The Role of the Virtual Assistant

This post is going to take a look at the role of a Virtual Assistant (VA) and what types of clients you could have.
Virtual Assistant Working from Home

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor that offers services that are traditionally provided by PAs or secretaries. The difference is that Virtual Assistants are based in their own office and provide the services remotely.

 

The benefits to a business are vast and include:

  • They only pay for the time that they use.
  • They do not have to pay any employee benefits such as holiday pay, sick pay and pensions.
  • They do not have to buy or lease new equipment.
  • They have no employee responsibility.
  • They do not have any training costs.
  • They gain access to expertise they may not have in their business.
  • They can utilise the time saved to generate more sales.
  • They have total flexibility.
  • They will not need to find desk space etc.

The majority of VAs work from home. For some potential clients working virtually can be a difficult concept to grasp. You will need to be able to communicate to these people how you will provide your services without the face to face contact.

For others, the concept is easy. I have a client who uses my services on an adhoc basis. I have never met her. She came across my website and used my contact page to receive a quote from me. We have only ever spoken briefly on the phone but the rest of the time we have communicated via email. This is my ideal client.

I also had a client who wanted me to visit her house and perform admin tasks. As I had only just started my business, I agreed. Although, we did work together for around 9 months, I knew I had made a mistake. She had a number of pets in the house that would distract us from our work. Plus there were other distractions that meant we could not be as focused as possible. We are no longer working together.

There are going to be clients that you work with that may not be your perfect match. You will have to make difficult decisions such as terminating your working relationship.

Why would a Business use a Virtual Assistant?

VAs are thriving in these current economic times because they save businesses money. It’s much cheaper to use a VA than a ‘normal’ employee.

Check out the post that compares the cost of a full time employee vs a virtual assistant to see the cost savings to a business.

Who can a Virtual Assistant work with?

A Virtual Assistant is ideal for small and growing businesses, entrepreneurs, online marketers and consultants. My clients have been so varied and have included:

  • Sofware consultant
  • NHS consultant
  • Dog walking/boarding company
  • Professional golfer
  • Webdesigner
  • Personal Coach
  • Social club
  • Property Management company
  • Childrens’ Book Author
  • Leadership Development consultant
  • Online childrens’ guide website
  • Students
  • Estate Agents
  • Local Authors

How varied a list is that?

You may have a specialised skill that you want to target to a particular audience. There are Virtual Assistants that offer general admin and secretarial services and others who are more specialised.
Have a think about what service you enjoy doing and that you have the best experience in.

Check out this post on what skills a Virtual Assistant should possess.

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