What is a virtual assistant?

A woman in an office performs the duties of 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:

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.

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:

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:

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:

  1. Document the tasks you are looking to outsource.
  2. Create a job description and post it online.
  3. Review the applications and schedule interviews.
  4. Give your top candidates a test.
  5. Give the best candidate a trial period.
  6. 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:

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:

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.