HOW TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT-PART 1



WHAT IS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT’S JOB?

This guest article is written by Manette Aquino, virtual assistant.

In these three articles she will outline:

Part 1: The job description of a virtual assistant (today)
Part 2: How to market yourself as a virtual assistant
Part 3: The Pitfalls of Becoming a Virtual Assistant

virtual assistant

The evolution of internet technology brings a new world of job opportunities. It also encourages business owners to advertise online. Consequently, these developments create an increase in job opportunities for professionals who can provide online administrative, creative, or technical assistance.

Research shows a significant increase in demand for virtual assistants. Similarly, more and more students and stay-at-home moms and dads prefer to work as virtual assistants because they can work in the comfort of their own home, make money, and spend more time with the family.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is an online office assistant who performs various tasks similar to a manager or an office secretary. He provides a variety of services, such as administrative support, sales, marketing, accounting, writing, editing, proofreading, graphics design, website development, and desktop publishing services. A virtual assistant works remotely from his home-office using his own computer, licensed software applications, phone, and internet connection.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant performs various responsibilities that range from administrative to technical to creative tasks. Actually, any work that can be done online is suitable for a VA. Here are some of the general duties and responsibilities of a virtual assistant.

1. Manage contact lists and customer spreadsheets
2. Organize client’s schedule
3. Set up meetings between the client and his customers
4. Make travel arrangements
5. Online and offline promotion of the client’s business
6. Communicate and coordinate with suppliers, customers, and visitors
7. Handle correspondence and transcribe documents
8. Prepare, organize, and ship proposals and meeting materials
9. Translate and prepare bilingual materials
10. Supervise billing and accounting
11. Process customer inquiries via phone, chat, or email
12. Write, edit or proofread articles and press releases
13. Publish email newsletters
14. Complete market or internet research
15. Develop and maintain websites and blogs

Requirements of a Virtual Assistant; Its Not as Easy as it Seems

Being a successful virtual assistant requires skill, personal organization, and a set of connections — friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. As a virtual assistant, you should be able manage your time wisely and produce high quality work. However, there are clients that allow their virtual assistants to work at their own schedule, depending on the nature of the business and the tasks assigned, so that the virtual office assistant can have more time for their family, school, and other activities.

When looking for a virtual assistant, employers vary in their specific requirements for their potential VA. My friend Sunil, at The Extra Money Blog talks about his virtual assistants and how they improve his life. Here is a list of recommended core competencies  for a virtual assistant.

• Adequate determination and desire to ensure that clients succeed
• Exceptional customer service skills
• Excellent organizational skills
• Basic knowledge of business procedures and strategies, such as budgeting, accounting, time management, and creating marketing plans, business plans, and contracts
• Respect for intellectual property
• Team player
• Willingness to admit mistakes and develop skills
• Good punctuation, spelling, and grammar skills
• Knowledge in operating basic equipments, like computer, phone, printer, scanner, copier, fax, and modem

Some business owners prefer a virtual assistant who holds a college degree from an accredited educational institution while others are fine with a high school diploma along with the skills to perform the job responsibilities efficiently. Likewise, some employers also require certification as virtual assistant while others also look for virtual assistants who have experience working in the call center industry to make sure that the virtual assistant can provide excellent customer service.

Essential Tools of a Virtual Assistant

Any worker will need tools and equipment to do her job such as a reliable computer and updated software applications (such as Microsoft Office, Skype, and an antivirus program). When working as a virtual assistant, it is also important that you have a dependable internet connection, fax machine or printer with fax, and phone with voice mail or answering machine.

If your job as virtual assistant entails receiving calls from customers or making calls to various parts of the country, it is best advised to get a Magic Jack, a virtual phone number, a headset with microphone, and an application program like Skype. Meanwhile, if your job description includes graphic or web design, you should install graphic applications, such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, and Corel.

Don’t miss How to Become a Virtual Assistant-parts 2 & 3:

Part 2: How to market yourself as a virtual assistant

Part 3: The Pitfalls of Becoming a Virtual Assistant

What online work have you done for others or hired out? Would you consider hiring or being a VA?

image credit; googl images taskrabbit

v_4_htgr cover

How to Get Rich: Wealth Building Guide for the Financially Illiterate

Do you know how to get rich?

Discover wealth building secrets of the rich, in this book

Buy from Amazon

10 Responses to HOW TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT-PART 1
  1. AverageJoe
    September 25, 2012 | 12:58 pm

    I did ELance freelance writing for awhile. My biggest frustration was that clients wouldn’t tell me exactly what they wanted and then were not satisfied with the results. Often I didn’t know what website I was writing for, what exactly the tone of the piece should be or the expected outcome the site wanted from the article. When I was given direction, my writing usually blew away expectations and I received rave reviews. I’d recommend communicating often with your VA if you get one.

    That’s my first goal in blogging: make enough money that we can afford a VA to expand more quickly!

  2. Paula @ Afford Anything
    September 25, 2012 | 4:22 pm

    I would LOVE to hire a virtual assistant. I keep intending to spend a few hours reading about how to select/train one, but (ironically) I always feel too busy. Of course, if I had a VA I wouldn’t be so busy ….

  3. Barb
    September 25, 2012 | 5:22 pm

    @Paula-Sounds like a catch 22. You need one, but don’t have time to hire, train, and manage. I completely understand.
    @Joe, Thanks for the insight into your elance experience!!

  4. Brent Pittman
    September 25, 2012 | 8:12 pm

    I have worked with several VA’s the past few years and much confusion and mistakes abounded. I didn’t select or know how much they were paid, but I can say they cost me money in lost prospects and clients.

  5. Briana @ How's Married Life
    September 25, 2012 | 9:31 pm

    I was sort of a VA in the form of doing social media management and freelance writing. I agree with Joe when he says communication is key. I’m considering doing it again, and sort of expanding. I would love if more people hired VAs in the USA but I know lots of people focus on hiring people from the Philippines and India to save on the cost. But support us native English speakers and get more quality results :)

  6. Barb
    September 26, 2012 | 11:10 am

    @Brent-So, I guess the VA’s you worked with were not appropriately skilled or trained to do the job??? Thanks for the input.
    @Brianna-I totally understand your position. It’s tough to be living in the USA and competing globally when cost of living is so much lower in many international locations.

  7. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter
    September 26, 2012 | 11:28 am

    Great post. I have thought about doing this as a part time gig to generate some extra income. I haven’t had the time to make it a reality yet though. I am thinking of maybe doing it when I go on mat leave.

    I have also thought of hiring one but I just don’t have the cash right now.

  8. Barb
    September 26, 2012 | 7:40 pm

    @Miss T-For the employer and employee, there is always a certain amount of time required to maintain the relationship and make sure the lines of communication are open.

  9. Dominique Brown
    September 26, 2012 | 11:03 pm

    I hire out a virtual assistant once in a while to help me out with my office tasks or things I just don’t have time to do.. you know the tedious data entry stuff. One of the qualities I look for when hiring a virtual assistant is that they must have the expertise in their field of work. It is always good to do a bit of research on their work background and see their ratings before hiring them. It is also important to regularly communicate with them to make sure that they are doing all the tasks you want to be done correctly. I then implement a checks and balances system and some of my ninja project management skills to round it all out. Finding good help is hard though :/

  10. Credit Donkey
    September 27, 2012 | 10:53 pm

    I was a virtual assistant for a year when I first started my online career. When I started out I knew very little about online work but I learned a lot as I went through with my work. It’s a great way to earn and learn at the same time.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Trackback URL http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com/how-become-virtual-assistantpart/trackback/