Whether you’re looking for a little help at the office or a new work-from-home business opportunity, a virtual assistant may be the solution. If you’re looking for a work-from-home opportunity but think you have to be a writer or designer to do it, perhaps it’s time to look into becoming a virtual assistant. Almost anyone has at least one skill they can leverage to do it. What’s yours?
Oftentimes people misinterpret a virtual assistant as a mere customer service representative who just answers phone calls and assist with inquiries. Virtual support goes beyond administrative, proofreading, editing, correspondence, bookkeeping, time management and promotional.
So, Just What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A “virtual assistant” (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. When most people hear “virtual assistant,” they assume it’s a secretary who works from home, however the duties of a “virtual assistant” entails much more than that and the field has exploded into a variety of skill sets that could be valuable to various professionals. These days, a virtual assistant is someone a lot of busy professionals just can’t do without.
Why Would You Hire A Virtual Assistant?
You may be thinking that if you need an assistant, why not just hire a person to work at your business full time? Well, it comes down to time, money and convenience. A full-time administrative assistant can cost up to $50,000 per for beginner to senior-level administrative assistants in some states. That’s not even including health insurance, bonuses, and other benefits. It can get pretty costly, especially if you don’t need someone around all the time or if you only need their help on a few projects.
A virtual assistant job can be lucrative because the work for multiple people. So you can hire them to work for only the hours or projects that you need them for. If you just need someone for five or so hours a week to take phone calls while you’re in meetings or showing property to a potential buyer, they can do that. If you need them to work more hours one week, they can usually accommodate that. And if for some reason you need to save some cash, depending on the kind of contract you have with them, you can usually just discontinue their services until it’s more financially feasible for you.
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
There are many different types of virtual assistants and they all have different skills and skill levels. Some may gear their work more toward scheduling and logistics, while others may focus on web-based services like manning email accounts, doing research or social media. There are so many things a virtual assistant can do, we can’t list them all, but are just a few things they can help you with:
- Adding tags and images to blog posts
- Respond to email and setup email lists
- Transcribe voice memos, conference calls, and more
- Travel planning and daily schedules
- Online/offline research
- Compile data into organized spreadsheets
- Moderating blog comments
- Help you hire other employees by doing preliminary research on candidates
- Write and distribute standard business communications
- Prepare presentations
- Coordinate with vendors and order new supplies
How To Hire A Virtual Assistant
Just because virtual assistants can do all this stuff doesn’t mean they can all do it equally well. Look for someone who has experience in what you need. A lot of VAs can type, for example, but often you’re better off hiring a person who is also skilled at proofreading and editing, because oftentimes the content they receive to type has grammatical errors and/or fragmented sentences, etc. And a VA who’s great at typing can’t necessarily handle an extra-busy schedule. The key is to write down a list of which skills you need, and find someone who can do them all!