Thanks for sharing this, Lauren Smiley.
As one of those included in the “5–10%” that left after Zirtual converted to employee status, it was a really sad thing to see the news that ZAs and Zirtual clients when I logged into Twitter before starting my work that day. I wasn’t surprised in the least — I butted heads with Maren a bit during my time as a ZA, and one of my main reasons for leaving Zirtual was the way management treated ZAs and clients.
The best part about being a ZA was the community that Zirtual had created for its contractors. I was just out of college, and I was working with a bunch of interesting people, all trying to figure out this new field of virtual assisting. What was even less surprising than Zirtual’s demise was the way ZAs picked themselves up and banded together to move forward.
I started my own virtual assistant business (InboxHero), right after leaving Zirtual in 2014, and had already gone through the hard work of finding clients, learning how to use an accountant and manage finances, and create documents like contractor agreements and NDAs. I was able to join these Facebook and LinkedIn groups for ZAs and send these now-unemployed ZAs resources and advice so they could get on their feet as quickly as possible. It was so great to see how many ZAs took that advice and started their own virtual assistant agency.
There is a ton to learn from Zirtual’s mismanagement, but in the end, I think many people will be better off for having gone through the experience.