What is a Virtual Assistant and What can they Do?

A virtual assistant, also referred to as a VA, is technically defined as a person who provides assistance for an entity from anywhere. Virtual assistances have been around since the beginning of the internet, the career path stemming from the early 90’s. Virtual assistances can be great tools used by businesses and entrepreneurs.

So a virtual assistant sounds pretty self explanatory, but many people are still unsure about the meaning and abilities of a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are employees who provide assistance for you or your business from a remote location. Essentially you will be outsourcing tasks for your virtual assistant.

Some things that are common for virtual assistants include things like bookkeeping, where a VA will be able to follow up on invoices and help keep another eye on bills. Outsourcing online research is another common thing that VA’s can help with. Researching potential new employees, researching a new product or service and more. With both of these expect to relinquish some passwords to accounts, as well as any paid services or tools.

Another one of the most common uses for VA’s is social media management. For businesses it can be troublesome at the minimum and even negatively effect your business if your online presence is lackluster. Hiring virtual assistant services for social media management can be huge. They can create and upload posts from your account. As well as engage and respond to your audience. Virtual assistance can do a lot more than just that, and can help you many ways. So why don’t more people use them? Many people are worried about trust when it comes to using VA’s. For example with the social media manager you have to give the usernames and passwords for the accounts. But these are professionals who are hired for this. Generally this will never be an issue.

Another common issue brought up with virtual assistants are related to communication. There are a number of things that are used to communicate with your VA such as skype, email, or a text based service such as whatsapp. But to utilize VA’s to their full potential having systems in place will help the burden of communication. Especially when these are tasks you are trying to outsource. Creating an instruction booklet can help a lot. With virtual assistants it is important to be as specific as possible, as well as introduce tasks slowly. While doing these things seem to defeat the purpose, in the long run these things will be far more automated as time goes on. Like any employee, it can take some time to do things exactly how you want them done, but once those standards are set, a good virtual assistant will be worth their value.

When it comes to hiring a virtual assistant for the first time it can be intimidating. There is a level of trust that can be involved. There is also this idea of how much will it really help. But good VA’s can completely change your time management, and give you more free time to focus on other things.