Posted on May 30, 2014
While virtual assistants are not necessarily a novel concept, they have only made it into mainstream consciousness with the advent of high-speed Internet, Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP), and the infamous SIRI.
Today, the virtual assistant, or VA as they are commonly called these days, has evolved from mere virtual secretaries to “multi-slashies”, wearing various hats, depending on the needs of the clients’ businesses.
And yet, even with the popularity of the profession, many still have misconceptions about the multifaceted VA. Here are some:
1. VA’s are nothing more than just fancy online secretaries. VA’s have come a long way since Anastacia Brice was named the first virtual assistant, thanks to her life coach client, Thomas Leonard. In fact, they have taken on different tasks which include project management, content management, head hunting and other human resources tasks, creation of presentations, and even web designing and development.
Yes, VA’s are more than just your human magic 8-ball.
2. They only work from home. While, yes, many independent contractors who offer virtual assistant service work from home, there are, in fact, outsourcing companies which offer VA services. And the best thing about these companies is that they assign a team of 2-3 VA’s to one client to ensure that work is always covered, even when one VA is not available for the moment.
3. They can only be hired for part-time, or short-term work. Don’t let the word “freelance” fool you. Depending on your needs, a virtual assistant can work for you for four hours, or a full eight hours a day, 5 times a week. And you’d be surprised to know that some companies hire the same VA for more than two years. If you have established a good working relationship with a VA, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t hire him or her long term.
4. They’re only good for repetitive tasks. Now don’t underestimate the power of virtual personal assistants. Many VA’s have college degrees (master’s degrees even) and have impressive credentials. Some just prefer the freedom of freelancing, or would prefer to work at home, where he or she can be available to his or her family. So yes, they can do more than just repetitive administrative tasks.
5. They’re a one-man band. Sure, VA’s have many capabilities, ranging from web design to content management. But don’t confuse versatility with superhuman multi-tasking abilities. They’re not from planet Krypton. Even the most experienced VA can only do the job of one person. So if you need to outsource more work than your existing VA can handle, hire more than just one person.
6. You don’t have to tell them what to do. Sure, experienced VA’s can do work with minimal or no supervision. But in order for your work relationship to work, you need to establish good communication with your VA, especially if he or she is not familiar with your business’s industry. Through regular communication and feedback, your VA will know if he or she is in the right track with his or her tasks.
Despite the various misconceptions, virtual assistants are considered a great asset to any business, whether it’s an online business or a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment. With their skills and knowledge, they can shave off a few hours from your work week, thus giving you more time to work on what matters: growing your business.