So what is a Virtual Assistant?

You may still be wondering what exactly a Virtual Assistant (VA) is? You’ve probably heard of a VA but what do they actually do? Let me explain, a Virtual Assistant is similar to a Personal Assistant (PA) in the duties they perform. However the major difference between a Personal and Virtual Assistant is the fact that a Virtual Assistant is not in the office alongside you, unlike a PA who is. Virtual Assistants come in many shapes and sizes and vary greatly with regards to the services that they offer. For example some companies that offer Virtual Assistance have hundreds of employees that do the work for them, other VAs are just one sole person working from their home office. Some Virtual Assistants offer call handling services, however, most VAs that I know do not like to offer this as a service. Virtual Assistants generally have an area they specialise in such as social media, web design or a particular industry.

The services I personally offer are more along the route of general administration services such as data entry, database creation, updating and maintenance, typing up notes and minutes, transcription, letter writing, creating and editing templates and guides, email management, invoicing and credit control and basic bookkeeping. I have 9 years experience as a receptionist and administration assistant in a fast paced environment and so I have vast experience and skills within this area.

You may be concerned about how a virtual as opposed to personal assistant who is in the office with you, would work. When I set up, those were some of my first thoughts when I began learning about the profession. The thought of thousands of emails a day did not thrill me, they can be hard to keep track of and keep on top of. However, I have learnt that there are platforms from which clients and their Virtual Assistants can upload documents into and edit them then upload them back in. For example Google Docs is an online platform where you can access, create and edit your documents from anywhere. Google Drive is an online system that can be used to collaborate with clients and Dropbox is very similar, all of these things make hiring and working with a Virtual Assistant much easier.

You are always learning as a Virtual Assistant, whether it’s new software, a new skill, or about a client’s business so don’t be afraid if we say we haven’t used a certain programme yet, we will get to grips with it pretty quickly. It’s what we do.