Sometimes, it's not totally clear what a Virtual Assistant is.
Here's the skinny: a Virtual Assistant is the same as an in-house Executive or Administrative Assistant. We can do all of the same things they do -- the only difference is that we aren't physically in your office. A Virtual Assistant, or VA, as we're called often, is someone who can help you take care of administration tasks for your business, and personal tasks for your life.
How to work with a VA
If you're looking for a VA, you're either extremely busy and feel like you're drowning, or you are anticipating business growth, and you don't want to become the bottleneck. Either way, you're in good shape to add a stellar VA to your team. A VA can help you by taking over administrative duties, social media, blog posts, purchases, research, data entry, phone calls, calendar management, and even your email inbox. Hello, inbox zero!
Being in a relationship with a VA is a lot like hand-picking your administrative brain. You'll want to make sure that the person you choose is a great fit. You should trust them with your sensitive information, they should have a background check, and they should have experience being a VA. There's no formal training (unless they've worked with a company prior) that I would recommend you to look for -- instead, I'd interview them and ask a lot of questions about how they'd handle situations currently faced in your business.
You may also want to consider industry experience. While many VAs are comfortable working in many different industries, some prefer to work with creative types like designers and authors. Some prefer to work in the technology sector with app developers and software companies. Regardless, check with your candidates and see what their experience is. If it's in multiple industries, you'll get someone who is easily adaptable. And if their experience is in the same industry, you'll be able to rely heavily on their familiarity with your future work together.
How to find a VA
My number one tip is to check out social media. There are a lot of Virtual Assistants creating relationships and seeking clients on twitter. Social media is a great way to see what your VA does in their off-time, what they care about, and who they are. For example, I bond with clients over our mutual love of chocolate, gelato, and growing a business that gives us both freedom. If you want to take a peek, here's my twitter feed. I would love to connect with you there too!