What is a virtual assistant?
Looking for some help around the office? Learn what a virtual assistant can do to lighten your daily workload.
What does a virtual assistant do?
A virtual assistant is someone who handles administrative services for clients remotely as an independent contractor. Most virtual assistants work from home and access all necessary files like calendars, planning documents, and other software through the internet.
Virtual assistants can help your business grow by improving its efficiency. One of the main advantages of a virtual assistant is the flexibility that they offer. If you’re already working from home, you can continue to expand your team without having to worry about providing a physical office for your new team member.
Lastly, among the most important benefits is the fact that a virtual assistant will help you reduce your workload significantly. This will allow you to focus your time and energy on more important tasks so you can continue concentrating on growing your business.
Is a virtual assistant remote?
A virtual assistant works remotely, which permits them to perform a variety of tasks on a flexible contract. Since they are remote administrative contractors, the job duties they are assigned to are typically related to office management duties such as taking calls and managing schedules, bookkeeping, handling customer support, conducting research, and so on.
What qualifications are needed to be a virtual assistant?
Some general qualifications of a virtual assistant include the following:
- Must have a computer and a reliable internet connection
- Familiarity with workplace technologies, including online calendars and desktop sharing
- General working knowledge of spreadsheet and word processing software
- Multitasking, time management, and organizational skills
- Ability to work with minimum supervision
What are examples of virtual assistant types?
Although virtual assistants can provide various services to business owners, there are different types of virtual assistants that may specialize in specific categories.
- Administrative. This virtual assistant takes care of all business and personal administrative work. This means that they are responsible for tasks that include bookkeeping, managing emails, scheduling, and filing paperwork.
- Customer service. Some virtual assistants specialize in customer service, and they handle issues that concern emails and phone calls. They are in charge of responding to questions related to products, refunds, and more.
- Graphic design. This type of virtual assistant is specifically experienced in graphic design, can assist your business with logo creation, web page design, and maintenance, and is proficient in Photoshop or InDesign.
Which types of business is a virtual assistant ideal for?
There are multiple business types that could benefit from having the help of a virtual assistant. Some examples include:
- Real estate. This industry can benefit from virtual assistants because they can provide aid when there is a need to complete paperwork, prepare listings, and manage other repetitive tasks for real estate firms.
- Human resources. A virtual assistant may help manage regular human resources tasks such as writing job descriptions, scheduling interviews, redacting follow-up emails, and making phone calls.
- Law firms. Many law firms rely on virtual assistants to help with dictation, note-taking and transcribing tasks, document creation and distribution, meeting organization, and telephone assistance.
- Arts and entertainment. Administrative virtual assistants can be extremely helpful and beneficial in the arts and entertainment industry since they can provide assistance with data entry, appointment scheduling, and communication management. Some other tasks may include finding venues, scheduling speakers, working with vendors, and contacting caterers.
Everyday tasks for a virtual assistant (VA).
When management focuses on pushing their company forward, some of the more minor details fall through the cracks. That’s where a virtual assistant comes in.
Virtual assistants typically handle administrative tasks regarding organization and planning. They can:
- Schedule appointments
- Make and receive phone calls
- Organize spreadsheets
- Manage email accounts
- Create social media profiles
- Record transactions
- Conduct research
- Proofread and edit documents
If you have a specific need, you can also find virtual assistants that are specialists in fields like graphic design, marketing, website management, bookkeeping, social media, and more.
Since they work as independent contractors, virtual assistants bring a level of flexibility to the workplace. You don’t have to worry about filling hours for a full-time employee — just hire a virtual assistant for the tasks you need. This will save you time and money in the long run.
Virtual assistant requirements.
A virtual assistant will preferably have experience with certain platforms that are commonly used in their respective industry.
For example, a virtual assistant in marketing should be comfortable working with Google Suite, uploading files and folders to Dropbox, and using the organization’s preferred scheduling software and email programs, such as MailChimp.
How to hire a virtual assistant.
Before you hire a virtual assistant, make sure you create a detailed employment contract first. Your contract should explain the terms of employment so both you and your assistant are on the same page, preventing any future misunderstandings.
Since virtual assistants are just that — virtual — you can’t just hand them a contract to sign. Send important documents as PDFs to maintain formatting and make them easy to file. Contractors can even sign PDFs electronically so they can start work faster.
Here is a list of steps you can take when looking for or preparing to hire a virtual assistant:
- Document the tasks you are looking to outsource.
- Create a job description and post it online.
- Review the applications and schedule interviews.
- Give your top candidates a test.
- Give the best candidate a trial period.
- Hire your preferred and most qualified virtual assistant candidate.
Creating a virtual assistant job description.
When looking for the right candidate for the virtual assistant position you want to fill, you will need to use the appropriate job posting and qualifications description for the role.
Some of the duties and responsibilities you could consider adding to your virtual assistant job description include the following:
- Respond to emails and phone calls
- Schedule meetings
- Manage the business’s contact list
- Prepare customer spreadsheets and keep online records
- Organize managers’ calendars
- Perform market research
- Create presentations
- Address and fulfill employees’ administrative queries
More resources on increasing efficiency in your business.
Now you have an understanding of what virtual assistants are and what they do, here are more business resources:
- Learn how to build a client intake form to boost your business.
- Learn about the role of a micro-entrepreneur.
- Learn how to scan receipts for taxes.
- Learn why sustainability in business is important.
- Check out some of the best remote work productivity tools.
- Learn about remote collaboration.
Want more tips about working with PDFs online? Discover what more you can do with Adobe Acrobat to create and send shareable PDF documents to remote contractors, request signatures on PDF files, and more.