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A virtual assistant is an administrative assistant that works from their own home office rather than for one specific company. There are various types of virtual assistant programs, such as a virtual assistant that specializes in a specific industry or type of business; an entrepreneur that only provides a specific type of service, such as creative services; or a generalist that provides any type of administrative work for any type of company.
Virtual assistants tend to be administrative or executive assistants that have experience working in an office that wants to open their own business. Training for virtual assistants is usually hands-on training that the individuals have gathered from working over the years. The experiences these virtual assistants have acquired tend to dictate the types of virtual assistant programs they offer their clients.
Some virtual assistant programs choose to cater to or specialize in a specific niche, industry or type of business. For example, a virtual assistant who has spent her entire career working in the financial services and banking industries may choose to offer her services to only clients that are in these industries. Specializing in a particular industry or type of business decreases the learning curve that the virtual assistant has to overcome when he or she starts working for a client.
One of the other types of virtual assistant programs is those that provide a specific type of service. A good example is a virtual assistant that only deals with database management. This type of virtual assistant manages the contact database for a company’s clients, maintains it, organizes, keeps it up-to-date and conducts and produces reports and lists whenever the client needs it. Another example may be virtual assistant programs that only answer phones or only type up letters or transcripts for their clients.
Probably one of the most popular types of virtual assistant programs includes those that act as a generalist. These types of virtual assistants offer a menu of services that fit the needs of the clients. Most generalists provide any type of administrative duty, but some virtual assistants will add certain services upon the request of a specific client. General duties may include answering the client’s phone, managing the client’s calendar, managing and implementing marketing campaigns, creating and sending out client correspondence and even brainstorming ideas with the client on how to make their business processes more effective and efficient.