Virtual assistant industry is expanding: Are you open to it?

The Internet has given rise to plenty of jobs with its ability to connect workers from all over the world with employers located just about anywhere. Hence, it is not a surprise that organisations from all over the world are now looking to employ people who would be able to work remotely and be able to stay in touch online with simple and fast online meeting tools that make working remotely a cinch. The number of such workers has increased exponentially over the last half of a decade or so as more and more talented individuals have noticed that the rewards for working as a virtual assistant are considerable.

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider a career in this field:

1. Working independently

Everyone wants to work in an environment in which he is himself the master of his own time. When you work as a virtual assistant, it is possible to achieve this goal. In this position, you have the ability to be employed by more than one company, working as a contractor on a variety of tasks depending on your skills and ability to manage your time. The days when the virtual assistant was only supposed to fill up spread sheets with data are long gone. Nowadays, a virtual assistant can work in a variety of fields including content creation, Internet marketing, and accounting or even social media management. The freedom to choose from amongst a large variety of tasks is indeed a huge incentive for any professional; in addition, the freedom to change employers without any hassle whatsoever is another large advantage.

2. Potential for growth

Every employee wants to know what their growth potential is at any given company. In this regard, it must be said that the career of a virtual assistant offers excellent long-term growth opportunities both financially and professionally. According to market research agencies, the virtual assistant industry is set to grow rapidly in the next few years and the projected valuation of the industry in five years’ time is approximately $5 billion dollars. It is a huge industry that is set to explode and now is the time to get into it so that you can reap the benefits that are to come. Additionally, if you are employed by several companies and if the volume of work continues to increase, you may also have the ability to hire people in order to start your own virtual assistance company, furthering your success in the industry as a whole.

3. Using the best tools to work with

Working remotely and online gives independent contractors access to some of the best tools available in the industry today. This helps to improve the entire experience of the employee, but also helps him to build his skills, making him more valuable overall. Let’s take a look at some examples of a few tools available for this purpose:

UberConference - It is a powerful and advanced cloud-based conferencing system. This web conferencing tool include features like online data management, shared calendar programs, shared files, and the ability to stay in contact no matter the distance between the employee and employer. It is built on WebRTC in order to allow real-time call control, across a variety of carriers on one side and the browsers on the other side.

Basecamp - A popular web based project management tool, Basecamp is easy to use and comes with a 60-day free trial. This tool helps us to manage, store, and share files. You can use it for task management and time tracking.

Dropbox - This popular tool is used day to day in virtual assistant businesses. This excellent cloud storage solution provides instant file synchronization. When you hire your VA, you can sync a folder or file from your computer and share it with your VA. This free app makes file sharing and work collaboration quite easy.

Tiny Take - This tool is extensively used for taking screen shots and capturing videos. It is free and easy to use.

Over the past few years, companies who employ virtual assistants have developed some of the best software applications in the world for a variety of purposes like inventory, ERP, workforce management tools or data entry operations, and the usage of these tools makes the employee far more efficient in his line of work.

The types of skills that are learned and used by the virtual assistant keep him in good standing for the rest of his life, making it easy to switch careers at any given point. This is a valuable tool for any employee as it provides a bit of job security now and in the future, even if the work with the current employer does not pan out.

4. Chance to work with the biggest corporations

Over the years the biggest corporations in the world have recognised the importance of employing a virtual workforce and have recruited quite aggressively over the past few years. Most of these companies employ virtual assistants from all over the world and hence there is an opportunity for talented individuals to work for some of the biggest names in global business. These companies are only going to increase the number of virtual assistants in the years to come and that is something that will certainly boost the overall growth of the industry as a whole.

The job of a virtual assistant is dynamic, rewarding and offers the sort of variety in duties that can be exciting for absolutely anyone. In addition to that, the sort of growth that the industry has seen in the recent past makes it an excellent option for anyone who is just starting out as a professional or a veteran who is looking for a change in career path.

Tips to start business as a virtual assistant

I am sure after reading these reasons you will start wondering how to start a business as a virtual assistant. Don’t worry! Following these 11 tips will help you to start your business as a virtual assistant:

1. First decide which type of services you want to provide, and analyse your background in order to ensure you have ample experience.

2. Always determine your business niche by specializing in just two to three services.

3. Find out how much energy and time you have to commit to your venture. Do you want to work full or part-time?

4. Conduct in-depth research in order to determine a need for your services in your local area.

5. After that, outline your clients and all the related information, such as where they are and how to access them.

6. Do a thorough analysis of your market and find out the needs for your niche. Focus on how you will apply that to your business.

7. Understand your monetary constraints i.e. expected income, projected expenses, and how long you can "float" until your business is running successfully.

8. Carefully prepare a plan for your business and review it often in order to manage change and growth

9. Thoroughly examine your software, equipment and work space in order to ensure they cater to your client's needs.

10. Wrap up all financial and legal aspects of your startup before securing the first client.

11. If possible, market your services 24/7. Merely making a website or placing an ad in the Yellow Pages does not attract clients.

Sheza Gary, technical specialist at Algoworks