What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant, often referred to as a VA, is just an assistant online. They could do just about anything a regular assistant or administrative assistant would do, the difference is they work from their computer at home instead of directly with their employer.
A VA could be an assistant that has an employer nearby who they work for predominantly from home, or it could be someone that was hired from the internet who they never met in person.
Virtual assistants can do anything from answering phones and emails to scheduling flights to doing research. It’s such a wide industry because every other industry uses assistants. If someone needs extra help, they might hire a VA to do everything they need that’s possible to be done a thousand miles away, if necessary.
Becoming a virtual assistant appeals to a variety of different people. Moms love it because working from home allows them to stay home with their kids. Other people just love the flexibility. Whatever your reason for becoming a virtual assistant, it’s most important to find a good stable job that you enjoy doing and gives you good compensation.
Becoming a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant means taking an inventory of your skills and finding someone who will pay you to use them. Whether you work with local or internet businesses, you need to be able to do the work.
That means staying focused and being self-disciplines. As a VA, you will have deadlines, but you need to be able to push yourself to get the work done when you don’t have a boss coming by frequently to make sure you’re getting your work done.
A virtual assistant is basically a business owner. If you’re an employee who is allowed to work from home most of the time, that’s a little different, but a true virtual assistant has to do their work, please their customers (the company their working for) and pay expenses (computer, internet access, etc.).
Where to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs
There are several different kinds of jobs you can hold as a VA. You can work with one company long-term, work for several companies at once, complete short term or long term assignments, etc. It all depends on where you’re able to find work.
If you don’t qualify for Virtual Office Temps, are looking for something less committal, or just want to do this now and then, check out Elance.com. Sign up with them to set up an account and start browsing jobs in the following categories, just to name a few:
- Customer Service
- Virtual Assistant
- Data Entry
- Web Research
- Word Processing
Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
Basically, a virtual assistant business is working as a virtual assistant. You give your services to businesses and they pay you for it. If you’re having trouble finding work from the places above, you can market your skills as a package.
Create a website listing all the skills and experience you have. Use it as your resume when applying for VA jobs. Market your website and skills on job boards, email businesses, etc. Set prices for different skills. Some things will cost more. For example, transcription won’t cost as much as light programming if you have both skills because one takes more skill than the other.
Another way to conduct a virtual assistant business is to hook up clients with other virtual assistants. There are a few of these types of websites and services already, but you can specialize in a certain industry, community, region or skill.