I hear the term “Virtual Assistant” more and more in business. Did you know that you could hire someone from another continent that works while you sleep for $8 – $12 Dollars?

With the growth of virtual assistants, there has also been a change in what it means to be a virtual assistant.  The leaders of this particular entrepreneurial job have made distinctions between what it means to be a virtual assistant and what it doesn’t mean. 

Being a virtual assistant is becoming a distinct definition of a specific home owned business.  This means that a virtual assistant is someone who provides a variety of services to businesses and individuals following the standard that has become formalized in the past decade. 

The first angle that is taken towards approaching what a virtual assistant is includes the idea of being virtual. If you are not working out of your home, or remotely, then you are not considered a virtual assistant.  One of the standards for being a virtual assistant is having the freedom to work where you want.

The second part to being a virtual assistant is the distinction that is made in the job description.  Technically, a freelance worker is one who only does the job for extra income.  A virtual assistant is provided in order to create a substantial and long term relationship with a business. 

Here are 5 things you should consider in a Virtual Assistant:

  1. Professionalism. Does the VA answer his or her emails, voicemails and other correspondence in a timely and professional manner? It is important that if this person is to work for you they have the right skills to meet your deadline.

  2. Project Management. Juggling tasks nowadays is vital. If a person cannot work with a few projects on the go you might want to move on. I guarantee you will find out that they have a project management problem when you lose “the big deal”.

  3. Availability. Many of these people work for several people at the same time. It is not uncommon for you as an employer to be in a funnel system for the VA. You slowly move down the funnel as they take on better contracts from new virtual employers. You need to be lining up new VA’s. Try to split your work between 2 or more VA’s to combat this problem.

  4. Test. Give the VA a mini project before going ahead with a contract. I also give a minimum of 2 tasks that cost no more than $30 -$40 to complete. I need them done correctly and to my total satisfaction before I even consider this person. It is simple to hire one of the first few people to come along but please shortlist at least 10 and give the tasks to 2 of the 10 you shortlisted.

  5. Get References. Can the VA give you a list of people you can contact who will tell you about working with her or him?

The main distinction that most virtual assistants will work towards creating is the idea of being in a relationship with a business and making this their business.  This goes beyond the expectations of any temporary work or telecommuting job.  It also means that the services a virtual assistant can provide will go outside of job descriptions that are made in the office.  By understanding the standards for being a virtual assistant, you can best approach this in your own business.