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From Office Assistant to Virtual Assistant: Making the Transition


The virtual assistant (VA) is a professional who works from home or her own location, providing office support services. Tasks such as basic communication, general administrative duties, billing, accounting, data collection, customer service, reports, editing, writing, handling documents, digital data, website updating and database maintenance are just some of the activities that VAs are involved in for business owners and companies.

Time Management

Time is the most effective resource for any small business owner. It is essential to learn how to handle time efficiently in a home-based environment, since it is very different from a traditional office. For example, a regular business office may have structure in place that assists with organizing and completing tasks. In a home office, it is up to the business owner alone to learn the best ways to manage time.

You will need to keep track of how much time you spend performing every task, in order to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your work.

Communication Systems

Working from home, you will need to master how to effectively communicate from the home office environment, by using technology efficiently. For example, using email as a primary source for data is a very effective way to keep track of essential information, work orders and other requests. It provides an instant, recognizable and excellent way to maintain operational records. Use a separate email address to handle business requests and create folders for each client. Learn to minimize phone usage so that time is not wasted where it could be better spent producing required work.

Make a schedule for answering email and phone calls to free up more time. This will help a great deal, since there will be a long list of hats to wear. Developing multi-tasking skills is also essential in order to keep deadlines and stay ahead of the game.

Develop Small Business Systems

Set up an office space that is organized for efficiency. Create a list of all of the things you will need for daily operations, and have them all available within arm's reach. Eliminate items that are used infrequently to cut down on clutter. Find out about what the requirements are for running your own business. There are tax implications and records that will need to be kept and later referred to. Study other similar small business operations and make a template for your own that covers what is needed, while tailoring it to your own needs.

Create a filing and tracking management system for your business documents and communications. Create a small business plan with realistic expectations for income and goals. By having a regular goal-focus, you will more easily make the transition while maintaining attention to detail.

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