Business at the top, PJ’s at the bottom?

So what exactly does a Virtual Assistant, or VA, do?

Well the first answer to that question is that the world is changing, and rapidly. Thanks to the wonderful world of the ‘interweb’, the days of being bound to your desk to ensure tasks are complete are history. Things change frequently and quickly, all whilst on the go. It would then make sense that your office is on the go to. Responding with agility and efficiency to ensure that you are on track at all times.

Hence the birth of, the Virtual Assistant.

A VA works just like a regular Personal Assistant, or PA, would except online or electronically. The concept isn’t new, in fact, I started my first VA business 7 years ago while I was on maternity leave with my son. At the time, when I would explain what I do to friends and family, I would be met with blank expressions of incomprehension. I’m sure you can also imagine how much fun cold calling was – “I’m sorry, you want me to pay you while you are at home!?” Fast track to 7 years later and the response I get is very different – “VA’s are everywhere, every cool globe trotting motivational speaker type (insert your favorite name here) has one!”. And so do regular business folk just like you and I.

While the idea might make some old school narcissist (I-must-see-you-all-day-to-know-you-are-working), ‘bosses’ rather uncomfortable, the concept has grown over the last few years. As the world got a lot smaller business leaders started to realise that most of their correspondence with their office was electronic whilst away on business or in meetings, and that they could save costs on salaries and office equipment by only paying for what they need.

So what exactly does a VA do? Well allow me to be a little more precise with my second answer. There are some days where most of my correspondence and meetings are electronic, on those days, yes, my dress code is business at the top and PJ’s at the bottom. But most days i’m running around doing errands, meeting with suppliers, and coordinating events, just like your regular Personal Assistant would, and appropriately clothed mind you.

VA’s also conduct your client liaison professionally and act as your ‘office’ by setting up your meetings and managing your diary, sending out quotes and proposals on your behalf, and making things look pretty like presentations. At Office Online we still make sure you get your coffee in the morning – thank you uber eats – and like to have a 10 min Skype catch up with clients for a more personal touch and a refresher on the tasks for the day. We also offer a weekly paperwork drop off and filing session for those clients who are still paper based.

There are some VA’s who are purely electronic and operate without you having to even know what they look like, but I save those ‘Siri’ on steroids dreams’ for one day when i’m big. For now, I type your documents, talk to your clients, organise meetings and events, do your social media scheduling, call your daughters school to explain why she left her PT kit at home, and type endless hours of minutes. And after 15 years, of being of service to others, I’ve found I quite enjoy it.

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