Virtual Work seems easy, but there are pitfalls you must know before you quit your job!
I work from home with my pajamas and surpassed my paycheck with my previous 8:00-5:00 rat race job. I don’t have traffic problems and I don’t get stressed with office politics. I have no office mates, but I work with more than five clients (employers) located all around the Globe. I have deadlines to meet and articles to submit. I have a calendar and a schedule to follow.
Some friends are amazed with my virtual work and apparently this kind of career appears stress free and easy. However, being a virtual assistant is not as simple as it appears to be. Just like any work, there are downsides you have to manage. Firstly, your parents who think that work is going out at 7:00 AM from Monday to Friday might question your freelance thing. They might think you are lazy doing Facebook the whole day or that you have no dreams and plans for your children at all! In my case, it took time before I proved to my mother that I have real work with income at home.
Here are some pitfalls of virtual work that you must know:
- Surpass the Competition
If you want to escape the stiff competition for promotion in your office work, don’t think that virtual work is a great escape. The competition for work, having clients and keeping them is greater and more challenging in the electronic world. You have to surpass the challenging competition as there are more experienced and skilled virtual workers everywhere. You also need to prove your rate as lots of freelancers are offering cheaper rates.
Once you find a client, you have to give your best and offer quality output. Most of the time, if you give your best to a client, they will keep you for a long term project. On the other hand, the moment you mess up with a deadline or with quality – you’re dead! When you work in an office and you mess up, you are still paid because you are working under an 8-5 contract. However, if you mess up with a client online – there’s a chance you don’t get paid and you mess up your career online.
- You still have a Boss
In virtual work, you still have a boss! Please don’t think that you don’t have a big boss here because you spend most of your time looking for a boss from different countries around the world. With my four (4) years as a virtual assistant, I worked with clients from around the world such as Australia, Ireland, Canada, USA, India, Brazil, UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and so many more! These clients have different personalities and work ethics. For example, some clients would require impossible deadlines. Hence, you must learn to deal with every difficult situation.
- You need a structure
For some it is easy to work in the bedroom, but for some the blankets and mattress can serve as a temptation. You might end up sleeping for 4 hours in the afternoon instead of working!
You need to structure your workplace at home and teach your children to give you the space and time when you are working. Also, some friends and neighbors might think you are unemployed and doing nothing, so they come and expect you to offer them coffee and lots of time to share stories together. These issues appear to be simple, but once you are an online worker, everything, even the little things become important.
- Time Management
Just like any work, you need to manage your time. As a virtual worker, you have to deal with several clients and different projects at a time. You need to carefully manage everything because in the virtual world, a deadline is a deadline. It is a must that you develop your work ethics in such a way that you even exceed your client’s expectations.
- Develop your Social Networks
As a virtual worker, you will always be with your spouse and your kids. Yes, that’s every day, every month and every year. Hence, don’t cut your ties with your friends because you still need balance – such as going out and having coffee with your friends. As for me, I joined several groups and I continued to grow my network with others.