Do Not Virtually Assist Me
I received an angry letter this morning from a “virtual assistant” who took umbrage (I must buy stock in umbrage, it’s used quite often) with my writing somewhere in one of my books (I write a lot of stuff) that virtual assistants are not necessary for independent consultants and can even be a negative. I did NOT write that virtual assistants are incompetent or lazy, just that, for this profession, they are a fifth wheel.
That’s because this is a relationship business. Whenever someone has an intermediary make appointments with me or attempt to be the relayer of messages, I feel like the other party can’t manage his or her time, or feels the time with me is somehow a lesser priority. But what I feel is relatively unimportant compared to how a prospect or, worse, a buyer may feel. If you can’t make the time to have a five-minute phone call or write your own email, what’s wrong with your life? If you’re an independent consultant, to whom my missive was addressed, your practice is in all probability is smaller than mine, and I’ve never used an assistant: real, virtual, or imagined. Having a third party try to create speaking assignments or buyer appointments is madness.
Pick up the phone and call people. Sit at a keyboard and write them. I’ve had people with small revenues spend some of it on an assistant as an ego statement, not as a business necessity.
So let me be clear: I’m sure there are people who need virtual assistants. But independent consultants do not. Really.