Virtual Assistant. If you haven’t heard of the term it might sound a bit sci-fi, but virtual assistants are real people that provide professional, administrative, technical or creative solutions to businesses remotely.
They are generally self-employed, independent contractors using modern technology to perform business tasks from anywhere in the world. This alone will appeal to the wanderlust spirit of many. But what’s it really like to be a virtual assistant?
Australian Online Courses spoke to Sandra O’Conner, of PA Virtual, to find out.
How Did You Become a Virtual Assistant?
I started my business in 2012 following resignation from a corporate government job. It was a chance meeting with a business coach while training with an employment agency that set the wheels in motion.
This meeting was fate. She suggested I become a virtual assistant. Having never heard of the term, I went home and started googling and that night PAvirtual was founded!
That life coach ended up being my very first client. The greatest challenge for me was taking the plunge, but I thrived on the buzz of setting up PAvirtual and getting organised. I wanted a fulfilling career and I wanted to be a hands-on mum, something the corporate world doesn’t really allow.
What Training Was Involved in Setting up PAvirtual?
I have over 17 years’ experience as an executive and personal assistant so had the experience to start my business, but I believe you can never stop learning.
Can You Tell Us Where and How You Work?
I work in regional Victoria but my clients are all over Australia. I have some in Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. I work remotely so I rely a lot on technology and use a variety of software to help me organise clients and get the work done.
What’s a Typical Day for You as a Virtual Assistant?
- Wake up and turn on my computer
- Make my family breakfast
- Make lunches and get kids ready for school
- School drop-off
- Home for breakfast
- Go into my (home) office
- Check emails for any urgent matters
- Open my calendar to double check the day’s proceedings
- Begin the work I’ve planned the night before
Some days this (planned schedule) is thrown out the window because a client has called and needed an urgent task completed. But I’m used to this as I worked in emergency management – you must be able to adapt and be flexible!
What’s the Best and Worst Aspects of Life as a Virtual Assistant?
It’s a rollercoaster ride! You must work hard, be patient, be persistent and have passion. It takes time to build your networks, clients and set boundaries. There’s no guarantee of a weekly income, you must get out there and find your clients, they don’t just come to you.
What Advice Can You Offer an Aspiring Virtual Assistant?
There are a lot of virtual assistant networks out there where you find out a lot of information. Virtual assistants are very supportive of each other, so it’s great to connect.
Study to be a Virtual Assistant
Australian Online Courses offers a Certificate of Business Administration – Virtual Assistant to give you the skills to start your own business as a virtual assistant. This professional development course will take you through the process of starting your own virtual assistant business and provide you with the tools and techniques required to be a successful.