Virtual assistants (VA) are personal or administrative assistants who work from remote locations serving clients that are in a different geographical location. A virtual assistant can work for several clients at any given time.
Virtual assistance is a term that first hit the internet in the 90s as a result of technological enhancements which made it possible for users to access high-speed internet. The internet facilitated instant and convenient communication via email messaging and sharing of documents.
In short, a Virtual Assistant is an online secretary. Individuals with prior administrative or secretarial experience are said to make good virtual assistants.
Today, the world continues to experience new technological developments. Communication has become much easier and faster. Many entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporate companies are seeking virtual support for various office related tasks. This has led to an increased demand for professional virtual assistants.
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
A virtual assistant can perform numerous duties. They include;
- Managing social media platform
- Managing emails
- Writing meeting minutes
- Manage social media accounts
- Transcribing convention calls and voice recordings
- Carrying out online research
- Creating email lists and acknowledging emails
- Preparing PowerPoint presentations
- Creating autoresponders
- Managing blogs
- Creating social media accounts
- Booking flights and hotels
- Running personal errands such as obtaining gifts for loved members online
- Coordinate the hiring of new employees
- Developing reports
- Writing down meeting minutes
Skills Required of a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants should possess strong interpersonal skills in order to dispense their duties professionally and appropriately. These skills include;
· Excellent Communication Skills
As a virtual assistant, you will interact constantly with clients on various tasks. This requires you to be a good and effective communicator.
One of the most important tips for perfecting your communication skills is learning to be a good listener. Communication in virtual assistance is done through instant messaging, phone calls, and email.
· Good Organizational Skills
Not only should a virtual assistant be adequately organized, they should be able to multitask appropriately. Virtual assistance often involves working on various projects for different clients at once. Excellent organization skills come in handy to ensure that your duties are executed to the letter and completed within the stipulated time frame.
· Typing Skills
Virtual assistance involves lots of typing. Therefore, you should be a fast and accurate typist to avoid mistakes and unnecessary delays. There are many applications online which can assist you in perfecting your typing skills.
· Computer Skills
Much of the virtual assistance work is done on a computer. A virtual assistant should be capable of operating various computer applications.
For instance; they should be able to type content, draw pictures where necessary, develop spreadsheets, and create PowerPoint presentations.
Additionally, they should possess basic computer maintenance knowledge. This will help them sort out any hardware or software issues in the event the computer develops problems.
· Data Entry
Data entry projects include; editing information, amending databases, proofreading, feeding data into forms, and typing. Perfecting your data entry skills will increase your chances of being hired.
· Excellent Writing Skills
Having good writing skills is an essential skill in virtual assistance. As a virtual assistant, you might be required to do a lot of writing including writing letters, drafting proposals, writing memos, notices, etc.
Qualities Of An Effective Virtual Assistant
- They should be able to work without supervision
- They should be resourceful and reliable
- They should be self-motivated, approachable, patient, and resilient
- Virtual assistants should be trustworthy and good time managers
- They should not only be professional
- They should add value to their client’s company or business.
What Tools Do Virtual Assistants Require?
A virtual assistant will need the following essential tools;
- A good computer with all the accessories
- Internet connection (preferably high-speed connection)
- Microsoft Office Suite
- An appropriate desk and chair
- An office phone number
- A diary
- An audio Headset complete with microphone
How to be a Virtual Assistant and Where to find Jobs
Becoming a virtual assistant is easy. First, you need to carry out sufficient research in order to clearly understand the job. You can find virtual assistant jobs in many of the available freelancing sites such as;
- Belay solutions
- Fancy Hands
- Priority VA
Register and create a profile on any freelancing platform of your choice. You can have profiles on several platforms to increase your chances of getting clients
Make use of social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, a personal blog, and YouTube to promote your services.
Social media is an ideal place where novice virtual assistants can bond with other experienced virtual assistants, as well as find clients.
How Much Do Virtual Assistants earn?
Virtual assistants are paid depending on how complex the task is, the time taken to complete the task, the client, and the time of the day.
Many of the virtual assistant jobs are paid hourly. Beginners can earn anything from $5 per hour while established virtual assistants can charge between $20 and $100 per hour depending on their skills and experience
Succeeding as a virtual assistant is not an overnight miracle. You should be persistent, work hard, research, perfect your skills, and above all be patient.