So what is a Virtual Assistant?

So what is a Virtual Assistant then? Lots of people ask me this when I tell them what I do.  So how do I describe it? The best description I have ever seen comes from Barbara Adams website, ClassicVA:

“The term Virtual Assistant (VA) is an entrepreneur who provides administrative, technical and social assistance to clients from their own professional office”

Basically I like to think that I take your headaches away!

To me, a virtual assistant is like having your own PA; I just don’t work from your office.  The majority of PA’s have years of experience as PA’s or Office Managers, they bring with them the knowledge they have acquired over those years, the contacts they have cultivated, the shortcuts they have learned, and an extremely professional attitude to business.

In my experience no two employers require exactly the same from a PA.  It’s the same being a Virtual Assistant.  You have a standard scope of services, but you work to the clients’ requirements and needs.

A Virtual Assistant can work for any size of company from a sole trader to a large PLC. I have been approached by all of them.  From the traditional PA roles such as managing your diary and email, to writing your confidential mail, making follow up calls to your database, to more specialised skills such as managing your social media accounts and Facebook page, designing your website, and even managing your SEO for you.

You hire a Virtual Assistant for a specific project, a set number of hours per month, or on retainer basis.  It’s a bit like having a pay as you go service, something you can switch on and off as you require, but I suspect, that like many clients, once you have tried it you won’t want to give it up.

Some Virtual Assistants have a particular niche, it could be specialized knowledge of a particular industry such as HR or medical, some have foreign language skills; others are expert at transcription, bookkeeping or credit control.

A group of us now work together for the benefit of our clients, the VA Support Group covers pretty much every skill you could ask for, so that if as an individual we don’t cover that aspect of your business, we can probably utilise the skills within the group to ensure your task is carried out, we can also call upon each other for assistance to ensure that urgent tasks are able to be carried out at short notice.

We even have our own call answering service which I will cover in a future blog.

Don’t be afraid to outsource, it can save you time, money and headaches.  Look at the tasks that consume your time, are you working in your business or on it?  Could someone else carry out that task for you in a more efficient or time saving manner? Ask yourself these questions, and then look at how much additional income you could generate for your business by outsourcing.  Consider the impression this additional resource would have on your clients and their perception of your business.  For example, when I make a call on behalf of a client I introduce myself as their PA or credit controller, immediately their business is perceived as more professional and larger than it actually is.

A couple of my Clients just like to know they can phone me when they need to and bounce ideas off me.  They will still go ahead and do whatever it is they wanted to do, but they like the fact they have someone they can talk to, in confidence, who understands their business and their situations and is on call when they need me.  I can also ask the odd question which they may not have considered.

Others like the fact that I am on the end of the phone when they are in a panic! Be it stuck in the middle of a shopping arcade and needing to find an urgent birthday present that day that is out of stock, or asking me to ring and arrange a surprise golfing present before they arrive at the golf course with their client, or looking at their diary and rebooking an appointment they can no longer get to.  Remember what I said earlier, it’s like being a virtual PA.

So please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about how a VA could help you or your business, or if you would like me to help you find your own Virtual Assistant.  Remember, because of the support of the VA Support Group we can now cover pretty much every requirement you ask of us – put us to the test today!


  1. A VA often specializes in certain business aspects such as marketing, graphic design, sales, etc. Some virtual assistants may be employed by one company and simply telecommute. Most, however, are small business owners and their business is to provide support to other small and large business owners from their home office. - By medical answering services

  2. I've added a page to the blog on virtual assistants. Hopefully we will be able to raise awareness amongst businesses out there of the benefits of using the flexibility of a virtual assistant.


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