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How you spend your time is vitally important, especially when you’re running a small business or trying to get a startup off the ground. But yet, it seems like there’s too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it. Trust us, we understand that, and it looks like that because it’s true.

You can’t do everything. There may have been a time in your career or in the industry where it could be a one-person show but unfortunately, that time is well behind us. Now, you may think that means you have to give something up or let something slip through the cracks if you don’t want someone else on the payroll. We’re here to tell you that isn’t the case.

Nowadays, there’s an immense number of roles that the job market is trying to fill but it’s impossible. Government research has shown an enormous gap between open positions (11 million) and unemployed people (7.4 million). That gap means that there’s practically no way to have all the positions filled– unless people can fill multiple roles.

The people that are taking up that torch and giving new opportunities to small business leaders, are virtual assistants.

What are Virtual Assistants?

To a certain extent, virtual assistants (also known as “VAs”) are whatever you need them to be. If you need an accountant without employing someone full-time, then a virtual assistant is your best bet. Or if you need somebody to oversee your social media accounts, but you don’t have time to train them, then there’s a virtual assistant for that too!

Virtual assistants are essentially remote workers who employ their previous careers’ skills to assist you. They don’t have the need for training or, in most cases, to be hired as an employee. Many virtual assistants prefer to work as contractors and sometimes work for more than one client.

Because they can be hired as contractors, you don’t need to hire anyone to do a job before you’re financially ready. That alone is a massive benefit and huge relief for startups.

Do you still not believe that you’re helpful? Look at this, virtual assistants can save a business up to 78% in operating costs, and 13% of employees are more productive when working from home. That means that you get a more productive workforce for over half the cost of a normal employee.

What kinds of virtual assistants are there?

We’ve spoken about what a virtual assistant is, and we touched on how they can help. But you need to know what exact roles they can fill, what operations they can carry out, and how well they can do those things.

So, let’s look at the most common positions that virtual assistants fill.


A virtual assistant that specializes in bookkeeping can keep accurate records for their employer’s company. A firm may employ this assistant, or they might work independently with multiple clients at once. They’re usually hired to support finance teams or small business owners.


A virtual assistant hired for an administrative position is responsible for all business and personal administrative work. They can be responsible for various tasks such as email management, bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, preparation of expense reports and filing paperwork. They may also provide other typical virtual assistant services like customer service and social media management. The virtual administrative assistant is often hired to aid executives and business leaders who want to free up their time.


When you need to keep track of your online shopping cart for yourself or your business, a virtual assistant will likely be able to help you. They help monitor all the items that you have placed into the virtual shopping carts through means like affiliate links. They can make sure none of these items get forgotten about or lost.

These virtual assistants are also experts in managing online shops and product lists such as Amazon, Shopify, Google Shop, or other apps.

Computer or IT-related roles

They will do anything from sending emails, operating computers, music files, extracting audio from videos, playing videos, or even browsing the internet.  Some virtual assistants have an IT-related background and can help you with complex issues such as helping implement security measures for your company’s network or repairing your system.

Graphic Design

Some virtual assistants have training in graphic design and can offer the needed assistance with logo creation, web page design, or website maintenance. They may also create brochures, flyers, and advertisements through an ensemble of programs.

Social Media Management

Social Media Management virtual assistants are responsible for managing social accounts on your behalf. They will keep track of posts made for the company on any social media platform. They can also schedule posts, write posts, manage the comments and then direct them to the appropriate employee of the company. They may also be responsible for determining the type of content that’s published on social media accounts. Virtual assistants can keep track of your accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Other roles include:

  • Secretarial work
  • Transcription/translation
  • Photo editing
  • SEO services
  • Any role you need

You may have noticed that a lot of these roles have some overlap and that’s for a good reason. Many virtual assistants don’t work as specialists in a certain position because they really wouldn’t be hired much if they did.

So instead, a virtual assistant will usually be a Jill-(or Jack)-of-All-Trades type of person. That’s why you’ll see them take on several different roles throughout their career. The more positions they can fill, the more they’ll be hired, and conversely, the more you’ll benefit from their help.