23.02.2021

So what on earth is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

So what on earth is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

 A VA is a freelance contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside of the client's office. A VA typically operates from a home office, sharing access with calendars and email software to perform their duties remotely.

VA’s often have several years of experience as an administrative assistant or office manager. As working from home has become more accepted for both workers and employers in the last year and remote working is going to be more popular, the demand for skilled VA’s is expected to grow.

VA’s have become more prominent as small businesses and start-ups rely on virtual offices to keep costs down and businesses of all sizes increase their use of the internet for daily operations. Because a VA is an independent contractor, a business does not have to provide the same benefits or pay the same taxes that it would for a full-time employee.

Also, since the VA works offsite, there is no need for a desk or other workspace at the company's office. A VA is expected to pay for and provide their own computer equipment, commonly used software programs, and high-speed Internet service.


Whether a sole trader, a small business or part of a large multi-national company, there is always an opportunity to work with a VA. Those starting up in business and struggling to do everything themselves, benefit from the support of a VA, giving them more time to do what they want, which is using their hard-earned expertise to grow their business.

It’s important to pick the VA that has the skills you need, as not every VA specialises in everything. That would be impossible as there is such a wide range of skills in administration. Every VA will list their skills and specialities and it would be wise to pay attention to those.

Another advantage of hiring a virtual assistant is the flexibility to contract for just the services they need. In my business, there is the opportunity to pay in three ways:

  1. By the hour: If you just want to use the services of a VA on an ad-hoc basis, then there is the availability to pay by the hour, as and when you need it. The only downside of this is that the VA might not be available exactly when you need them.
  2. By the project: If you have a particular project going on that you require a VA for the duration, then a price can be discussed and agreed for a set period, with the agreement that if timeframes change, then the discussion on price would re-open.
  3. By retainer: If you think you are going to need regular support, then perhaps you should consider hiring on a retainer for however many hours a week you need. This would ensure that the VA prioritises your work and it will always be done on time.

Large companies, who have ‘streamlined’ their operations over the last year, reducing the number of administrators in the business, will find that their experienced highly paid staff are having to do their own administration as the company recovers to full operations again. A VA could be brought in to support existing administration during large projects or proposals to ensure they are not overwhelmed.

If you are interested in learning more about what a virtual assistant could do for your business, talk to one. We are only too happy to discuss where we could fit in and support you.

 

  • #worklifebalance
  • #smallbusiness
  • #virtualassistant
  • #support

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