What is a Virtual Assistant (VA) anyway?
Would you believe me if I told you that just this past week, I have been asked this question a total of 8 times. That’s 8 times over a period of 5 days (Monday to Friday). The question has been coming, especially as a response to the offer I announced last week on data entry and transcription services which is running until January 31st. People have been asking via WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Facebook messages. Mid week I even met someone who started out by saying, “How’s the Virtual stuff you do going?” then he continued, “Since you are here, you might as well tell me what a Virtual Assistant is.” My response? “GLADLY!”
Ever since I started out as a VA in 2014, I have been asked this question so many times to a point where I have even considered changing the company name and just stopping calling myself a Virtual Assistant altogether. It’s because I thought maybe I was too misunderstood. But then, each time that thought crossed my mind I would think, ‘But I am a Virtual Assistant.’ My working style and business model fit the Virtual Assistant description (Thank you, Wikipedia! :)) perfectly.
A virtual assistant is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
In fact, just over 2 years ago, I shared an audio where I explained what virtual assistance is about. You can listen to it here.
So I decided I wasn’t going to change anything. Instead, in the last half of 2017, I started realizing that maybe the reason why people continued to ask this question was because I wasn’t doing a good job explaining what I do. I understand the virtual assistant industry is still very young in Africa. Remote work is not yet as common as it is in other markets like the US, India or the UK. But that’s fast changing now as Africa has, over the past decade, invested in improving internet infrastructure and access to technology. This has afforded many African entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity to collaborate with their counterparts on the global market. It has also given rise to internet jobs across various industries – virtual assistants a slowly growing group too amoung these.
There are a lot of questions in the African business environment around what virtual assistants really are and how we go about doing our work. These questions tend to differ depending on the needs of a person or business. For example, the other day someone asked me, “What can you do for my business as a Virtual Assistant?” Now, as I answered this question I figured I need to address questions like these by engaging better with my network online. Because, if I am going to talk about anything else around the work I do, I would need to know, understand and answer questions which immediately come to your mind each time you hear, “Virtual Assistant.”
So I figured we need to chat more. That is why I’m introducing a Live Video Chat platform via Facebook where you can join in conversations about virtual assistance, remote work and business in general. Most importantly, you get to ask any burning questions around the services we provide and how we work with people around the world. I am excited to be launching these conversations and will be sharing more details over the coming few weeks. The first live session will take place on February 3rd. Look for more details coming soon!
Have a fabulous week!
PS. I have been wanting to do Live Videos since last year in order to have better interaction with our network but the thought just had me scared. But I think I’m ready now – I had a bit of some practice some time last year. Some incredibly hilarious moments I must say! 🙂 🙂 In case you missed this, check it out here.
I’m a techie administrative and project management assistant and specialize in implementing efficient systems and processes, supporting business operations and ensuring that project tasks flow smoothly. I have experience working with companies in various industries in Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA with focus areas that include Public Relations, Investment and E-Commerce. My experience comes from years of working in Banking & Fintech sectors where I provided technical support on financial systems, participated in the full systems development life cycle of projects and led the team responsible for day-to-day operations.