Am I Too Old to Be a VA? Will Clients Hire Me at My Age?

by | Oct 7, 2022 | 0 comments

With over seven years of training Virtual Assistants, this is one of the most common concerns people bring up. Understandably so, with the rampant ageism problem in the corporate world. 

We’re proud to say that at the Virtual Excellence Academy, we’ve trained VAs in their early 20s to late 60s to build successful location-independent careers!  

Let’s be honest, closed-minded individuals will always bring their biases into any space, online or off, but at DNK, we want to remind the world that working as a VA is one of the most diverse and inclusive career paths that you’ll find. The career-crushing obstacles of the corporate world, such as ageism, sexism, and even the demand for college degrees, are considered rarities in this space. 

The vast majority of clients don’t care at all about age. If anything, age = more life and work experience, clients tend to favor this over anything else. As long as you know how to do the work and put in the effort to build an outstanding client experience, you will have no problem landing plenty of clients who trust you and value your skills.

We wanted to highlight the experiences of DNK-certified Virtual Assistants over the age of 40 to give you a sample of the sweet success and remind you that it’s never too late to design the lifestyle of your dreams.

Esther Franken (she/her) France, age 57

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Esther: VA/OBM for female coaches (Dutch, English, French-speaking), especially online marketing and workflows.

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Esther: 53 years old. I wanted to work, couldn’t get a job because of my age, and wanted to try on my own, knowing I had a lot of qualities I could help clients with.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Esther: Do it! Don’t question things too much and just do it. As a VA it’s less about age and more about skills and entrepreneurship, so if being your own boss is your thing, don’t let anything else stop you.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Esther: As I said above, the online space is less about age, so very suited to more mature business owners willing to share their skills with the world. Especially if you’re not afraid to continue learning and being flexible. No one ever questions my age; they do of course question how long I have been working in this role. I think, whether you want to be a business owner versus an employee is more of a dilemma/problem/question (for yourself) than age.

Cristina (she/her) Bucharest, Romania, age 41

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Cristina: I provide help for coaches and tech entrepreneurs so they have more time for their businesses and themselves. 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Cristina: 40. The most important thing for me was the freedom to build my own business on my own rules

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Cristina: This is the perfect moment for you to make the switch. It’s time to put yourself first.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Cristina: Yeah, 40s are the new 20s 😏

Sybil Sanchez (she/her) Mexico City, Mexico, age 53

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Sybil: I provide strategic marketing plans, copywriting and social media manage, and book promotion services support to wellpreneurs, Jewish authors, and others.

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Sybil: 53

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Sybil: DO IT! Don’t let anyone stop you or make you feel like you are too old to contribute. Being a VA is a path toward freedom and toward focusing on being hired for your skills, not your age or some intangible factor like personality or who you know. You have the capacity to put yourself out there and compete for good jobs based on what you can do, not who you are. But you do need to be strategic about it, that’s what marketing is for.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Sybil: Everything old is new again, eventually. There is no one new hip thing you don’t know, you have the capacity to learn just like everyone else and there’s no hidden club of younger professionals aging you out. If you’re interviewing for jobs and someone asks you whether you’re “overqualified,” don’t let it phase you, be prepared in any case to highlight your skills and the outcome of your work, without stressing your age or long history.

Ren Caldwell (she/her) Arizona, USA, age 46

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Ren: I’m an opinionated Capricorn who effectively builds beautiful brands to help businesses present professionally and authentically, which enables them to grow and prosper. 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Ren: Technically, I’m a web designer and marketing professional who now does a fair amount of print collateral and visual branding. But I do VA in the sense that I help people with most anything they ask me for – because I can. I help write job descriptions and post ads on indeed. I make email accounts and little signs to post around the office. I mean, I really do whatever my clients as of me. I have 23 years in web and marketing experience in the corporate world. I went 100% solo in 2019 with my first design and social media client. I could work from home. I could offer the services they needed outside the agency box so each person is customized.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Ren: Society told us our entire lives that we are to go to work in an office in a 9 to 5 job, but that’s not how the world is anymore. There is no need to feel guilty about working from your PJs with your cats. You have a skills – or a mad suite of skills -that you acquired over your many years in life – in the office, or even as a housewife – that other business owners can find useful. There is always something that someone needs help with, so you’re not selling a ware here that isn’t needed. You’re making your skill available to others and they are grateful to have the help in that area they either can’t do or don’t want to do. Helping people feels good and gives us purpose!

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Ren: Remember, 50 is the new 30. We have decades more of life to live. Why not live it from a view of a beach in a foreign country if we can? Also, office relationships are a struggle which means jobs are unreliable. With the VA lifestyle, you get multiple clients YOU get to pick to work with and if one goes south, you’re not out of a job, you just have room for a great new client!

Jennifer Scales (she/her) Germany, age 40

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer: I enable passionate female solopreneurs to confidently show up as the face of their brand through selection and editing of existing photos and virtual photoshootings. 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Jennifer: I just started a few months before I turned 40, trying to figure out how I can tweak and expand my existing freelance business (brand photography and marketing content) to a global audience. What I love about this idea is not only to get to work with a larger variety of cool people, but also to be more flexible when it comes to remote work, or maybe even becoming a digital nomad once my son is grown up.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Jennifer: I think life and job experience are a real asset in this career. Use it to your advantage!

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Jennifer: I think that for some people over 40, especially women, ageism is not (only) something that they experience in direct contact with client (i.e. not getting hired because of age), but also a matter of lack of representation in the online world.

We are constantly flooded with images and messages of young and beautiful women who are successful in their online business, so that it sometimes seems there is no place for anyone who doesn’t fit this description.

I really hope that my skills and services can help a little with this issue, by helping women of any age to show up with their personality, not as a shiny surface.

Paula Rajaratnam (she/her) Johor Bahru, Malaysia, age 50 (and loving it!)

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Paula: I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur, a social media content creator who helps run social media accounts for my clients, I’m also a migration consultant and I do Human Design readings too! 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Paula: I officially launched my VA career this year just before my 50th birthday! But I’d been working on becoming a VA since I was about 43 years old. As a mum of two boys, I have a wonderful life, but I was acutely aware of the empty nest around the corner and didn’t want to get there and have nothing to do. I slowly became a VA and loved the journey!

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Paula: Be curious, jump! Have faith and experiment! What you thought you would be doesn’t have to be that way forever, you can change and pivot anyway you like, this is your life and YOU get to choose how you run it.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Paula: To me, becoming a VA and starting my own business at the age I am has been a fantastic roller-coaster journey. Every day I am learning something new and exploring different things. At the age of 50 being able to register my company and actually hire an accountant has been super enlightening for me. If you’d asked me 7 years ago if I could do this, I would have said no, but here I am creating, living and loving my life!!

Julia Hajewski (she/her) Surf City, NC age 45

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Julia: I provide online support for families of intellectually disabled adults with dementia and alzheimers. I help families get organized with finances, legal documents and research on assisted living facilities. It’s very rewarding. 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Julia: 43-ish. I fell into it since my parents got sick. I had to take over all of their finances, legal issues, rental property, taxes, etc.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Julia: I think life and job experience are a real asset in this career. Use it to your advantage!

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Julia: As long as you love helping people, have a desire to learn new technologies, are organized and a nice person you can go far as a VA.

Reme Mancera (she/her) Málaga, Spain, age 44

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Reme: I’m a personal brand strategist who guides online course creators to simplify the way they promote their courses and programs by using my Natural Framework. 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Reme: I started my own business as a VA right when I was 40 years old. I learned what a VA was and thought it was a position that could fit me because I could use my previous experience and specialize in services that I was comfortable with. Plus, it offers me the ability to work remotely, which was my goal. Since online learning brings many people access to education and that is something that resonates with my values, I started working as a VA for course creators. I’m very glad I chose this specialization because I’ve learned and grown a lot not only professionally but also personally.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Reme: Go ahead. I’m sure you already have the experience, background and skills to start as a VA. It’s a really flexible position, as you will be the one to choose what your specialization will be. I feel that in the digital work environment, compared to the traditional one, the age barriers are lower.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Reme: I strongly encourage you to embrace your uniqueness because it will help you have a more profitable business while attracting customers aligned with your values. And don’t forget: simplify and focus.

Antonella Di Franco (She/Her) Bangkok, age 47

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Antonella: I help purpose-driven entrepreneurs and businesses, basically businesses that positively contribute to society. These might be psychotherapists, or responsible travel companies, or artists. I help on two fronts, either by taking over dull or time-consuming tasks so they can focus on what makes them happy or by providing an Online Business Management service where I help them strategise their business by looking at where they are, where they want to go, and how to get there. I am also a certified ADHD Virtual Assistant and I help with coaching on productivity and time management techniques.

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Antonella: 46. Well, I have always liked new technologies but my job at the time was very much old-fashioned so I’m still learning a lot of new things! I have also wanted to travel full time for a long time and being a VA seemed to combine traveling and a way to support myself.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Antonella: In many respects your age and the wisdom that comes with it (hopefully!) can be an asset: it allows you to stand out from other VAs especially at the eyes of more mature entrepreneurs who might be new to the online world and might feel more comfortable with someone of the same age bracket.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Antonella: So far most of the “ageism” I have encountered has been on how long I have been a VA rather than how old I actually am. That can feel like an old-fashioned and restrictive viewpoint, especially if businesses are discounting VAs or OBMs who might be new to the virtual world but have worked in corporate for years. On the other hand, I see VAs with years of experience who sometimes lack common sense and even basic skills, so who’s the most valuable really? This is something that really puzzles me.

Stephen Halper (he/him) Mexico age 43

Let’s start with an introduction, please tell us a little about yourself.

Stephen Halper (he/him) Mexico age 43: I serve coaches and e-commerce sellers, helping them run their business and throw events. 

How old were you when you became a VA, and what attracted you to this career?

Stephen: I was 41 when the pandemic put me out of a job. I spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry. I always loved to travel but rarely had the time or the funds. Being location independent was my biggest draw.

What would you say to someone over 40 who is interested in a VA career? 

Stephen: I never imagined I had the skills to work online. I never even owned my own computer. After buying my first laptop and taking a couple of courses I sold out my services 3 months later. If I could do it so can you.

Is there anything else you would like to share on this important topic? 

Stephen: It’s all about networking and getting your name out there.

Thank you to all of our incredible VAs who shared their experiences! Whether you’re 40+ or not, we hope this can inspire you and help you realize that working as a Virtual Assistant is a beautiful career path to start at any age and a career in which you can continue to thrive long-term.

If you need a high-quality VA to support your business, visit our hiring page and let us help you find a DNK-certified Virtual Assistant to make your life easier. 

But, how?

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *