Anyone doing technical or administrative help via telephone or the web is a freelance virtual assistant working from home. However, when talk of technical support or IT service and administrative help, you are talking about quite a diverse range of tasks. A simple explanation would be that any virtual administrative assistant is described as a virtual administrative assistant (VA) – or more precisely, a remote, on call, operator. Some people might argue that we don’t call our mechanic plumber, electrician, plaid-seller, or even our landscaper plumber, but they do when we need them. And while many of these occupations are technically skilled, many of them don’t have the same kind of licensing, certificates, skills or experience that define a “full-time” VA, let alone a freelance one.
A freelance virtual assistant is an independent contractor who performs specialized jobs for companies or individuals. Their pay depends on what they do for their employers, but generally it’s a proportion of the expense incurred by the company. Freelance assistants are usually recruited through one of several sources: job portals, online classifieds, or advertising in trade magazines. They may work independently or as part of a larger company, but they are still on call to perform tasks, usually telecommuting. In addition, there are some companies whose use of a VA is called telecommuting, and such companies will hire a VA to telecommute to their location. But this is very rare.
If an individual were to start recruiting agencies for freelance virtual assistance they could offer clients a list of specific expertise needed. For example, the Freelance Virtual Assistant could offer specialized services such as social media management, graphic design, SEO strategies, web development, article writing, contract review, video production, and more. The Freelance Virtual Assistant would then take on the project, keeping track of the progress and making sure that all of the necessary elements of the project (from marketing to execution) were met. They would also provide regular updates and feedback on the work being done.
It is possible to find a Freelance Virtual Assistant on freelancer sites such as Elance, oDesk, Guru, and many others. These freelance virtual assistants offer specific services or specialize in a particular area. They can be contracted to do general administrative tasks or specific tasks for individuals, businesses, or nonprofits. This is where the real specialization comes in, because a Freelance Virtual Assistant could offer a variety of different services or specialize in just one or two areas.
One of the benefits of hiring a freelance virtual assistance company is the ability to price shop. Virtual Assistants typically bid on tasks based upon the skills and the experience of the freelancer. This enables clients to compare the skills of the freelancer with those of experienced contractors. For instance, a freelancer may know very little about SEO, but if he/she is experienced with Search Engine Optimization, they might be able to provide valuable and timely search engine optimization services to clients. Clients do not have to pay the full price of a more knowledgeable contractor, but can often negotiate a lower fee based upon the skills of the freelancer.
Freelance Virtual Assistant companies have also begun offering time tracking tools, which allow clients to track the amount of time being spent on each task by the freelancer. Many of these software programs also have screen sharing capabilities, so all of the activity can be seen at once. This allows clients to see at a glance the completion status of each task, allowing them to see exactly how much work is being done, which means that the freelancer is being efficient with their time.
Many business owners are leery of using freelancers because they think it takes too long to find out if they are doing a good job. With the popularity of screen sharing programs, it is possible to see the activities of a freelancer almost instantly. Freelance Virtual Assistant companies offer training services for their clients to use when working with a freelancer. Some business owners require this service because they are not familiar with the computer programs used by freelancers. Using the tools available to track time spent and collaborate with other freelancers, business owners can get an understanding of exactly what they are paying for. Using tools such as these can greatly reduce the frustrations that many freelancers have worked with businesses.
Freelance virtual assistants can handle several different tasks for clients. Businesses simply need to specify which tasks they wish the personal assistant to complete for them and the business owner will assign the job to the assistant. Depending on the company, tasks may be simple or more complex. Tasks can include answering emails, taking phone calls, filing documents, blogging, and more. Working with a freelance virtual assistant can make managing your business much easier and more time efficient.