Older VAs


#1

At the risk of offending people (and bear in mind I’m trying to word this delicately and not intending to offend) - we’ve noticed a massive increase in VAs who are over 50 joining the industry - and lots are actually using this as a marketing tactic.

We love a bit of diversity (despite our seemingly homogeneous appearance on lots of the panels etc - I am working on this!!!) so I was wondering how people would feel about a special award for Over 50s VAs?

Or do we make it for those VAs who have been in the industry for over 10 years? (Which I think would be very, very well deserved by those VAs making it that far, but perhaps also would feature more very familiar VA faces!).

Ideas, comments, random abuse that I’ve used the wrong wording???


#2

Could be because they can’t even get an interview for a job, never mind a job, (just like me when I started in 2012, aged 57, when made redundant). So becoming a Virtual Assistant makes perfect sense, this age group have honed a lot of skills and experience during their careers, so in my opinion make brilliant VAs!


#3

Now we have to wait until 66 to get our state pension. For one reason or another the job market is not interested in our age group. It’s a great opportunity to use the skills we have acquired over the years to fill the gap until we are able to access our pension.


#4

Caroline, I am one of those over 50’s who started a VA business mainly due to two facts - I was made redundant and I had also had a bad fall which resulted in my damaging my shoulder making driving more difficult so the hour long commute each way to work was not something i really wanted to continue with! As other have already said some of us do have extensive experience which is relevant to the industry and therefore makes it appealing.
In terms of the awards I like both of your suggestions - an over 50’s VA award sounds good and I also like the 10 year plus in business idea.


#5

Really interesting to see the reasons on here - for me kicking off my service while pregnant draws similarities as to why starting a VA business made sense rather than applying for jobs…

I think the Over 50’s award is a fantastic idea as the over 10 years in business - love hearing about journeys who have had their businesses for a long time


#6

Weirdly I don’t think we hear enough from them… Clearly they know how to do it (otherwise they wouldn’t have been in business that long!), but it tends to be the newer businesses who apply for awards and do PR etc, probably because they are in the process of building their business whilst the “Oldies” kinda know how to get business without too much fuss.

I’m quite open about the fact that most of the complaints about VAs and about VA courses are about people who have been in business less than 5 years. We know the “danger period” for VA businesses once they launch is between 2-4 years as that’s when many of them fold.

It would be interesting to hear how these VAs overcame those tricky periods and what they think made the difference.


#7

I’m 45 does that make me old? Lol. I think a length of service award is better than an age related one. It will recognise and highlight the businesses with longetivity and maturity, irrelevant of the age of the founder. Age should be irrelevant and highlighting it with an age related award doesn’t seem right to me. I agree business awards often focus on younger businesses, so an award that recognises long service would be different and a good USP.


#8

I think an award for Over 50’s would be excellent. But then I would as I’m 56 years of age. I’ve worked as a PA/Executive Assistant my whole life, with a bit of hospitality in their while I was travelling, but that teaches you the importance of customer service so it’s not exactly wasted time either.

I’m relatively new to the VA industry (April 2018) and without meaning to offending anyone in my age group, waiting til I’ve been a VA for 10 years before applying for an award - heck, I could be in my grave by then. Surely, VA’s who have been in the industry for 10 years would limit those who could apply and as you say, familiar faces would repeatedly be entering.

I’m definitely a pro-over 50s award no matter how long you have been in the industry.


#9

The reason for asking - we’ve seen lots of new VAs using their age as a positive thing in their business (which I think is an ace strength to promote!).
There are lots of other VA Awards which run annually - one for newbies, and another for the Outstanding VA of the Year which has regional heats and the final is held at the VA Conference in London each year (part of The PA Show).


#10

For fear of repeating someone else, I concur with all of the above. Fantastic idea - especially for those of us who 1) felt we couldn’t get employment and 2) recognise that sometimes a wealth of lifetime experience is as important, if not more, than qualifications!


#11

I think recognition is so valuable. I think age isn’t an issue, it is about the skills and qualities of that person. It would be great for the 10 year award, VA’s could receive a badge to use on their website? (forgive me if you already do this). I think the theory behind it is great though :slight_smile: and interesting to see all of the responses.


#12

We do indeed - although I kinda think we need to publicise it more…
I think it would be nice to have some kind of acknowledgement @ the VA Conference, because the older VAs tend to kinda merge into the background a bit - a lot of focus is on start up stuff, and it would be great to get these VAs there and sharing their experiences.


#14

Yes I agree, it is great to hear other VA experiences - it helps motivate others, it gives a positive insight and it shows diversity :slight_smile:


#15

I am 45 too but I don’t think it is intended to be discriminatory in anyway. I agree though that a length of service one would be better as not all over 50’s have served being a VA for the same length of time as someone younger so I think age related needs to be left out. However perhaps an award for recognising length of career as a PA/EA or Business Manager would be a great added category perhaps???


#16

I’m 47…I agree that length of service is a good recognition award!