Jul 10
What is a Virtual Assistant

What is a Virtual Assistant?

One of the most in-demand online jobs today is for virtual assistants. A virtual assistant or VA is a kind of independent contractor that does administrative work for business owners – often from a remote location. 

They can conduct data entry, answer your phone calls, and manage your schedule, all while working at home. Depending on your needs, they can work either full-time or part-time.

Why Offices Need a Virtual Assistant

Why Offices Need a Virtual Assistant

Do you want to streamline your team’s daily workload while improving everyone’s productivity? Do you also want to get someone with specialized skills that your team doesn’t have, such as social media management and graphic design

If you answered yes to either question, you need a VA. Having a full-time virtual assistant on your team helps improve productivity and quickly help your business scale.

Why Do You Need a Virtual Assistant?

Why Do You Need a Virtual Assistant

While there are apps that can help you with calendar management and other such functions, having a VA on call presents a lot of advantages. Here are just a few of them.

They Save You Money

Instead of hiring another in-house employee and spending a lot of money training them, why not hire a virtual assistant? A lot of them are already well-trained, so you can save on the time, effort, and money involved in training a complete newbie. 

In addition, many VAs live in countries like The Philippines, where the exchange rate favors the US Dollar. This means that you’re able to save on costs while still being able to pay a competitive salary to your VAs.

You Can Focus on High-priority Tasks

Swamped by mundane tasks such as setting client appointments, handling customer questions, or fixing travel arrangements? A VA can take all these tasks off your plate so you can focus on the things that only YOU can do -such as growing your business.

You Can Work With Skilled Professionals

Basic administrative work isn’t the only thing VAs can do. Many VAs have special skill sets that could benefit your company greatly. 

These include managing Facebook or Linkedin accounts, digital marketing, and running Microsoft Office tools like Word or Excel. 

Aside from these, many VAs constantly attend online courses to learn new skills so they can perform other tasks. 

They Save You a Lot of Time

Money isn’t the only resource you save when you hire a VA. They also enable you to achieve more in less time, taking on the non-core aspects of your business so you can move on to tasks that actually move the needle. 

Also, most VAs are already fully trained and experienced and thus don’t require much onboarding.

You Have Greater Flexibility

With the right VA, you can adapt better to an ever-changing business environment. Besides freeing you from essential yet tedious tasks, a VA’s expertise in specific areas can help you scale your business faster.

Also, a virtual assistant from the other side of the globe can enable your business to operate 24/7, enabling entrepreneurs like you to cater to a global range of clients.

Key Takeaways

Hiring virtual assistants saves large and small businesses time and money, allowing you to focus on more important activities and decisions for your business. 

In addition, many VAs are highly skilled in certain areas, which helps you scale up and adapt to changes faster.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do

There are many tasks that you can assign to your virtual assistants. These include:

Administrative Tasks

The most common tasks outsourced to VAs are administrative tasks. So much so that there are two kinds of virtual assistant jobs for these tasks, depending on the support they provide: the administrative assistant and the executive assistant

The former focuses on carrying out a wide range of standard administrative duties while the latter specializes in more complex and advanced administrative work for executives and other high-level company members, hence the name.

These tasks include managing multiple calendars, creating filing systems, emailing clients, invoicing, data entry, and answering and directing calls from your clients.


Balancing your books is one of the most vital yet tedious tasks when managing a business. Without it, you won’t be able to do your taxes properly and you won’t know where your funds are going. 

If you’re having trouble doing this yourself, why not hire a virtual assistant instead? Aside from saving you time and effort, the right one could probably do it better than you or your in-house team.

Personal Assistant

Running a business while managing your daily life is hard. This is where a PA comes in. They can manage your calendar, schedule your appointments, and even fix your travel arrangements.

Although their tasks are similar to administrative assistants, the difference between them is that a PA specifically caters to the company founder’s (i.e., you) unique needs.

Customer Service

One of the most common virtual assistant jobs is in customer service. This type of VA provides 24/7 assistance to your customers, such as answering their queries, managing feedback and customer transactions, and so much more.

Data Entry

In a digital world, handling data is vital to any business. However, it is often a tedious and time-consuming task. Fortunately, there are VAs that specialize in this too.

Social Media Production

Today, having active socials online is critical if you want to reach a wider audience. However, advertising on socmed can be challenging if your team doesn’t have the savvy necessary for producing quality content. 

And here’s where having a skilled social media management VA comes in handy. They can produce appropriate content for your online presence so that your brand can better engage with a wider audience.

Content Management

It can be especially hard to produce and manage content to bring in traffic to your company website. Fortunately, there are VAs proficient in researching the appropriate content for your website, as well as executing a solid content management plan.


A VA can also assist your in-house team in doing market research on recent market trends and what your competitors are doing. These insights enable you to better decide which direction your company should take to get ahead of your competition.

What Skills Does a Virtual Assistant Have?

Here are some traits you should include in your job description when hiring the best possible VA for your business:

Computer Skills

Since they’ll be primarily working on their computers/laptops, your VA should have a proper range of computer skills. 

These could range from knowing how to use Microsoft Office programs and other work-related software to basic troubleshooting skills, such as what to do when their internet connection fluctuates.


Because their job entails communicating with various people throughout the day, your VA must possess strong communication skills. Having these also helps build trust between the two of you and avoids serious miscommunication.

Organizational Skills

With so many different tasks to finish in a limited time, your VA must have good organizational skills to manage their workload, meet tight deadlines, and produce good output.


Being required to handle multiple tasks simultaneously is par for the course for a virtual assistant. Multitasking enables them to manage several assignments and deliver quality results while meeting deadlines.

Time Management

There’s no resource that’s more valuable than time. Good VAs know this and strive to accomplish their daily deliverables before their shifts end.

Interpersonal Skills

No matter how skilled the virtual assistant you hired is, if they can’t get along with you or your team, it just won’t work.

If you want your relationship with your VA to last, select one who would also be a good fit for your company and your in-house team.

What Makes A Good Virtual Assistant?

What Makes A Good Virtual Assistant

There are several qualities that make a good virtual assistant.

One, they have to be tech-savvy, considering you and your VA will be corresponding online. They also need to learn really quickly, especially if they have to use new programs.

Two, your virtual assistant needs to be reliable. Of course, you will be entrusting your VA with a huge responsibility. Therefore, it’s best to hire someone with a proven track record.

Lastly, hire a virtual assistant who takes initiative. There is room for a lot of “hand-holding” in this field. So, your VA must be able to anticipate what you might need – and the best way to give it to you.

Virtual Assistant Qualifications

Virtual Assistant Qualifications

So, aside from having their own home office set up and stable, high-speed internet, what other qualifications should a candidate have to qualify as a VA?


An educational degree isn’t really necessary to be a good VA. However, remember that some virtual assistant jobs may need a certain educational background, like accounting or bookkeeping for instance.

It’s also easier for your virtual assistant to get the hang of certain tasks if they already have previous knowledge of such. They also won’t require so much training if they already know what to do.


You also need to look at the training courses a potential virtual assistant has under their belt.

What courses did they attend to prepare themselves for the virtual assistant jobs they applied for? Are these programs relevant to the position?

Will your virtual assistant need further training to supplement their current skills and level of experience?


Having the right certifications gives a VA credibility. These also reassure their clients that the skills and training they put on their CV is backed up by verified sources.

Virtual Assistant Required Equipment

Virtual Assistant Required Equipment

Part of Remote Staff’s hiring process is ensuring that its pool of candidates already come equipped with their own laptop and a reliable Internet connection fit for any of the virtual assistant jobs they apply to. 

However, you should inform us and your applicant if the tasks you need them to do might require a high-performance desktop computer or a laptop. (This may be especially true for virtual assistant jobs that require heavy-duty tasks like editing videos, graphic design, etc.)

Should you need them to go on certain project management platforms or use a specific software, be sure to provide access.

Work Environment For Virtual Assistants

A virtual assistant is considered an independent contractor and thus, works from their own homes. They may also occasionally work from other locations.

VAs are also often used to working in a fast-paced environment, taking phone calls, answering emails, invoicing clients, and perhaps even carrying out specialized tasks, among others. VAs might also fill in for you in important meetings if your presence is required somewhere else.

How People Are Using Virtual Assistants

How People Are Using Virtual Assistants

Business owners hire VAs to take several tedious tasks off their plates. Some also hire VA’s to give their business an edge in customer support.

Entrepreneurs, after all, can’t be everywhere all at once.

So, to avoid getting burned out and compromising your own productivity while trying to grow your small business, hire a virtual assistant.

Hiring A Virtual Assistant

Hiring A Virtual Assistant

Once you decide to hire a virtual assistant for your small business, here are a few crucial points that you should be prepared for as you begin the process of hiring.

Establish Expectations

Setting expectations early on saves you and your candidate a lot of time.

Let them know what you specifically need from them (e.g., if you require them to work full-time, their main responsibilities, daily deliverables, etc.) should they land the job.

Of course, the most successful working relationships are a two-way street. Ask your prospects about their expectations if they end up working for you too.

Decide On A Manager

Will your VA report directly to you? Or will they be answering to your subordinate? Will they be working for your company or focusing solely on your personal needs?

These are things you need to be clear on before you even post that job opening.

Create A Budget

Before hiring a VA, make sure that you allocate a reasonable budget.

As with any business decision, you have to invest a certain amount before experiencing a return on investment.

In the same vein, hiring a virtual assistant may come with a considerable cost upfront. However, it can turn out to be one of the most economical solutions in the long run as a VA can help you scale faster.

Make An Effort To Connect

Ask your applicant questions about their prior experience, strengths, weaknesses, career goals, work expectations, etc. 

And of course, allow the applicant to ask you questions in turn. These could pertain to the job description or your company’s culture, for example.

Keep in mind that you are marketing your company to them just as much as they are marketing their skills and experience to you. A successful job application is often a two-way process.

Avoid Delegating Critical Tasks

Know the limits of your virtual assistant.

You’re not supposed to assign every single task to them. Hold on to the big management decisions, employee evaluations, and other such responsibilities above their pay grade, and keep these to yourself.

Check all of your internal processes and identify which tasks you can- and should- delegate.

Check For Client Testimonials

Do your due diligence before committing to any candidate or staffing company.

Peruse any testimonials and see what other entrepreneurs have to say about a certain candidate’s services.

At Remote Staff, for instance, we have reviews from our previous and current clients displayed on our home page for easy reference.

Review Applications And Conduct Interviews

When contracting with an agency, you are paying for expertise and convenience. It is quite unlike scouting talents from LinkedIn, Indeed, Upwork, etc.

Thus, the next step is to assess the qualifications of each shortlisted candidate closely. Work out a timetable of interviews to further discuss your applicants’ background and experience. 

This is also a great opportunity to gauge if a candidate would be a good fit for your company’s work culture.

Test If They Are A Good Fit With Your Company

If you like, you can also test your prospects to help you evaluate their skills further.

The results will give you insight into their strengths and areas for improvement. This is helpful because you will know what tasks your VA will be capable of and which ones you can and should handle yourself. 

Otherwise, you can opt to give your VA a bit of extra training so they can take additional responsibilities off your hands.

Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Lastly, don’t leave your virtual assistant hanging.

Sure, they may have the initiative and flexibility, but this doesn’t mean you should leave them on read if they have questions or require clarifications.

But if you are also concerned about tracking your VA’s work progress, Remote Staff has your back.

The company employs a tool that detects the time and productivity of your virtual assistant, ensuring transparency for both parties.


virtual assistant FAQs

Remote Staff has also gone ahead and listed some of the most commonly asked questions by business owners.

What Is The Difference Between A Virtual Assistant And A Personal Assistant?

There’s not really much of a difference between a virtual assistant and a PA, except for their scope.

Basically, the word “virtual assistant” is an umbrella term. Under it exists many subcategories, such as executive assistant, personal assistant, etc.

The kind of VA you hire will depend on what you and your company currently need. Some hire a VA to help with the more tedious tasks of running a business, while others opt for a PA to help them manage their lives.

How Much Does A Virtual Assistant Cost?

How much you spend on hiring a virtual assistant will be determined by a few factors.

One is the VA’s work experience. Second, there’s the scope of the job. Often, if the position requires a special skill set, this could drive up a VA’s hourly rate. Lastly, their rates may also depend on the overall industry standard.

A VA’s salary will also depend on whether you need them to work full-time or part-time.

Remote Staff takes all these points into consideration to give you the best possible rate that will also fairly compensate your VA.

Is A Degree Needed To Be A Virtual Assistant?

Again, having a college degree doesn’t matter as much as being able to do the job well.

But again, certain duties may require a special skill set or educational background, so just bear that in mind.

What are the Guidelines for Hiring a Virtual Assistant With No Prior Experience?

Virtual assistants with no prior experience might have difficulty getting started and you might not have the luxury of time to train them from scratch.

To prevent this, Remote Staff requires aspiring VAs to have at least one year of experience when they apply.

This gives you an advantage as you may not have to extensively train your new hires as they already have experience and will be able to adjust to the workload easier as a result.

How Are Virtual Assistants Paid?

There are a number of ways you can pay your virtual assistant if you hired them via a job portal.

But Remote Staff will take care of all of that for you, along with all the mandatory benefits and leaves required by the PH government.

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John Carlo Pagsolingan is a carefree yet hardworking writer with aspirations of becoming a teacher in the future. He believes that remote working isn’t just a substitute; but is a legitimate alternative to face-to-face work. Learn more as he writes about the advantages of remote work and tips for aspiring remote workers.

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Herschel Lili has years of professional writing experience. She enjoys reading anything under the sun, but in recent years, she has turned her attention to books that leave her feeling profound. At present, she looks forward to learning everything she can about remote working and sharing the knowledge through succinct write-ups.

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