Despite the varying definitions, what everyone can agree on is the fact that this is a growing industry that can be a lucrative home business opportunity. At the same time, a Virtual Assistant can offer tremendous benefits to the business owner that contracts them.

Virtual Assistants are not hired as employees. They are business owners themselves and are hired on a contract basis. An employer who works with a VA has the distinct advantage of not having to deal with taxes, unemployment insurance, sick leave, vacation pay, or benefits. Rather than having to provide additional office space, and be responsible for the development and supervision of an employee, they can enjoy the support and assistance of a professional without the headaches of hiring and managing employees.

And while VA’s are in a support role, that doesn’t mean that they are in a subordinate role.

According to Brice, the ideal VA is someone who “genuinely loves being in a support role and doesn’t see that as having to be in a sort of one-down position. Someone who can really see that if I use my skills in supporting you, I can absolutely be your equal. I’m just bringing a different set of skills to your table.”

Asked about the skills that make for a successful VA Brice responds, “I think that VA’s typically are talented admins, who just want out of the corporate world.”

Of course, basic administrative skills are a must. At AssistU, fewer than half of the applicants get to the first interview.

Says Brice, “I don’t want to be teaching someone to use Word for the very first time. I don’t want to be talking to someone about telephone etiquette. Of course we can talk about that on a higher level, but what was important to me is that these people come out of a background where they already have a certain number of years with that kind of experience. I think that someone who doesn’t have any administrative type background would find it possibly very much more difficult to become a fabulous VA.”

Another critical work from home skill would have to be resourcefulness. Most VA’s are generalists, that is they offer a variety of services to clients across different industries. Sooner or later, a client is going to ask them to do something that they don’t know how to do.

“It’s not so important that any VA can do it all,” says Brice. “What’s more important is that she knows how to get it done. Because if you’re my client, and you need something done, and I don’t know how to do it or I don’t like to do it, you’re not really going to care as long as I can get it handled for you.”

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