What is a Virtual Assistant?

If you have read plenty of information about passive income, you have probably had a question “what is a virtual assistant?” as virtual assistants are commonly mentioned in online passive income recipes.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

What is a virtual assistant?
What is a virtual assistant?
Image by Nick Youngson (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hiring an assistant used to be a fairly standard and rather local process. With the advent of quick online communication though, assistants are now being replaced by virtual assistants who can be hired from anywhere in the world. This has since increased competition among those vying for assistant jobs, and has also allowed employers to require specific skill sets from those looking to be hired.

Virtual Assistants running the world

A good virtual assistant has a reliable internet connection and does all her work from behind a computer screen, remotely completing tasks for her employer. While the method in which an assistant interacts with an employer has changed, many aspects of the job have not. An employer definitely benefits by building trust with their assistant. So the longer an assistant works with an employer, the better that individual will understand their needs. In this regard, the relationship between employer and assistant hasn’t changed.

However, there are also those employers who look to hire multiple short-term virtual assistants for small tasks. Having multiple assistants for a brief period of time, in the past, was impossible. This new method of hiring and rehiring has changed the landscape for assistant employment.

What can Virtual Assistants do?

What is a virtual assistant?
Managing virtual assistant

Apart from fetching you a cup of coffee, virtual assistants can accomplish many tasks for an employer remotely such as:

  • Data entry and excel spreadsheets
  • Website maintenance
  • Take phone calls
  • Scheduling
  • Customer service emails
  • General bookkeeping
  • Research
  • Presentations
  • Managing social media
  • …And can even order you a cup of coffee online

While this list provides a general outline of the types of tasks a virtual assistant can accomplish, the modern virtual assistant can be way more valuable to you and may have a range of skill sets that you find you just can’t do without. For instance, you may find a virtual assistant who can accomplish all the usual tasks of a secretary, but can also do your CRM marketing. Suddenly, you may find yourself with an all-in-one employee and one who also comes in under budget.

Why have a virtual assistant instead of a regular one?

Not every employer needs an assistant for a full 8 hour day. Sometimes an employer may only need an assistant for an hour a day, or possibly need an assistant outside of normal working hours. For these reasons, a virtual assistant is a good option. Virtual Assistant’s tend to make their money from multiple employers, working a few hours a week for each of them, so don’t worry that your virtual assistant is going to go broke and disappear if you only need them for a short amount of time. This is the new normal and is also a cost efficient method of hiring someone.

So if you are thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, make sure to have a clear idea of the types of skill sets you will need them to have. And even leave room for a little more. You can even easily test out a virtual assistant for a short period of time to make sure they are the right fit for you. Hiring in this way has never been more painless or less time consuming. Give it a shot and at some point you may wonder how you ever lived without one.

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