What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
Updated: May 25, 2019
Are you looking for opportunities to work at home? Probably, you have read articles about freelancing, home based job or Virtual Assistance.
In this article, I will give you an introduction on what is a VA and hopefully, this will give you a jumpstart on how to become a virtual assistant.
Why am I passionate about this topic?
I have been a Virtual Professional for about 7 years now. I have handled project management roles and online marketing work. I love what I do because I was able to meet, work with and collaborate with the best minds in the world.
What is a VA?
The term seems very straight-forward but if you have just been recently active on the internet or you just recently explored how to create opportunities for yourself, I bet you asked, “What does a Virtual Assistant do?”
Virtual Assistants are definitely more than Siri. They are not artificial intelligence (AI). They are humans.
Here’s the exact meaning from Wikipedia:
“A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VA's fees. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses.”
VAs are sometimes called as freelancers, remote workers, online workers, independent contractors, friends, and heroes. :)
Now that you know what is a Virtual Assistant, let’s go dive deeper.
Types of Virtual Assistants
Virtual Assistants can work in different ways but let me categorize them according to the duration of the task, based on job category, based on the freelancer’s status and finally based on the level of expertise.
According to Duration of Task
One-Off Task VAs - These are VAs who do tasks that will probably not be needed again in the next coming weeks/months/years. These tasks are usually very simple things and can be done within a few hours (i.e. basic research, logo design, leads generation, etc). Basically, clients hire a VA -> clients get the output -> client pays the VA and say goodbye. :) Of course, you can be hired again when a similar task would come up but to simplify it, it’s like a come and go relationship.
Project-based VAs - Almost the same as the first type but these are VAs that will be hired for the purpose of completing a project that would probably take more than a week or so. These tasks may vary from simple to quite complex projects (i.e. web designing, writing, translation, project management, etc.).
Long-term VAs - These are VAs who will be working with a client for a long engagement and someone who will provide continuous support (i.e. admin support, customer service, marketing, operations management, etc). Simply put, these are people that will continuously help businesses just like any employee except that their office is their home (or probably they are working while in a deep forest for as long as they have a good internet connection).
Based on Job Category
Design and Creative - This includes animation, audio, and video production, graphic design, illustration, logo design and branding, photography and more.
Writing - This includes writing for articles and resumes, copywriting, creative writing web content and tasks such as editing and proofreading.
Customer Service - This covers both voice and non-voice customer service work.
Sales & Marketing - This includes email marketing, lead generation, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, public relation (PR), Telemarketing and a lot more.
Administrative Support - This covers project management, web research, transcription, email management, travel arrangement and more. This may also include accounting, human resources, and management work.
Web, Mobile, and Software development - This covers all facets of development from design to the actual creation and testing of websites, mobile apps, and software.
Based on Freelancer’s Status
Individual VA - Simply put, these are freelancers that work independently, directly worked with their clients.
Multi-VA agency - These are teams that house a number of freelancers. When you hire thru an agency, you will usually speak with the owner or with a project manager.
Based on the Level of Expertise
This part is definitely open for interpretation but based on Upwork’s definition, the level of expertise can be further defined by their value.
Entry Level - less than $20
Intermediate - $20 - $40
Experts - $40
I hope this blog post has helped you get a good introduction on what Virtual Assistants can do.
Are you ready to begin your virtual assistance business? If you have any questions, let me know by commenting below and I will be glad to shed a light on that.