One of the hottest new home businesses today is the virtual assistant business. It is the reinvention of the secretarial and administrative assistance business in the age of the Internet.
As a virtual assistant, you perform the typical tasks of an administrative support professional such as word processing, researching, event planning, and other office chores – except everything is done online. Your client may even be hundreds of miles away from you (even from a different country), and you may never even get to meet them as all communication are often done via email, password-protected web sites, instant messaging or phone calls.
What is a Virtual Assistant Business?
A virtual assistant offers a number of specialized services to other entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses, and even corporations who are downsizing. Another important market for virtual assistants is businesses that may not have the resources to afford full time staffs and pay taxes and health benefits.
A VA’s services typically includes Internet research, data processing, desktop publishing, bookkeeping services, web site development and maintenance, word processing, email handling, marketing services, among others.
Johnita Glover and Tracy Jackson for their Virtual Business Consultants, Inc. specialize in administrative and secretarial services, calendar and email management, and database and client management Services for entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Their most demand services are calendar and email management, appointment scheduling, mail merging, document editing, and event coordination and voicemail services.
Kimberly Mann , on the other hand, offers an array of services such as arranging meetings, typing recorded meeting minutes, tracking project status, researching POD publishers, art galleries and outdoor fine art shows, formatting a manuscript for POD, assembling and mailing promotional packages and managing mailing lists, streamlining their filing processes.
What You Need to Start a Virtual Assistant Business
To start a virtual assistant business, you need to have a fast computer, high-speed Internet access, printer, and the various software that you need. A virtual assistant business is typically home-based, so it is important to have a dedicated area where you can do your work and communicate with your clients. A smartphone like Blackberry or iPhone is also important especially if you are on the go but you need to be responsive to your clientele.
Here are the important skills needed to start and succeed as a virtual assistant:
- Familiarity with the Internet
- Good communication skills
- Strong knowledge of computers and key computer programs such as word processing and spreadsheets
- Excellent typing and proofing skills
- Highly organized and able to meet deadlines
- Strong customer service skills
As Johnita Glover and Tracy Jackson emphasizes, the must have qualities to succeed as a virtual assistant are, “adequate communication, patience and understanding of your clients needs and overall business functionality, as well as giving our clients the ability and know-how to delegating their work.”
They further stress that,
“Customer service is extremely important we believe strongly in building lasting relationships with our clients, understanding them and meeting their needs to move ahead together. We understand the time and effort it takes to run a business, therefore all services offered are tailored specifically to the needs of each client.”
Resources on Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
For more information on starting a virtual assistant business, read the following articles
- How To Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
- How to Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
- Tips on Winning a Virtual Assistant Position
- Start your own virtual assistant business
- Virtual Assistant, The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA
- The 2-Second Commute: Join the Exploding Ranks of Freelance Virtual Assistants
- The Virtual Assistant’s Guide to Marketing, 2nd Edition
- VA Secrets Revealed! An Insider’s Guide to Being a Successful Virtual Assistant
- International Virtual Assistants Association http://www.ivaa.org/
- Alliance for Virtual Businesses http://www.allianceforvirtualbiz.com/
- International Association of Administrative Professionals http://www.iaap-hq.org/
- Virtual Assistant Networking Forum (VANF) http://www.vanetworking.com/
- Virtual Business Group http://www.virtualbizgroup.com/
- Virtual-Professionals.com http://www.virtual-professionals.com/