Today we’re wrapping up our series on VA Chronicles and we’d like to send a special shoutout to our Pepper virtual assistants for sharing their time and experience with us!

Over the past weeks, we’ve looked at the lessons our VAs learned from their clients and how they handled work-related challenges. Our pool of VAs is a mix of seasoned ones and newbies. They each have specific tasks and work with different clients. We know that being a VA takes a lot of talent and skill. So we’re concluding this series asking our VAs, “What Does it Take to Become an Effective VA?”

Ability to work smart. In case you don’t know, Pepper’s tagline is Work Smarter, Not Harder. One of our VAs also advocates this in the way she works. She said that it’s important for a VA to know how to be smart and that means being resourceful and knowing how to do things the easy way (i.e. without compromising quality). There are days when you will be swamped with work but when you have tools and tricks up your sleeve you’ll be able to manage your time and resources well.

Good written and oral English skills. Almost every VA we interviewed said this primarily because we’re dealing with Western clients whose first language is English. Working with an overseas client is not limited to emails and chats. It involves Skype calls and even actual phone calls to the client’s office. It’s a necessity to be good at speaking and writing in English. Otherwise, you’ll have miscommunication problems with your clients. You don’t need to use complex words. Just think good business English.

Professionalism. This covers everything from responding on time to communicating with respect. One of our VAs shared that there will be instances when clients can say words they don’t really mean when they’re upset and this is where real professionalism comes in. Punctuality is also a part of this. You have to be prompt in your replies and consistent in your updates so that your client is aware of the progress of his project.

Organizational skills. Most of our clients hire us to organize a certain aspect of their business or personal lives. Almost all our VAs said that having an excellent organizational skill is a must. Even if you’re not inherently organized, you can master certain tools that can help you be more systematic with your work. Being organized will also help you in prioritizing tasks and keeping tabs on your personal progress.

Versatility. Different clients will give you various tasks and you need to adapt to these new assignments. One of our VAs said it best, “Versatility is a difficult skill to master; but if a VA has it, she will definitely be able to do more and go far. It encompasses resourcefulness, flexibility, and being innovative. If you’re versatile, you can be exposed to different parameters and still perform very well. A VA must know how to move with the times, adapt to new developments, and deal with people of diverse cultures.”

Some people think that being a virtual assistant is just being a glorified secretary. If you look at it that way then you’ll miss the value of this profession. A virtual assistant is a highly skilled professional hired by clients all over the world because they see the vital role they can play in their company. Western clients have been hiring Filipino VAs because of the skill set we bring to the table. Our educational attainment, English proficiency, and overall efficiency are some of the attributes that make us marketable globally. Virtual assistance work is not all encoding and administrative work. There’s research involved which requires analytical thinking; writing which requires perfect grammar; and even marketing which requires strategic thinking and a lot of creativity. It’s more than being an assistant. It’s being part of a team’s success and a company’s growth. You think you have what it takes to be a VA? If so, join our growing team now!

In case you missed our previous posts on VA Chronicles, you can check them out here:

Part 1: An Inside Look at Virtual Assistance

Part 2: Managing Mistakes and Handling Conflicts

Part 3: Do You Have What it Takes to be a Virtual Assistant?

About Pepper Social Media

Pepper Social Media is an online marketing firm that specializes in social media management, content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, copywriting, and targeted blogging. Our creative team consists of experienced marketing strategists who can fortify your brand identity and amplify your reach.

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