What is a Virtual Assistant?

A lot of people get a puzzled look on their face when I tell them I'm a virtual assistant (VA). I don't blame them! A virtual assistant is exactly what the name implies: someone who can assist you with tasks over the internet. As a lot of our brands are born in or transitioning to an online space, and as more and more tasks are automated with computer technology, the need for VAs has been growing. The internet is a big place! More content is desired each and everyday, and sometimes help is needed to be able to keep up with all that demand. Still interested to learn what a VA can do for you? Here are some basic questions for you to determine if you need a virtual assistant:

Why do you need a virtual assistant?

What’s a good reason that you would need any assistant for? Are you behind on work and you need help catching up? Are you overwhelmed with all the tasks you need to accomplish by the end of the day? Or do you not have the skills to do certain things to grow your business? Do you just want to focus on what you want without having to complete mundane tasks that take up your precious time? Ask yourself these questions. The number one job of a virtual assistant is to give you back your time. Any task that you can delegate to someone else can be a job for a VA. 

Need the help, but don’t want to hire an employee? Virtual assistants are great on the financial front, especially if you don’t want to pay for an "in-house" assistant that comes with all the insurance, time off, and benefits that you would be in charge of paying for. As independent-contractors, VAs come with no hidden fees, paying for all of that themselves so you don’t have to. That’s more money in your pocket in the long run.

What does a virtual assistant do?

As mentioned before, VAs assist in completing tasks from remote locations, mostly over the internet. While a majority are known for doing administrative work, other services can be offered based on a VA’s personal skill set and knowledge, such as:

  • personal organizer

  • event planning

  • graphic design

  • social media management

  • marketing

  • copywriting

  • media editing (photos, videos, podcasts, etc)

  • and so much more!

The best part about virtual assistants is they wear many hats, so you can get many tasks done under the same person; most of them don’t hold a single title like “Editor” or “Copywriter”. For example, I’m great at completing administration tasks, but I also offer social media management, website management and copy write.

Where can you find virtual assistants?

The best way to find them (if you don’t have a referral for one via word of mouth) is to look either on social media under #virtualassistant or though online virtual assistant groups. I like to recommend Facebook groups as it tends to be the best place for virtual assistants around the globe to connect. The groups are usually private for VAs only, so be sure to message the group admin or moderators to submit a #jobOPP. You are pretty sure to get a bunch of contacts that you can begin meeting and interviewing with in no time.

Make sure when you’re messaging any virtual assistant to include your general needs such as your budget, what services you’re looking for, and for how long you’re planning on needing them. 

How do you work with a virtual assistant?

This question will be discussed and answered by your VA during your first meeting (or “discovery call”) with them. All VAs work differently and will do their best to meet your specific needs. But don’t read ahead just yet! Here are some few tips to consider when you start working with any virtual assistant that will really help your relationship go smoothly:

  • First and foremost, one of the most important things is communication. Take a day to walk through exactly what you want and how things are specifically going to get done. Your VA will appreciate it, and so will you. Determine a line of communication that works best for the both of you, whether it’s using Slack, a social media messenger, or even basic text message. If things need to get done in a timely manner, your VA needs to know and your lines of communication need to be open for any questions that arise.

  • Second, prioritize the top two or three things you need the most help with. VAs are there to help you with your work, but they are not total miracle workers. It takes small steps to get things done. Once your VA can finish a task confidently to a “T”, then you two can talk about the possibility of adding on something new.

  • Third, let go of the task that you delegated to your VA. I have heard stories of clients being a constant “helicopter parent” with their assistant. Understand that you have given up the task to someone else for a reason. You’re spending just as much time checking if everything’s alright as you were when you were doing the task yourself. Let go. Most of the time, your VA will send you the completed task to review before publishing. Focus on the time you gained to do the other projects you want.

This was a very general Q&A about virtual assisting. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out and ask me. Enough questions will earn you a part two to this blog post.

Want me to be your virtual assistant?

Thinking about becoming a virtual assistant yourself?

The Creative VA Academy is a course I recommend for anyone wanting to become a VA. It helps you to start your virtual assisting business from the ground up, from getting the legal things down, to creating your business name and look, to attracting and reaching out to clients. While Adrienna, your amazingly sweet course teacher, shares her VA niche in assisting wedding businesses, her lessons can be applied to any genre of creative businesses. Use my affiliate link and click here to learn more, sign up for her next course, and get started with your new business!