The world is changing and it is doing so at a very fast pace. As the world becomes smaller and becomes more and more connected, technology continues to transform old industries and create entirely new ones. Because of this, it is important for IT experts and those seeking jobs to be aware of burgeoning fields and emerging occupations.
Increased changes and advances in communications technology coupled with decades-long trend towards outsourcing have created a new, intriguing occupation that’s colloquially known as the “virtual assistant.”
In short, a virtual assistant is someone who provides professional, technical, creative, or administrative services to organizations and businesses from a remote location. Whether they are managing client relations, performing secretarial duties, handling bookkeeping, management databases, or maintaining social media accounts, today’s virtual assistants do anything and everything that can be done to make your job easier.
While virtual assistants can be hired to perform nearly any internet-based task, they are generally highly sought after to work in six of the most common administrative and technical categories, these are:
- Writing Virtual Assistants
- Personal Virtual Assistants
- Research Virtual Assistants
- Data Entry Virtual Assistants
- Social Media Virtual Assistants
- Bookkeeping Virtual Assistants
According to GoCertify, the six different types of virtual assistants can be described as the following:
- Writing virtual assistants create content and communications material for organizations and businesses. Rather than hire in-house staff to maintain an e-mail newsletter or company blog, companies often hire virtual assistants to remotely create digital content for them. To be a writing virtual assistant, all you will need is a fast internet connection and access to writing software. Freelancing platforms such as Guru and Upwork enable individuals interested in becoming a writing virtual assistant to readily find work.
- Personal virtual assistants handle pretty much everything that a traditional personal assistant would do, except they do it remotely. This includes answering emails, scheduling meetings writing thank you notes for clients and so on. Most personal virtual assistants will use a CRM (Client Relations Management) tool to keep track of their clients and the tasks they will need to perform for them. Some popular CRMs include Fresh Desk and Zoho, although using just an email address will suffice; additionally, you’ll need Skype or a similar virtual messaging software so that you can communicate remotely with your clients.
- Research virtual assistants are hired by companies looking to obtain information on new markets, competitors, and products. Because so much data is available digitally, hiring virtual research assistants has become a popular way of getting information while saving on costs and expenditures.
- Data Entry virtual assistants are responsible for managing and maintaining the databases and client relations management tools of the businesses and organizations they are hired by. Whether there’s a slew of data that needs to be entered into a database, a spreadsheet that needs regular maintenance, data entry virtual assistants help companies save a lot of time and money in fulfilling their database management needs.
- Social media virtual assistants are hired by companies that want a robust digital presence without having to dedicate in-house staff to focus on managing the business’s social media accounts. If you have the skills needed to run a quality social media account, becoming a social media virtual assistant can be a great way to earn a living. Social media virtual assistants should have a robust knowledge of all of the major social media platforms (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter etc.) and should look into obtaining social media management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to help them manage multiple social media accounts simultaneously.
- Bookkeeping virtual assistants fulfill the basic accounting needs of individuals and small businesses remotely. Hiring accountants can be prohibitively expensive for startups and small businesses which means that there’s plenty of opportunity for virtual assistants with basic financial skills to sell their remote services. Many virtual assistants use online accounting software such as Quickbooks to fulfill their clients’ bookkeeping needs effectively.