This is part of a longstanding debate. Is it better for a Virtual Assistant to be a Jack-of-all-Trades (JOAT) or to become a Master-of-Something (MOS)?  Which one will be best for your business in the long run?

To clarify the difference: A Jack of All Trades is someone who delivers a wide variety of different service to clients because they have the skills to do it.

A Master of Some is a VA who becomes exceptionally great in one or two areas and only offers that as a service to clients?

Here is my personal opinion.

A Jack of All Trades (JOAT) can certainly build a decent business. By being good in a number of skills and doing most things pretty well, you can serve clients in various ways. But, I believe a JOAT will always have a ceiling they can’t break through.

  • It will always be difficult to differentiate their services from others in their field
  • They will always have lots of competition.
  • They will constantly fight for survival to get clients.

One of the biggest problems for a JOAT is that it is often hard for prospective clients to understand the value of your services. Being able to do “whatever” does not always present you as the solution they need. Many small business owners are looking for an expert to assist them with a very specific task.

Just think about it. If you have a water leak you call a plumber, not a general handyman. If you have a heart problem, you need a cardiologist not a GP. It is the same in the VA industry.

Therefore, I believe someone who is a Master of Something (MOS) , can move quite easily past the glass ceiling, and build a very successful business because…

  • They automatically stand out from the competition
  • By becoming a specialist, clients will seek them out
  • They can demand higher rates and reap better financial rewards in the long run.

We see Masters of Something all over the world in the form of people like Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Oprah, and many more.  While they might not be good at everything, they are a master of one thing, which is the reason they are set apart from others.

The decision though between being a JOAT or a MOS really depends on what you want from your business – not everyone wants to specialise.

Still, if you wonder how to become a Master of Some, my suggestion is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What services do you enjoy most and love doing already?
  • What areas do you consider yourself an expert in? What are you already good at?
  • What skills and knowledge areas do you want to develop further?

Evaluate, decide and then start focusing on those services.

Because, when you enjoy what you do, you will figure out a way to be excellent at it. When you are excellent at what you do, you will serve your clients better by doing it really well. When you serve your clients well, you will be rewarded well.

Why not join the debate and share your thought below .


About the author: Francis van Wyk is a business and marketing mentor who helps virtual assistants and women solo-entrepreneurs with planning for success, attracting more clients and building a meaningful business.

Francis created the 6 Step to Boost Your Business System, a results-focused, step-by-step , “how to” approach that teaches simple strategies for positioning and fine-tuning your business to get more clients and enjoy a better income.