In a digital gig economy, so much work can be done outside of the office. If you’re drowning in schedules, spreadsheets, and copyediting, a virtual assistant might be able to help you get your schedule and your company back on track.
Need a virtual assistant? Use our request talent form to let us know, and we’ll get back to you with a list of qualified candidates that you can interview. Looking for virtual assistant jobs? Check out our list of jobs and submit applications to things that look exciting to you!
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone that works in a remote role. While the responsibilities of virtual assistants vary, they usually are required to manage the schedule and communications for either a single person or the whole company. They usually are expected to be able to talk to clients, create workflows and work days, and send emails. There is usually a video chat component as well, as they may be expected to talk to clients or their company.
Additionally, many virtual assistants may help build and maintain websites, optimize search data, write content, manage social media, and manage spreadsheets. They may also be asked to handle data analysis and finances.
The responsibilities of a virtual assistant vary widely from job to job and from company to company. But most companies will want the highest value for their virtual assistant. Since the job pool is technically only limited by time zones and internet connections, they can request higher kinds of skills as well.
Virtual Assistant Websites
There are many types of virtual assistant websites out there. Some virtual assistants have a website of their own where they pitch their services. Many virtual assistants will go through temp agencies, freelance marketplaces, or dedicated virtual assistant websites. Recruiting platforms are a great way to get the best young talent. Any of these places are great locations to find virtual assistants.
Virtual Assistant Companies and Hiring
There are a number of companies that can help deliver virtual assistant talent directly to you. Virtual assistants are one of the many types of jobs that staffing agencies can offer through direct hire. If you’re looking for a pool of virtual assistant talent to sift through, a staffing agency might be the right choice.
Finding the right virtual assistant is a combination of a lot of different things. You need to find someone that you connect with personally, and who can understand the brand and vision of the company. Beyond that, they will need to possess a variety of soft and hard skills that allow them to function well in the role. You want them to manage things for you, and you don’t want to be wasting time managing things for them!
After you’ve found the right virtual assistant, ask to interview them remotely. If they can’t be professional in a remote interview and be there on time, you know that they aren’t the right candidate for you. Conduct the remote interview and think about how the encounter made you feel, comparing their personality with their hard skills.
You may want to start with a trial period of five or ten hours. While it isn’t kind to ask someone to do work for free, it’s totally fine to ask if they are willing to engage in a paid trial. During this period you can see how they work with you and whether or not they might be the right fit. Paid trials can be tough because if one of the primary responsibilities is managing a schedule or dealing with company data, it can take the full five hours just to get a grip on those things!
Virtual Assistant Facts
Wondering if a virtual assistant might be right for you? Here are some virtual assistant facts that might sway you.
Working from home is more productive. The temptation will be to assume that a valuable assistant is someone who shows up in your office every week. This might be true in some situations. After all, it’s pretty hard for a virtual assistant to show up to your door with coffee (although they can use a food delivery solution to do just that…). A 2-year study conducted by Stanford University shows that in reality, people who work from home are actually more likely to put in a full day of hard work than people who work in more traditional spaces. They reported fewer distractions, less sick days, and less time and energy wasted on a commute.
The gig economy is a big deal. As workers crave more freedom, independence, and work from home opportunities, the gig economy is thriving. While the future of work is a bit uncertain, the boundaries of “who works where” are beginning to deterritorialize a bit. Many people work for multiple companies, and many companies provide services to many different other companies and clients. Virtual assistants allow you to leverage the power of the gig economy to get necessary services at a discount, no desk purchases necessary. Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to get what you are paying for with your productivity.
Remote workers are happier. The mood of your assistant will affect the way that clients perceive your company and the likelihood that they want to do consistent business with you. One of the best ways to get a happy, healthy assistant is actually to hire a virtual assistant. Studies have shown that remote workers get close to 105 hours more leisure time and are actually happier. If you find the right person, that leisure time goes into self care and that happiness gets kicked back to you and your clients.
A virtual assistant isn’t for everyone. Yes, despite the praise for VAs that we can give here, it also isn’t for everyone. There are certain companies and kinds of workplaces that will simply function better with an assistant who is in the room. This would include situations where clients come into the office and need physical facetime, a business where a lot of paper is still being used, or a situation where you need your assistant to manipulate local objects. In cases like these, the virtual solution won’t cut it. But in many online, digital worlds, a virtual assistant might be a great solution!
Becoming a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant can be tough at first, because you have to generate leads and clients. If you land the right position, you might be working full time as a VA and making a full time salary. In many situations, especially when you’re starting you, you might need to string together a few different gigs in order to come up with the number of hours that you need to make it.
In order to become a virtual assistant, you’ll need many of the technical skills that an administrative assistant possesses. Take a look at some in-demand technical skills to see if you meet any of them. As long as you can communicate effectively, are reliable, and can manage time and data, you’ve got the basic skills required for being a virtual assistant. You’ll need to build your particular brand with extra skills on top of those.
Virtual assistants can be a great hire for companies and a fulfilling lifestyle for workers!