Having a personal assistant in this modern world of complexities is inevitable.
A personal assistant nowadays can either work in your office space daily or can be your virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant is one who does almost all the tasks your next room personal assistant does, ranging from replying to emails, planning and organizing your calendar, doing research, updating your blogs, handling your social media accounts, to preparing presentations or handling your newsletters, except that they do not occupy your office space and work from the comfort of whatever location they are in.
Most times, virtual assistants are hired mainly to cut costs, especially if needed by an individual or a small-scale business, and also for convenience's sake.
In pursuing a career as a virtual assistant, one would need to decide if it would be as a freelancer working for a virtual assistance agency or owning the business and having an official office space with a registered name. There is also the place of determining the kind of virtual assistant you want to be, whether you want to work for legal firms, accounting firms, customer care, or a human resource business.
After considering all these, there are certain qualities virtual assistants need to acquire to deliver an effective and qualitative result. Some of these qualities include:
Top 10 Qualities and Skills of a Virtual Assistant
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1. Exceptional Communication Skills
The ability to communicate effectively cannot be underestimated: your ability to properly speak whatever language is required; to be friendly; the ability to be polite even virtually, either via the internet or phone; the ability to diffuse a difficult situation with calm and soothing words especially if you are working in a customer care unit or human resource unit.
Even if you are using customer feedback software, these features will still be necessary for communication.
Being a good communicator also requires your ability to listen patiently while taking mental notes before responding and allowing one person to finish talking before responding.
Similarly, it also requires you to give feedback on the particular task at hand. Regular updates allow your client to track your progress, so they know when to expect results.
Being a good communicator also requires your ability to listen patiently while taking mental notes before responding.
2. Ability to Meet Deadlines
We all hate being disappointed, especially when expecting. So, if your client has set a deadline to finish up a particular project or task, it is expected that to get good reviews or to excel at being a good virtual assistant, you are to meet the deadlines.
Meeting deadlines shows a lot about a person’s personality, his values, and how well he manages his time, how reliable he is. The fact that your boss can call you up suddenly about an urgent task with the confidence that it would get done at the set deadline shows a lot about how reliable and efficient you are.
3. Detail-Oriented Skills
Most times, results or mistakes are always found in the details we forget to take cognizance of. The ability to remember the intricacies of a task at hand especially when offering help with essays, dates, numbers or facts will go a long way in proving your competence. No one likes to say a thing over and over so the best way to avoid forgetting information and to ensure that when the details of a task are being given, a pen and paper is at hand to jot them down.
Similarly, in carrying out a task, especially a research or accounting-related tasks, paying attention to details could leak to easier result generation. Or in the case of a customer care business, the complaints of a customer are also important.
The ability to remember the intricacies of a task at hand will go a long way in proving your competence as a virtual assistant.
4. Self Motivation
Every day certainly can’t be Christmas. Hence, there would be days one would be on the low, and there are days for the high vibes too. One of the outstanding qualities of a virtual assistant is the ability to find the motivation and inspiration to sound happy on the phone, to reply to emails or chats in a friendly way, and to find the drive to complete a task so as to meet up with set deadlines.
5. Tech-Savvy Skills
A virtual assistant must be abreast and acquainted with advanced virtual tools that help to improve productivity and efficiency such as Asana, Hubstaff, Trello, MeisterTask, Smartsheet, and others. He or she must take time to keep tabs on new tools that are being released or upgraded.
As a virtual assistant, integrity should be the watchword, a rock upon which values are built. A virtual assistant should be honest in his or her dealings especially financially; he should endeavor to honor the terms of the agreed contract; he has a duty of non-disclosure of a client’s secret; he is to value the privacy of the client.
7. Openness to Assessment
A virtual assistant must be able to accept criticism and suggestions on how to improve. Progress in life is measured most times by knowing our weaknesses and strengths, areas we need to improve in and keep up. By being open-minded, the client is able to critique the virtual assistant and list his or her shortcomings, while a good virtual assistant is not supposed to take it in bad faith or bad blood but rather as a stepping stone to improve and increase productivity.
8. Expertise in Particular Areas or Subjects
The fact that we don’t stop learning shows that no one is an embodiment of all knowledge. Hence, the myth that to be a successful virtual assistant, you have to be a jack of all trades is wrong. Finding two or three areas of expertise gives you an edge and a focused job search plus experience level. In becoming experts, it is expected that one takes out time to study the most required field where virtual assistants are needed. Such fields include social media marketing, search engine optimization, content development, digital marketing, and others.
9. Time Management Skills
A freelancer must be able to juggle the activities of his or her life combined with that of the client most especially since the workspace is most times in the comfort of the home. The ability to not slack health-wise, to eat on schedule, and to space break and relaxation times are good acts that keep the virtual assistant at alert and vibrant.
One of the abilities that are greatly needed in virtual assistant is being resourceful. Although there may be the argument that the position requires being just an assistant, however, it requires also a keen imagination and a lot of creativity such that he or she becomes indispensable to the bosses. The virtual assistant must be able to provide the necessary information when it is required.
A virtual assistant is only as good as the service he or she can offer. The boss must be able to count on the virtual assistant to be there when needed. Though a virtual assistant is not a machine, such a person must be highly skilled and proficient enough to perform his or her duties.
Apart from these qualities that have been stated, there are other skills that are advisable for the virtual assistant to have for him or her to be considered as one of the best such as quick thinking, planning, and strategizing.
A virtual assistant will be greatly appreciated also if such a person is also an awesome salesperson. However, no matter how awesome you are being a virtual assistant, the greatest quality you can have is being open to learning and development. No one likes a know-it-all, so it is expedient that when the need arises, the virtual assistant is open to acquiring the necessary knowledge.
If you're looking to learn more about the ins and outs of having a virtual assistant, our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants is the perfect place for you. The guide answers all your questions about virtual assistants from how you can hire one to how they can help grow every aspect of your business.
About the Contributor
Emma Rundle is a proficient writer from Edubirdie Australia with a wealth of experience in writing and editing for different media houses, editorial boards, websites, and secretarial duties. She is the best suited to write about this topic, giving an in-depth knowledge. Emma is also very passionate about world peace and human rights.