will look back and see the benefits of outsourcing that aided many businesses in riding the recession wave.

  • Sandra says:

    Your right Lisa, this is such a great time for my business. Although I actually dont work for anyone else, I introduce people to dental and medical benefits. Many people are being laid off and companies are downsizing so this is a great time for many to be working for themselves. If anyone would also like to have this as their supplemental income email me!

    Be blessed,

  • Thanks for this post Lisa, as you say a positive outlook really does work wonders for a persons business. This approach applies not just in the lead up to or in a recession, but also to business startup and other rough patches in our business. In this it is so important to be around other positive influences such as yourself Lisa.

  • christine says:

    I am in the process of being made redundant (for the 3rd time) and the thought of the “R” word or “Credit Crunch” is not putting me off, I feel what is not such a good time for some opens doors for others. My employers are going to make all their secretaries redundant and outsource all their typing to a digital agency. So I thought if my employer and others are doing this why do I not become the type of company they will outsource to and more. So whilst I am still employed I am busy getting everything ready for the day I can be my own boss. I find your articles very inspiring, just what I need!

  • Lisa Taliga says:

    Thanks again everyone for your comments! I don’t want to harp on about this but I’m hearing continuous reports from VAs who are seeing an increase in business over the past few months since news of the recession hit the media! It really makes sense that in these current times, businesses are outsourcing their work to save money, rather than paying full-time employee wages and benefits. And let’s face it, work still needs to be done to keep a business functioning. Once the recession is over, these companies may well continue with the outsourcing business model, having enjoyed the cost savings and flexibility. It really is the perfect time to take control of your own destiny by having your own Virtual Assistant business to service these businesses.

  • Lorraine says:

    Hi Lisa
    I was told two weeks ago that my retirement date would not be extended beyond Septemter 2009 and needless to say, I have been feeling sick with fear and worry about how my husband and I were going to manage financially, as our pensions are pitifully inadequate.

    However, reading all your helpful and encouraging emails / newsletters and the positive comments from all the people who have made a success of their VA business, I KNOW I can do the same.

    So like Christine, I too am now beginning to get ready for the day I will be my own boss. Thank you Lisa and everyone else who has posted such positive and inspiring comments. I feel there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Tiffany Roberts says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I am so glad to hear you ladies talk so positively about the VA business and this economy. I am in the process of starting up my VA business and reading you ladies encouraging words is making me that much more excited!

  • Lynn Greybe says:

    Hi Everyone, I am just starting out as a VA part time. I would love to take the bull by the horns and do it full time but I can’t afford to at the moment. I am very nervous about whether I will get work and I am not telling too many people as they are all negative saying its not going to work. But I am NOT listening to them – in a few months time when I have my own little business and they are still grinding away for a boss they will eat their words. My future son-in-law is hopefully going to help me build and then host my website for me and once that is up and running I am sure the work will start coming in. I wish you all the very best with your VA businesses!

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