You might have heard of a little emerging industry called “Virtual Assistance”. Well, this industry is little no more. It is quickly gaining popularity among businesses of all sizes from around the globe. Virtual Assistant (VA) business owners usually are former brick-and-mortar professionals that now work for themselves and maintain their base office from their home. They usually have had several years experience in the business world and are former professionals in such fields as business administration, office management, legal and medical offices, accounting, graphic and web design, and so much more.

What can a virtual assistant do for me?
By now, you should be asking yourself, “What can a Virtual Assistant do for me?” Your head is probably churning with ideas and questions. VA’s can help you with such things as marketing, website design and maintenance, database development, email management, desktop publishing, bookkeeping, research, travel arrangements and so much more. Some VA’s will specialize in offering you a specific service (ex. bookkeeping). Not all VA’s will perform all services; however, those in the VA industry maintain close relationships with other VA’s that can assist you with your needs.

Here are just a few examples of what a Virtual Assistant can do for you:

- You are a non-profit organization and you offer free information to your website visitors but this has generated a hundred emails a week in your mailbox. A VA can respond to these emails with a form letter, put the requested information in the mail and add these potential clients to your database. You don’t have an organized database? A VA can help you with that too.

- You have been in business for a while and your website is in need of a complete overhaul. If the VA offers website design services, he/she can revamp your website and help you write effective copy for it so that it will be attractive to potential customers.

- You have just published your first book and you need to create buzz about it. A VA can help you develop press releases.

How much is this going to cost me?
Are you convinced yet to give a Virtual Assistant a try? By now, your interest is probably peeked and you want to know more. For starters, there are many small to mid-size business owners that maintain a full-time staff. You need to rent office space, provide medical benefits, pay taxes, etc. for a full-time staff that might not be enthusiast about helping you to grow your business. While a VA’s responsibility is not to grow your business, they do make it their business to see that your everyday mundane tasks are completed so that you can concentrate on your business. A VA works with you, not for you. Most VA’s charge an hourly rate that can range from $25 - $45 an hour and may have monthly retainer packages available for regular clients. You can do the math to see that you will save money because you are not shelling out the expenses of a full-time staff. You are sub-contracting work to the VA; hence, being able to invest more time and money into your business.

How do I choose a Virtual Assistant?
Well, with any new venture that is going to help your business grow, you must do your research. Having a computer and being able to type does not make someone a Virtual Assistant; however with hard work, dedication, skills in different fields and organization a superb Virtual Assistant can emerge. Also, gaining the respect of those already in the industry can bring much success to new VA’s. Choose carefully and ask for references. Ask yourself if this particular VA will fit my needs. Most VA’s will offer a free 15-minute consultation. Prepare and have questions ready before you make the call.

Much of the VA popularity is due to the Virtual Assistant Networking Forum. This forum boasts 3,000+ members and is a meeting place for veteran VA’s to share ideas, new technology and hone up on their skills. It is also a stepping stone for those aspiring to start their VA business. Businesses can also visit the website to submit an RFP and find a Virtual Assistant that will fit their needs.

While the success and popularity of the Virtual Assistant Networking Forum continues to grow, so does the popularity of the Virtual Assistant industry. Give a Virtual Assistant a try today!!

Author's Bio: 

Tawnya Sutherland, founder of Virtual Assistant Networking (VAN) ( and author of The VAS System, a Virtual Assistant Startup System, is a Certified Internet Marketing Specialist sharing much of her online marketing experience at VAN to help aspiring and successful VAs turn clicks into cash at their websites. Contact her at