A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a professional who can independently perform a variety of administrative, technical or creative services and support. Virtual Assistants can perform these business services remotely (virtually) for entrepreneurs, other professionals, or business owners. VAs handle smaller business tasks, while business professionals can focus on more substantive organizational goals.
Due to the remote nature of freelance assistance jobs, VAs can work from anywhere around the world. They can even work freelance from the comfort of their own homes or offices of their choosing. VAs do not receive typical employee benefits such as pay for vacation, time-off, lunches or breaks, which is considered a trade-off from the relative comfort they get to have as remote professionals.
Typical Tasks for Virtual Assistants
What are the typical responsibilities and services that Virtual Assistants perform? There are practically endless options for VA business services. They can function as a regular employee in many ways, reducing a company’s or an entrepreneur’s workload and the repetitive nature of some jobs.
Here are some of the more typical tasks that VAs perform:
- Take calls
- Schedule meetings and appointments
- Data entry needs
- Email management for responding to client
- Calendar management
- Updating website content
- Booking business travel
- Planning events
- Conducting business research
- Organizing contacts
- Writing up board or business reports
- Proofread business documents
- Invoice clients
- Updating social media business accounts
Finding and Hiring a Virtual Assistant
hire a freelancer
could be so beneficial for certain roles or sets of responsibilities that a business owner or professional is reasonably comfortable delegating to a virtual professional. Each business owner, entrepreneur and professional will have preferences on what tasks they want a virtual professional to handle.
There will be different tasks that are slowing down a business professional’s ability to efficiently perform their roles. But when these efficiency-draining tasks are properly identified, the VA sourcing and hiring process becomes much more straightforward.
Once the right tasks are identified for delegation, the next step is to start the search for VA talent on a VA provider service. This could mean reaching out to one of these providers or posting a job on one or more of their websites. That way, interested, highly-rated virtual candidates can reach out to the job’s clients to express their interest.
Once the job is posted and several candidates have been selected for further consideration, it is time to begin the interviewing process. There are many sites with samples of VA interview questions that are good choices for conducting virtual interviews.
A comprehensive interview process is the best means of determining which candidate’s personality and business skills are the right fit for the virtual position being offered. It’s a good idea to ask a variety of interview questions throughout the process. One or more video conferences should also be scheduled to get a better sense of each VA candidate before the final decision to hire one of the candidates.
How to Know When Virtual Assistants are Working
Freelance virtual assistant capabilities mean that a business owner or professional will not be physically around to check in on the VA to see if they are technically working. Despite this, VA provider systems typically offer means to pay VAs only for the amount of work actually performed, or only for the number of hours worked.
For particularly suspicious clients, it may be best to hire a VA professional with the most pristine, high-quality track record. Hiring only the best ensures that assignments and projects will be done promptly and before deadlines are reached.
It’s important to note that there are means to track a VA’s progress with a given task and to keep a reliable communication with them. Some of these means will be mentioned below.
Reasons to Hire Virtual Assistants
There are several notable reasons to hire a VA over a local employee or other professionals. Some of the most important reasons include the following:
- Working on projects with a VA gives a company or professional instant access to a trained professional.
- The VA is only being paid for the specific services that a business needs.
- The cost of hiring local, physical talent would be usually more than that of hiring a VA.
- There’s zero wasted downtime when working with a VA, as these businesses do not pay VAs for breaks, lunches or vacations.
- Business owners and entrepreneurs can focus on their products/services, while the VAs focus on many of the necessary administrative tasks, such as bookkeeping, email management, scheduling, various kinds of paperwork and customer service management.
Hiring a freelance VA to manage a host of administrative tasks, as they are trained to effectively and virtually communicate with clients and the VA business providers that they work with. They also tend to have intermediate to expert knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Publisher), G Suite (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Sites, Slides) applications and other programs. A company or professional can devote more time to tasks that value-add, and become more organized and productive through hiring VAs.
Minimum Qualities for Virtual Assistants
Freelance virtual assistant attributes that make them well-suited for a given task will differ from job to job and from professional to professional. Below are some of the important minimum qualities that any good VA should possess:
- High-quality written and verbal English skills
- Organizational skills
- Responsive and active communication capabilities
- Fast learner
Cost of Working with a Virtual Assistant
The cost of working with a VA can range widely. Some parts of the same country have different rates for VAs. Some entry-level VAs may work for only $1 an hour, while expert-level VAs may request as much as $50 an hour.
Some VA providers have virtual assistant professionals who will work between the ranges of $2–$5 an hour. Certain respected Indian companies have VAs who will work between $8–$15 an hour. There is a very high fluctuation in price range when looking for VA candidates within the US.
Some VAs will work for $7 an hour, as they live in areas of the US with a relatively low cost of living. If you are searching for a competent administrative assistant, it could cost you between $20–$25 an hour.
Many VA service providers can provide more detailed information about the cost of working with VAs.