A virtual assistant (VA) or a virtual office assistant is a person who is self employed and is responsible for providing assistance to clients from a home based office. The assistance can be administrative, technical or creative in nature.
A virtual assistant is an independent contractor and cannot be considered an employee of the company. For this reason, the client of virtual assistant is not responsible for any kind of benefits towards him that he is otherwise responsible for in case of an employee. But all such expenses as the taxes, insurance and other benefits are included in the fee that is charged by the Virtual Assistant. The client also does not have to bother about the logistical problems such as office space, work equipments or supplies. They are only responsible for the payment of the work provided to them.
Virtual assistants can be-
- People working in individual capacity
- Companies or firms having many virtual assistants that can meet their requirements
The VA also has an option of working for an individual executive or supporting a small business as an assistant.
How to become a Virtual Assistant? Or How to start a Virtual Assistant Business?
If you have a Virtual Assistant business plan, you are probably a free bird yourself because the work of a virtual assistant does not come with any kind of restrictions and allows you to be in your comfort zone. But don’t let this fool you into believing that it is an easy job. Any job that will give you success will demand a degree of dedication. Remember the following points when you are just about to take plunge-
- Pursue your dream- If you have decided to pick up this job profile, just move on. There might be a lot of people who would question your decision as you might be leaving a secure job to pick this up, but you need to pursue your dream.
- Research- You will have to research for a to z of the job. The services that can be offered, kind of clients and how to approach and manage them, the process to deliver output, what you want to offer to people etc. A lot of websites are a good companion at such a time.
- Manage finances- It might be a little time before you find a client, work for him, process it and then get paid for the same. The money flows in only after a while. You need to be firm and manage your finances well at this time.
- Branding- Branding is important for the success of any business and so it is for this one. Your online appearance is going to decide the kind of clients you get to work with. So look for a good company name, logo and an appealing website for better results.
- Legal process- Once you are up with your work, pay attention to the legal aspects too. Get yourself registered appropriately and maintain the required financial records to escape any legal hassle.
- Set up an area of specialization– Instead of looking at what people want, it is advisable to look for what you can serve the best. To be able to enjoy your work, it is very important you realize the field of your interest and work on it.
- Decide your fee- You will need to decide on the fee you are willing to charge your clients. It must reflect your expertise and dedication and should not be a compromise. A lot of it will depend on the level of expertise, the industry association and your client base.
- Market well- Try all the effective marketing strategies- get enrolled in the local directory, try networking, join social networks etc. Work out effective ways of marketing your business and reap benefits later.
- Networking- Let more and more people know about your job profile and your services. The easiest way of marketing today is networking and successful too. The more the people know about your services, the better are your chances of getting popular and successful.
- Social networking- Using social media for networking is to move ahead with the times. Use Twitter, LinkedIn to be more visible. Sharing some useful information on all these forms of media is a good way of telling people you know your job well.
- Collaborating with other Vas- Networking with the other virtual assistants can be very helpful and a learning experience. Since the area of expertise of different VAs is different, you also don’t need to feel threatened by the competition factor. Learning new skills or sharing a tip or two can always be helpful in the same profession.
By being a Virtual assistant you can choose to be any one you want to be.