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What Is A Virtual Assistant?

If you've ever wondered what a virtual assistant does, the answers are all here.

A self-employed virtual assistant usually works from their home office, although there are some virtual assistants that will work onsite for all, or part, of the time if required. Virtual assistant agencies often have their own office space where their virtual assistant employees work from.

While VAs generally offer various business support services from a remote location to other businesses owners, there are many services that fall under the virtual assistance umbrella.

A few years ago, a virtual assistant was someone who traditionally did office administration and secretarial work. Many still offer this service as well as other more internet-focused tasks.

In a small office, without the benefit of a larger team, these extra tasks often fall on the receptionist or admin person. And as well as their regular duties, they look after the company’s social media pages, send out email newsletters, keep the company website updated and perform other support type services the company requires.

Nowadays, hiring a VA will have these extra tasks covered as VAs typically offer a variety of services, but many do niche down into specific areas.

Virtual assistants will offer administration, technical or creative services, but you will increasingly find that the services they provide tend to fall into one of these categories.

General administration tasks virtual assistants carry out are the type an admin, personal or executive assistant would usually do:

  • Bookkeeping/payroll
  • Inbox management
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Travel arranging
  • Proofreading
  • Word processing.

The creative/tech-savvy virtual assistants (like the services I offer) have tasks that fall more into the social, marketing, technical and graphic design area:

  • Email newsletters and nurture sequences
  • Social media support
  • Website design and management
  • Presentation documents
  • Content creation
  • Creating eBooks
  • Blogging
  • Graphic design
  • Google services.

Virtual Assistants that Niche

An industry niche is also an area where virtual assistants can refine their services. Being able to offer a particular skill-set for a real estate agent or a life coach, for example, will ensure that a VA will be recognised as having a much desired area of expertise. And clients love experts!

These VAs will have confidence in their abilities, and will have an advantage over a general VA, as clients will be keen to work with someone who knows an industry specific area.

Industry-specific VAs will also have experience in a particular software program exclusively for that industry, eg., Fergus for tradies or RealNZ for real estate agents. This will see them as a most valuable resource to their clients.

There are some businesses owners that use more that one virtual assistant. They may have a general VA for the admin stuff and a more specialised VA for the more creative and technical aspects. These types of tasks could be setting up email nurture sequences and landing pages – some of the things I love to do!

Working with New Zealand Virtual Assistants

The great advantage with virtual assistants based in New Zealand is that they are proactive, and will not only complete tasks efficiently, but they are always looking at ways where improvements can be made. VAs are also good at making suggestions on what other areas in your business will benefit from having attention. New Zealand VAs tend to look at your business as a whole rather than made up of just the parts that they work on.

Often business owners will look at hiring an overseas virtual assistant because their hourly rates are cheaper than that of a NZ based VA. The thing to remember with that is, they are mostly reactive in their work. That’s fine if all you need is someone to complete a tedious, repetitive task over and over each week.

A virtual assistant based in NZ is more like a valued team member that is there to support you and help you to grow your business.

So, if you’ve decided to be a VA or are looking to work with one, it’s good to know these 3 facts:

  1. VAs are flexible and work when you need them
  2. You only pay for the time you use a VA
  3. VAs are like an extension of yourself, only better!

Author

Debbie Mills Robertson
Online Marketing Virtual Assistant
debbie@taskdiva.co.nz
027 345 7000



 

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