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What is a Virtual Assistant?

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Have you ever read about a Virtual Assistant or VA and weren’t sure what it is? No need to feel alone, many people have never heard of this term, and neither had I until about three years ago.

When I was on the board of an Administration Association, I welcomed a friendly face at one
of our ‘Meet and Greet’ events. When I introduced myself as a part-time administrator, I
asked her what she did. She replied, “I run a VA company.” I pondered the words and
thought “wait, what’s that?” Remaining true to my nature, that ‘no question is a dumb
question,’ I curiously asked what a VA was. This was my first introduction to what I did not
realise at that time would become my professional future.

Whenever I have had that same discussion with someone new over the past two years or
so, they are confused and curious about my answer. My hope with this blog is to help you
understand what a virtual assistant is and most importantly what they can do for you.

First things first, what does the term Virtual Assistant mean? Where does it originate?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is true to its name - an assistant supporting you virtually. The idea of
a VA came up in 1996 when Anastacia Brice had a conversation with Thomas Leonard, and
he dubbed her assistance as “Virtual Assistance”. Virtual Assistants have indeed been
around since 1965 with virtual support provided via call centres, however not in the capacity
that we see today.

Businesses have long held the impression that you needed someone in the office to do
work. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that those days are gone, and the
majority of work can be remote. The current pandemic has made virtual work more common
and an acceptable solution to working environments and workforces.

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

A Virtual Assistant can wear one or more hats. There are so many things a VA can do,
including day-to-day administration, bookkeeping, or even website design. The list is endless
to what we can do, so it may mean you will need more than one VA to manage a variety of
tasks within your company. You may use a generalist VA for administration work but hire a
specialist VA for managing your social media. 

There are VA’s who decide to niche down in specific areas and only focus on work in that
area, i.e., website design or bookkeeping. They then may decide to delve deeper into that
niche. For example, a bookkeeper may do bookkeeping using multiple software
programmes, but someone may niche down further and only focus on working in Xero.
When a VA decides to niche down using a particular software, they become a specialist in
that field and the go-to VA in that industry.

VA’s can help save time and money in your business. If you have ever thought of using one,
I promise, if you find the right one, they will be an asset to your business.

A VA is not only beneficial for your business you can also use one for your personal life.
Do you need someone to organise your gifts, or do the shopping? No worries, there is a VA
out there that can help!

Keep an eye out for our blog in April where I will share a list of go-to questions to help you
find your ideal VA.

Till next month.