One of the prevailing stereotypes of a Virtual Assistant is a stay at home mum earning pin money by working in the evenings and juggling childcare. As a VA myself it’s something I struggle with… On the one hand, it attracts clients who want to find the most cost effective way of hiring extra admin help without being tied up in the red tape of hiring an employee. And on the other, it discourages clients from taking the profession seriously and believing they can pay ridiculously low rates.
In Emma Jones’ book “Working 5-9” being a VA is the very first job she recommends for people wanting to earn money at home in the evenings. As a mum myself, it is a great job to run alongside your family commitments such as the school run or bunging on a load of washing. But when you look at the reality, is The Mummy VA a reality or is it a Mummy Myth? It’s one of the things we looked at in the UK Virtual Assistant Survey – firstly, are VAs typically mums? Secondly, are they working without childcare in place juggling their commitments? And lastly, does it affect your income?
We’ve now asked these questions three years in a row – and the results are fairly consistent:
- Around 35% of VAs are mums with young children.
- The percentage of WAHMs who have no childcare in place is 1.5% of the industry – which has fallen in the last 2 years from 4%.
So “The Mummy Myth” (as I call it) is just pure fantasy – it’s actually comparable to the amount of men working in this female dominated industry at just 1%.
We looked at the rates mums charge compared to the non-mums – the mums without childcare were earning over 24% less than the average VA rate.
You could argue that the hours available to work are hampering their earning potential – that is, until you look at what other VAs working the same amount of hours earn, and the mums without childcare are still earning 20% less than those working similar part-time hours.
If you want to earn a living from being a VA – you need childcare in place.
The full UK Virtual Assistant Survey can be purchased at £25 from: