Virtual Assistant Series Part 1: What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual Assistant Series Part 1:  What is a Virtual Assistant?

I have worked as a Virtual Assistant for going on two years now.  It has offered my family a little bit of extra spending money and has increased my quality of life an insane amount.  Lately I’ve encountered several people who really want to make working from home an option for them, so I’ve decided to start a four part mini series on my blog covering working as a Virtual Assistant.  Here are the different topics:

  • PART 1:  What is a Virtual Assistant? & What does a Virtual Assistant do?
  • PART 2:  How do you get started as a Virtual Assistant?
  • PART 3:  How do you find Clients for Virtual Assistant work?
  • PART 4:  Virtual Assistant Q&A

I’ll be doing a new article each week, with the final week being a Q&A article.  PLEASE leave any questions you may have in the comment section or email me at ashleyswavel@gmail.com.  I really want to help give you the information that you need, so any and all questions are helpful! 🙂

Let’s dive right in to this week’s topic:  What is a Virtual Assistant?

According to 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.”

I’d agree with that definition.  When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m basically like an Administrative Assistant, only I work for myself.  I’m an Indepdent Contractor, meaning I’m responsible for my own tax withholding and reporting each year, and I have a Client list.  I set my own hours, my own rates, and I work from my own home.  It is really a win-win for everyone.  The Clients get their work done by someone who is skilled but they avoid having to have a physical location and they don’t have to pay you a salary or pay into health insurance, taxes, etc.  It’s a win for YOU because you get the freedom to work from virtually anywhere and you can be choosy about your Clients and the tasks you’re responsbile for.

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

Virtual Assistants can be responsible for a variety of tasks and projects that an Administrative Assistant would be responsible for, such as:

  • Writing blog posts
  • Posting to social media platforms
  • Replying to e-mail
  • Booking appointments
  • Following up with clients and customers
  • Booking travel
  • Data entry
  • Transcription
  • & many more!

As for me, I’ve done transcription work and data entry as a Virtual Assistant, but right now all that I do is write blog posts and post to social media platforms.  I’ve found a niche that I love and fit into:  Couponing and Frugal Living Blogs.  I have several Clients from across the country who have me search for deals to use as content for their sites.  I use WordPress to log onto their blogs and post the deals, making sure that their specific affiliate links are coded into the HTML so that they get the credit and commission for any purchases the readers make.  One Client sends me what work they’d like done each day, while another gives me free reign to post whatever I think their readers will like, while another has me work on a series of projects each week.

Hopefully you learned a little bit about what the term Virtual Assistant means and some of the tasks that can go along with holding this title.  Check back next week when I’ll give you some insider information on how to get started as a Virtual Assistant, such as what skills you need, what equipment you need, and more.

If you found this article useful, or if you want to learn more about being a Virtual Assistant, leave me a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you and get your questions answered!

16 comments

  1. That sounds like it is a lot of work! I love posting to social media, so I could see myself doing that, and I also love to write so blog posts would be good. But scouring the net looking for good deals? Well, at least there is someone that likes to do it, because I like the good deals but don’t like to look for them. Good for you for finding something you can enjoy and that can bring your family some money.

    1. Great! Thanks for stopping by, Mary! Keep checking back each week for more information and let me know if you have any specific questions. I’d love to help!

  2. It’s great that you’ve embraced becoming a VA to earn a little extra cash for your family. There are SO many VA jobs available nowadays, especially with the rise of bigger bloggers who need extra jobs done that they can’t fit into their schedule. I’ve done a couple of short-term VA jobs and enjoyed it, but sadly I’m too busy keeping up with house and home these days to take on any extra work right now. Thanks for sharing about VA info in the series. I’m sure it’ll really help a lot of people!

  3. So – it’s much like bloggers do regularly, except you get paid for it? Very interesting. I hadn’t realized what a VA did. It actually sounds like something I could do – since I do most of that stuff already for my own blog.

    1. Exactly! A lot of my Clients have pretty successful sites that require a lot of frequent posts to keep readers engaged. By hiring me to write these posts, it frees up their time to do more with their families and also allows them to focus on pitching their site to brands, marketing on social media, and other more time consuming tasks.

    1. It truly is – I’ve never been happier!! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to let me know – I’m planning on answering them all in my final post of this series.

  4. Wow being a virtual assistant sounds a lot more involved than I’d imagined. Sounds like a good way to make money from home. How exactly does payment work? Do you charge by the task or by the hour?

    1. Thanks for your question, Jonathan! I actually do a mixture of both. My most basic service that I offer is deal posting, which is where I log onto my Client’s WordPress and write up a short post about a hot sale happening or something along those lines. I charge per post in that situation. There are times when a Client has me work on a project that is more along the lines of data entry and for things like that I charge an hourly rate.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Brandi! You’re exactly right – the actual tasks just depend on the needs of the Client. Make a list of your strengths or your favorite things to do in a work aspect. For me, I loved a lot of my former job as an Administrative Assistant (such as typing, organizing, data entry, writing, social media, etc.) but I didn’t like other aspects (recruiting, hiring, telephones) so I was able to pitch myself to Clients who needed what I was wanting to offer – and since I’m my own employer, I don’t have to offer any of the skills I’m weak in or that I don’t enjoy! 🙂

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