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What on earth is a Virtual Assistant?


When I first floated the idea of becoming a virtual assistant or VA I got asked a lot and still get asked regularly “what is that? '


Let me try and explain and put some of those myths in order. A VA is an independent, self employed worker who provides administrative services to clients outside of their office. This is usually working from a home office but with remote access to all the necessary documents such as shared calendars and spreadsheets.


Cost Saving


One of the main reasons for a business to use a virtual assistant rather than a salaried employee is cost. A virtual assistant costs less because the business  does not pay benefits, provide office space or pay NI and PAYE. A virtual assistant, as a business owner in their own right, will cover those expenses and would pay their own taxes by means of a self assessment each year through the self employed category.  A business owner would also only pay for a VA as and when they need work doing.


A virtual assistant such as myself can give back your time to focus on high-value activities that will add more profit to your business, spending more time on the important areas of your work and not on tasks that don’t actually contribute to the growth of your business.


If you are reading this and thinking a VA may be for you then I suggest you take a week in your working life and  document the regular tasks you want to outsource, tracking how long those tasks take you and the true cost to your business.


What's the difference?


What’s the difference between a PA and a VA I hear you ask.


My career started as an administrator and office manager through to a PA with HR admin responsibilities and now resides as a VA.


Everyone has heard the term PA or personal assistant. Typical duties for a PA would include diary management, taking and typing minutes, phone calls, organising meetings, research, presentations etc.


The Virtual Assistant job is still relatively new to some people but is an emerging and ever changing role in this digital age. As a VA I work remotely and support multiple clients as opposed to working for one organisation.


As a VA it’s my duty to support several clients/businesses on an hourly basis as opposed to full time in an office. How can a business owner ensure loyalty if you're working for more than one company at a time?


Well as a busy PA I was used to supporting more than one senior manager at a time who had different needs and requirements and had different working styles so on that level I'm used to the delicate balance.


In terms of business loyalty I do draw up terms and conditions with each client which states I do not discuss businesses I support with other business owners and of course with the introduction of GDPR a few years ago confidentiality is even more important to me.


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