A virtual assistant (VA) is someone who works for clients in a remote setting, typically in a home office setting.
While the responsibilities of virtual assistants vary depending on the needs of the clients, VAs can expect to perform basic administrative tasks and report to the clients or businesses that hire them directly.
Although virtual assistants often work from home or in rented office spaces, they may work from anywhere as long as they have a reliable internet connection and space to complete their daily duties.
Many small businesses hire virtual assistants as contractors when the businesses cannot afford additional employees in the office space or the benefits that they are required to offer to full-time employees according to federal and state laws. However, individuals may also hire VAs to help manage their schedules.
Virtual assistants’ responsibilities may include updating social media accounts, scheduling meetings or appointments and reviewing paperwork. Most tasks may be completed remotely, but some VA jobs may require assistants to visit an office location on occasion.
If you would like to become a virtual assistant, you should choose a specialization or provide all VA services available for your clients. The sections below explain some of the most common types of virtual assistant jobs accessible.
Most likely, your VA job will entail some tasks related to data entry. There are three main steps involved in data entry that will require you to enter important, potentially confidential, information into electronic filing systems (or folders) to keep documents organized and secured. The basic data entry process is outlined below:
Data entry is vital to business owners because they need to keep sensitive client information and other business documentation organized and easily accessible. As a virtual assistant, you are responsible for ensuring all information is maintained and accurate.
Bookkeeping is another type of VA job available to you. As a bookkeeper, you monitor your clients’ finances by reviewing financial statements, invoicing customers or tracking company expenses. Though, your exact responsibilities will be given to you by your client.
Regardless, your job is to notify your client of any financial issues that may arise or that already exist to prevent further complications. You are also responsible for keeping all financial records in order.
If you choose to be a virtual bookkeeper, then you must have great math skills and feel comfortable using bookkeeping software and working with money.
Working for multiple clients may involve utilizing several software programs and maintaining regular communication with your clients via email. Typically, your clients will provide you with all company information and passwords needed to complete your work effectively.
While bookkeeping positions may offer you a flexible work schedule, you must be aware that your work is still time-sensitive. Your clients may assign you weekly deadlines with a list of tasks you need to do, but you can decide what hours you will work.
Marketing and social media tasks are often a part of virtual assistants’ jobs. Companies that hire virtual assistants may have needed to improve their marketing strategies. For example, virtual assistants may schedule, edit and create social media posts to promote a company, product or brand and design logos and slogans that fit the company’s brand.
These tasks increase public perception of the companies in question and can greatly affect sales and reputations of the companies. Because updating social media accounts regularly can be time-consuming, outsourcing these tasks to virtual assistants is common and can save companies time and money.
Some employers may state that candidates with a bachelor’s degree in marketing or business are ideal, but marketing degrees, or other related certification, is not required. Still, if you want to perform remote marketing and social media services as an assistant, you must demonstrate your ability to use social media and marketing techniques effectively.
Virtual assistants can help keep businesses functioning by responding to, sorting and monitoring correspondence. If businesses receive too many emails, phone calls, etc. to handle onsite, they may enlist the help of virtual assistants to manage their correspondence and guarantee that emails and answered and addressed in a prompt manner.
Depending on the business’ needs, virtual assistants may be responsible for moving emails and related documents into storage files or replying to messages on behalf of other team members.
Virtual assistants, much like onsite assistants, may be responsible for the management and scheduling of events and travel plans for businesses. In fact, traveling and hosting professional events are common occurrences for most businesses, but businesses may require additional assistance to safeguard the success of important events or travel plans. If given such responsibilities as a virtual assistant, you will have to perform a variety of related duties including the following:
Your ultimate goal when managing events and travel details will be to make sure no issues arise that can cause clients frustration during business trips or conferences.