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C for Collaboration

So, up next in my A-Z Blog Challenge is the letter C.

There are a number of things that the letter ‘C’ could be written about: 


Yes, I’ve added Cat, as it follows the theme of A for Apple and B for Ball… 

But, while I’m sure a large number of you own cats and no doubt they sit next to you in your office (especially as we’re now all working from home), and I have seen some that actually sit on the keyboard which isn’t ideal for productivity(!), I’m actually more of a dog person and this blog isn’t about cats.  A rather tenuous true fact for this week:  it won’t be D for Dog in my next blog.

So, instead, I’m going to talk about Collaboration and Competition.

When I first mooted the idea with friends about setting up my own business, one of the many pieces of advice I was given was: “Look into your competitors.  Who are your competitors?  Where are your competitors?  What are the services of your competitors?”

I wasn’t too sure where to start, but as I’d already had a couple of clients needing support, I thought I would be ok.  To be honest, it just seemed too much like hard work and boring, so I just swept it under the carpet and cracked on.

When I visited the PA Show in 2018, I met some amazing people and became aware of the online VA community.  It was only then that I realised I needed to get my business up to scratch with a proper domain, insurance, contracts etc which were all completely new to me; in order to get the proper foundations in place, I obviously had hundreds of questions. 

Reaching out to and leaning on the VA community, it began to dawn on me that the industry is very much a collaborative one and not competitive.  There is so much online (and local face to face) support that it kind of blows me away.

I have yet to come across any competition amongst VAs.  I’m sure it’s out there and happens, as there is competition in any walks of life, but it remains elusive to me in this world.

In fact, VAs need collaboration not competition.   With most of us having spent our careers in offices surrounded by peers and colleagues asking questions, learning from as well as giving advice and help to, we now find ourselves working alone with no-one to bounce these ideas, questions and answers around to.  So we turn to our peers online.  Without this collaboration I’m sure many of us would be sitting and stewing with questions for days. 

Collaboration is also very much needed within the industry; whilst most of us can do most of the things, like many people we have our set skills as well as strengths and weaknesses.  We need to be able to call upon other VAs for advice to carry out tasks for our clients to ensure they have their requirements met.  Which after all, is our main priority.

People often ask me if I mind another VA being at a networking event.  I always say no; in fact, I would encourage it.

If you have 10 VAs in a room…I would guarantee that each of us would:

  • have a different skill set
  • have different strengths and weaknesses
  • have different experiences
  • have different niches
  • have different personalities
  • be looking for different clients

Having another VA in the room helps us collaborate thus giving clients a better opportunity to have their needs and requirements met.

Collaboration not Competition should actually thrive in all industries and sectors, not just the VA world.

Look out for Blog ‘D’.

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