What exactly is a Virtual Assistant that you keep hearing so much about?

We hear about it – and often times wonder what a Virtual Assistant (VA) is, how do they work, and what they do.

While more people are becoming familiar with the term ‘VA’, in reality there is still a lot of confusion as to what a VA really is.

Before you dive in – it is best to first do your homework, and find out what a Virtual Assistant is and what a Virtual Assistant does.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

With the introduction of the Internet, the gap is bridged for businesses, entrepreneurs and business managers to manage people ‘Online’.

A Virtual Assistant helps a business run, and is very similar to an ‘Executive Assistant’ where the employee works remotely from a different location from where the physical business is located. Virtual Assistants can provide a massive range of tasks for their clients from professional support services through web design and administration.

Dependant on the type of client you work with, you may either work from home office, in a cafe or as is becoming more common, working for clients from a physical ‘office space’, structured in a similar way to a BPO. Whilst BPOs are nearly ALWAYS linked to call centres, in this case Virtual Assistants are off-site professionals who focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary.

The Philippines is a major hub of growth for Virtual Assistants and people that work within well structured Offices find they are able to expand their skills within a relaxed and fun environment, at the same time experience the job stability of a BPO.

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

With the aid of today’s advancing technology, VAs are hired to carry out a variety of tasks. Listed below is ‘just a sample’ of the type of tasks Virtual Assistants perform remotely for their clients.

1. Email Management

2. Setting up Autoresponders (Aweber, Mailchimp)

3. Booking appointments with clients

4. Following up with clients/customers (sending thank you and other reminder emails)

5. Receptionist duties (answering occasional calls)

6. Scheduling / Calendar Management

7. File Management (organizing files using Dropbox etc)

8. Database building (eg. updating email or contact lists on CRMs)

9. Research on certain topics for blogposts, newsletters or others

10. Personal errands (purchasing gifts for loved ones / family members online)

11. Hotel and Flight Bookings

12. Transcription (transcribing voicemail, video or audio, podcasts etc.)

13. Taking down minutes of meetings

14. Creating basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, deliverables, sales)

15. Preparing Slideshows (Powerpoint Presentations)

16. Liaison between the client and other team members

17. Recruitment (source for other team members like writers or graphic artists)

18. Socials tasks:

  • Set-up Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube)
  • Manage and update Social Media Accounts
  • Participating in discussion forums or message boards (more promotion)

19. Blog tasks:

  • Manage Blogs (Basic WordPress Skills)
  • Publish posts on Blogs
  • Filter and reply to comments on blogs
  • Answering support tickets (with the use of Zendesk)
  • Blog commenting (to increase links to your site)

There is a lot of scope for growth within the Philippines as the overseas demand continues to soar. If you have ever considered a career as a Virtual Assistant, note that it is more exciting than ever before, especially if you find the right business to join.

Before you do join, make sure you fully investigate how they work, what they offer and the how legitimate the potential client really is. Like with any new venture, ensure you are protected before you decide to take the plunge!