Over the past several years, we’ve seen a huge surge in remote work and it only seems to be increasing. A recent Forbes report estimated that by 2025, 32.6 million Americans will be working remotely. That’s nearly 25% of the workforce!
This is great news for virtual assistants as the rest of the world is starting to hop on the remote work train. So, as more small businesses and large companies add VAs to their teams, we want to share the 6 qualities that make a successful virtual assistant. We know that every client and task list will be different, but these traits are universal regardless of your industry or role. Let’s dive in!
1. Be Proactive
Perhaps the most important quality of a successful virtual assistant is being proactive. Your clients are relying on you to cut down their to-do lists so you’ll get major points for anticipating needs.
This means being a few steps ahead of your client and asking, “What else might my client need here?”. Or, “How can I make their life easier?”. VAs will know that knocking out a task before a client even realizes it needs to be done is one of the most rewarding feelings.
Now, no one expects their new VA to able to anticipate their needs immediately. This takes time to understand clients’ values, preferences, and processes. But by asking questions and offering an additional hand whenever possible, your client will begin to develop the trust and confidence that it takes for you to learn more and be able to act proactively.
2. Be Flexible
For virtual assistants, flexibility is key. Entrepreneurs and executives face a lot of unpredictability and working closely with them means that you may get a request or need to pivot without much notice or reason. But just because you’re flexible doesn’t mean there’s no structure. It’s actually the opposite. Having strong time management and organization skills is what will help build buffer time to be adaptable to clients’ needs without dropping the ball on others.
3. Be Organized
Juggling multiple clients can certainly feel like a circus act.
Things can get tricky if you’re not maintaining good systems, so take some time to set up folders, email tags, process documents, and anything else that will help you keep things straight. Investing this time upfront will make your day-to-day be smoother and help you work more efficiently. This is also really helpful when collaborating with a team to make sure things are kept in tip-top shape.
4. Be Curious
One of the really cool things about being a virtual assistant is the autonomy and trust that clients give you. If you see an opportunity to make a change or improvement, your clients will likely give you the green light and be super grateful for you taking the initiative to make things better.
Now, we’re not saying you should feel responsible for making big decisions for the company. But we encourage you to bring a curious mindset to your work. After all, you’re the person who has the best perspective on what you do. Is there a way you can streamline things? How can you not only solve a problem but avoid it in the future? If you have thoughtful solutions, share them!
5. Be a Good Communicator
Working from home is an introvert’s dream come true but don’t forget that somewhere far, far away, you have a boss who can’t just peek in your office to ask when you’ll be done with a task (and frankly, they likely don’t have the time for it either).
Do your best to offer regular updates so your client doesn’t have to track you down to find out the status of things. The way you do this will differ from client to client. Some will prefer email or Slack touchpoints, while others like to track updates in a project management space like Asana. Whatever system you establish, make sure you never leave them wondering.
6. Be Kind
Kindness is such an important quality for virtual assistants to have. We love the old adage that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar because, at some point as a virtual assistant, things are going to get bumpy. Yes, getting through challenges is important, but so is how you get through them. So remember that we are all human and try to come at every situation, assuming the best about those around you.
Being a virtual assistant is a unique job and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but we know for sure that with these skills, you’ll be well equipped to get the job done!
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