By the simplest definition, a virtual office assistant is a freelance contract worker who provides administrative, creative or technical services. Frequently that means handling the same types of tasks as an office secretary or manager, but doing them from a home office, utilising their own computer equipment, software, telephone and internet connection. By specialising in the services they provide or the businesses they support, experienced virtual office assistants can frequently demand higher fees of up to £100 an hour.

Here are the basic skills that the Alliance for Virtual Business recommends that you’ve! You will need current technology, including a reliable computer, connection to the internet, telephone with voice mail or answering machine, fax machine or computer faxing capabilities, business and communications software and antivirus software. You must be proficient in using this software, along with email, the Internet and IM.

Twenty-first century life is fast. Inboxes are growing at an exponential rate, phones are ringing in one continuous chorus, and people’s patience has worn as thin as their time is spread.

Due to the expected rapidity of business, the need for a virtual assistant has never been higher – so much so that the global number of people who use a VA is projected to reach a staggering 1.8 billion by 2021. Although this industry is growing by leaps and bounds there are still plenty of people who don’t really understand what a virtual assistant is or how they can play a vital role in the growth of a business – both online and traditional brick and mortar.

Many people look at VAs as little more than executive assistants. But it’s more complicated than that! Every virtual assistant job is a little bit different, of course, but there are some general components to expect. Most virtual assistants provide support to their employer or clients in the form of answering emails, transcribing documents, preparing statements and letters, organising files, coordinating schedules and calendars, making travel arrangements, and generally taking charge of administrative tasks to help a client focus on the other aspects of their jobs (or personal lives).