In this blog post we look at working as a virtual assistant from home and what that entails. More and more companies are looking for people working from home that they can harness and have them work for them regardless of their location. We get to one company offering workers that very opportunity, and they are Get Ahead VA.
What exactly does being a Virtual Assistant involve?
Being a virtual assistant is like being any kind of assistant – it’s just that the work is generally completed virtually or remotely. Our Virtual Assistants (VAs) complete work for a wide range of small businesses, usually from the comfort of their own homes. The work can be anything from telephone answering to complex email marketing campaigns – depending on the client and the VA involved
Where does Get Ahead VA come into play then?
At Get Ahead VA we like to think of ourselves as matchmakers – matching the right VA to the right client, doing the right work. For our clients this means that they have a one stop shop who can provide a huge variety of business services, from basic administration through to sophisticated PR campaigns.
What advantage does signing up to work for Get Ahead to be a VA bring over say other similar companies or going freelance?
For our VAs, signing up to work for Get Ahead VA gives them greater reach to a much bigger pool of prospective clients than they are likely to reach on their own or through their own networking or marketing. Importantly though our VAs still retain complete flexibility to complete the work around their own personal commitments, families etc. Flexibility is at the heart of everything we do at Get Ahead VA – both for our clients and our VAs.
Can you tell us a bit more about your own personal background and how you came to work for Get Ahead?
After a career in retail buying in London for corporate giants such as Superdrug and Sainsburys I was looking for a flexible employment solution that could work around my young family. I grew up with a self-employed mother, who provided a great example that it was possible to have a flexible career as well as be there for school pickups and drop offs. I researched various options and decided that setting up a VA business was the best opportunity. With the impact of the recession and the increasing influence of the internet, there seemed a clear gap in the market for virtual assistance services that offered the flexibility, value and performance that small businesses and start-ups need in the 21st century, digital economy.
Can you tell us a bit about how you get clients on board with your company? Is it an easy sell?
We welcome new clients through a variety of different mediums. Social media has become a key sales channel for us with clients coming directly from Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, as well as more traditional channels like face to face networking. We attend regular local networking events as well as local and national shows and exhibitions such as the Social Media & Marketing Show. Five years ago when I started the business being a virtual assistant was a much harder sell – people were still unsure what the term meant. But it’s been really interesting to see how much more widely known and accepted it has become over the past five years as more and more small companies embrace the power of flexibly and virtual working, and recognise the benefits it can bring to their business.
Do you think as more and more companies exist in a virtual environment that the demand for VAs is only going to go up?
Yes I strongly believe the demand for VA services will only increase – both in terms of the quantity of services required as well as the variety, with more and more companies realising what a VA can deliver for their business. For the vast majority of our clients it is the flexibility of Get Ahead VA that they value – being able to tap into exactly the services they want, when they want them. Employing a part time member of staff just wouldn’t work as the scope of what they need is too varied and ad hoc. Using a team of virtual assistants means they can pay for exactly what they need and only when they need it. We take on the skills they don’t have time to do, don’t have the skills to do, or don’t want to do and allow them to get back to what they do best – growing their business.
Is there any set of skills or background that makes people better suited to working as a VA?
Traditionally VAs were PAs and administrators but our team has embraced a much broader set of skills than that, as more and more companies realise that a wider range of skills can be delivered virtually, successfully. Our VAs include experts in Marketing, PR, Events, Social Media, Accountancy & Bookkeeping, and even HR & Recruitment.
What about personal attributes – are there any that you feel are important to have as a good underpinning?
It certainly helps to be self-motivated and comfortable working on your own and as well as working remotely. Good timekeeping and attention to detail are also important as much of our work is completed by the hour, so accurate records need to be maintained. At Get Ahead VA although we all work remotely we are also still a friendly, fun group where great customer service comes naturally.