What is a Virtual Assistant?

December 7th, 2011

A virtual assistant (VA) is an independent professional who provides a variety of services to a company or another individual. Generally, when a person or company hires a virtual assistant, they are doing so to fill a specific need within the company. You may handle everything from phone calls to answering emails. What makes this different from your traditional administrative assistant position is where you are. Rather than being in the office with the professional you are working with, you will tend to be at home or working from a remote location.

Who Hires Virtual Assistants?

Anyone and everyone that has a need for help getting their job done can benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. What is interesting about this position is that it is often tailored to meet the specific needs of the professional. For some, you may be managing a schedule. For others, you may be spending your time uploading information into a system. You could be doing cold calling or you could be managing leads already obtained.

In short, anyone that needs something done can benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. Doing so saves that person time to do something else instead. This implies that many types of business professionals, Internet marketers, lawyers and even doctors can benefit from the use of these services.

Should You Apply for a VA Position?

Today’s administrative assistant may apply for a virtual assistant position. However, doing so does mean a different set of tasks to perform and a new environment to work in while you serve the individuals needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you take on this type of job.

  • Know the requirements of the position. These may be vastly different from the types of jobs you have done in the past.
  • Know the requirements to do the job if at home. You may need to use your personal phone, computers and office to complete the job’s requirements. Ensure you have these.
  • Know that some of the virtual assistant positions are only temporary. You may want to apply for multiple positions to fill your time since some are only part time. If you do, be sure you are able to handle the needs of multiple clients.
  • Can you dedicate the time and the space for handling this type of work? Just like any other position, to be paid you will need to be on the job handling tasks as required.
  • Do consider how you will receive payment. Some may pay by the hour while others may pay a flat fee for the service. Since you may work as an independent contractor rather than an employee, this means different tax requirements apply. More so, you may not have any benefits with the position.

For many, the virtual assistant position can open the door to running your own business and setting your own schedule. However, you will need to meet the needs of a demanding client and, even if you have the best client possible, you may be compensated less per hour overall. Take into consideration the job requirements as well as how well you can meet them before taking on a position like this.