What Can a Virtual Assistant Do?

what a va can (and can't) do

Having a hard time envisioning the work of a virtual assistant? When you picture someone’s personal or executive assistant, they’re usually standing right beside them, ready to, well, assist. How does that work virtually?

Miranda Priestly, the Devil Wears Prada, Coat GIF | Don't Panic Mgmt

Not a job that can be done by a Virtual Assistant

So what does a virtual assistant do? Generally, they’re online assistants who do the typical executive assistant stuff that’s easy to outsource over the internet: Bookkeeping, online research, travel planning, data entry, podcast editing, even social tasks like writing thank you notes.

They work like a personal or executive assistant, but through the magic of the internet, they’re not right outside your office door (especially helpful if your office is your dining room). They won’t be following you around jotting notes in your calendar, but they can coordinate your schedule from afar with good communication from you. They can manage your email, but they don’t answer your phone.

Anne Hathaway, Devil Wears Prada GIF | Don't Panic Mgmt

It might be best to take your own client calls, anyway.

Don’t need help managing those parts of your business? If you’ve got those aspects running like a well-oiled machine, great!

Still feel overwhelmed? Don’t fret. Here are three major tasks you may not have considered outsourcing to a virtual assistant that the right VA can take off your plate.

Outsource Content Tasks to a VA

Most VAs are talented freelancers with more than just basic office assistant skills in their toolbox. Many have backgrounds and experience in content marketing — that’s right, your virtual assistant can write your blog posts, produce your podcast, or bring your social media copy back to life.

No time to manage your blog and all its guest submissions? There’s a VA for that. Need a ghostwriter for a blog post? There’s a VA for that.

A VA with writing experience will quickly pick up your company tone and can respond to blog comments and social media mentions so you don’t have to.

Pro tip: Make sure you provide your virtual assistant with a company style guide and any audience personas you’ve developed to help them create exceptional content that blends seamlessly.

Virtual Assistants Do Visuals

As our digital world becomes increasingly visual, a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy relies on a lot of moving parts related to images: logos, infographics, photos and graphics with text overlays.

Once you have your branding and logos established, consider hiring a virtual assistant with graphic design experience and a keen eye to make your brand stand out. Your VA can make your blog posts Pinterest-ready by adding text to any images so they catch the eye AND inspire the click.

Image quotes are always crowd pleasers on Instagram and Twitter. Want to wow your audience and rack up the likes? Have your VA put their design skills to work with your favorite quotes (or even some of your own!).

Pro tip: There are freelancers out there who can complete big-ticket projects like a complete rebrand of your business. Make sure you hire the right person for the right job. If you need a graphic designer, web designer, or a developer—get one (and be prepared to pay accordingly for their expertise). Save your virtual assistant for the in-the-weeds day-to-day work.

Miranda Priestly, Devil Wears Prada GIF | Don't Panic Mgmt

A VA with a design background would have known.

Get Help from a VA at Your Next Event

Planning an event—whether it’s a simple holiday party or a huge, industry-wide conference—takes a lot of hands on deck to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. A virtual assistant can relieve some of that burden.


Event planning may seem like something you need to tackle in-house. But a VA can research and narrow down locations and set up site visits for you. Caterers, entertainment, staff and even some decorating can all be researched and booked from afar.

Planning a conference? Hand over speaker outreach, travel planning, and basic communications to your virtual assistant. Your VA can handle attendee questions, keep everyone up to date and excited with social media posts and emails, and make all necessary confirmations, freeing you up to tackle the big stuff.

What about smaller events? The holiday season is quickly approaching, do you have your company party planned? A virtual assistant can do all of the previously mentioned tasks, and even poll your employees on a date that works for everyone.

Devil Wears Prada GIF | Don't Panic Mgmt

And they will be more polite than this.

So many deadlines loom as the year comes to a close, so it makes sense to outsource planning your holiday gathering as much as possible, leaving your in-house staff to their normal workload. And with a party planned by someone hired to focus on it, it’ll be something to really look forward to.

Social Media

During a conference, live social media is ideal. But if that’s not in your budget, a VA can still set up a Snapchat Geofilter, monitor mentions and hashtags, and retweet and repost attendees posts. You could even send pictures and let them take care of the copy. By tasking someone virtual with this job, you end up with thorough, attentive social media coverage at a fraction of the cost of travel and accommodations for another team member.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to say thank you and spread the love for your new VA. If they made a big conference or party possible, shout it out on the mic at the event so people know how awesome they are (and so their company can secure more fabulous clients like you).

What Can a Virtual Assistant Do For You?

Thanks to the plethora of communication and project management tools available, it’s easier than ever to work side by side with someone who may physically live and work across the country. By outsourcing these three big tasks to a VA, you give yourself (and your in-house team if you have one) the time to focus on growing your business.

Devil Wears Prada GIF | Don't Panic Mgmt

A VA will not bring your coffee. But it’s 2017, they’ll find a way to get it to you.

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