Sunday, June 20th, 2021

What is a Virtual Assistant?

By Tracey Ehman on Oct 29 2009 • Filed under Business

Have you heard the latest buzz words “Virtual Assistant” or in its abbreviated version “VA?” Since the internet became mainstream, so has the growth of the Virtual Assistant.

A virtual assistant is a professional entrepreneur who provides services on a contract basis to aid solo-entrepreneurs, as well as small and mid-size businesses, to complete a variety of on-going tasks and projects. Virtual assistants can handle everything you need from administrative tasks, such as organizing and responding to emails, creating operation manuals and scheduling meetings, to arranging events, and some will even handle your bookkeeping needs. There are virtual assistants that specialize in real estate, litigation, and medical transcription, as well as information product creation, keyword research, managing your social media and blogs, and researching your target market. Many Virtual Assistants have even evolved into Online Business Managers for some of their clients, thus becoming a creative source for the business, taking great pride in strategizing with company leaders to increase the company ROI.

Not only is hiring a virtual assistant beneficial to getting projects completed in a timely, cost-effective manner, but it also comes with many perks. Because a virtual assistant is not an employee of your company, but rather a contractor, you are not responsible for the usual expenses related to benefits, vacation and sick time, nor do you have to provide office space or equipment. Coffee breaks are on their time, not yours.

(Editor’s Note: Read the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) publication RC4110 – Employee or self-employed? for more information on contractors. )

You may not actually ever meet your VA because the level of technical skill, coupled with the advance mode of data delivery and communication now available, does not require a face-to-face working relationship. Instead, you can work together using telephone and video conferencing, emails and podcasts. Hiring a virtual assistant helps you to build both your business and level of service beyond what you could do on your own.

Small entrepreneurs are not the only ones who can benefit from adding a VA to their team. Companies of all sizes are hiring virtual assistants. Many companies that have had to downsize in the last year or so are embracing virtual assistants with open arms. The administrative, organizational and online implementation that was the responsibility of salaried staff did not go away just because the jobs had to be cut. The work itself continues to be there, piling up, resulting in lost revenue and for some, even lost hair. By hiring a virtual assistant, you get the services of a professional that either works by the hour or by the project, and you can be assured that your deadlines will be met and your stress level will decrease. You will also have access to highly-skilled individual that you will not have to train, another budgetary consideration for some companies.

Next month we will discuss How to know if you need a virtual assistant and talk about How to go about finding one that fits your needs.


  1. Kathleen, I agree, it is great to see a Canadian site and hear from local and national entrepreneurs. I’m glad you found us and you are so right, Social Media is very powerful and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

    It is always good to connect with other virtual assistants and see the variety of services everyone specializes in, and using Social Media is one of the best ways to make that connection.

    I have read some of your posts before, and enjoy your website, there is a lot of good information and it’s a great example of your WordPress skills.


  2. First I would like to say that I just found this magazine from someone who posted your link on Twitter, once again showing the power of Social Media.

    What I really like about this site is that it is Canadian. So much of what is out there is particular to the US, so this is so nice to get information about what is going on for entrepreneurs in Canada.

    By the way, I am a virtual assistant who specializes in self hosted WordPress websites.


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