Work as a VA and learn the ropes OR Start your own business and figure out along the way

16 replies
Hi, I wanted to get the veterans' opinion of whether to learn by working as a VA for someone who is already running a successful business or to start your own business and figure things out as you go along.
Which would you recommend more?
#business #figure #learn #ropes #start #work
  • Profile picture of the author Gambino
    It really depends on what you're capable of doing and what type of business you're trying to create. If you're prepared and financially able to start a business now, I would do that. If you need to learn the skills and acquire the ability to own and operate a business, I would look for opportunities to do that.

    I spent two years working for a small business with 4 retail stores and it was easily the best business experience I've ever had. The company has two owners, two managers and about 25-30 staff members at any given time. It gave me hands on experience to plan marketing strategies, customer acquisition, growth forecasting, accounting, and whole lot more. But mainly, it gave me the experience to learn, grow and believe in my ability to make decisions and lead people while gaining an appreciation for the hard work of small business owners and what they mean to society and our economy.

    I've worked for large corporations and agencies for over 12 years and received a degree in business and none of that even comes close to the experience I gained working in a small business.

    If you're hesitant about it, I would guess that you're not ready to start a business. But, I wouldn't just work as a VA just to do it. Work somewhere that is going to give you the experience to get where you want to be.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Lim
      Thank you for your quick and thorough answer.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Ben,

    I love diving in and being the person who builds the venture, the entrepreneur. Because you will never learn something like you will learn the concept in the lab of life. Being a VA is OK for the internship route. But when you have 20 plates to balance on sticks, and 5 fires to put out, and your fears seem to be taunting you around every turn, this is when you really find out what it takes to be an entrepreneur, to run a thriving business, and this is where you really learn how to happy hustle your way to success.

    VAing could be a smart move too to study from a success but I'd cut my learning curve, follow a mentor, and devote all of my attention and energy to growing my own profitable business. Because where your attention and energy goes, grows.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Lim
      Yeah I guess that was my part of the mind that wanted security more than freedom speaking.

      Thanks for that important quote -- "where your attention and energy goes, grows."
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      • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
        Sure thing dude Keep the focus on freedom and you will be led in that direction....especially when things get super scary as they will
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Ben Lim View Post

    Hi, I wanted to get the veterans' opinion of whether to learn by working as a VA for someone who is already running a successful business or to start your own business and figure things out as you go along.
    Which would you recommend more?
    Much of the answer depends on your role as VA. Will your duties actually help you later in your business? Or are you simply picking up tasks the employer doesn't want to do?

    As a wild example, how much would you learn about building/running a search engine by delivering carts of mail at Google?

    On the other hand, if your role is more of the "right hand man" with a toe in every pool, it could be a valuable experience - for a while.

    Like Ryan said, there are some things you can't learn working for someone else.
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    • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
      Good point John.

      For me, doing anything other than being a full time entrepreneur would keep me in my comfort zone. No real growth there. No learning. None of the stuff you need to experience to build a successful online business.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ben Lim
        Yeah I don't like doing the operational stuff, but I wonder why I was suddenly looking for doing only operational stuff for someone else and having a ceiling on how much I can grow lol
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    John nailed it.

    Often a VA isn't doing everything from A-Z.

    You want the VA to stay and work, not run off and do it on their own. So the employer may structure things so no one is doing everything.

    At the same time, there are plenty VA's that just want to work and there is no ulterior motive to go out on their own. Which is why I never post a position, I search out those with the right qualifications and contact them.

    I've had people that would contact me and ask if they could work in exchange for learning. I would never hire that person because they are telling me they plan on eventually leaving once they learn what they are after.

    Just my 2 cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Lim
      Thank you for your valuable insight! It gave me a whole new perspective in trying to work for someone else so that you can get the knowledge.

      I only thought of what good it will bring me, but now I also see how that could inconvenience the employers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Cole
    Hi! I'm not certain it works that way or that you'll gain much if you do work as a VA. Not all of the important tasks are handed to VAs, it's the boss who usually keeps those. VAs jobs are usually the tedious ones that the boss doesn't like to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Lim
      Yeah in hindsight I realized that I will only do operational stuff that I would also have to do as a business owner in the beginning, but as a VA I don't have the option of hiring someone else to do my job later on haha.
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  • Profile picture of the author slucha
    I think when working as a VA you can learn basic operational things. But when your end goal is to run your own company there is no better "training" than starting your own.

    It really depends on your situation: Do you have any working experience? In what roles have you worked previously?

    If you have never worked before I would advise you to get some experience first. But not as a virtual assistant but maybe as an assistant to the CEO of a local company. After learning the ropes there in 2-3 you could start thinking about branching out on your own.

    If you have the necessary experience, start your own company. The learning curve will just be tremendously higher. Even if you fail the first time, you will have gained so much knowledge and just become better at these thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Lim
      Yeah assistant to a CEO was what I had in mind, but I don't have the time or opportunity to do something like that right now. So I decided to start a little online business on the side.
      Similar to what you said, there's no teacher better than the streets.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kes Writes
    I would advise you to go through the VA route as this will make you to experience the business itself without having anything at stake but establishing your business without knowing anything about the business is setting yourself up for failure.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    i have 3 VA and man are they good.

    LEVERAGE is the key if you want to do well onine. I train them with camtaisia videos.

    Its like have 3 of me at times...... and that is very cool.

    I have them doing stuff I do not want to do. They say the mistake of people is they work in their business and not ON their business. I agree.
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