What the heck is a VA anyway?

The number one question I constantly get is What the heck is a VA anyway? And that question is often quickly followed by “Okay – but what do they do?” It seems that even though the term Virtual Assistant (or VA if you’re super cool 😉 ) has been around since at least 1995 or 1996 (depending on who you ask) it is still widely unknown. And even though the popularity of Virtual Assistants has been steadily increasing since 2004 what they actually do remains a mystery to most.

The answer to the first question is simple. A virtual assistant is someone who works with you from their own location often using email, phone, or online conferencing as their main method of communicating with you. Virtual Assistants (VAs) do not need to be in your office, town, or even country, to work well with you and can incorporate themselves seamlessly into your business from anywhere in the world.

As a profession, Virtual Assistants have changed somewhat over the last twenty years. Originally VAs were administrative assistants working from home completing administrative tasks, often for busy executives who found them more cost effective and productive than their in-house counterparts.

Now-a-days the term Virtual Assistant covers so many different roles that now it’s used more to describe an industry rather than a job title. Under the vast Virtual Assistant industry umbrella, you’ll find everything from General VAs to Online Business Managers to Launch Specialists. More and more VA’s are niching down and creating specialties for themselves within the industry.

Due to this expansion of roles the answer to the question “What does a VA do?” can be difficult to answer. While General Virtual Assistants or Administrative VAs tend to focus on administrative tasks such as answering calls or email messages, appointment setting, data entry, and transcription work; not all VAs fall under this heading. As a result, you can find a specialized Virtual Assistant to fit a tailored role no matter what the specific needs of your business are.

Next week we’ll look at how to find a Virtual Assistant but in the meantime, below is a short list of a few of the more popular types of VAs out there.

An Online Business Manager is primarily a strategist. They help you take your business to the next level by working with you to set and reach your goals. They also know how everything connects in your business and can help you determine where you should be focusing your time. They may also complete, implement, or delegate any tasks that should be taken off your plate.

Communications Specialist is a Customer Service genius. Whether you need someone to answer calls, respond to emails, interact with clients on social media, or write a newsletter the Communications Specialist delivers your message with love and care and knows how to keep your clients and potential clients happy.

The Launch Manager specializes in launching your product or service to your ideal customer. They are familiar with the full launch cycle and can help in all areas, from start to finish. Whether overseeing a team you’ve put together or bringing in their own a Launch Manager ensures everyone is working together and on the same page at all times.

Lead / Sales Manager is a busy entrepreneurs dream. They tend to take on all areas of the Lead Generation and Sales process, from creating lead magnets, running ad campaigns, and interacting with potential customers on Social Media; to setting follow up tasks, creating automated sales funnels, and booking sales call. They help keep your pipeline active and full.

The Content Developer is a whiz with words and makes sure you have a steady stream of content ready to be published at all times. From blog posts to articles, lead magnets to tweets, the content developer can handle it all. They can also post it, schedule it, and set up SEO around it. They don’t just know how to write the content, they also know what to do with it, how to set it up, and how it will affect other parts of your business; and can handle all those details for you.

We’re curious!

Is there any work in your business you feel should be delegated to someone else that wasn’t mentioned above?

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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