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What Is A Virtual Assistant? This Important Role Explained

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As companies expand, it becomes challenging to monitor all the daily operations.

Running a business smoothly is difficult if employees are engaged in a quick-moving environment.

However, hiring in-house employees to help with the workload isn’t always the solution, especially if you have limited office space.

This is where virtual assistants become handy.

More companies are hiring virtual assistants, allowing people to work remotely.

So, what is a virtual assistant?

Keep reading to get a high-level answer and understand these professionals’ primary roles.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is an employee who provides administrative services to companies while working away from the organization’s offices.

Most virtual assistants work from home and can access various documents remotely, such as shared calendars.

What Is the Difference Between a Virtual Assistant and an Executive Assistant?

Even though some assume it’s the same, there is a difference between virtual and executive assistants.

First, virtual assistants work remotely, while executive assistants are full-time employees.

For example, executive assistants must report to work daily because they are considered in-person assistants, but virtual assistants can work from home.

Second, virtual assistants are paid less than executive assistants.

For instance, US-based virtual assistants are paid $50,000 to $120,000 annually, while executive assistants are paid $60,000 to $150,000 annually.

Executive assistants are paid more because they work full-time.

Ultimately, having a good assistant is imperative since they aid in the company’s administration.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

A virtual assistant offers many services, including business development, social media, marketing, and administrative services.

These professionals focus on tasks that don’t need special training, allowing business owners to concentrate on other issues.

However, their role may vary depending on the employer.

What Are the Most Popular Virtual Assistant Services?

Virtual assistant services are common in many organizations.

They include:

  • Customer services.
  • Data entry.
  • Content editing.
  • Research.
  • Monitoring the company’s expenses.

What Are Virtual Assistant Tasks Every Day?

A virtual assistant is involved in the daily operations of a company.

So, what do virtual assistants do every day?

Some of their tasks include making phone calls, organizing emails, planning different appointments, and making travel plans.

Outsourcing blog writing assignments to virtual assistants is also common among many companies.

Who Needs a Virtual Assistant?

Here are some of the people who need virtual assistant services.

1. Business Owners

Business owners need virtual assistants, especially when the business is new.

It allows them to focus on multiple business operations without worrying about other monotonous work.

A virtual assistant will help manage finances, customer services, marketing, and prepare business reports.

2. Busy Freelancers

Freelancers with many clients are usually busy because they have to manage all their clients’ needs.

Most of these professionals hop from one task to another and may even forget to schedule some tasks.

This is where a virtual assistant comes in.

These assistants will help you to schedule your calendar, manage your communication, and organize your social media platform.

3. Company Executives

Company executives are usually busy because they are part of the organization’s administration.

They need a virtual assistant to help them with administrative duties, such as data entry, making their calendar, and monitoring the competitor’s products.

Virtual assistants undertake administrative roles, easing company executives’ schedules.

Are Virtual Assistants in Demand?

Yes, with the surging increase in internet users, constituting five billion users worldwide, virtual assistant services are increasingly in demand.

Small and large businesses prefer outsourcing through virtual assistant websites to find competent VAs.

Their demand is also high as businesses view them as assets that can help increase the company’s revenue by a significant margin.

Hiring a virtual assistant saves businesses money because they pay the VAs per project.

This means you can only pay them when you need their services.

How Many Hours Do Virtual Assistants work?

Virtual assistants can work for approximately 30 hours a week.

These hours greatly depend on their flexibility, work demand, and agreement with their employers or clients.

Some virtual assistants have their businesses; thus, they decide how many hours they want to work.

In contrast, others are employed so they can work for a company as a full-time or part-time virtual assistant.

All these options are available for companies and clients to consider.  

How Much Money Can You make as a Virtual Assistant?

As a virtual assistant, the amount of money you make depends on your area of expertise and working experience.

According to Zip recruiter, virtual assistants can earn between $7 to $62 an hour, $288 to $2500 a week, up to $10,875 a month, and as high as $15,000 to $130,000 annually.

What Qualifications Do You Need to be a Virtual Assistant?

Remarkably, having a career as a virtual assistant does not formally require any form of training.

Nevertheless, VAs need the relevant experience and background education to meet their client’s requests.

For example, the financial, law, social media, graphic design, and entrepreneurship administration require some of these experiences.

Here are some of the qualifications you may need to be a virtual assistant:

  • Have prior administrative, secretary, or office assistant experience.
  • Have proficient communication and time-management skills.
  • Have relevant certification by enrolling in virtual assistant training courses.

These certifications allow you to prove to your clients that you have specialized knowledge and are suitable for the project.

For instance, if you have clients that frequently conduct international businesses, consider learning a few foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, German, and French. These are typically offered in any institute of your choice.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Let’s discuss some steps on how to become a virtual assistant:

1. Hone Your Skills

Having specific skills as a virtual assistant demonstrates your proficiency and professionalism.

They also increase your chances of gaining more job opportunities.

For instance, since no formal physical contact is involved, clients mostly rely on emails, phone calls, and video calls to communicate.

Thus, you need to have exceptional oral and written communication to perform these tasks.  

Additionally, employers and clients require their virtual assistants to possess the following:

  • Computer proficiency
  • Discipline
  • Be resourceful and willing to find solutions to impossible tasks
  • Be dependable
  • Detail-oriented
  • Creative
  • Interpersonal skills where they are friendly and approachable

2. Polish Your Resume

If you want to become a virtual assistant, you need to perfect and revise your resume.

Consider listing all your skills and certifications, reflecting on your working experience, and any specialized knowledge to allow your clients and employers to know your job capabilities.

This information will make your resume appealing and help you stand out among other applicants.

Look For Jobs

You can become a virtual assistant by applying for jobs at different organizations.

If you have no experience, you may consider starting small with low-paying jobs and rising through the ranks while building your portfolio and gaining experience.

For instance, consider the following:

  • Try a recruitment agency. The agency may offer assistant jobs and pitch your services as virtual assistance.
  • Network with people during events. Networking allows you to talk to experts in different fields, increasing your chances of landing an interview at a prospective company.
  • Job websites. By using advanced search options, you can apply for different jobs simultaneously.

3. Prepare for Interviews

You must prepare for your virtual assistant interviews to be successful.

Here are tips to help you in the preparation.

  • Have comprehensive answers to the routine interview questions.
  • Look for selling points.
  • Be positive and confident.
  • Have a strong closing argument.

4. Get Practice

You must practice to become an excellent virtual assistant to get the job.

Look for an experienced assistant and ask them for tips.

Implement these tips in your practice to boost your skills.

For instance, you can have a mock virtual assistant practice where you integrate the tips you have gathered from other professionals.

How To Hire a Virtual Assistant

Look for many candidates when hiring a virtual assistant to choose the best.

Let’s discuss the steps on how to find a virtual assistant.  

1. Create a Job Description

Your job description should have the following elements:

  • Job title. The job title should be precise to avoid confusing the candidates. For instance, state that you are looking for virtual assistants.
  • Job summary. Provide an overview of your company and the expectations for the position. You can also include the company’s location, even though the virtual assistant will work remotely.
  • Responsibilities. Indicate the specific roles of a virtual assistant in your company.
  • Qualifications and experience. Highlight the qualifications you are looking for in a virtual assistant. For example, mention the education, skills, and experience a candidate must have to qualify for the job.
  • Salary. Indicate the virtual assistant’s compensation and other benefits your company offers, such as medical coverage.

2. Post It on Job Sites

Post the job description on job sites to attract many candidates.

These websites are the perfect platform for companies looking for potential candidates, as this is where many job-seekers go when looking for a job.

You can also advertise the virtual assistant post verbally to have more candidates.

3. Conduct Interviews

Schedule interviews with candidates who meet all your job description requirements.

Some of the logistical elements to consider during the interview include the following:

  • The virtual assistant’s languages.
  • The assistant’s time zone.

On a professional scale, choose an assistant who is:

  • Organized.
  • Flexible.
  • Resourceful.
  • Reliable.
  • Proactive.  

4. Vet Candidates

Choose the three top candidates for the vetting process after the interviews.

The vetting process should include assessing the candidates’ background qualifications and skills.

For instance, you can check their academic qualifications to ensure they are accurate.

You should also consider the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate as a virtual assistant to determine who matches your company’s values.

Hire a virtual assistant who meets all your requirements and is eager to aid in the company’s growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some FAQs about virtual assistants.

How do Virtual Assistants Get Paid?

While most virtual assistants accept money orders and bank checks, they prefer getting paid through their PayPal accounts.

They prefer PayPal because it is a safe and reliable payment service for most merchants.

It also allows extensive online and in-person payment solutions reducing theft threats.

Regardless of the payment method, virtual assistants accept up-front, weekly, or monthly payments as agreed with their employers.

How do I Train to be a Virtual Assistant?

Suppose you have no direct experience or are a freelancer looking for virtual assistant jobs as a beginner.

In that case, you can train by taking online virtual assistant training courses to learn the best practices.

You can also join LinkedIn or other networking sites and seek help and advice from VA experts on what skills to perfect.

Wrapping up

The world is currently changing as more people are adopting the digital era.

That said, remote working and freelancing are quickly gaining popularity.

Since time is a crucial resource, there are many perks to hiring a virtual assistant.

They benefit the business by helping ease the workload and providing more time for you to focus on high-impact tasks.

Having a virtual assistant by your side may give you an edge to rise above your competitors in the market.

Consider hiring one today!

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