What You Need to Know About Being A Virtual Assistant

by WorkFromHome on November 3, 2011

This is a new economy. You hear it in the news; you see it in the businesses that you use. Brick and mortar businesses have to change if they want to survive. One of the largest transitions that are taking place is in the office itself. Executives that need to reduce expenses, but cannot at the same time reduce the services required to run their business, are turning to virtual assistants.

A virtual assistant is someone that performs all of the duties that an executive assistant performs, but does so from home. The Internet, mobile phones, and teleconferencing have made this possible. Executives can reduce their office expenses by not having to pay the related expenses of an office worker, yet still have duties performed. This trend has created a large opportunity for anyone that desires to work from home.

What Duties Do Virtual Assistants Perform?

Virtual assistants will perform a multitude of duties, much like their office-based counterpart. Some of your duties may include:

  • Scheduling appointments with clients
  • Scheduling appointments for clients
  • Making airline and hotel reservations
  • Setting up conferences locally and in other destinations
  • Follow up customer support
  • Email contact
  • Mailings both online and offline
  • Creating news letter
  • Ordering supplies
  • Processing documents
  • Creating documents
  • Interaction among other virtual assistants in the company

This is just a brief list of some of the duties that may be part of the job description. Each assignment will have its own requirements.

Are Virtual Assistants Real Employees?

Some virtual assistants work as employees of the company. They must be “punch-in” every day and they must represent themselves as an employee. These virtual assistants are paid an hourly wage like land-based office assistants and receive many of the benefits of employment. These positions are more commonly known as telecommuting positions.

Many virtual assistants work as freelance professionals. A freelancer is someone who performs specific duties for a business or individual or business for payment. Freelancers are sub-contractors and are responsible for their own taxes and other expenses. However, many virtual assistants prefer this type of work over telecommuting because they are free to select the types of jobs they perform and the payment they receive.

Is Freelancing As A Virtual Assistant Rewarding?

Working as a freelance virtual assistant will have many rewards. The first, and most important bonus to freelancing is the experience you gain. Each time you complete a project you have learned something new. You can add a service to your business from this experience, you can earn more money.

Some smaller companies may only need a virtual assistant to perform a small task, like create materials to distribute at a trade show. Other larger corporations may need a virtual assistant to help set up a conference that will have world-wide attendees. As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and so are the rewards.

By accepting freelance positions to complete this various tasks you also receive another benefit that is not often thought about. You have the freedom to be free of monotony. Executive assistant work can become quite tedious and routine. So many people literally hate their jobs because of the boredom. When you are a virtual assistant you are always doing something different, learning something new. It keeps the job interesting and the mind fresh.

Who Can Become A Virtual Assistant?

Anyone can become a virtual assistant. The only true qualifications required is the ability to get the job done that is presented to you. Of course, organizational skills are a must, as is the ability to be on time. Punctuality is critical to this job. Executives do not like to wait, nor do they like to be seen as late. You must be organized and punctual to excel in this profession.

Any skills that you have can be converted into experience. Have you planned personal parties before? Then you have event organization skills. Have you compiled your Christmas card list on your computer? Then you have data entry skills. Have you talked with Skype to your family and friends that live far away? Then you have teleconferencing capabilities. Anyone that is determined can become a virtual assistant.

Some companies, if applying as an employee, may require previous office experience. If you have that experience, pursue the job. If you are starting out fresh, consider freelancing instead. This is a growing industry, and the time to enter it is now.

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