Learning the VA field

I’m pleased to introduce you to a guest blogger to the Virtual Fast Lane! Penny Johnson is an instructor at the local technical college, and she is shadowing us here at Rescue Desk headquarters in order to learn about the virtual assistant industry. She and her colleagues are in the planning stages of developing a curriculum involving the virtual assistant field.  – Rachel Rasmussen, owner

I’m Penny Johnson, guest blogger at Rescue Desk. I am working with Rachel for the rest of May to learn the Virtual Assistant biz. On a normal day, I am a quiet college instructor at Madison Area Technical College, tucked away in my classroom teaching Business Technology. In the past few years my colleagues and I have become more and more interested in starting an academic program for people interested in becoming VAs. I asked Rachel if I could shadow her to learn more about the field, and zero in on the topics we will have to teach potential VA students.

Here are some things I have learned so far:

Social Media is critical to small businesses.
I must admit that at Madison College we have been talking about Social Media but some categorize it as the fad of the youth. I can see that is not true! Social Media is the way to connect and get your business name out there. It is also a great way to stay connected, which is so important in today’s busy world. I would love to hear your stories of successful uses of social media.

Software can be an issue.
At Madison College, we are proposing a type of degree called an “Advanced Technical Certificate” which means each student has to have a degree first, or have 2 years of work in a related field before beginning this certificate. We are targeting adult students who want a change of career, and so we assume that students will come with software skills in hand. This may be true, but we also need to make sure that our students are capable of adjusting. Software products upgrade, new versions are released constantly, new technologies are introduced. The idea is that this certificate should prepare a person to be knowledgeable enough with software that s/he is comfortable learning new techniques. Which reminds me:

Virtual Assistants have to be willing to learn new things.
It is clear that VAs are today’s Jack-Of-All-Trades. It is not enough that clients will want a whole host of tasks completed; but, the VA needs to learn all of the business skills included!

The Virtual Assistant field is growing.
We’ve been tracking the Virtual Assistant field for some time, but I was still amazed to hear how quickly VAs are adding new clients and building their businesses. As we propose this new certificate for training VAs, I would love to hear about your successes. How much has your business grown? How has your business shifted since you started?

I’d love to hear from you: What you do think we need to know as we put together a certificate program to train Virtual Assistants? In the next few days I hope to add to this blog and gather your thoughts and advice!

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