What is a VA?

Ask 10 Virtual Assistants "What is a VA?" and you will probably get 10 unique responses. The replies, however, will most likely include words such as: entrepreneur, work-from-home, independent contractor, administrative, business, support services, highly-skilled, professional, expert, remote, home office, etc.

Below are examples of some of the diverse definitions created by various VA organizations.

Virtual Assistant Defined

Alliance for Virtual Businesses: “Virtual Assistants (VAs) are independent entrepreneurs providing professional administrative, creative, managerial, technical, business office and/or personal support services. VAs use the most advanced means of communication, and the newest and most efficient and time saving office products and work delivery, regardless of geographic boundaries. Virtual Assistants work from their own offices, on a contractual basis, and abide by an established Code of Ethics requiring integrity, honesty and due diligence.”

Alliance of UK Virtual Assistants: "A VA is your partner in business. VAs work from their own offices, sometimes but not always in their home. Many of them are highly skilled individuals who are adept at using the Internet and can offer almost all the office support services you would expect to find in a large multinational organization. They can offer you a variety of skills, from Archiving documents to installing ZoneAlarm firewalls and all the other tasks in between."

A Clayton’s Secretary: “A VA is a self-employed professional business services operator providing almost any type of admin support service you require on a remote basis from their own office using their own equipment and software.”

Assist U: “VAs are micro business owners who provide administrative and possibly personal support while working in long-term collaborative relationships with only a handful of terrific clients. Using phone, fax, email, as well as other emerging technologies, VAs support their clients' needs, across the board, without having to ever step foot inside the clients' offices.”

Canadian Virtual Assistants Connection: “A Virtual Assistant (also known as a VA) is an entrepreneur who is in business to help small businesses with their overflow. VAs work from their own offices, usually a home-based office, and can help with any task that is usually handled by an in-house employee. Their services allow small business owners to get the help they need with their administrative tasks while they concentrate on generating revenue.”

Canadian Virtual Assistants Network: “Virtual Assistants are independent contractors who perform a wide range of administrative and business services. By utilizing today's technology we are able to provide administrative support to businesses all over the world.”

Delaware Valley Virtual Assistants Association: “A Virtual Assistant provides business support services such as administration, marketing, and other support tasks and more from a remote location. A VA is NOT an employee, but an independent business owner that provides services for an hourly fee or a monthly retainer.”

International Association of Virtual Office Assistants: "Your VA is not an employee of your company. They are in fact small business owners themselves. They are not someone you only want to type a single project. VAs become an integral part of your business. VAs pride themselves on becoming a part of your company interested in helping your small business succeed. They get to know you personally, want to know your customers and assist you in maintaining close contact with your customer base."

International Virtual Assistant Association: “A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.”

StaffCentrix: "A VA is a home-based independent contractor (self-employed) who handles non-core business support needs from a distance via email, fax, telephone, etc. VAs, like many of their clients, are the CEOs of their own companies. Often, they become the long-term "growth partners" of their clients, providing administrative support, bookkeeping, scheduling and client contact, or other more-specialized support such as Web site maintenance and market research."

VA4U: "A Virtual Assistant will help you streamline your working and personal life, save you money, save you time and make you more effective."

Virtual Assistant Networking Association(VANA): "A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a highly-skilled, independent professional who remotely provides administrative, technical and/or creative business support services."