Are You Cut Out to Be a Virtual Assistant?

Michele Warg
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Becoming a virtual assistant may seem like the ideal job for the person who has great administrative skills but is burned out from dragging in to an office every day. Maybe you're attracted to this type of position because you have personal reasons to want to control your own time and work space. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see whether becoming a virtual assistant and working remotely is right for you.

Do You Have Legitimate Office Experience?

If you've never worked in an office, you're less likely to understand what being a virtual assistant entails on a day-to-day basis. While you may long to avoid having a boss looking over your shoulder, in fact, a virtual assistant must typically be more trustworthy and knowledgeable than the assistant who sits outside her supervisor's office door. Without a solid background in office administrative work, you may drop the ball without even realizing it.

Are You Tech-Savvy?

A virtual assistant typically has to handle all her duties remotely, using Skype, online meeting software and the full array of office software without any glitches. In addition, all too often a VA must solve her supervisor's technical problems remotely. If you want to be a virtual assistant, make sure your tech skills are superb and completely up-to-date.

Do You Communicate Well Through Writing?

While some virtual assistants set up their work spaces so that they're able to handle their boss' phone calls remotely, usually a VA communicates primarily through writing. You need excellent business writing skills to make sure your communications are clear. In addition, often supervisors take on virtual assistants specifically to handle writing tasks for them, as these tasks often mesh well with the flexible schedule of a VA.

Can You Stay Focused Without Outside Prompting?

A virtual assistant must stay focused without the structure that an office provides. Without co-workers to set a professional tone, are you going to drift off onto social media and fail to get your work done at home? If you're prone to distraction and find it difficult to stay on task, being a VA may not be for you. In addition, many virtual assistants work for several bosses at once, so keeping your focus while juggling different clients and demands is a paramount skill for the job. You also may have to generate your own job leads, which requires a sense of entrepreneurship that not all office administrative professionals can sustain for a long time.

If you want to pursue this career, don't just think about how having a flexible schedule might make your life easier. Being a virtual assistant means a lot more than not having to dress for the workplace. Assess whether your work personality allows you to work remotely before cutting the ties to the office, then determine whether your own technology, time management and communications skills allow you to become a virtual assistant.


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