What is a Virtual Assistant?

What is a Virtual AssistantPicture superwoman with dark hair, the Business Owl logo on her chest, a to-do list in one hand, clutching a secure laptop in the other and armed with intense focus, a professional outlook, reams of experience and the ability to enable a business owner to actually gain more hours in the day. That’s a VA! Or, if you are looking for something a little less dramatic, a VA is a Virtual Assistant who offers administrative business support to companies, service providers and individuals.

What a PA or Personal Assistant might do within an office setting, a VA is able to offer remotely. A VA often has the knowledge and experience needed to take on additional tasks, from social media work to website support, blog posts and even payroll. You can see where the superhero image comes into its own now, can’t you?

A Jack of all Trades but the Master of None?

Hardly! An experienced VA will have built up a bank of skills and often undertakes self-development and professional training in order to maintain a range of services to an extremely high level. A VA is able to complete the tasks any in-house support staff can, from general clerical to industry-specific work. In the same way that employed staff have varied CVs and experiences to offer, so do Virtual Assistants. Many offer a broad range of services, others offer additional niche services, for example legal support.

OrganisingRather than spreading themselves too thinly in terms of skills, a VA will be the master of the services they offer. This allows businesses to benefit from them as and when required or for longer periods of time to efficiently deal with whatever needs to be done.

There are many benefits of choosing to use a Virtual Assistant rather than employing someone in-house, either full or part-time. This list is extensive and worthy of another blog post! What I will say is that choosing a Virtual Assistant offers you more flexibility, is a budget-friendly solution and enables you to off-load tasks that they are highly qualified for, leaving you to get on with what you are there to do, namely run and build your business or service.

Choosing the right Virtual Assistant for you

While I would be thrilled if you decided that I was the right Virtual Assistant for you, it is important that you make sure you have the right VA for your needs. I offer a wide range of services to clients in and around my base in Yorkshire but also further afield, thanks to the wonder of remote working options and the internet. Due to my background I specialise in working with clients involved in legal services, for example small law firms and joint ventures. Whilst the legal sector is my specialism I also serve businesses, consultancies and professional individuals across numerous other areas. These currently include (but are not limited to) HR, career coaching, events management, accountancy, the charity sector and property.

That’s me, however if you are looking for a VA with ten years of experience in molecular biology who is able to work in your office a day a week and you live in the Highlands of Scotland, I may not be your best choice!

Handwritten checklistNow that you understand what a VA is and what they can offer, you need to narrow down what you are looking to outsource, both now and in the future, in order to choose the right Virtual Assistant for you. Do your due diligence and make sure that the person you choose is forward thinking and able to work independently. Your VA also needs to adhere to professional standards including confidentiality, have the relevant professional indemnity insurance and be someone you find easy to communicate with.

In summary

In short, a VA or Virtual Assistant is a self-employed skilled professional who often works out to be more economical than a full or part-time employee, yet possesses the skills necessary to take on a wide range of professional tasks aimed at ensuring the smooth running of a business.

Think of the right VA as the oil that keeps all of the other cogs in the machine in motion and ticking along nicely, freeing you up to build new machines! For further information and to discuss your specific business, please get in touch at jen@businessowl.co.uk or on 07970 955535.

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