Virtual Assistants: an administration model for the digital age

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Whether you are an administrative assistant who is tired of working in a cubicle, or a small business that cannot afford a fulltime administrative employee, you might consider an emerging model of freelance work: the Virtual Assistant.


What is a Virtual Assistant?

Unlike multinationals, small companies often do not have the means to afford dedicated administrative staff. The Virtual Assistant (or VA for short) provides administrative assistance remotely to multiple clients.

Instead of receiving a regular salary, Virtual Assistants work on a freelance basis and are paid per hour or per task, which allows SMEs to benefit from their expertise without hiring a fulltime employee.


Why become one?

Demand for Virtual Assistants is rapidly growing. There are many perks to this work model for someone who wishes to try a new career path in this expanding market.

Virtual Assistants usually work from home. Telecommuting gives VAs more control over their schedules. They also get to work with many different clients instead of one single company. Most importantly, they are able to make use of a very wide array of skills. Indeed, they do not restrict themselves to pure administrative work. VAs tend to provide a great variety of services, including research, social media management and website updates, to name but a few.


What are the challenges?

While there are numerous advantages for launching one’s own Virtual Assistant business, it is not necessarily an easy task.

As with all freelance work, finding clients and establishing oneself in a competitive market can be difficult. For a VA, the ability to network and to market oneself is crucial. The absence of teamwork or workplace social interaction can also be a challenge for some, as VAs mostly work on their own throughout the week. Finally, managing one’s own business and time requires discipline and dedication.


How to become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistance is a flourishing work model thanks to the Internet. A wealth of resources and networking opportunities are available online. Communities such as the International Virtual Assistants Association, VANetworking and WeAreVirtualAssistants provide advice and support for VAs all over the world. Dedicated blogs and websites – like The VA Handbook – are also a great source of information. For the aspiring Virtual Assistant, there has never been a better time to create one’s own business.


Photo credit: Syda Production via

Alexandra Gorbounova Alexandra Gorbounova

Titulaire d’un Bachelor en Lettres (Français et Anglais), j’ai également démontré mes compétences linguistiques et organisationnelles dans des cadres professionnels variés, où j’ai assuré la gestion administrative durant plus de six ans. Flexible et polyvalente, j’ai su m’adapter avec aisance à de nombreux domaines, et ma curiosité naturelle me pousse toujours à explorer de nouveaux horizons.
Passionnée de jeux vidéo, je m’intéresse tout particulièrement aux nouvelles opportunités offertes par le progrès technologique, notamment en matière de métiers et secteurs émergents.


  1. Gabriela Salazar

    Very interesting article! Particularly relevant in this modern area for small businesses. There is also a current trend, in certain professional fields, to downsize the ‘onsite’ administrative staff, mostly to avoid facilities costs. Food for thought…

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