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  • Writer's pictureChristine Myers Certified VA

What is a Virtual Assistant?

person typing on keyboard

Even though the Virtual Assistant Industry is a rapidly-growing global entity, the concept is still relatively unknown or not understood by some business owners and professionals. The use of the term “Virtual Assistant” to mean Automated Virtual Assistant Technology (Artificial Intelligence) from the internet adds to the confusion.

The “human” beginnings of the Virtual Assistant, goes something like this: In 1992, Thomas Leonard (known as the father of life and business coaching), was going to be traveling the country in his RV on sabbatical and he wanted his assistant to run his life and business for him while he was away. He was the first one to coin the term, “Virtual Assistant.”

Much of what had to be done in a traditional office can now effectively be handled virtually, eliminating the traditional overhead associated with conventional office support. Communication is accomplished through email, texting, Video Conferencing and the phone instead of face to face.

Virtual Assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds, but most have several years of experience earned in the "real" (non-virtual) business world.

Picture a corporate or small business office with an Administrative Assistant who sits outside the boss’s office providing him or her administrative support with day to day tasks and special projects. Now, picture that same Administrative Assistant in a different location, but still providing the same support.

That’s one way to describe a “General” Administrative Virtual Assistant (VA).

As you are probably aware, tremendous advances in technology have dramatically changed the way business is conducted today. And so, has the role of the Virtual Assistant. A VA’s services now can extend beyond providing professional general administrative support, to specializing in technical and creative services, as well.

Although, some Virtual Assistants work for agencies, most are business owners, not employees. Clients pay only for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs.

Most Virtual Assistants have years of expertise but are still constantly learning and developing new skill sets in order to compete in today’s ever evolving market, as clients ask for more specialization. A Virtual Assistant works hand in hand with a client to help them achieve business success.

A small business owner, home-based entrepreneur, independent professional, and even global enterprise, partnering with a “human” Virtual Assistant, can enjoy cost-effective solutions, increase productivity, and gain time to grow their business. Several of the benefits of working virtually with an assistant are:

  • A Virtual Assistant provides their own office space, equipment & supplies.

  • A business owner doesn’t have to incur the costs associated with hiring a salaried employee.

  • There are no employer related taxes to be paid

  • No benefit packages to buy

  • No downtime or personal leave.

The Virtual Assistant Industry has grown into a variety of skill sets that are valuable to numerous types of professionals. These days, a Virtual Assistant is someone a lot of busy professionals just can't do without.

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