Virtual assistant? Different from being a personal assistant |

Becoming a “Virtual” Administrative Assistant

After several years as a receptionist in the health sector, Danielle Guérin had had enough of the subway-work-sleep routine. Routine meant very little for her. In 2002, she decided to go into business. She became a “virtual” administrative assistant.

The virtual assistant does a lot more than working remotely. She runs a real administrative work company. Her tasks match her skills, from bookkeeping to billing, and covering email and social media management. Some even offer services in human resources, writing and translation.

“The only thing you can’t do is filing paper documents,” emphasizes Danielle Guérin. Even call management can now be done remotely. When it comes to bookkeeping, the customer simply scans the invoices.

An entrepreneur who works… for entrepreneurs

The demand for virtual assistants largely comes from entrepreneurs who lack time for administrative tasks without necessarily wanting to hire a full-time assistant, Danielle Guérin says. Some customers are going to need someone for 5 to 10 hours a month and others 30 to 40 hours.

Having been self-employed for 17 years, Danielle Guérin has had clients in Quebec as well as in France and even Reunion Island. “It lets me travel virtually,” she says enthusiastically. “I can work from anywhere.”

She adds that she earns a much better living than when she was employed, without working more.

Developing your entrepreneurial spirit

But to earn your living as a virtual assistant, you have to have an entrepreneurial spirit.

“It takes someone proactive, with business acumen, to promote their business and seek out customers,” explains Danielle Guérin.

Being your own boss also takes discipline. No one will tell the virtual assistant what to do each day. She has to organize her work herself and choose the tasks she wants to accomplish. 

“There is a certain insecurity. Sometimes you don’t know who your next customer will be,” adds Danielle Guérin, who now trains other virtual administrative assistants.

For her, the game has certainly been worthwhile.

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