What is a Virtual Assistant?

I was at the park the other day on a conference call for my “real” job.

Most people balk a little when they find out that I’m a “virtual assistant”. They give me a little side-eye, and scoot a bit further away, perhaps thinking that I’ve completely lost my mind (I haven’t…yet.). I don’t think that I’m alone in getting this reaction, though.

Many people just can’t fathom “working from home,” or they automatically assume that I’m selling books or makeup. I’m not. (Although I am a distributor for Young Living and a brand promoter for Le-Vel because I love them, but that’s it. But that’s another post.). So…

What do I do all day? Well, for starters, I drink a lot of coffee. Seriously. I think I might have a problem. 2 16-ounce travel mugs every morning, minimum. Is there a Coffee Anonymous?

what is a virtual assistant

Let’s start by defining a “Virtual Assistant”

A virtual assistant is someone who helps businesses or busy people remotely, from their home or office with a administrative assistance. Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? Virtual assistants are highly skilled professionals who leverage their talents and their time to help others check off their to-do lists.

Is There Only One Type of Virtual Assistant?

When I started, I thought that the only type of virtual assistant out there was administrative, or to help you visualize, secretarial. I thought that all virtual assistants did was answer phones, send emails, set appointments, transcribe dictation (which I personally hate), enter data, and perform basic research tasks. But a virtual assistant nowadays does so much more.

What if I told you that no matter your skill set, you could be a virtual assistant (or learn to be), if you have the drive to succeed? Today’s virtual assistants provide a whole host of services over and above basic administrative help. As a virtual assistant, you could:

  • Manage social media accounts
  • Write copy
  • Design a logo or graphic
  • Maintain a website (or multiple sites)
  • Help launch a sales campaign
  • Create presentations

A Virtual Assistant Is Only Limited By Their Own Walls

So you don’t have any web experience? There are opportunities to learn! What if I told you that I have a degree, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my job today? What if I told you that I sometimes wish I could return it (and the loans that go with!)?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that my degree has helped me get a few interviews, but it’s definitely not what has helped me succeed. Depending upon your own personal experiences, you can decide what skills you want to use to launch your own virtual assistant career.

I’m In Charge Of My Time

As a virtual assistant, I’m my own boss. I dictate what I know, which means that if I want to learn HTML, all I need to do is find the right training and the time to dedicate to learning a new skill. I also decide who I work for. I am what is known as a contractor.

Sure, there are online companies that hire out virtual assistants, but I prefer to work for myself.


I get to set my own hours, and manage my own work load. If I only want to work from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I can. Do I need to take my kids to the zoo? I can. Doctor appointment? I just schedule it into my day.

Virtual Assisting Is NOT For Everyone

You do need some basic skills. You need to be able to write well. You need a decent eye for editing, especially if you are marketing yourself as able to draft emails to clients or act as a copywriter. You need to be able to spell and utilize proper grammar (though even I make mistakes sometimes). But most importantly, you must be self-motivated.

Getting started takes time and determination. You need to apply, and apply again. You need to be hungry for this. Jobs will not just fall into your lap. It takes legwork, really, truly, it does. You must also be able to work well with others, since it’s up to you to make your client’s vision for their business come to life. And finally, you must be organized and have excellent time-management skills.

Have you considered becoming a VA?



  1. Dayne on June 24, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Very interesting. My company employs tons of remote workers. I have never heard of the “virtual assistant” before, but it seems pretty cool! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Brea on June 24, 2015 at 9:39 am

      It’s definitely becoming more mainstream! What a great company to work for!

  2. Kristen Sampson on June 24, 2015 at 10:29 am

    This is very interesting. I am a stay at home mom but I have recently been trying to find different ways to use my skill set to work from home. How did you get started?

    • Brea on June 24, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Hi, Kristen! It really depends on what you would like to do! I started out by catering my resume to working as an online assistant, and joined a few job boards, then started sending out applications. It sounds simple, but it took awhile to hone my skill set. I’d love to help you get started if you’d like! You can email me if you’d like to discuss more: breagettingfit@gmail.com.

      I am working on a whole series about how to get started, but it’s not quite ready yet. I understand wanting to help with the bills while you stay at home!

  3. Erin Branscom on June 24, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I’ve been a virtual assistant for about 7 months now. It is A LOT of work. One thing I realized is that you have to be constantly learning and expanding your knowledge. It’s been really great for my family though! 🙂

    • Brea on June 24, 2015 at 11:43 am

      It definitely is! But it’s SO, SO worth it for my family (and yours, it sounds like!).

  4. Cori from The Blog Love Project on June 24, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Where can I find more information about this? It looks very interesting and I’d love to be able to work from home.

    • Brea on June 24, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      I’m working on a getting started post right now and should have it up next week!

  5. Tracy on June 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I’m VERY interested in becoming a virtual assistant. Please sign me up for your Weekly Warm Up so I can learn how to get started.


    • Brea on June 28, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Awesome Tracy! I am working on a getting started series, I’ll be sure to send out an announcement!

  6. Brittany Bergman on June 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    This is so helpful! Up until about a week ago, I thought VAs were just for bloggers who make a ton of money and need help for like, 20 hours a week. Turns out that’s not true! Thanks for starting up this series and shedding a little light on what VAs do. 🙂

    • Brea on June 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      That’s a very common misconception! Stay tuned! I have lots of great information to share!

  7. Jessica on July 1, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Wow…I wish I would have known this when I first decided to start a family. This is definitely something I would consider doing.

    • Brea on July 1, 2015 at 12:31 am

      It’s never too late to start!

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  10. Cynthia @craftoflaughter on July 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I think VA’s are the wave of the future! Thanks for all the great information you provided! I will know where to look when I need one 🙂

    • Brea on July 5, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      I definitely think they are! I love working as a VA.

  11. Shann Eva on July 5, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    I think once my “babies” are in school, this would be the perfect job for me. Right now, between chasing them and working on the blog, I don’t have time for much else. I’m going to pin your post so I can come back when I’m ready. Thanks!

    • Brea on July 5, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      I’m glad I could help! I do a lot of working when my boys are sleeping.

  12. Brooke on July 6, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, thanks for explaining! I really thought I knew what a VA was…I didn’t. I’m wondering now if this is something I could incorporate in as I’m growing my own blog. I’m definitely looking forward to your series. Going to sign up for your emails! Thanks 🙂

    • Brea on July 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      You definitely could! There is such a huge demand for VAs right now!

  13. Erica @ Coming Up Roses on July 15, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Being in charge of your own time like that sounds so LIBERATING! And there is nothing wrong with loving coffee…it’s liquid crack and that’s OK.

    Coming Up Roses

    • Brea on July 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks 😉

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