Virtual assistants are professionals who provide remote support to companies, helping them to manage daily tasks and administrative needs. As companies grow, it can be challenging to keep operations running smoothly while employees juggle multiple responsibilities in a fast-paced environment. However, hiring full-time, on-site support staff may not always be an option. That’s where virtual assistants come in.
Virtual assistants have been around as long as remote work has been possible, but their popularity has grown significantly in recent years. According to Business Wire, the virtual assistant market is expected to reach $25.6 billion by 2025. They are particularly useful when employees are working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, and teams are spread out.
One of the primary benefits of Online assistants is their flexibility and ability to work from anywhere. They can perform a range of tasks, and their contracts are often flexible, making them a cost-effective staffing solution for companies of all sizes. If you’re looking to streamline operations at your company, a virtual assistant could be a valuable resource.
Definition and Role of a Virtual Assistant in Business Operations
A virtual assistant is a type of employee who provides administrative support to businesses, usually working from a remote location and often on a part-time basis. They perform tasks that are similar to those handled by an executive assistant, such as setting up appointments, making phone calls, booking travel, and organizing emails. These assistants are usually self-employed, but some are hired as full-time remote workers. The services of a virtual assistant can be beneficial to businesses across various industries and of different sizes.
Common tasks performed by virtual assistants
Virtual assistants are professionals who work remotely and perform various tasks depending on their employers’ needs. There are no standard assignments for assistants, and they can handle a wide range of responsibilities. Here are some of the most common jobs given to assistants:
- Administrative work: Virtual assistants are often hired for administrative work, which includes managing calendars, scheduling meetings, booking travel, and even answering phones using a connecting line.
- Bookkeeping: Managing finances is essential to running a profitable business, and virtual assistants can help with budget management, purchasing, and expense tracking.
- Personal assistant: In addition to their regular duties, virtual assistants can help organize personal tasks, such as booking vacations, organizing calendars, and buying gifts for friends and family.
- Customer service: For companies offering products or services, virtual assistants can be the first point of contact for customers seeking assistance with troubleshooting or feedback. They can address basic concerns, provide tutorials, or escalate issues to the appropriate person within the company.
- Data entry: Virtual assistants can perform various tasks beyond administrative work, such as data entry. They can compile data, check for accuracy, and delete unnecessary records, which is especially useful for tasks such as patient recording, billing, postal work, and school administration.
- Social media management: Managing social media can be time-consuming for businesses. Virtual assistants can help by responding to comments, communicating with followers, maintaining a posting schedule, and analyzing account data.
- Content management: If a company uses editorial content to drive traffic to their site, virtual assistants can help manage a production calendar, organize writing resources, and facilitate various elements of the publishing process.
- Research: Research is essential for any business, but it can be time-consuming. Virtual assistants can assist with compiling market research, customer research, and performance analysis. Data analysis virtual assistants are best suited for these tasks as they typically involve more manual work.
Virtual Assistant Salary and Payment Methods.
Virtual assistants have a flexible payment structure depending on their level of experience and area of expertise. Salaries for VA can range from as low as $7.21 to as high as $62.74 per hour, from $288 to $2,510 per week, from $1,250 to $10,875 per month, and from $15,000 to $130,000 per year.
Virtual assistants can be paid via checks or money orders, but most prefer secure online payment services like PayPal. The invoicing process can vary, with some assistants preferring upfront payments and others billing their employer on a weekly or monthly basis.
For full-time virtual assistants, they need to be on a regularly scheduled payroll.
Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant.
When considering hiring a remote assistant, employers need to prepare and follow certain steps to ensure a successful working relationship. These steps include establishing expectations, deciding on a manager, creating a budget, and posting the job on appropriate websites.
Firstly, it is important to establish expectations by making a detailed list of tasks and clearly communicating priorities and deadlines. This ensures that the remote assistant knows exactly what is expected of them.
Secondly, it’s crucial to decide on a manager to avoid any confusion or ambiguity in management responsibility. This manager will be responsible for communicating tasks and tracking projects.
Thirdly, creating a budget is necessary to ensure that costs don’t get out of hand. It’s important to have a firm understanding of the budget beforehand, especially if the arrangement with the remote assistant is flexible and can scale up or down as needed.
Lastly, it is recommended to post the job on appropriate websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, and Hello Rache. These sites will help find qualified candidates in the specific field required.
Virtual assistants: A solution for business owners’ time management
As a business owner, time is a valuable resource, and completing mundane tasks can distract you from pursuing new opportunities and growing your company. By hiring a virtual assistant to handle administrative work, you can free up your workload and have more time to focus on important projects that drive growth.
Another way to manage your time effectively is by utilizing coworking spaces such as WeWork. With flexible contracts, community managers take care of tasks like restocking the kitchen and cleaning services, allowing you and your team to focus on your business. Furthermore, WeWork’s modern resources and coworking spaces can enhance your business operations, setting your company up for continued success.
Originally published on May 6, 2020, this article has been updated by the editors. Madelyn Cuello, a former writer for Ideas by WeWork, contributed to this article. Before assuming this role, she was employed as a copywriter at Macy’s and Lord & Taylor, and also made contributions to online publications such as The Cnnekt and Highlark.