What makes VA a domain expert? 10,000 hours of intense practice. 416 days and 16 hours beating on your craft. 5 years at a full-time job. 2 years and 6 months of sleepless nights. Still, it does not guarantee you’ll reach an expert-level performance. Before you kick up a fuss about me being too pessimistic consider the following example. You claim to be an expert on cooking perfect spanish omelette. I find it too spicy for my taste and someone else believes it’s too salty for their taste, we two could question your expertise.
Let me share with you my perception of this concept. I have been working as a virtual assistant long enough to figure out that the term domain expert is far more extensive than I first thought. A person is believed to deserve this status upon building a strong theoretical foundation, developing skills and special knowledge in a particular area. When intepreted through the prism of virtual assistant profession this definition needs broadening.
A domain expert is a person who has asserted an authority in the specific field by performing work that satisfies customer needs. A world of knowledge is just a shell with no substance unless a domain expert has a vision how to apply it and modify it to satisfy the client.
Virtual assistants who offer content management services are expected to be accomplished wordsmiths with profound understanding of SEO optimization techniques. To deserve the Domain Expert status it is not enough, though. Virtual assistant vying to be an expert goes an extra mile to learn everything about the product line that client manufactures, delve deep into the business field the client works in, pick up an area of expertise necessary to perform the task successfully. The upshot is a professionally put together blog post or optimized website content.
There is a process of acquiring new skillset. Before virtual assistants start to associate themselves with skillful savvy domain experts they invest their time in the most effective way they can. These are the stepping stones of the process of building expertise in a certain area of knowledge:
1. Removing hurdles
At the very outset your interaction with new knowledge domain resembles the hunt after mythical unicorn. Virtual assistant grabs enthusiasm, summons willpower, pulls together all patience to harness this elusive beast. The first learning barrier is early hours which are extremely frustrating. You think of the time and effort it’ll take to eventually develop new skill and start to feel panicky. Of course in today’s hectic world we don’t have time and all our efforts are usually invested. Yet, this frustration begins to subside the moment start asking questions related to products, techniques, processes. You frame question, hunt for answers, make notes and before you know your learning curve won’t be that dteep and intimidating.
2. Getting involved
Virtual assistants get involved in various activities related to the project area. By showing enthusiasm and inquisitive mind, inviting themselves to the meetings where clients explain or discuss with managers important in this area topics virtual assistants start growing in this particular field.
Joining online forums, getting involed into discussions, seeking opinions of domain experts is a sure and fast way to build expertise and keep yourself updated.
4. Exploring options
What virtual assistant do apart from their primary tasks delegated by the clients they never neglect their secondary tasks which are equally as urgent but probably a bit less important. Few things can beat the importance of tasks sent by the client. Very few, I guess, as I have no memory of any. Secondary tasks boil down to keeping one’s eyes peeled for new techniques, methods, innovations and changes in the industy the clients is engaged in.
There is no greater investment than into self-development. Every virtual asistnat who is already a domain expert knows certifications, trainings and workshops keep their mind sharp, memory at its best and clients satisfied with quality of tasks completed. Besides, what you master stays with you for the rest of your life. This is something none can take from you.
With high motivation and these 5 techniques that virtual assistants are hands-on mythical unicorn may still be elusive but you’ll see an expert-level performing professional any day now. Quite a catch!