Definition: 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.
Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VA’s fees. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. When most people hear “virtual assistant,” they assume it’s a secretary who works from home.
But the field has exploded into a variety of skill sets that could be valuable to various professionals. These days, a virtual assistant is someone a lot of busy professionals just can’t do without.
Why do people hire virtual assistants?
A lot of people wonder how virtual assistants stay in business. I mean, if you need an assistant, why not just hire someone to work at your business full time? It’s pretty simple, really. It comes down to money and convenience. A full-time administrative assistant can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 or more (based on data at Salary.com for beginner to senior-level administrative assistants in Indianapolis, IN). That’s not even including benefits and bonuses. That’s a hefty price to pay if you don’t need someone around all the time or if you only need their help on a few projects. This is especially true for small businesses that may only have 1 or 2 employees to begin with. A virtual assistant makes ends meet by working for multiple people. So you can hire them to work for only the hours or tasks that you need them for. If you just need someone for five or so hours a week to consistently stay in touch with customers while you’re in meetings or onsite for a project, they can do that. If you need them to work more hours one week over another, they can usually accommodate that.
What can a virtual assistant do?
There are a variety of virtual assistants and they all have different skills. Some may gear their work more toward scheduling and logistics, while others may focus on web-based services like manning email accounts, doing research or social media. Click here to see what services Bright Moments Solutions offers.