A virtual assistant is simply an assistant who works remotely. As technological advancements already for years brought reliable internet to most homes, businesses realized they didn't have to bring an employee into the office to get work done, and this led to the first virtual assistants. And now we have the Corona situation everywhere in the world and the imposed closures, people are forced to stay at home and businesses everywhere are closed and many are or will be permanently closed.
For example, in Israel there is a second closure and we don't know exactly when they open the economy again. Millions of people are out of work and the economy is still not reopened, only small sections of it. There are so many people, who ae at home, staring at the TV or browsing the Internet, and they have further nothing else to do. And they see the money disappearing ... very soon they don't have enough to eat or pay the bills anymore.
So what many of them do is looking at the "thing" what's called the Virtual Assistant" or work remotely or work from home, etc.
Others are looking to invest in themselves by considering to go back to learn new professions at the big and famous universities all over the world by choosing online learning or online universities.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don't want to spend the money on an office space for staff. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks, such as social media management.
Theoretically, a virtual assistant can do anything that another support staff might do. There are limitations, but technology is increasingly offering ways to work around those limitations. For example, they may not be able to physically bring you coffee in the morning, but they can place a coffee or lunch order through a food delivery service.
Virtual support duties are not limited to clerical work. They may provide assistance with marketing, web design, bookkeeping, and many other services. Some virtual assistants specialize in a specific skill set, and they only perform duties related to those skills. Other virtual assistants specialize in an industry, such as a virtual assistant whose niche is assisting realtors.
Though it isn't a defining aspect of virtual assistants, many of them work as contractors. They may run their own home-based virtual assistant business. Clients hire a virtual assistant by signing a contract with that assistant's business.
Virtual assistants may also simply work as employees for a company. Other virtual assistants will jump from company to company with short-term contracts found through freelance sites.
How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business?
If you decide you want to create a business for your virtual assistant work, the first step is to determine the type of service you want to offer and to whom. Will you specialize in a specific task, such as graphic design or bookkeeping? Will you focus on a niche market, such as online entrepreneurs or realtors? Once you know what you're offering, you can set up your price for services. You may choose to charge by the hour, or you can sell service packages.
First of all, whatever you decide, you need a platform. You need to tell the world that you're available for work! Some of you create a website and offer your services, which include payment services and the like. Others rely on advertisements in the local newspapers, others rely on mouth-to-mouth advertisements, others rely in friends and others rely on business contacts they already have.
Why hire a Virtual Assistant
While virtual support is a great home business idea for assistants, getting virtual help can also be crucial for home business owners seeking to maximize income and facilitate growth. As a home business owner, there may come a time at which it's impossible to do everything by yourself. And if you're still able to do everything yourself, you may lose the ability to do it all as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Hiring a virtual assistant frees up your time so you can focus on the work that will make money and grow your business. Plus, many virtual assistants are better than you at certain tasks. It's always more efficient and less expensive in the long run to hire out duties you're not skilled at.
The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is to make a list of the tasks you want to outsource. Make a complete list that prioritizes the activities you want to delegate. For example, if you find it overly time-consuming and tedious to manage your email's inbox, put that at the top of your list. Or, maybe tech issues are taking too much time, so you can outsource website management.
The next step is determining who to hire. You can use a virtual assistant service that hires and trains assistants. These services will draw from their talent pool to assign an assistant that fits your needs.
You can also search for an assistant through an online freelance service like Upwork. The final option is to engage your network for a referral. Finding an assistant that is already vetted by someone you trust will save you time (and possibly the headache that comes with a bad hiring decision).
What's really a Virtual Assistant?
A consultant working freelance or under contract. It's just another name for the same 'beast'. It's also the new 'rage' or 'thing for today' to do the new (same old) thing. Or the same wheel of the same old machine.