On my Virtual Assistant Break Up? post I’ve received some very excellent comments. In fact one theme has emerged and I’d like to devote a new thread specific to this important subject.
The issue is this: There are different opinions of what the term “Virtual Assistant” does and will eventually mean. I use the term very generically, basically anyone that is providing services to me that is remote and not an employee (the term employee can even be wildly interpreted). Others see the term “Virtual Assistant” to be more specific, to be used only for people with the proper credentials.
In internet years the term is pretty old, but with books like “The World Is Flat” and “Four Hour Work Week” pumping up attention to the concept it has become more difficult to pin down an exact definition. It will be interesting to see how the VA industry develops. I’d love to have all of the people that commented on the Virtual Assistant Break Up thread to reply to this post with their thoughts on the following:
As the profession / industry develops and becomes more regulated and governed what do you think will happen with the term Virtual Assistant?
Do you think that:
1) The term “Virtual Assistant” will become generic and new terms or co-terms will be used to differentiate certified providers from those that simply have a computer and an Internet connection.
2) The term “Virtual Assistant” will become the identifier of certified / licenced professionals and other terms will be used to refer to people that, based on some of the comments above, should not be classified as “Virtual Assistants”
I believe that regardless of the certification and terminology used there will always be demand for low wage, lessor skilled providers. For now I think 99% of the world is calling these people “virtual assistants” and it will be a long time, if ever, that the term “Virtual Assistant” only applies to certified providers with 5 years of personal assistant, office manager experience.
To those of you that consider yourselves associated with the traditional Virtual Assistant industry, what would you suggest we call these people that work remotely and independently at hourly rates but have never worked as a PA / office manager and are not certified or licensed?