Monday, May 02, 2011

Want to Work From Home? Consider Being a Virtual Assistant!

The AssistantImage by Kathleen Farley via Flickr
People all over the world are discovering that when you have skills and training you can utilize your skills by working from home. This is a great option for many people but it is not for everyone. If you have thought about it long and hard and have decided that a work at home job is for you, one of the careers you might consider becoming a virtual assistant.

A virtual assistant performs many of the tasks that a regular administrative assistant does from an office. They may answer phone calls, organize electronic files, write reports and memos, write sales letters, and do bookkeeping work. There is a great deal of options for those who wish to become a virtual assistant and work from home. The great part is that your clients may come from all over the world so there is a huge market for people who have administrative skills.

Before you decide that this is the career for you, you should determine whether or not you have the characteristics that are required of a virtual assistant. Here are 5 of the major characteristics that you will need to have:


  1. Organization – As a virtual assistant you will not just work for one person but for many people. You will need to keep track of the work you do for all of them and make sure that their material remains confidential by sending the right work to the right people. You will have to plan to keep your office organized and your work organized so that your clients will be happy.
  2. Communication skills – Although you will not have as much person to person contact you will have to communicate effectively by phone, email, and online chat. These skills are not easy and will take some work to acquire. You will have to be able to communicate your needs, ask questions, and understand the needs of your clients. As you discuss details of projects, it will be up to you to ask the right questions to make sure that the client gets what they want.
  3. Motivation – When you are working from home there is no one around to oversee your work. You alone are responsible for making sure that work gets done so you will have to be self-motivated. At a 9-5 office job, your breaks are set out for you but at home you will have to monitor your own work and make sure that projects are completed on time. You will be able to decide when you work but don’t let other things get in the way of the work that is going pay your bills and keep clients coming back for more.
  4. Resourcefulness – As a virtual assistant, you may sometimes have to look up information and be able to learn how to do something new very quickly. You need to be able to find places online that can help you when you need it. You will need to do research and be a good problem solver. That means that you will need to have people that can help you so having a good online network can be invaluable.
  5. Professionalism – Even though you might be working from your home office while wearing PJ’s and bunny slippers, your client should never have that impression. You client will want to feel that they have a professional taking care of their needs and they will want to feel that they have your 100% attention. If they think that you are sitting behind a computer with your children milling about, they may move on to someone they feel they can rely on more.


If you are ready to pursue a career as a virtual assistant, you need to develop skills that will help you in your endeavours. The Administrative Assistant course at Robertson College will give you all the skills you need to become a virtual assistant and work from home.  The Administrative Assistant courses are offered in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Brandon and online at Robertson College Online.
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