The need for virtual assistants, especially in the last year, has drastically become more in demand. Most of us have learned that it is not only possible to work in a remote setup, but that it offers great potential to provide that much-needed extra income as well. Whether you’re 100% decided or just starting to consider this type of job–in this post, we’re going over 7 ideal qualities that any virtual assistant should have. Do you think this job is for you? Let’s find out!
1. Uses Exceptional File Management Skills
One thing you should remember is that in any type of job that involves computer documents, file management skills are essential. As a virtual assistant, however, these types of skills can be more crucial considering that you may have clients from various backgrounds and industries, who will be sending you various file types. That’s why it would be best to know the free and useful tools that you will need, especially if you’ll be working freelance where some things come out of your pocket.
That said, go take advantage of safe, trusted, and free online file converters. These can let you change any file and convert them from DOC to PDF, PDF to DOC, PPT to PDF, and heaps of other options. Converting the files of your clientele into PDF or PDF/A will also be an excellent practice for archiving, or for keeping those documents time-proof.
For general file management tips, here are some pointers you should take note of.
Choose Your Backup Cloud Storage
Today, you might already be familiar with the popular cloud storage platforms such as OneDrive, GoogleDrive, iCloud, or DropBox. At this point, it’s really up to you which would be a perfect fit. Your tech ecosystem may also be a factor, say if you are a devout Apple user, then iCloud may be your match. Whichever you decide, always have one main cloud storage account where you actively save your clients’ files. Because you’ll never know when your computer is going to crash or when you might accidentally lose any unsaved work.
Take note, though, that most of these may require payment to enjoy the full premium of the service. But in any type of work, it’s an investment especially if you cannot risk losing a file or document.
One nifty option that you should try is Google Sync. Download it on your computer and select folders that you want to be backed up automatically. This will let you save all desired files in the background, so if anything wrong happens to your computer you are sure to have a spare copy of them on your GoogleDrive.
Move Files Immediately From Desktop/Download Folder
If you are the type of person who continuously dumps everything on your desktop or lets files pile up in your download folder, this old habit has to stop. This will not only consume a large amount of storage on your computer, but it will also make it difficult for you to find the files you need when you need them the most. This now leads us to the next tip.
Segregate Your Files Accordingly
Your process towards file management will not be perfect. As the days go by, you will notice that your file-saving habits may evolve, depending on your tasks as a virtual assistant. That’s why here is a basic guide to properly saving and grouping your files. This is the hierarchy: client name>category>sub-category>date. Create a folder for each client, and in them, create folders based on categories that you often access. Then under each sub-category, when saving new progress or files, place them in a folder entitled with the date saved them. That way, every time you open a client’s folder or look for a file, everything will be right where it should be.
2. Always Prompt and Courteous
Assistants who meet their clients or employer on a face-to-face basis–on top of honest work–often use their stunning office attire, their punctuality, or even just the warmth of their smile to build rapport with them. Just because the situation is different for a virtual assistant, it doesn’t mean you can no longer put your best foot forward the same way.
In this setup, you can build the same impact with your client with two things. The first is promptness. Now that most communication happens virtually, these little interactions will almost be as good as face-to-face ones. To give your employer or clients a good impression, always reply on time most especially during work hours. If you talk to them on any kind of messaging platform, never forget to say sorry when you accidentally seen-zone them or apologize for any late replies.
The second thing that will help your clients enjoy a good experience with you will be your courteousness. More than just knowing when to say please and thank you, it’s important that you also sound kind and friendly especially in text such as in email or on messaging platforms. The language of Business English can sometimes sound too formal or monotonous, it wouldn’t hurt to liven up a bit. It’s 2021, so don’t feel bad about using an exclamation point or sending a friendly emoji to any of your closest clients!
3. Never Loses Track of Schedule
If you have been used to working in an office environment, you can probably recall that your colleagues or boss gets to remind you about meetings and deadlines from time to time. As a virtual assistant, however, it’s a challenge to remind yourself what your day, week, or month looks like, especially when no one would be there to remind you.
There are various approaches to this. While some like to use reminder or schedule apps, it’s good to write it down on a daily planner and at the same time writing your upcoming deadlines on a whiteboard. This will pressure and motivate you to finish the workload before the deadline–on top of the fact that having written them down will help you better remember these deadlines.
For more organized scheduling of appointments, take advantage of automated scheduling platforms like Calendly. When you share your Calendly link with clients, they will see your free time and have the option to choose a time slot for when to meet you. You will also be notified about booked appointments and reminded about confirmed ones.
4. Has Great Integrity
Having integrity may seem a bit too subjective, but in this post, we’ll focus on one thing–and that is honesty. Being an honest worker means clocking in your client in every meeting, project, or concern. If you have great integrity, you are honest and transparent by always running things by your client and never leaving out any details. If you can’t beat the deadline, tell them upfront. Walk the talk or don’t commit to anything without double-checking if you can really deliver the task.
Being honest also means you are offering services from honest work. By all means, never plagiarize, use, or take credit for the work of others. Failing, to be honest, can make your clients feel that they’ve been cheated on, and once that happens, damaged clientele relations may be irreversible. That said, always remember that your integrity is an edge that your clients will always appreciate and that money can’t buy.
5. Knows the Goals of the Client
Last but not least is knowing by heart the goals of your client. As a virtual assistant, it is your job to put their needs above your own–or at least by making them feel that it’s what you’re doing. Your clients will feel it if they are being prioritized, and it will show in the work that you do. So, before even diving into the workload, get to know your clients and try to capture the vision of their work. That way, you can also reduce the risk of burnout by knowing the good purposes of the task or project. As a side benefit, you can also get to build stronger professional relationships with them.
If there is one thing you should remember from this post, it is a kind reminder that you are not a robot. You are human and you tend to fall short sometimes. That’s part of any job experience, though we hope that you were able to learn a thing or two from this post–to help you stay at the top of your game or even to help you decide if becoming a virtual assistant is what you want to do.
Even if you’re still unsure if you want to take this route in your career, just give it a shot. You’ll never know, you just might be an excellent virtual assistant!