Welcome, reader, to our happy little corner of the interwebs! Here we talk about all things virtual assistant (VA) and online business management (OBM), and provide clarity on everyone’s burning question: what does a virtual assistant do?
What is a virtual assistant?
As the names suggest – they’re titles for folk who work in this crazy, fun industry providing reliable and remote support to businesses and executives to people all over the world.
Those hiring for VAs and OBMs are often busy business owners, department managers or agency heads who know the far-reaching value of a great VA – and are willing to invest in the help.
Why would someone hire a remote virtual assistant?
Because the virtual assistant skills they can tap into by hiring someone remotely are usually specialised, experienced and flexible to their businesses needs. Plus, because they are tapping into a workforce that is predominantly contract-based, it’s much more affordable and flexible.
When they outsource to an Australian VA or OBM, they will:
- Experience fewer language barriers
- Work in aligned time zones
- Engage someone with an understanding of local cultures, markets, laws, regulations etc.
- Receive tax-deductible invoices in Australian dollars (no exchange issues) with no additional costs* for employee expenses such as downtime, insurances*, annual leave, sick leave, long-service leave, superannuation, equipment, phone lines and internet plans
- Better manage their costs – only pay for the hours they need, when they need them
- Get precious time back – they will no longer get bogged down in the day-to-day admin so they can focus on revenue-generating work that only they can do
*be sure to refer to the employee/contractor laws which differ in each state/territory
This works out perfectly for the VA too. They set their own rates, choose their own hours and can even niche down into the virtual assistant duties they most enjoy.
Because they usually work with a few clients at a time, there’s no impact on their earning potential, either. In fact, going solo and working for yourself can be even more profitable than a standard 9-5.
What does a virtual assistant do, and in what industries?
A virtual assistant offers remote business and executive support to agencies, entrepreneurs, small business owners and department managers. They are often hired when the business needs extra hands, without the extra headcount.
So, what does a virtual assistant do?
Well, how long is a piece of string? Let’s take a look at some of the services you might think about offering (yes – you can say no to work you don’t like doing!):
- Basic bookkeeping
- Website maintenance
- Outbound and inbound phone triaging
- Automated data entry
- Presentation creation
- Proposal creation
- Project research and project management
- Excel spreadsheet creation and maintenance
- CRM maintenance
- Basic content creation for social media
- Customer research and client-hunting
- Diary management
- Email marketing
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. VAs and OBMs that delve deeper into specific areas to develop a unique skillset can really rake in the coin for their areas.
Want to know what sort of niche virtual assistant duties you could charge more for?
Here’s a list of just a few:
- SEO audits and research
- Workflow and automation advisory and setup
- e-Commerce management
- Event coordination
- Talent acquisition
- Coaching and consulting other VAs
- Graphic design
- Strategic internal communications
- Communications planning and PR
- Strategic sales
If this has better answered ‘what does a virtual assistant do?’, then perhaps the next best step would be to cover what sort of virtual assistant skills you need to have to have (or hone) to succeed as one.
Do any of these sound like you:
- Great communicator
- Super organised
- Reliable and diligent
- Good time management
- Native technology user
- Comfortable learning new systems
- A people person
- Not fearful on the phone or via meeting links
- A critical thinker
- A natural-born problem solver
- A team player but also fine working solo
- Active listening skills
If you’ve got at least 60% of the above, a career in virtual assisting could be for you.
What is a virtual assistant salary?
Just remember – you should not base your rate solely on what others are charging.
Do I need any specific qualifications to become a VA?
Not at all.
Usually just a great attitude and willingness to learn will suffice.
Experience obviously helps, but we’ve found that a lot of our new VAs who either join us (or sign up to our jobs board) already have the relevant virtual assistant skills required from previous roles.
Either that, or they take on more entry-level gigs where they can work on those virtual assistant duties to learn.