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Over the last few years, virtual assistants have been able to handle an increasing variety of tasks from remote locations all over the world.

Technologies such as desktop sharing and VOIP have continued to grow, allowing even phone calls to be rerouted after hours.

Among the services that virtual assistants offer include:

  • handling travel arrangements
  • invoicing
  • research etc.

They can be paid on:

  • per hour basis
  • per project
  • fixed price

Companies that need long-term contracts with virtual assistants are well advised to seek the advice of HR practitioners to establish the class of workers under which the VA will fall.

Virtual assistants have different levels of expertise and therefore can handle almost any administrative project.

There’s also no limitation to the type of work that virtual systems can help you do.

Below are some of the most common tasks that are assigned to virtual assistants.

RoleDuties
Admin Assistants
  • Reply to emails, answers calls and other similar tasks
  • Provides customer support services
  • Types letters, documents and meeting notes
Personal Assistants
  • Serves as contact person for the team
  • Schedules meetings as well as manage daily calendar
  • Responsible for getting car rentals, booking flights and travel accommodations
Marketing Support
  • Create sales materials and presentations
  • Liaise with designers, writers, graphic designers to come up with great marketing materials
Professional Support
  • Handles payroll and accounting
  • Deal with suppliers and other purchases
  • Guidance on industry-related trends
Tech Support
  • Handle all the technical issues such as website updates and maintenance
  • Manage office hardware, networks and servers
  • Give tech support to vendors and customer
Sales Support
Operational Support
  • Come up with best practices
  • Recruit team members and engage them to create a cohesive team
  • Schedule and delegate daily tasks

Learn how to become a successful Virtual Assistant. Get your free cheat sheet.

What Do the Employers Look For in Virtual Assistants?

Good communicator

A virtual assistant ought to be a good communicator both in written and spoken word.

This is because the VA will be working remotely and needs to be in regular communication with the client.

He might also be charged with the role of communicating with customers on behalf of the client.

biting a pencil
Photo by: Pixabay

Can Handle Pressure

Virtual Assistant Checklist
Click image to download the Cheat Sheet.

A virtual assistant needs to develop a thick skin and resilience that is needed to work under pressure.

Sometimes she will be required to work under tight deadlines and this calls for somebody with resolve to see a project through even when the deadlines are tight.

Dependable

Working remotely calls for somebody that is dependent and reliable. A VA will be required to work on a project without the direct supervision of the client.

You will be entrusted with delivering the project within tight deadlines.

This calls for somebody that commits to a project and ensures that it goes through as expected by the client.

Adaptable

Virtual assistant work requires somebody that is teachable. You need to be the kind of person that is easily trained or one that learns on the job to become a good virtual assistant.

Confident

You will need a dose of confidence when dealing with difficult customers on behalf of your client. Confidence is required when negotiating for better payments and terms of work.

Resourceful

A virtual assistant needs to be an ideas person. There is no way you are going to survive as a VA if you cannot think out of the box.

Sometimes a client will instruct you to use a particular method to resolve an issue but you might find a better way of doing it.

In other circumstances, you will be required to come up with solutions that have not been previously prescribed by the employer.

Organized

To be able to meet deadlines as prescribed by the terms of your contract, you will need to be a highly organized person.

You will need to use tools like Google Calendar, Basecamp, Skype, Google Drive, and many others that can help you accomplish your tasks in an organized manner.

Empathetic

Empathy is particularly required when working as a customer service support person. You need to feel the pain of the customer and suggest solutions that will resolve the customer’s problems.

Trustworthy

As a virtual assistant, you will be entrusted with confidential documents that need utmost good faith. You will also be entrusted with copyrighted material that you’re not supposed to share with competitors.

Sometimes you will train in skills that give your employer some competitive advantage over other businesses and you are not allowed to reveal these trade secrets to the competitors.

Professional

Being a virtual assistant is serious work and requires the highest level of professionalism.

You cannot, for example, be inconsistent in reporting to work even if you are not directly supervised by the employer. You also need to be courteous with customers and your employer.

Accessible

When working remotely, you are required by the employer to be available online either on Skype or any other tool that you used to communicate.

Make sure you are available at the time that you have agreed with the employer since you might be located in a different timezone.

Approachable

Although virtual assistance is a lonely professional because most of the time you will be working alone, you’ll have a team that you work with.

You should always be friendly with them and offer to help whenever they have a problem. This is the only way to build a big, successful and happy team.

Problem Solver

If you are not a problem solver, or if you wait until somebody else comes up with a solution to a problem, being a virtual assistant is not for you.

As a VA, you will be required to solve problems every day. Your client will want you available to help solve a problem by researching and coming up with the best solution to a problem.

Self-motivated

There will be nobody to motivate you as a virtual assistant. You must find the energy to go on even when there are challenges.

The daily tasks will eventually become mundane and you will start losing interest in your work. Whenever you get such a feeling, stop, take a walk, and think of why you are a virtual assistant in the first place.

You need to take breaks regularly during the workday. Once in a while, take a full week to rejuvenate.

Proactive

You will need a proactive approach to succeed as a virtual assistant. Don’t always wait for instructions from the employer to do something.

Click here to download your free Cheat Sheet on how to become a successful Freelance Virtual Assistant.

Photo courtesy of pixabay by TeroVesalainen

Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, creator of eCommerce University, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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