What is a Virtual Assistant?

by Debbie Potts
28 March 2021

I’m writing this to debunk the myth about Virtual Assistants (aka VAs). Who are they? What do they do and what makes them so valuable? I am once again going to speak from my own experiences and my VA journey to date.

Unless you are a business owner who is lucky enough to have a VA, many businesses are unaware of what a VA actually is. How qualified are they and what experience do they have? How can they benefit your business and what value do they bring?

A Virtual Assistant is a highly-skilled, independent professional who remotely provides administrative, technical and/or creative business support services.

To become a good VA, many undertake a form of accredited Virtual Assistant training and/or coaching. Accredited courses offer in depth training and cover all aspects of becoming a VA, from self-development, goal-setting, step-by-step guide to building up a VA business either as a limited company or sole trader, advice on all the legal documentation required, an understanding of data protection, advice on appropriate business insurance cover and even guidance on membership to accredited recognised organisations that support VAs and their clients.

My VA training was with an amazing VA coaching and training company owned by the very lovely Amanda Johnson and known as VACT Limited. I underwent a 120-hour accredited VA training course with Amanda as my coach and mentor, which took me step-by-step through a process of self-reflection, goal-setting, starting my very own business, marketing my business, working with clients and then continuing to grow my business. To say that this was and still is a challenging experience is an understatement! It was and is extremely challenging but unbelievably rewarding at the same time and incredibly exciting! The support from VACT was and is invaluable and belonging to a group of like-minded people, on the same journey, sharing thoughts, experiences, ideas is just what a VA needs to be successful. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to become a Virtual Assistant!

VAs also have the opportunity to pull all their learning and experience together by being accredited by the Society of Virtual Assistants (SVA). The SVA has been operating since 2005 and is run by actual VAs so that the support and guidance they give are from real issues and experiences. Its membership is close to 3,800 and I for one am extremely proud to be one of the 3,800! VAs work with about 23,000 businesses. It is from this group that I get support and ideas, take my coffee breaks with and enjoy working on projects together.

Most importantly, VAs learn from each other and we are constantly upskilling ourselves to ensure that we provide the absolute best service to our clients using technology to collaborate and work with our remote clients. We are creative, technical, resourceful, professional business owners who happen to be tech-savvy PAs, EAs, administrators, business managers, strategists, trouble-shooters and so on who are passionate about what we do and have strong values and work ethics.

In conclusion, I hope the above gives you an insight into what a Virtual Assistant is. You can also think of us as the remote workers who add value to your business and support you so that you can focus on what you do best. With my 30+ years of experience in both the corporate legal world and as a School Business Manager, I serve my clients as an Online Business Manager (OBM) and Executive VA. As an OBM, I partner with my clients as I get to know their business and understand what drives them and what is important to them. I know their WHY, their WHAT and their HOW. I help them to strategize and forecast. I help to formulate their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and organisational structure. I draft documents so they don’t have to. I free them up from managing work and people so that my clients can focus on what they do best with their clients. Their business becomes my business because we choose to work with passion and integrity, having our values and ethos aligned with each other. I can’t think of a better way to work. This is truly my happy place!

If you’d like to discuss your business needs or how you think I could support you and bespoke pricing, please book a free 20-minute consultation.

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