va2The job of virtual assistant simply did not exist until very recently. However, with the increased use and availability of real time communication tools like email and Skype, having a personal assistant on the other side of the globe is now not only possible, but a popular option for many people who need help managing personal or business operations.

A virtual assistant is an executive assistant who works remotely (sometimes very remotely!) and can handle all sorts of tasks for you, from working on research projects to managing your calendar to making phone calls on your behalf. He or she can work on a full time or part time basis, depending on your needs. It may seem like a strange concept, but there are actually many benefits of having a virtual assistant. Here are six of the biggest.

1. You get help with your workload so you can get more done. You’ve got enough to do, and even though returning emails and phone calls may not take up a lot of time, it adds up. Those are tasks that you can easily delegate to someone else. The same goes for keeping your Twitter account updated, booking a flight to that conference next month, and soliciting bids for a contract project you want done. A virtual assistant can easily and skillfully handle these things for you.

2. Your overhead is low. Actually, it’s nonexistent! You don’t have to provide an office space, furniture, or equipment for your virtual assistant, so you save quite a lot of money over hiring someone who performs these duties in person.

3. There’s little or no time wasted on bringing your virtual assistant up to speed. When you hire a virtual assistant, you hire an experienced professional. While you may have to educate him or her on the specifics of your own situation, you won’t have to teach fundamentals.

4. They’re on call when you need them. Whether you love or hate our business culture’s 24-hour nature, you have to work within it if you want to succeed. If you’ve got a project that you need done on a weekend, there’s no need to call an employee into the office — simply call your virtual assistant. He or she works around your schedule to get things done, which means you never have to scramble at the last minute or say no to something because you don’t have the personnel to handle the job.

5. Similarly, you pay for a virtual assistant only when you need something done. When you hire someone to come to your office on a regular basis, he or she comes in as scheduled whether there’s work to do or not. When things are slow, you’re still paying the same wages as when things are hectic. But with a virtual assistant, you’re paying someone to work only when there’s work to be done.

6. You get hard work, motivation, and dedication. Because virtual assistants are typically independent contractors, they rely on good references to get more work. They also know that if their work is shoddy, they get fewer jobs and make less money. Therefore, they’re typically motivated to do high quality work for you.

If an in-person employee isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, but you still need some help managing either your small business or your personal life, then a virtual assistant may be just what you need. Whether you hire one through an ad you post yourself or go through an agency that places virtual assistants with employers, you’ll find that having someone to take care of small and large projects for you will be a tremendous asset. In fact, if you’re looking to simplify your life and free up some time, hiring a virtual assistant may be the best decision you can make.

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