Throughout this book, I will refer to Virtual Assistant as VA. A VA is a person who uses the Internet, email, fax and telephone to provide service to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals who need help in their business, but who do not want to hire an employee, purchase equipment or manage an office.
Through the use of the Internet, fax, email and telephone, a VA and a client communicate about projects and the progress, updates and changes of specific tasks that need to be completed for the client. The tasks performed by a VA will depend to a large degree on the background of the VA. Your clients may need an expertise in social networking, special online programs, accounting, bookkeeping, document processing, data management, coaching support, small business support, research, mailing, web design, or may even need help sending personal invitations. Generally a good VA will need a strong knowledge and background in computer skills and the Internet.
Most VA tasks are completed virtually, or at a distance. You will need to have a reliable computer, high speed Internet connection with an email account, fax machine, telephone and knowledge of office organization. You will need to learn to promote yourself and tell people about your business in order to attract clients.
A VA partnership is based to a large extent on trust. You must feel comfortable with your clients and win their trust. You must build a relationship with your clients encouraging them to trust you and delegate their projects to you. A VA is a professional who works alone. You alone determine the number of hours you work and the compensation you receive for your work.
Who Uses a Virtual Assistant?
VA’s are becoming increasingly popular with independent business owners, personal and business coaches, entrepreneurs, sales people and others who do not want to hire employees for a number of reasons.
A VA is not an employee but is an independent contractor and business owner. The advantages for partnering with a VA are many. With a VA, entrepreneurs avoid providing office space and equipment for an additional person, they do not need to manage employees, they do not need to handle benefits, payroll and associated insurance costs. VA’s normally charge an hourly rate plus incidental charges such as long distance phone calls, special paper supplies, mailing costs, etc.
VA’s most likely do not live near their clients although some may live in the same state or the same city.