What is a Virtual Assistant?

By far, the job title that encompasses the widest variety of job duties is a Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant works from home providing a wide variety of tasks.

These tasks range from general in nature (customer support, receptionist, correspondence) to very specialized (web design, bookkeeping, technical support.) A career in this field can be very fulfilling, providing you with a sense of accomplishment and a nice income!

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

As a Virtual Assistant, the tasks you complete will vary based on the needs of your client or employer. It goes without saying, the more skills you have, the more in-demand you’ll be. Here’s a few common skills that are useful when looking at entering the Virtual Assistant field… remember, you don’t need to know how to do all theses things, but the more you do know, the more work will be available to you!

Customer Support: You may be responsible for handling customer support issues for your client, both over the phone and by email. You’ll need to portray a professional manner, and be able to think on your feet! Excellent written and verbal skills are required.

Executive Support: Many company executives hire Virtual Assistants to help them with day-to-day operations. This may include managing their appointment calendar, scheduling meetings, taking messages, sorting e-mail, and handling their travel arrangements.

Virtual Receptionist: Many organizations are taking advantage of hiring Virtual Assistants to act as a receptionist for their virtual work-force. Sales teams and on-site support groups often utilize a virtual receptionist to take their incoming calls, route to the appropriate person, or take messages.

Website Management: Many Virtual Assistants are savvy website designers. They are able to provide small business owners with a hands-on, personalized approach to managing their online presence. Great skills to have include website design, blog management, Internet promotion, and social network marketing.

What do you need to be a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is usually an independent contractor, someone who provides all their own tools and resources in the line of working for a client. Creating a professional image is critical… nobody wants to hire a Virtual Assistant who works in their living room with the TV on and kids in the background!

You need a home office space, equipped with everything you necessary to succeed. This includes a quiet workspace that is free from interruptions. If you have kids, make sure you have office hours where you can work without background noise.

Your office will also need a quality computer system. If you have a family computer, make sure your machine is cleaned of all viruses and temporary files. You don’t want a slow computer to slow down your chances at finding work! Make sure you have a quality, dedicated high-speed internet connection.

A quality phone line and equipment are important too. Make sure that you have a separate line for your clients or employer to reach you on… a business line that isn’t busy with personal calls, or being answered by your teenage son!

Who is looking for Virtual Assistants?

The types of people hiring Virtual Assistants is just as varied as the tasks you’ll be completing. Individual professionals, business owners, executives, small business, non-profit organizations, sales teams, corporations… all are joining the Virtual Assistant movement. By outsourcing administrative support services, a business can save money while maintaining a flexible workforce.

We’ve divided up the types of people who may hire you as a Virtual Assistant in three categories, described below:

Company positions: You may be able to find a position as a Virtual Assistant directly with a company, where you’ll be a home-based employee. These tend to be more customer-service oriented jobs that essentially extend the company’s call center through their virtual employees.

Virtual Assistant organizations: There are lots of companies that promote Virtual Assistant services, then essentially outsource the work to their team of VAs. If you get listed with one or more of these organizations, you can begin accepting tasks right away. Just search online for Virtual Assistants, and see who is hiring.

Personal clients: Most successful VAs will find and develop their own clients. These range from individual professionals to small business owners. You may need to hit the pavement and promote your service to local companies. If you can build a professional website, you’ll also have more luck if you can build a professional online presence.

A rewarding home career

If you can become a Virtual Assistant, you’ll find it can be a very rewarding home based career. The flexibility it provides you may be exactly what you need to juggle a home based career, family, and the rest of your life! The wide variety of tasks you’ll be completing keeps your days exciting.