There are definitely a few things to consider should you decide to go this route.
At one point in my business -- after about four or five years -- I did apply to work with a VA agency. I had met the owner (I'll call her Adrienne) in person at a women's conference/networking event. I took her card, Googled the heck out of her company, and then followed up with her. After a conversation and a review of the proposed terms of our agreement, I decided that it made sense for me at that time to work with her agency. She had a specific client in mind that she wanted to match me with -- an author who was also a speaker -- and I really wanted to put into use the new skills I'd learned from a Professional Virtual Author & Speaker Assistant training course I had recently completed. Plus -- the end client was an amazing woman whose career I had long admired.
Working with Adrienne's agency put me on a good path towards pursuing my own private author/speaker clients. It was a good decision, and the timing had been right.
But I'm not sure I'll do it again. [Writing "not sure" because as I rebuild my business post-medical leave, I may do just that to get started working again quickly.]
Not because the agency wasn't awesome. It was (and still is). But I enjoy finding my own clients now, setting my own terms, and negotiating my own fees. Fees that get a little higher each year that I grow in my area of expertise. Fees I don't have to split with anyone else. This is what makes sense for me at this point in my business.
So when a mentee or a workshop attendee asks if they should start out working through a Virtual Assistant agency, I tell them my story, and I add that they need to consider their own comfort level and assertiveness. If the idea of "working a room" at a networking event, or telling random people about your business in hopes that it'll lead to a conversation about how you can help that business grow terrifies you -- then perhaps working with an agency might be the move for you to help you get your feet wet in the industry and give you a boost of confidence.
If that is what you decide to do -- be sure to do your homework! What helped me make my decision to work with Adrienne much easier was that I'd actually met her in person at a popular women's business conference. Shook hands with her live. Observed her as she interacted with other business owners. You may not have that same opportunity. Agencies are popping up everywhere these days, and it isn't likely that you'll actually meet the owner face-to-face. Everything you discover about the agency will likely be learned online. Do your due diligence (which I also did even after meeting her)! Read reviews, ask for feedback in your Facebook groups, look for "whispers and warnings" around the internet, et cetera. If a particular agency is not reputable, there is most likely evidence of it somewhere online.
Let me know your thoughts.
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