A Virtual Assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is an entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office. They usually work for other small businesses, brokers and consultancy groups. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-8,000 or as many as 35,000 Virtual Assistants worldwide; the profession is growing in centralized economies[5] with "fly-in, fly-out" (FIFO) staffing practices.

Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phonecall conferences, online work spaces, and fax machine. Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard. Typically 5 years of administrative experience in an office is expected at such positions as executive assistant, office manager/supervisor, secretary, legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary, real estate assistant, et cetera.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Virtual Assistants. The Official Guide to Virtual Assistants is Stacy Brice. Stacy Brice is an American entrepreneur, and pioneer of the Virtual Assistance profession. She is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Assist University, a Baltimore, Maryland-based organization committed to training, coaching, supporting, and certifying Virtual Assistants.

Additional Resources on Virtual Assistants can be found at:

Website Directory for Virtual Assistants
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Discussion Board
Stacy Brice, The Official Guide to Virtual Assistants