There are so many options available when it comes to virtual assistant services that it can be hard to figure out where to focus your business. Knowing more about what a virtual assistant ("VA") does may help you narrow your choices. Here's a look at 5 types of services offered by virtual assistants:
There are many virtual assistants who provide copywriting and copyediting services for clients. The client lets the VA know what they want, and they sometimes provide an outline, audio recording, video presentation or notes for guidance. The VA then compiles the information and writes text for a variety of formats. This can include web pages, brochures and other marketing related material, or a webinar. The VA needs to be proficient in writing and editing, especially when it comes to grammar and spelling. Sometimes the client wants to write the document and only needs help with style, tone and grammar. The VA then acts as a copyeditor by reviewing the document, making sure that it's free of errors and is written in a way that will reach the intended audience.
2. Virtual Receptionist
A virtual receptionist sends and receives calls on behalf of busy small business owners. The VA will have a dedicated phone line in her home to receive calls from one or more clients. When a call is received, the VA handles the call as if she were in the business owner's office. That's the benefit to small business owners: having the appearance of an office or the ability to maintain excellent customer service while they're away. The VA works out with the client the hours she's available to take calls, and the business owner has their calls forwarded during those times. This can be an add-on service in addition to other virtual assistant services you already provide, until there are enough clients and calls to work as a virtual receptionist full time.
3. Word Processing
This goes beyond a typist job. Virtual assistants must be proficient in Microsoft Word to help clients track changes in documents, convert files to PDFs or from PDFs to Word, format their documents with appropriate headings, insert page and section breaks and everything else that will help them deliver professional looking documents to their clients or the public. A client will dictate their specifications in an audio recording of some sort and send it the virtual assistant, or they may send over a rough draft of their work in Word. They don't have the time to figure out the nuts and bolts of Word, and so they'll outsource it to a VA to handle the details.
4. Fulfillment Services
Artists, writers, musicians and other business owners sell books or audio/visual material to the public. They're often too busy creating, performing or marketing to handle the job of shipping out material to customers. A VA is very valuable to them to take the orders and get it out to customers right away. The VA gets all of the orders automatically forwarded to her, or she can log in to get that information. Then, she sends out inventory that was already mailed to her beforehand by the customer, or she can go the customer's home or place of business to get some, plus mailing supplies. She also handles any returned items, and depending on the client's preferences, can issue refunds.
Another virtual assistant service that saves clients time and money is research. The client may need to research new products to add, information on prospective clients, how to do "x" or just the competition. They will email or call the VA explaining what it is their looking for, and then they expect the VA to be competent enough to find it. The VA can use various research tools available to her, with the Internet being the primary tool. In some cases though, knowing how to research by making phone calls, reading books, newspapers and reference materials is still needed today.
A virtual assistant will often offer two or more of these services in order to make enough income on a monthly basis. Although you should choose a niche to serve, you should broaden the virtual assist services you offer initially.