Over the years I’ve had many people contact me to inquire about my services, and although the Virtual Administrative Assistance industry is at least 25 years old, many people still don’t quite understand what a Virtual Assistant is or isn’t. One of the most common errors people make is confusing Virtual Assistance with Personal Assistance. The difference, of course, is virtual. Personal Assistants usually have physical proximity to their clients and actually run errands for them among other things. Others think a Virtual Assistant is more of a private, personal secretary, on-site to do whatever they need whenever they need it. I once had a woman ask me how many days of the week could I be in her office.
I always refer back to a simple definition I ran across some time ago that I think describes Virtual Assistants perfectly. A Virtual Assistant or VA is an entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance from a home office.
But the role of the VA has expanded over time. Thanks to technology, we can do more for our clients than ever before. Some VA’s who are highly skilled in a particular field have parlayed that expertise into a specialty business. Today there are over 20 types of Virtual Assistants. For example, there are VA’s who specialize in graphic design, web design, bookkeeping, blog writing and social media marketing. These become their primary service and there is a market for them.
Then there are the generalists like me, (Virtual Administrative Services) that do across the board administrative work like:
- Maintaining online calendars and scheduling appointments
- Calendar management
- Planning of meetings, activities and assignments in a way that maximizes time
- Email Management
- Systematically controlling of the quality and quantity of emails sent from and received by an individual or organization
- Document Production
- Using word processing software to create, edit, save and print professional documents
- Proofing and Editing
- Making text more readable by eliminating grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors
- Data Entry
- The process of entering data into software systems using a computer
- Process Documentation
- Outlining and documenting the steps necessary to complete a task or process
But no matter what area we work in the goal is always the same, to provide professional offsite support to our clients. Most VA’s have multiple clients and are adept at time management so that all clients can be served. VA’s often have their own teams and are able to distribute client work to their team members to make sure that each client’s work is covered and completed in a timely manner.
Virtual Administrative Assistance is a service industry, and most of us are in it because we love the work that we do. It takes commitment, discipline and a genuine interest in what we’re doing to run a successful VA firm. So, if you haven’t explored Virtual Assistance lately, take a fresh look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how we’ve grown.
I’m excited to start working with you,
Executive Virtual Assistant and owner of Virtual Admin Services