A virtual assistant is a self -employed person who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from home or an office.
A virtual assistant provides services to individuals, organizations or companies, but works online instead of going into the client’s office. It is an excellent work-at-home opportunity and one of the most cost-effective ways of making money online. It’s simply a matter of charging others for a skill you already have.
Who Uses Virtual Assistants?
The hiring of virtual assistants is becoming very popular and there is a growing number of virtual assistants right here in Jamaica (including myself). It is most popular among small business owners, sole traders, busy professionals and bloggers; there are also corporate companies that hire virtual assistants.
This becomes necessary especially when the business is new or when there are no other staff members. It is also a way of getting things done easier and more effectively. This also frees up valuable time for the client to work on projects and tasks only they can complete.
It is also much more cost-effective to hire a virtual assistant than an in-office employee. For the client, this means savings on things like office supplies, health insurance, and other employee benefits.
Characteristics and Requirements to Become a Virtual Assistant
One of the first skill that stands out is anyone with administrative or clerical experience; however, if you possess great organizational skills you are a good candidate. Teachers, stay-at-home parents, human resources professionals, paralegals, nurses and accountants also possess many of the traits needed to succeed. As a matter of fact, anyone can be a virtual assistant if you commit yourself to learn the job.
Some characteristics are:
- Being Organized
This list is in no way exhaustive, but if you possess most of these you are well on your way.
Should you become a virtual assistant?
Do you have the passion and desire of an entrepreneur? A virtual assistant is a business owner. You have to possess the skills to grow your business and make money by providing a viable product.
You have to be able to follow instructions and handles administrative work and other details as dictated by the client. Virtual assistants are hired either by the hour or on contract. You have to also be able to work for more than one client at a time if the need arises.
A virtual assistant is not a secretary and they don’t answer to anyone but themselves. A virtual assistant work in his/her own home office. Work is delegated and delivered via email, fax, telephone, mail and any other way she agrees to with her client.
Small and home business owners use virtual assistants because it allows them to get their work done without hiring and housing an employee. But in this fragile economic climate, larger businesses are using virtual assistants to replace employees who have been laid off.
Some Jobs Virtual Assistants performs
- Create articles for websites/blogs
- Do web design
- Create a database
- Do research
- Customer service
- Administrative/secretarial duties
- Events Planning
- Responding to letters and e-mails
- Do transcription
- desktop publishing
- video/audio production
- Social media management
Tips to become a Virtual Assistant
- Commitment. You have to determine how much time and energy you have to commit to this business. Your clients are depending on you and you have to deliver.
- Start a blog. A blog is a good way for you to display your skills and also for prospective clients to have a look at your work. It also serves as a portfolio for beginners in the business since you would not be able to put together a portfolio of previous jobs. If you are interested in starting a blog you can Get Started today.
- Create a Business Plan. Every business requires planning so you have to set your goals and design strategies to achieve them. Ensure you also set a budget so you do not overspend.
- Advertise your business. Your marketing skills have to kick in at this time so that you can adequately sell your business. You have to go to the potential clients, visit where they hang out.
- Register with websites that offers jobs. There are quite a lot of sites but for starters, I would recommend:
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