Being a virtual assistant is not something that happens overnight. Even people who have completed university or any higher education do not automatically acquire the skills needed to pull off the tasks and challenges of virtual assistants successfully. However, what’s wonderful to know is that you may obtain the essential skills and expertise through training and experience, as long as you incline to become one.
Let’s take a look at some of the necessary skills for performing various virtual assistant tasks.
1. Communication Skills
Any virtual assistant must be able to communicate effectively.
Communication skills in writing, oral, listening, and visual presentation are required for virtual assistants to perform their tasks such as providing reports, managing emails, and creating presentations.
Whether you work for a virtual assistant firm or manage your own virtual assistant business, you must be able to communicate effectively with your clients verbally and in writing. This is more true, especially for virtual assistants working for foreign clients, where English communication is a must.
If you believe that your writing skills are lacking, enrolling in an online course might be an excellent way to improve gradually. But being able to communicate effectively is only about half of what is required.
As a virtual assistant, it is without a doubt that a critical element of one’s communication ability is listening attentively. This is especially true if it pertains to instructions and directions given by clients that need to be followed and complied with strictly. Listening improves your ability to sell, resolve conflicts, and satisfy the demands of your clientele.
2. Word Processing and Data Entry Skills
The term “word processing skills” refers to generating professional-looking documents using available word processing software. These skills supplement the communication skills of virtual assistants who are required to write letters, emails, reports for organizations, and other documents. No matter how great a writer you are, you won’t be much of a help to your clients if you can’t produce your thoughts into presentable formats.
Word processing is one of the most common tasks being done by virtual assistants. Some companies would require their virtual assistants to take typing examinations to see if they can do 80-100 words per minute, emphasizing accuracy.
Aligning texts inside the document pages and utilizing various typefaces to make a presentable document are examples of skills. Another essential word processing skill to hone is employing headers and footers and overall document formatting.
Word processing and data entry jobs include the following:
- Document formatting
- Basic digital marketing tasks
- File organization
- Business correspondence
3. Computer Skills
This one is an obvious need. As virtual assistants are working remotely, computer skills are necessary to communicate and liaise with clients. Without computer skills, it would be impossible for one to become a virtual assistant. But computer skills are not only limited to being capable of using any computing device but more to having a clear understanding of how things work.
To become an effective virtual assistant, one must understand how information is stored and accessed on the internet or the World Wide Web. Further, computer skills may already include many complex skills such as web development, especially for the client’s website or database system requires upkeep and support.
4. Cloud-Based Knowledge
To be effective when working remotely, you must know how to transfer data or information in a way that is reliable and secure for you and your clients. These are the essential basic cloud-base knowledge that a virtual assistant should know:
- Easy and hassle-free file sharing (Google Drive, Google Docs, Dropbox) in real-time
- Use of Google Voice service, which allows teams to make it appear as though you are working from the same office by choosing one number to share with each client
- Use of a password manager for clients to share sensitive and confidential information regarding their account without giving the actual password combination
5. Time Management Skills
When your foray into the industry as a virtual assistant begins, you may not have anticipated how busy you would become. Working as a virtual assistant has several benefits, but it also introduces new challenges. Your most significant issue is successfully managing your time when you have a lot of stuff to do.
When work piles up, you must be ready to take on new tasks. You must have time management strategies to organize your busy schedule. As such, consider the following tips:
- Schedule tasks according to priority
- Work in a conducive place
- Set a time for each task
- Stick to the schedule
- Take a regular break schedule
- Keep a work journal
6. Organizational Skills
Another skill that is deemed very important for any virtual assistant is to effectively and efficiently organize. It pertains to creating structures and setting priorities while enhancing productivity and devoting resources and attention to tasks that can be finished immediately.
An excellent organizing skill can significantly reduce tax avoidance, clutter, misunderstanding, inefficiency, and unproductivity.
We’re not all born with a knack for being organized. But becoming a virtual assistant calls for a drastic transformation into an organized person. For instance, designate a section of your home as your workstation where all the stuff needed for work can be easily accessed. Back up your files and make sure that the work area is kept away from kids, animals, and even houseguests to avoid distractions.
7. Take-Charge Attitude
Taking charge is having a positive mindset and the commitment to achieving your goals into a reality. It will lead to mediocrity if a virtual assistant will just accomplish what was simply asked without taking the initiative to go beyond.
Taking charge is owning the work done, controlling projects, giving feedback on how things might be improved, and pointing out anything that requires attention. It is more common now that virtual assistants are expected even to assume managerial responsibilities. As work from home schemes have become the norm to many, virtual assistants are no longer confined to mundane tasks. More and more businesses have now promoting virtual assistants to decision-making positions, transforming them from assistants to remote managers.
8. Self-Motivation and Discipline
Motivation and discipline are important for any virtual assistant to survive the demands of work. Discipline is required to get up early and be ready for work. Motivation drives one to deliver high-quality results and be the best in the job.
It is most frustrating, especially in a virtual work environment, for team members to miss deadlines and screw up the overall organizational timeline. But this scenario can be avoided by virtual assistants by being circumspect in performing tasks. Unimportant phone calls, a favorite television show, or social networking websites interfere with concentrating on tasks. To achieve high productivity, one must be driven and disciplined enough to avoid work distraction.
To keep motivated, you can follow the suggested tips:
- Convert one space in your home to be your office
- Wake up early (depends on your shift) or get enough rest to feel energized during work
- Create a routine
- Maximize the use of productivity software
- Get dressed for work
- Eliminate distractions
- Have a reward system
- Change of scenery when feeling demotivated
9. Decision Making
Fast-thinking abilities are essential when the customer has left a task to a virtual assistant and won’t be readily available to answer inquiries or respond to clarifications.
In these circumstances, instead of waiting for the client to respond, virtual assistants are left on their own to look for viable solutions using existing resources. A virtual assistant must possess the intuitive abilities to determine what kind of assistance may be effective when a problem develops and digest information as quickly as possible to make decisions.
10. Commitment to Learning
While being a virtual assistant offers an abundance of diversity, you must learn every day to commit to completing every task. In other words, if you dislike your job, you will not succeed no matter how hard you try. Every day should be treated as an opportunity to learn something new. Take many online courses as much as possible to upgrade your skills as an online worker. Leverage your expertise and make a vision on how you want to grow your career.
Successful individuals, many of whom are professionals, want to become virtual assistants as many seek flexible schedules to manage their work and personal lives. Getting your virtual assistant skills refined and sharpened is a crucial step in your search for rewarding employment that fits your experience and professional goals.