A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location. Administrative tasks are most common for virtual assistants, but they can also help with other elements required by the business.
Virtual assistants have also taken the form of Alexas, Siris, Cortanas, Bisbys, and other tech assistants out there. But we are talking about a different type of virtual assistant, more personalized, and that gave rise to new systems.
Here, you’ll learn more about what virtual assistants do, how to become one, and how to hire one.
What is Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is simply an assistant who works remotely. As technological advances in the 1990s brought reliable internet to more homes, companies realized they didn’t need to bring an employee into the office to do work, and this led to the first virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses who need help but don’t want to spend the money on a staffed office space. However, many small and medium-sized businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks like social media management.
Theoretically, a virtual assistant can do anything that other support staff can do. There are limitations, but technology is increasingly offering ways to work around these limitations. For example, they may not be able to physically make coffee in the morning, but they can place a coffee or lunch through a food delivery service.
Virtual support duties are not limited to clerical work. They can provide assistance with marketing, web design, accounting and many other services. Some virtual assistants specialize in a specific skill set , and they only perform tasks related to those skills. Other virtual assistants specialize in an industry, such as a virtual assistant whose niche is helping realtors.
Choosing Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is a way to outsource the organization of tasks to reduce your workload. (Image: MediaMotion Online)
How does a virtual assistant work?
While not a defining aspect of virtual assistants, many of them function as contractors. They can run their own virtual home-based businesses. Customers hire a virtual assistant by signing a contract with this assistant business.
Virtual assistants can also simply function as employees for a company. Other virtual assistants will jump from company to company with short-term contracts found through freelance websites.
READ ALSO:Tips to Protect your iPhone from Hackers
How to be a virtual assistant?
If you decide you want to create a company for your virtual assistant work, the first step is to determine what type of service you want to offer and to whom. Are you going to specialize in a specific task, like graphic design or accounting? Are you going to focus on a niche market, like online entrepreneurs or realtors? Once you know what you are offering, you can configure your pricing for services. You can choose to charge by the hour, or you can sell service packages.
Starting a virtual assistant business is quick, affordable, and easy to do. There is a growing need for virtual help, and if you already have the skills and equipment to get started, you can quickly find your first customer and be on your way.
Check with your city or county regarding a business license. If you are already fully equipped to provide virtual support services, the fees associated with obtaining your license may be your only startup expense.
Once they are set up, you can start finding clients by contacting your network and searching through online job boards for freelance and telecommuting jobs. Consider creating a LinkedIn page and building a website to make it easier for people to hire you.
How to Hire a Personal Assistant Job?
While virtual support is a great home business idea for assistants, getting virtual help can also be crucial for home business owners looking to maximize income and facilitate growth. As a home business owner, there may come a time when it’s impossible to do everything yourself. And if you are still able to do everything yourself, you may lose the ability to do everything as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Hiring a virtual assistant frees up your time so you can focus on work that will make you money and grow your business. Also, many virtual assistants are better than you at certain tasks. It is always more efficient and less expensive in the long run to hire tasks that you are not skilled at.
The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is making a list of the tasks you want to outsource. Make a complete list that prioritizes the activities you want to delegate. For example, if you find it excessively time-consuming and tedious to manage your email inbox, put this at the top of your list. Or maybe the technology issues are too much, so you can outsource your site management.
The next step is to determine who to hire. You can use a virtual assistant service that hires and trains assistants. These services will pull from your talent pool to assign an assistant that meets your needs.
You can also search for an assistant through an online freelance service like Upwork. The final option is to involve your network in a referral. Finding an assistant that is already trusted by someone you trust will save you time (and possibly the headache that comes with a bad hiring decision).
A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location.
Administrative tasks are more common for virtual assistants, but a virtual assistant can perform any form of remote assistance.
Virtual assistants often (but not always) start their own business or work as independent contractors.
Companies often hire virtual assistants for low-cost help with administrative tasks.