Definition and Examples of a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location. Administrative tasks are most common for virtual assistants. However, they may also assist with any other elements required by the business. Here, you’ll learn more about what virtual assistants do and how to hire one.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is simply an assistant who works remotely. As technological advancements in the 1990s brought reliable internet to more homes, businesses realized they didn’t have to bring an employee into the office to get work done, and this led to the first virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help. However, don’t want to spend the money on an office space for staff. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks, such as social media management.
Theoretically, a virtual assistant can do anything that another support staff might do. There are limitations, but technology is increasingly offering ways to work around those limitations. For example, they may not be able to physically bring you coffee in the morning, but they can place a coffee or lunch order through a food delivery service.
Virtual support duties are not limited to clerical work. They may provide assistance with marketing, web design, bookkeeping, and many other services. Some virtual assistants specialize in a specific skill set, and they only perform duties related to those skills. Other virtual assistants specialize in an industry, such as a virtual assistant whose niche is assisting realtors.
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
While virtual support is a great home business idea for assistants, getting virtual help can also be crucial for home business owners seeking to maximize income and facilitate growth. As a home business owner, there may come a time at which it’s impossible to do everything by yourself. And if you’re still able to do everything yourself, you may lose the ability to do it all as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Hiring a virtual assistant frees up your time so you can focus on the work that will make money and grow your business. Plus, many virtual assistants are better than you at certain tasks. It’s always more efficient and less expensive in the long run to hire out duties you’re not skilled at.
The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is to make a list of the tasks you want to outsource. In addition, make a complete list that prioritizes the activities you want to delegate. For example, if you find it overly time-consuming and tedious to manage your email’s inbox, put that at the top of your list. Or, maybe tech issues are taking too much time, so you can outsource website management.
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- A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location.
- Administrative tasks are most common for virtual assistants, but a virtual assistant could perform any form of remote assistance.
- Virtual assistants often (but don’t always) start their own business or work as independent contractors.
- Businesses often hire virtual assistants for low-cost help with administrative tasks.