What is a Virtual Assistant?
You may be wondering What is a Virtual Assistant?
There are different specialties and services a VA can offer but there are similarities that make the VA distinct from other professionals that work from their home. A great description that sums up what a virtual assistant really is can be found in a book by Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker, Virtual Assistant The Series:
What is a Virtual Assistant? A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a highly skilled, professional who provides administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, sales professionals and others who have more work to do than time to do it.
The Virtual Assistant is an independent professional who works remotely from their own office for a business on a contract basis. The VA is not an employee for the company, therefore is responsible for their own equipment, business expenses and benefits.
The virtual assistant business is a booming business and has grown to be a distinct form of a home based business with standards and definitions of its own. There are several Virtual Assistant Associations formed specifically for this type of business that have helped shape and define this profession as well as develop industry standards.
There are a three aspects to the virtual assistant business which sets it apart from other home-based secretarial services or telecommuting positions.
- The primary characteristic of most virtual assistants is that they work to build long-term relationships with a client and provide continual services for that client’s business. The VA will tailor their services to fit the client’s particular needs and will often work outside of a particular job description when the need arises.
- The term virtual means that this person performs their functions from their own remote home office; which in turn gives the VA the freedom to work their business anywhere they choose.
- The virtual assistant owns their own business as opposed to a temporary contract worker or employee allowed to telecommute. Most VAs do not consider themselves secretaries who work for someone, but rather a business partner with another business. As opposed to the term “freelance” work which can imply someone who works to make some extra income, the virtual assistant is building their own real work at home business.