Work From Home Business – Finding Your Niche As A Virtual Assistant

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According to entrepreneurial experts Paul and Sarah Edwards, and a long list of other publications and experts, home based virtual assistance is a booming business. Wikipedia defines a virtual assistant as an independent contractor providing virtual assistance in the form of administrative, technical, and sometimes creative services to clients, usually to other independent entrepreneurs and solo and small business practices, such as that of a lawyer or realtor. Virtual assistants work from their own office at home which is why it has become a fairly popular, growing profession. Today there is about 5,000-8,000 virtual assistants worldwide. Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and fax machine. In other words, it is very similar to an assistant that is telecommuting or teleworking.

There are many reasons why business owners, especially those who work from a home office or telecommute, are hiring virtual assistants. In a home based business, what do you do when you need help? After all, you just can’t do everything when you work from home. You could hire someone as an employee. However, you probably don’t have a place to put them in your home office. Also, having an employee means needing health insurance coverage, payroll taxes, legal obligations, and not to mention higher utility bills. A virtual assistant will take care of all of these problems because the virtual assistants are probably also working from their home! Some virtual assistants’ make as much as $38,000 per year working full time. In the working world, this would be good pay for an administrative assistant or even an executive assistant, especially if you factor in savings on transportation and day care.

So what are some successful virtual assistant careers? What jobs exactly do employers need from a virtual assistant? They are: bill paying, data processing and management, transcription services, bookkeeping, proof reading and editing.

Bill Paying

There are two types of bill paying businesses. The first is a virtual personal assistant. In this instance the client has all bills mailed to a post office box near you as his virtual personal assistant. You then set up a checking account with payment authorization for both the client and you. As the bills are prepared for payment, you notify the client how much money to deposit into the account. The bills are then paid. Also, if available from the client’s bank, it is possible to use on-line bill payment services. A virtual accounts payable assistant will provide the same type of service to businesses. A small company will outsource the payment of bills to you and you will insure that the client maintains a good credit rating by paying all their bills on time. Often, it is possible to combine accounts payable with accounts receivable. In this situation, the virtual assistant is not only responsible for paying bills, but also for depositing checks into the client’s bank account and sometimes even calling on past-due accounts.

Data Processing and Data Management

Several things can be included in data processing and data management. The following are a few examples where this would be useful. After collecting business cards all month long, they are mailed to you as a virtual assistant. You then enter the data into the client’s database and return as an email attachment. This would also work if your client sent you emails of new prospect leads and you entered the information into a contact database. An insurance agent can fax new policy owner information to you. You would then enter the information into the client’s database, zip the file, and send the database to the client as an email attachment. As a virtual assistant you would also prepare and mail a standard confirmation letter to the policy owner. You track the annual expiration date of the policy and upon the due date, sends a reminder email to the insurance agent. Another possibility is to help a client who is preparing a direct mailing and needs to verify the legitimacy of his database. The database is sent to the virtual assistant via email attachment. You then telephone each name and verify that the name, spelling, title and address are correct. Sometimes, clients actually need you to compile a database by researching names and contact information within a pre-specified criteria.

Transcription Services

Transcription is the process of converting voice-recorded reports into text. Many clients can use a virtual assistant for this. One example could be a lawyer sending a micro-cassette overnighted to you to transcribe. You would then type the report and send it back to the lawyer as an email. As a virtual assistant transcription service you may also receive a telephone conversation that needs to be recorded and then typed up and sent out to everyone that participated. A client can dictate letters and memos on cassette, CD, or MP3 format and send to you to put it in writing. Authors sometime use this kind of service to get a type-written copy of their work.

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is the recording of all financial transactions undertaken by an individual or organization. The organization may be a business, a charitable organization or even a local sports club. Bookkeeping can be keeping records of what is bought, sold, owed, and owned; what money comes in, what goes out, and what is left. Although this position follows the rules of basic accounting, you do not need to be an accountant or have an accounting background. As a virtual assistant bookkeeper you could be responsible for writing up the daybooks, which would consist of purchase, sales, receipts and payments. The bookkeeper is responsible for ensuring that all transactions are recorded in the correct daybook, suppliers ledger, customer ledger and general ledger. Typically, a company scans its business documents and uploads them to a secure location or into an online bookkeeping application on a regular basis. This allows the bookkeeper to work remotely with these documents to update the books.

Proof Reading and Editing

Proof reading traditionally means reading a proof copy of a text in order to detect and correct any errors. Editing is the process of preparing language, images, or sound for presentation through correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications. These are other sources of income for a virtual assistant. A client could be preparing a marketing flyer or website and needs assistance with the copies. So you would then proof read and edit any marketing literature. A client could be a writer and has prepared a manual that needs to be edited. A virtual assistant can format, proofread, edit, and grammar check documents, then return them to the client via email as an attachment.

Now that you have an idea of what are some popular work from home business opportunities as a virtual assistant, how about some help? There are work at home business opportunity kits available to you to help you start your own virtual assistant business. Remember, working as a virtual assistant has so many other benefits besides getting earn money from home.

So go ahead and quit your day job sooner than expected! Become that entrepreneur you know you can be! Will it be easy money? No. Will you be able to earn a living while taking control of your own future? Yes. Critical information about the Virtual Assistance industry is available to you right now. Don’t spend any more time twisting your brain over what to do next, look into a work at home business guide.

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