A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location. Administrative tasks are most common for virtual assistants, but they may also assist with any other elements required by the business.
A virtual assistant is simply an assistant who works remotely. As technological advancements in the 1990s brought reliable internet to more homes, businesses realized they didn’t have to bring an employee into the office to get work done, and this led to the first virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to spend the money on an office space for staff. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks, such as social media management.
Theoretically, a virtual assistant can do anything that another support staff might do. There are limitations, but technology is increasingly offering ways to work around those limitations. For example, they may not be able to physically bring you coffee in the morning, but they can place a coffee or lunch order through a food delivery service.
Virtual support duties are not limited to clerical work. They may provide assistance with marketing, web design, bookkeeping, and many other services. Some virtual assistants specialize in a specific skill set, and they only perform duties related to those skills. Other virtual assistants specialize in an industry, such as a virtual assistant whose niche is assisting realtors.