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8 Compelling Qualities Of A Successful Virtual Assistant

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

A lot of people are shying away from the traditional work environment, and embracing work from home opportunities. It is evident that when it comes to remote jobs, the pros outweigh the cons, especially for clients. Business owners and entrepreneurs tend to hire virtual assistants to complete those mundane tasks that they can’t handle on their own due to time constraints. Virtual assistant roles are available in most industries, so if you have extensive experience in administrative support, and are interested in offering your services, feel free to dive in. The possibilities are endless!

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned virtual assistant, there are several qualities you need to possess in order to be a successful. Developing and maintaining a healthy professional relationship with your client is essential in this line of work. In doing so, you’re basically securing your job, and who knows? Maybe you’ll increase your earning potential through referrals and positive reviews, especially if you’re contracted through a freelancing platform like Upwork or Guru. We’ve compiled a total of 8 qualities that will put you on the path to success.


As a virtual assistant, it is highly likely that you’re going to be entrusted with a lot of sensitive information. If for example, you’re working for a Founder of a subscription based event company, you’re going to be handling financial data such as credit cards for members, as well as your clients’ transactions or sales reports. What if your boss asks you to book a flight or secure an Airbnb rental for a week? Payment information is required to complete these tasks. This is why it is vital for virtual assistants to be trustworthy and extremely honest. Integrity should be the forefront of your core values in this line of work.

There’s a flip side to this quality that has less to do with you safeguarding confidential information, and more to do with the skills you possess or your capabilities as a virtual assistant on a whole. Be open about what you can do for your client. Don’t oversell yourself to the point where you’re lying about your experience, or the tasks you can perform. It is better to highlight your strengths and inform the client that you are open to new opportunities. Emphasize your willingness to learn instead of making claims you won’t be able to substantiate.

Confidence is Key

If you don’t believe in yourself, your client won’t have any faith in your potential as a virtual assistant. It is mandatory for you to emit that positive energy so there won’t be any doubt that you can take action, and ultimately get the job done. It has a lasting effect on your sense of self and how motivated you are to perform your duties, and do them well. Put your best foot forward, and get ready to tackle your assignments. A confident virtual assistant leaves a lasting impression, and you’ll find that clients lean towards individuals that ooze this quality, as they’ll feel more comfortable entrusting them with important tasks that are vital to the day to day operations of their business.

Computer Literacy

The fact that the position is virtual means your duties will be done remotely. Not only does this mean you'll require a reliable computer, but you need to be able to use it and use it well. All virtual assistants perform administrative tasks. These typically comprise any combination of the following:

  1. Transcription

  2. Book-keeping

  3. Email handling

  4. Customer support

  5. Social media posts

  6. Research and writing

  7. Cold calling and lead generation

  8. Preparing and editing documents

  9. Stocktaking and ordering supplies

  10. Scheduling meetings or appointments

  11. Taking notes or minutes during meetings

  12. Blog or article posting and website management

  13. Answering and directing phone calls to relevant personnel

With that said, you’ll probably have to learn to use new applications so computer literacy is a plus. It helps when you’re a fast learner too.

There is no one size fits all scenario if you plan on being a virtual assistant. If your specialty is email marketing but you’re only used to MailChimp, you might have to learn how to use another tool such as Omnisend or Hubspot. The same concept applies to virtual assistants who manage multiple social media pages. Your previous project required you to schedule appealing content with HootSuite, but you recently came across clients that prefer Planoly or Buffer. A real estate virtual assistant who typically uses RentLink might have to become familiar with AppFolio if that’s what the new client requires. Some common tools that virtual assistants use include Calendly, Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, Slack, RingCentral, QuickBooks, WordPress, Squarespace, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Asana, CoSchedule and Trello. It really helps when you have a firm grasp of how simple applications work!

Superb Oral and Written Communication Skills

Oftentimes, a virtual assistant is the first point of contact for a client’s business, especially when the role is customer service or email handling. The right tone and choice of words makes a huge difference. A virtual assistant should be able to convey information through various channels, and maintain professionalism, even while dealing with someone who is irate. You will be interacting with persons via chat and email. You'll probably be in charge of preparing letters, typing up memos, or other documents such as contracts. To accomplish these tasks, your command of the English language should be at a level where the final document won't have any grammatical errors. Go the extra mile to locate and correct mistakes.

A good virtual assistant should also have excellent soft skills to handle communication in such a way that adaptability seems effortless. Showing empathy to a customer who ordered an item for a special occasion but didn’t receive it on time, or discussing a convenient time to schedule a meeting between your client and a potential business partner, requires the correct approach. Always be prepared to use the right strategy when handling any form of communication on behalf of your client.

Excellent Organization and Time Management Skills

Consistently meeting or exceeding deadlines is one way to guarantee success as a virtual assistant. To achieve this you have to manage your time wisely. Multitasking is a part of the job as you’ll be working on several to-dos simultaneously on a daily basis. Clients won’t have to worry about tasks getting completed on time once you prove yourself. An unreliable virtual assistant who lags when it comes to delivering work in a timely manner is a big issue, because the client will either end up doing these tasks, or hire someone else to get the job done. Either way, this doesn’t sound very productive.

Organize your schedule and adhere to it to keep up with your outstanding tasks. Use a project management tool and set reminders if you have to. Having a dedicated work area also helps you to stay focused. If you need tips to keep the distractions at bay, check out our guide to staying focused while working from home here. When you get up in the mornings, head to your home office or desk as soon as your shift starts, and keep tabs on your progress. Most virtual assistants are required to schedule meetings, process payments, order supplies and follow-up with customers. Excellent organization and time management skills pay off eventually. It is no secret that clients tend to trust efficient virtual assistants more. Soon, you’ll find that your client starts delegating more responsibilities because you've proved how reliable you are.

Ability to Work Independently

One major difference between working as a virtual assistant from the comfort of your home and in a traditional office, is supervision. There is no manager peering over your shoulder intermittently to ensure you're getting those assigned tasks done. You determine when you start working on a daily basis, and whether or not to-dos get completed on time. Your employer won't check in with you round the clock. This is why it's important for you to have discipline so you can work independently.

The whole point of hiring a virtual assistant is to lessen the workload. Most, if not all job postings specify that the client needs someone who is able to use their initiative. There are going to be situations where you have to step up and fill your client's shoes. Being able to work without constant supervision is one quality that will definitely come in handy when you have to make an important decision.

Proactiveness and Resilience

Being a virtual assistant is not a walk in the park. You're going to have off days, and if you're not prepared, they can ruin your mood. Anticipate those future occurrences so when they arrive, you can remain fervent. A resilient demeanor will help you deal with the unexpected as well. Every interaction with a customer or client is not going to be pleasant. Problems are going to arise. You determine whether or not these obstacles reinforce your professional capacity as a virtual assistant, or bring you to your knees.

Commitment to Ongoing Learning

Virtual assistants perform a wide range of tasks, so there is going to be an application, or specific way of doing things, that you'll have to become acquainted with. In this line of work, there is always room for improvement. Industries change, you can get promoted to a different role that requires you to perform more advanced tasks, and with the way technology is progressing, companies constantly seek ways to reduce time spent on certain processes.

When it comes to software, it seems that a new release is always popping up to make the ones created by companies who can't keep up, obsolete. If you lack the self-determination to constantly learn new tools or resources, then you're going to have a hard time being a successful virtual assistant. Self-motivation to delve into ongoing learning will ensure you evolve when your professional environment starts changing. Develop new skills to keep up with the latest trends so you can work more efficiently and open doors to even better opportunities.

So, now that you've read our list of compelling qualities, you can do a thorough analysis, and see how you can become a better virtual assistant. If you're new to freelancing or remote work, and want to know how you can stand out, especially when so many persons are gravitating to work from home roles, check out our 10 Tips To Stand Out During Your Job Search.

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