A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA) is self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VA’s fees. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses but can also support busy executives. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-10,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide.
Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phone-call conferences, online work spaces and occasionally Virtual Assistants may attend business office location if required. Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard.
Virtual Assistants consists of individuals who work remotely as an independent professional, providing a wide range of products and services both to businesses as well as consumers. Virtual Assistants perform many different roles, including typical secretarial work, website editing, social media marketing, customer service, and many other remote tasks. The virtual industry has changed substantially as it attracts others new to the field.
Virtual Assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds, but most have several years experience earned in the “real” (non-virtual) business world, or several years experience working online or remotely.