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What Is a Virtual Assistant?

Definition and Examples of a Virtual Assistant

Working from a remote location, a virtual assistant assists a company with administrative tasks. However, virtual assistants can also help with any other aspects of the business that are needed.

Find out what a virtual assistant does, how to get a job as one, and how to find a virtual assistant to work for you!

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What Is a Virtual Assistant?

When we say “virtual assistant,” we simply mean “assistant.” Businesses realized they didn’t need to bring an employee into the office to get work done in the 1990s, and this led to the first virtual assistants, as the internet became more reliable.

Entrepreneurs and online businesses in particular seek out virtual assistants because they require assistance but do not want to incur the costs of hiring employees or leasing office space. Many small and medium-sized businesses, however, use virtual assistance, particularly for specific tasks like social media management.

In theory, a virtual assistant can perform all of the duties of a regular employee. Although there are limitations, technological advancements are making it possible to get around these restrictions in ever more creative ways. Rather than physically bringing you coffee in the morning, they can order it from a food delivery service instead.

Virtual assistance isn’t just clerical in nature. They may assist with marketing, web design, bookkeeping, and a variety of other tasks. Depending on their training and experience, some virtual assistants may specialize in one or more skill sets. Some virtual assistants have narrowed their focus to a particular industry, such as those who assist real estate agents.

How is a Virtual Assistant Different from a Personal Assistant?

Many virtual assistants work as independent contractors, despite the fact that this isn’t what makes them unique. Virtual assistants can work from home and set up their own businesses. Virtual assistants can be hired by signing a contract with their employer.

It is also possible for a virtual assistant to simply be employed by a company. Short-term contracts obtained through freelance sites allow other virtual assistants to hop from one company to the next.

How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business

Determine the type of service you want to provide and who you want to provide it to if you decide to start a virtual assistant business. So, for example, graphic design or bookkeeping, will you be your primary focus? If so, will you narrow your focus to, say, online business owners or real estate agents? Your price for services can be determined once you know what you’re offering. Service packages or hourly rates are two options you have.

It’s quick, cheap, and simple to start a virtual assistant business. If you already have the skills and equipment necessary to get started as a virtual assistant, you can find a client and get started right away.

A business license may be required by your city or county. A virtual support license could be your only startup cost if you already have all of the necessary resources in place.

Your network and online job boards can be used to find clients once you’ve established yourself as a freelancer or telecommuter. Create a LinkedIn profile and a website to showcase your skills and make it easier for potential employers to find you.

It’s time to hire a virtual assistant.

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant

In addition to being a great way for assistants to work from home, getting virtual assistance can be critical for home business owners looking to increase profits and facilitate expansion. A home business owner may find themselves unable to do everything on their own at some point. While it may be possible to do all of the work yourself, you may lose the ability to do it as efficiently or effectively as possible.

Hiring a virtual assistant frees up your time so that you can focus on the work that generates revenue and expands your business. Additionally, many virtual assistants are better at certain tasks than you are. In the long run, it’s always more cost-effective and more efficient to outsource tasks for which you lack the requisite expertise.

Before hiring a virtual assistant, make a list of tasks you want to delegate. Prioritize the tasks you want to delegate and compile a comprehensive list. The most time-consuming and tedious tasks should be at the top of your list, such as managing your email inbox. It’s also possible to outsource website management if tech issues are taking too much time.

Next, decide who you want to hire. You can hire and train virtual assistants through a virtual assistant service. These services will use their pool of talent to assign an assistant that best suits your needs.

You can also use an online service like Upwork to find an assistant. Finally, you can ask your friends and family for a referral. You will save time and money if you hire an assistant who has already been vetted by someone you trust (and possibly the headache that comes with a bad hiring decision).

The Most Important Things to Remember

–  A virtual assistant is a person who works from a remote location to provide assistance to a company.

– Virtual assistants are most commonly used for administrative tasks, but they are capable of performing any type of remote assistance.

– It is common for virtual assistants to start their own business or work as independent contractors.

– Virtual assistants provide low-cost administrative assistance to businesses.


Key Takeaways

  • – A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location.
  • – Administrative tasks are most common for virtual assistants, but a virtual assistant could perform any form of remote assistance.
  • – Virtual assistants often (but don’t always) start their own business or work as independent contractors.
  • – Businesses often hire virtual assistants for low-cost help with administrative tasks.


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