10 Virtual Career Disadvantages (And What You Can Do About It)

virtual career disadvantagesI have a confession: I started my full-time virtual career just last month.

Though a few months back, I was doing it on a part-time basis. While working as an Admin Officer to a BPO company.

The company I worked with, shuts down in my two months of working. I felt dismayed.

However, this event turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Since I’m losing my job, I applied aggressively online.

I had decided to be a full-time virtual assistant.

The threat of not able to pay my monthly bills, the goal to provide my family a better life, and the decision to be with my family and stay in Gensan (I was working in Cebu for 7 years), help me to hustle and creatively find some clients online.

Lucky enough, I found two good paying clients today.

I really feel the great advantages (I wrote this one last week) of working at home.

However, despite the upsides, there are downsides that I later realized. I listened to other virtual assistants as well. We shared the same challenges and problems too.

Today, let’s talk about it.

You may get some coffee. This will be a long ride for you.

I did my best to cover as much as I can everything you need to know.

Without further ado, here they are.

10 Virtual Career Disadvantages and What You Can Do About It

1. Sometimes There are Clients Who Will Not Pay You Well or Worse Run, and You Have To Apply Again To Get New Client/s

I happened to have a client who pays too low and pays too late.

It’s my first client. I always follow up with the payment

I stopped working until he pays.

Another problem, he didn’t give me more assignments when the current one is about to be done. When I’m finished with my task, I don’t have assignments anymore. It means, no income.

And your time is idle and wasted for nothing that should have been spent for work.

I have to follow up many times if he still has assignments for me.

We didn’t say goodbye. I was left hanging like a bad love story. Again like a love story, what I did is to move on.

I applied again online. That’s where I got my two paying clients today.

If one client is not paying you right or treats you well, don’t wait for him. Tell him honestly to part ways.

That’s why it’s good to have two clients. If one client is not treating you right, you still have one client to work with.

2. You Are Still Trading Your Time to Earn

Generally, a virtual assistant is still an employment arrangement. You get paid by the hour you spend.

Truth be told… if you’re a VA, paid low like 2 to 3 dollars per hour (Yep you heard it, it’s low. A entry point but it’s a good start.), you have to get more clients to earn more.

And by getting more clients, you have to spend more time. However, your time is not limitless. Your income is limited by your time.

A virtual assistant is always trading time for money.

Though it is way better than being employed in the offline world.

3. Pay is Based on Skills and Perception

This is the tricky part. If it is your first time to apply online to look for clients, you’re afraid to charge clients what you think you deserve.

I feel you!

Because of the way we value ourselves, we define how much our worth.

If your client asks you, how much is your rate? What would be your answer? $1, $2,  $3 or more?

Again, it is base on perception. That’s why knowing your value is very very important. And value is base on perception.

I was surprised that there are VA’s out there still earning $1-$3 per month. Even they’ve been doing it for a year.

Let me say this again: You deserve what you think you are.

This is how virtual career works: Clients will always ask how much your rate is before you start working with them.

How much do you want to earn per month?

I suggest, don’t settle less than P25,000 per month or $3 per hour as a starter.

Now what you will do next? Make an inventory of your skills first.

Know your value.

Define who you are.

4. You Can’t Choose Your Own Time to Work Especially You’re Just Starting Out

If you’re starting out, it’s hard to be choosy with clients. Unless of course, you have lots of savings, you’re a techie, and you can wait three to six months to get your ideal client/s.

You only get jobs online that gives you greater flexibility IF… your skills are highly valuable.

Time flexibility belongs to have high-value skills that clients are more desperate to work with you. Than YOU… work FOR them.

What are those high-value skills?

Experienced writers, graphic designers, coders, Social Media Marketers (With a proven track record to grow social media followers.) and a lot of high-value skills that you’ll discover along the way.

In the meantime (If you’re just new) you can’t be choosy with whom you want to work. Sacrifice first at the start.

If you’re just starting out, work any time of the day.

I have both clients day and night. I don’t have problems working with them because they’re paying me well.

5. Most Clients Are Not Paying a Holiday Premium and Bonuses

You heard it right.

If you work part-time, the more you won’t get any benefits like Holiday Premium and bonuses.

Though there are some clients who are generous enough. They give bonuses if you excel at what you’re doing. Especially your task involves sales.

Some clients will give 13th-month pay for full-time VAs. Others don’t bother at all.

In order for this thing will not discourage you, you have to switch your mindset from employment to business.

6. Sometimes it’s Luck to Get Kind and Good Paying Clients

I admit.

I’m lucky to have good clients today. But this luck is not something that I did nothing to attract them.

If you only knew how persistent I was applying every day, you would realize that I created my own luck. It’s hard work to attract good clients sometimes — and not pure luck.

I hustled to apply online daily (With fervent prayers.). Surprisingly, a lot of clients contacted me. Now it’s my time to choose. I ignored those clients who are giving me a lot of exams or processes before I start working with them.

And… I deal with those who accepted my rate.

I suggest: you apply as many as you can online and accommodate those clients who reduce the rigmarole and willing to pay your rate.

But again, do not expect they’ll pay you a Holiday premium or any perks. If they offer it, it’s a bonus.

You’re lucky to get that type of client.

7. You’re Working With Busy and Highly Demanding People that Have a Different Culture

Clients from the first world countries have a bit of authoritative personality. I know this. I’ve worked as a customer service representative for five years in the call center industry. I know how they talk especially when they ask you to do something.

Most of the time you will be working with busy people. They talk fast and demanding.

But demanding doesn’t mean rude. It’s their culture.

They need our help to lighten up their workloads. That’s why they hire us.

One time, I talked to one of my clients and I put the speakers on. After we ended our conversation, my wife hurriedly approached me and inquired if I was reprimanded.

She was worried.

I told her that’s how she talks.

Clients are really good as they are. Believe me, the more you talk to them, the more you get used to their attitude.

They’re as nice as you are.

Don’t be sensitive and take them seriously.

(This is not much of a downside, I just want to prepare your mindset who are you going to work with.)

8. You Need to Invest in Good Technology

It’s not a requirement that you have to be a techie, in order to become a virtual assistant.

To start a virtual career though, there are specific technical requirements to be effective at your job as a virtual assistant.

For a computer or laptop, you need to invest in good specifications. For example, a laptop that has a spec of i3 processors and 3GB RAM is a good start to handle admin task.

For video editing, graphics design, coding,  game development, and other techie jobs, it requires a higher technical requirement.

For internet speed, up to 5mbps fiber optic is already good for admin task. It’s better you go higher. Just make sure you have stable power in your area as the internet is connected to power stability.

A lot of VAs bought generators for power backups.

High-speed internet, good computer specs, and other accessories, all of these speak about cost. Yes, money.

You have to invest well to start a good VA career.

I borrowed P30k to my younger sister to buy a laptop, a headset, and pay the downpayment for the internet connection.

Money is the issue. But that’s only if you don’t have a good technology yet at home.

9. The Payment is Kinda Delay

The payment you’ll receive in your virtual career will not be the same as your career in the offline world.

A typical employed person will wait for his salary on the 15th and 30th of the month. She’ll expect that her salary should be there in her ATM account. Or else, she’ll declare World War III, right?

And the worse of all, she might be convinced to join those activists who rally in the streets, to help pressure her employer to give her salary on time.

Eventually, join their advocacy to blame every president of this country why our salary is low and delay? This probably too much, isn’t it?

Obviously, I’m exaggerating.

Let me get back to my point.

As VA, even your client pays on time, you’ll still get your money late.

You ask me, “Who is the culprit?”

PayPal and other companies that handle online payment. That’s how they work.

When a client pays (For example thru PayPal), it will take 2 to 4 business days to claim your money to a local bank. Sometimes, it may take up to seven days if Holidays fall on weekdays.

Believe me, you’ll start to hate Holidays as VA. It doesn’t favor you in times to claim your money.

Furthermore, don’t expect you’ll have your grocery in the 15th and 30th of the month as you normally do.

You have to adjust. Especially paying your monthly bills.

Get a reserve fund. Use it temporary to pay your bills while waiting to claim your money to a local bank.

10. You Won’t Get Your Money 100% What Your Client Pays You

This is top of the line downside. Especially if you use PayPal.

PayPal is the most popular online payment system to transfer money internationally. It is most preferred by clients to pay us.

These clients never realize PayPal is not the best online payment system.

(I wish my clients know about this. Perhaps they should read this article.)

PayPal is charging me too much.

The more money we get from our clients, the more they charge.

You are like paying taxes to them.

It’s unfair! Why others didn’t charge that high like Payoneer, Skrill, Google Wallet, etc.? Here are some reliable companies to replace PayPal.

If only I can get away with PayPal, I’ll do. However, there’s nothing I can do as my clients preferred it to be the online payment system to pay me.

So, if you’ll become a VA and you get your first income, expect you won’t get your money 100%. That’s okay for as long as the charge is low. Like less than 2%.

But if your client uses PayPal, then expect a big cut.

Consider it like paying taxes to the PayPal government.

There’s nothing you can do about it.

(Hello PayPal, are you there? Lower down your charges please.)

Hold on! But there’s a hack: If you arrange with your client to pay you directly without an invoice from you, it’s free of charge. Only your client will be charged.

That’s it! Tell your client.

Final Thoughts

A virtual career is way better than being employed in the offline world.

However, it requires some technical and skill prerequisites before you start.

Do you think becoming a virtual assistant is right for you?

Only you can answer.

I believe anyone can start a career online.

For as long as you’re willing to learn the necessary skills and provide the technical pre-requirements.


What do you think of the list? Do you think you can start a virtual career despite the disadvantages?

Let me know your thoughts and drop your comments below.



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