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Title: Spotlight On a Home Business: Virtual Assistant
Author: Maria Thompson

A Virtual Assistant (also known as a VA) is a highly skilled independent contractor who partners with businesses and individuals to provide administrative support services. A Virtual Assistant works from their office, using their equipment. You may be more familiar with the terms: Administrative Assistant, Secretarial Services, Executive Assistant, or Office Assistant. As a Virtual Assistant you can work with others whether or not you are in the same town, same state, or same country as they are.

Virtual Assistants usually offer a broad range of services. Some of them include:

  • Word Processing
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Website Design
  • Resumes/Cover Letters
  • Bulk Mail
  • Database Creation/Maintenance
  • Bookkeeping
  • Transcription
  • Internet Research
  • Editorial/Proofreading
  • Travel Arrangements
  • and More!

Who Can Use the Services of a
Virtual Assistant?

  • Small Companies/Business Owners who do not want to hire employees
  • Large Companies who need overflow help
  • Individuals needing Resumes
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Temporary Services

VA rates differ. Hourly rates can range anywhere from $15-$75 depending on how specialized the VA and their services are. Many Virtual Assistants also offer "retainer packages." With these retainer packages, a client can save money by paying for a minimum number of hours for a set time, usually a month. Although a VA can sound more expensive than an average employee, when a client hires a VA, they do not have to worry about office space, paying employment taxes, employee benefits, social security taxes, vacation, or sick time. Not to mention that a customer only pays a Virtual Assistant for actual time worked.

Getting Started

I would suggest that you do tons of research. There are many classes available on the Internet with information on Starting your own VA Practice. There are also a lot of Forums/Discussion Boards that you can join. I will list a few resources at the bottom of the article.

What Will You Need?

To begin your Virtual Assistance business, there are a few mandatory items you will need:

  • Word Processing Software-preferably an office package such as Microsoft Office that comes complete with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and FrontPage
  • A computer
  • A Printer...A laser printer is best, however, your budget may limit you to a desktop to start
  • Office Supplies
  • A Business Line is Preferable
  • A Great Attitude
  • Website- While you can definitely start your VA business without a website, you will HAVE to have a website to gain the interest of prospective clients who are not local.


IAVOA - The International Association of Virtual Office Assistants - Although there is a fee to join the group, you can join the discussion board/forum for free.
VirtualBizGroup - This is another great forum with members who have Virtual Businesses.
UniversalClass Online - A self-paced online course on starting your own Home Based Word Processing/ Virtual Assistant Business

Virtual Assistance U - Provides training for Virtual Assistants.
RSS Herald - A monthly newsletter with information for Virtual Assistants.


Becoming a Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistants and Real Estate Agents
The Virtual Assistant
Other Virtual Assistant Articles


For More Information On How You Can Become A Virtual Assistant

 You can sign up for the How To Start Your Own Home Based Word Processing Business at: UniversalClass.com

About the author:
Maria Thompson is a Virtual Assistant and Owner of AdvantageBizServices.com.  She also hosts the Small Office/Home Office site at BellaOnline.com, a resource site for women.




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