Virtual Assistants are fast becoming a popular industry. It is through education that this field is beginning to truly grow. Hopefully someday soon people will be asking, “Who is your Virtual Assistant?” rather than “What is a Virtual Assistant?” Virtual Assistants are the key to allowing small business owners to truly create a thriving. Before deciding to work with a Virtual Assistant there are six questions that need to be answered.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

First and foremost, you must understand what the term means. Simply put, a Virtual Assistant is a business owner who offers administrative support, virtually. The International Virtual Assistant Association defines a Virtual Assistant as “an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional Virtual Assistant assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.”

Why would I want to work with a Virtual Assistant?

There are many advantages! First, there are no hidden costs. The Virtual Assistant takes care of his or her own expenses including office space, equipment, computers and software, and all wage-related expenses. A Virtual Assistant is not like other employees; instead she becomes a member of your team and has a stake in the success of your company. If you don’t succeed she won’t succeed.

Most Virtual Assistants have many years administrative experience and can handle a variety of tasks. Many work outside of traditional business hours to provide flexibility. With a Virtual Assistant on your team you have an opportunity to grow your business rather than just maintain it. You can get back to the things you love doing…while the tasks on your TO DO list are looked after.

How do I find a Virtual Assistant?

Internationally, there are three associations that list Virtual Assistants –  VA Networking (, International Virtual Assistant Association ( and International Association of Virtual Office Assistants ( There are also two associations that list Virtual Assistants in Canada – the Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection ( and the Canadian Virtual Assistant Network ( Thanks to technological advances, a Virtual Assistant doesn’t need to live in close proximity as communication is available through email, facsimile, Internet, and telephone.

What can a Virtual Assistant assist me with?

Virtual Assistants can assist you with everything from basic administrative functions (document preparation, correspondence preparation, transcriptions services, etc.) to specialized services such as Web site design and maintenance, bookkeeping, ghostwriting and editing services, marketing and event planning. Each Virtual Assistant has his or her own skill set and services. Many have established connections with other Virtual Assistants and will contract out specialized work or direct you to another Assistant.

How do I communicate with a Virtual Assistant?

The most popular methods in communication are email and telephone; however, facsimile, courier, and postal services are often used. Many who have worked with Virtual Assistants have set up post office boxes that are accessed by the Assistant to ensure all client correspondence is handled directly by the Assistant.

Is there anything a Virtual Assistant can’t do for me?

A Virtual Assistant can perform any task that an in-house assistant can …except make your morning coffee.

Now armed with this information, I am sure you can see how partnering with a Virtual Assistant truly does make good business sense. It is a key step in creating a thriving business.