Virtual Assistants (VAs) - Hidden Support

Virtual Assistants.  Do you have great administrative skills?  Do you want to work for more than one client?  Do you want to run your own business?  If so then working as a VA could be for you.

VA's are home-based professionals who perform a wide range of office functions for one or more clients without setting foot in the client's office.

A VA can provide are word processing of documents and spreadsheets, research, contact management, appointment scheduling, meeting and event planning, mailings, and follow up with clients or other contacts.

A VA partners with their client, learning their business and providing the support needed to help them effectively grow their business and create more free time.

A VA can tap into their client's voice mail several times a day and 'clean it out' leaving the client the calls that they need to handle. A VA is more than an assistant and more than a message taker or message deliverer.

A VA *is* their client and acts on their behalf, protecting the client and their time/space from the demands of the public/customers. Some clients even empower their VA to set policy, make exceptions, solve problems, make mistakes, coordinate efforts, screen heavily, anticipate their needs and be a partner, not just a VA.

A VA is just like an executive assistant or personal assistant, except that the VA handles clients' affairs from a distance, and electronically.

Below are the 10 most common ways in which clients utilize the services of a VA

* Bill payments
* Screening and forwarding mail
* Screening and handling email
* Sending out mailings and follow up
* Managing projects or reporting
* Follow up with clients or other contacts
* Reminding clients of important dates
* As a sounding board for pointing out what clients cannot see/giving advice
* Screening/handling phone messages
* Developing systems of support

So as you can see it is a challenging and interesting role. In addition to carrying out the varied duties above the VA also gets the pleasure and satisfaction of running their own business. They are a businessperson rather than an employee.

From an employer's point of view VAs offer several advantages over a paid employee, saving the client tax and employee benefit challenges.

As businesspeople market and communicate more and more via the Internet, virtual assistants can be very useful especially if a client does not require the services of a fulltime employee. With more and more people setting up small consultancies and other businesses the demand for VA's can only grow.

VA's can work for one client or more than one client, performing a wide variety of time and money saving tasks. A virtual assistant is self-employed; bills only the hours worked or by tasks completed, and is dependent on referrals and steady workflow.

Professional VA's bill at rates $30+ per hour.

The more professional, industry-specific education a VA has, more experience working with virtual clients, the more she can make happen for her clients, and the more vast her resources, the higher her fee will be.

Many Virtual Assistants work on a retainer agreement with clients -- they block a certain number of hours per month to be used by a client. The client pays a monthly fee (a certain number of hours X $/hour = monthly retainer) at the beginning of each month. Unused hours don't roll over to the next month.

Expenses are additional. The per hour rate on a retainer is usually discounted by about 10%, in recognition of the client's willingness to buy a block of time. A retainer relationship comes with a higher level of commitment to the partnership created -- for both people.

To Find Out More Visit These Web Sites
Small Business Administration   
International Virtual Assistants Association      

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