The world of business is full of trends that come and go. But there’s one that is likely to stay: virtual assistants. Virtual assistants are self-employed workers who provide administrative, creative, or technical assistance to clients from a home office. Reports suggest that more and more business owners today are using this service.
A Growing Trend
Virtual assistance service is a growing trend, driven by a number of factors. These include the demand from businesses to improve efficiencies and lower costs, the desire of employees to maintain more control over their working time, and the advancements in technology that connect both sides. A company saves considerable costs by hiring virtual assistants. No payroll tax or benefits, no need for office space, and no equipment and services to maintain. The job can be modified to the exact needs of the company. The business only pays for the hours of administrative work it needs. This saves the cost of hiring full time employees.
The Job of Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants’ work is similar to office-based administrative personnel. They research, transcript, maintain the calendar, and handle correspondence, appointments, and travel arrangements. The only difference is that they perform the job as freelancers or independent contractors. Unlike an office employee, they set the hours they work, decide the services they provide, and choose their clients. Virtual assistants charge between $20 and $45 an hour depending on the nature of the work and the level of expertise a client needs. They receive project instructions by phone, e-mail, fax, or even instant message.
Training, Support, and Technology
While formal certification and training aren’t required to be hired, virtual assistants are expected to be highly trained and able to take quick directions. This is why they are encouraged to take courses online or at a local community college. There are different organizations that offer training and support, and leads on projects and assignments. Coaches also help aspiring virtual assistants to establish their business.
Virtual assistants purchase and maintain their own office set up. This includes a reliable computer, fast Internet connection, fax machine, telephone line, and software applications. They promote their services online and by attending job fairs and joining industry-specific organizations.
Virtual assistant service is one of the fastest-growing home-based businesses. It helps companies save costs, and offers employees work flexibility.