studyRecently I was interviewed by an Independent Management Consultant who was conducting a study into the state of the Virtual Assistance industry in North America. He was hoping to determine the outlook that various VAs had during the ongoing recession and further understand the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

Upon completion of his interviews he compiled all the data and shared it with the interviewees. I found it very interesting that even though all of the interviewees (9 interviewees in total from throughout North America) were diverse, our opinions seemed to be shared and I thought it would be interesting to share some of my thoughts on this study with you.

State of the Industry

Despite the fact that we are currently experiencing a recession, all the VAs that were interviewed in this study were very upbeat and were of the belief that the awareness of the VA industry has increased and continues to increase. I believe that this translates into good news for us as Virtual Assistants because as people become more aware of our industry, it will undoubtedly becomes easier to attract new clients. I too have found in my business that the blank stares I encountered 4 years ago when I first started my business are being replaced with interested looks and a definite curiosity as to how VAs can help business owners succeed.


The study found that the industry continues to change and grow, especially with the increasing use of web technology and value added services. Social media has been a huge segment for VAs and we are increasingly seeing the diversity in the services we can offer to clients, grow. All the interviewees agreed that the key markets VAs continue to see within their client portfolio include real estate agents, coaches, authors, speakers, consultants and solopreneurs.

Key Success Factors

Although each of the interviewees had varying ideas of the different things it takes to be successful, a few key strategies were relevant throughout:

  1. Niching is a big success factor
  2. VAs need to take an entrepreneurial mindset to be successful
  3. VAs need to place an emphasis on relationship building with both existing and potential clients


Just as with any growing industry we are not without our challenges, however this is the one area that just as in our industry, the interviewees didn’t always agree. Certification continues to be a key subject of debate just as education is another. One thing however is certain … there is a growing frustration with the ease of being able to become a Virtual Assistant because anyone can use the term Virtual Assistant. It is also suggested that more emphasis should be placed on educating potential VAs and creating awareness that it is hard work to have a successful VA business; “work does not drop from the sky”.


As our industry continues to grow, it is the general consensus of the participants of this study that the existing market segements/customer groups are expanding rapidly and VAs must position themselves to take advantages of these opportunities offered by their core customer base. What I personally believe is that the best place to start if you want to grow your business is “close to home” … there are so many people out there that haven’t even begun to understand the diversity of our industry that I truly believe the best thing to do is turn to your existing clients. Get them talking for you … offer referrals and incentives and don’t forget to ask for testimonials. Who better to explain how the relationship with a VA can work than someone that is already working with a VA.

One thing is certain though … the VA industry is full of caring and supportive members. Although we might not all agree on where our industry stands now or where it is going in the future, one thing is certain … we are all willing to help the industry grow and to assist in education about our industry.

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