According to the founders of the Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection, Janice Byer and Elayne Whifield-Parr, “A Virtual Assistant, also known as a VA, is an entreprenuer and business owner who takes pride in offering various forms of help for tasks that are generally related to keeping a business running smoothly. Their services are readily available for fellow business professionals, but they are also suitable to anyone who may be in need of some administrative or other related assistance. VAs work from their own offices: usually home offices. They are virtual partners to their clients.” What this means is that a VA can assist business owners with many parts of their business from word processing, client mailouts, spreadsheets, web design and upkeep to making travel arrangements, event planning, pilot flight planning and scheduling appointments/charters.
What is the benefit of hiring a VA instead of or in conjunction with an onsite employee? While some businesses absolutely benefit from having an administrative assistant on site, smaller businesses such as coaches, speakers, real estate agents, lawyers, authors, chiropractors, non-profit organizations and aircraft charter companies can all benefit from the services of a VA. A Virtual Assistant works on a contract basis which means you only hire them for the project at hand. This saves time and money to you the employer. It means you don’t have to worry about the added expenses of an onsite employee such as company benefits, payroll and vacation. Virtual Assistants often work from home so the employer does not need to worry about additional office space for the employee and the VA is fully equipped at home, so additional office equipment such as desk, computer, telephone, etc. for the employee are not required. However, it is possible for the VA to work onsite, when the need arises. VAs can also offer full service assistance for their clients, with help from other VAs in the industry so the employer does not have to waste valuable time shopping around when they have a task their VA is not specialized in. VAs work very closely with other VAs, and therefore, they can sub-contract any projects that they are not equipped or trained to handle themselves. Another benefit to employers is that some VAs may be willing to cover vacation for your onsite employees. This allows you to contract to a professional you know and trust, rather than hiring an unknown temp from a temp agency.