It’s an exciting opportunity if you want to continue your professional career, from the comfort of your own home. No long commute, a flexible schedule that fits around your children or other commitments… and super interesting work.
What does a VA do exactly ?
Well, it’s not exactly clear cut. The term ‘Virtual Assistant’ is an incredibly broad one – someone that assists someone else, virtually (aka remotely).
Let’s break it down:
- A Virtual Assistant provides a professional service, usually as an independent contractor.
- Unlike a freelancer or employee, they always do this remotely or virtually. It’s rare for a VA to meet face-to-face with their clients.
- The role of a VA focuses on providing assistance or support to their client, rather than leading from the front. This isn’t always the case, but most Virtual Assistants focus on the day-to-day ‘doing’ and not on consulting or providing strategic advice.
Some VAs choose to specialise in specific areas; whether that is financial administration, payroll and bookkeeping, or digital marketing. Yet others support their clients with a broad range of tasks.
Ultimately, it all depends on your own unique skills and experience, as well as what you actually enjoy doing. One of the key benefits of working as a Virtual Assistant is that you have complete control over the services you offer.
To give you a clearer starting point, however, 80% of the work VAs do for clients is essentially Executive Assistant support. That could be:
- Doing general day-to-day admin.
- Keeping on top of a client’s diary/schedule.
- Managing their inbox.
- Making travel arrangements – booking flights, hotels, etc.
- Helping with personal or ‘lifestyle’ tasks (e.g. buying gifts).
- Organising events.
- Researching something – exploring a new business idea or finding useful data for a report, for example.
- Light financial admin – raising invoices, filing expenses and so on.
VAs with a broader background could also find themselves helping clients with:
- Customer service tasks – answering emails or support tickets, as well as processing refunds, for example.
- Project management – this usually focuses on organising other contractors in the team and ensuring they deliver on time.
- Recruitment – this could involve advertising for a role and then shortlisting candidates for a client to interview.
- HR support – for a larger team, this could involve co-ordinating staff holidays, for example.
- Sales support – working with a client’s sales team. This could be following up on meetings they’ve had, sending our sales literature, updating a CRM, or a long list of other similar tasks.
Outside of the above, we then have a third and final category: virtual marketing support. Again, this reflects another area that many Virtual Assistants could typically offer their support.
This could include:
- Email marketing – sending a regular email newsletter or setting up email campaigns.
- Market research – this could be anything from looking at industry trends to Google search volumes.
- Social media management – whether that’s as simple as posting the occasional Tweet or creating a more in-depth social media marketing plan, depending on your level of experience in this area.
- Content and blog writing. Many clients also appreciate it if you can make simple changes to a website, particularly if it is an easy-to-use interface such as Wix or a templated WordPress website (using something like Visual Composer).
So, the first step is to define what services you’re going to offer – whether that’s very specialised or a much broader range of tasks. Again, decide your service list based on what you feel you’re good at and what you’re passionate about.
Avoid the mentality that you will ‘have a go’ at something you’ve not built up some experience in doing before. It’s also recommended to not prioritise money above your happiness! Long-term, spending hours of your time every week working on tasks you either feel uncomfortable doing or simply don’t enjoy doing, isn’t sustainable
With thanks to Virtalent