I am asked this question all the time and now often say I am a Virtual PA as people understand it better. It also stops jokes about if I am actually in front of them (pre Covid to be fair) and if I am called Alexa!
When I first set up as Blue Skies Virtual Assistant in 2015 I thought I would be mainly writing and sending emails, managing diaries and preparing documents. I quickly learnt some basic bookkeeping skills (recording day to day transactions, raising invoices and credit control) and found I quite enjoy that, but I have been truly surprised at the variety of interesting tasks I have been asked to do such as:·
- Carrying out a price comparison analysis for one client to support a grant application (I was the happy owner of a shop for a while stocked with all my favourite things!);
- Researching where you can hire medical grade oxygen cylinders in Melbourne Australia to support an ultra marathon;
- Researching what to do (a lot of which seemed to involve hanging out of very tall buildings!) and see and where to eat and shop and how to get around Chicago for a weekend between assignments;
- Trawling through planning applications for a specific road for the previous 12 years looking for an access issue and preparing a report;
- Working out what to do in Auckland for 5 days including a visit to Hobbiton (where they filmed Lord of the Rings) – I have always wanted to travel to New Zealand but it is now at the top of my wish list;
- Benchmarking various policies (such as health and safety and environmental ones) to adapt for use by my clients.
I have also built some simple websites and written copy for various websites to support my clients’ businesses and navigated a myriad of different supplier/contractor registration systems, including various portals and marvelled at how complex some are and how wonderfully clear and easy to use others are. I do still enjoy the email and diary management side of the role and bringing order out of chaos. Best of all is helping a client grow their business, both by doing their boring but necessary paperwork but also bringing an objective pair of eyes and being able to make suggestions.
I do relish a challenge and if you have a business task that isn't one which falls neatly into the "usual" PA role do ask and I will do my best to assist if I can.