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The Virtual Assistant's Tools for Success
by Dana R. Arevalo, MBA

I am very familiar with working from home from both a business and educational capacity. Working from home is not as easy as many believe. To be successful one must be extremely disciplined and responsible. Those who believe that VAs sit in front of the television as they leisurely type, answer, phones, babysit, or transcribe are mistaken. Virtual Assistants must conduct business professionally as if they were physically at the office. When waking up, in order to have a productive day, one should get ready as if they are leaving the house.  Having an office space, setting a schedule and adhering to it are all essential tools for VAs. 


Here are some detailed tips that will help on your path to success.  


Set up a spare bedroom, garage, and or basement as office space.

Having an office space allows one to be productive and organized. Being crammed at the kitchen or dining room table or even on the couch will not work. It is uncomfortable or maybe at times too comfortable. Keep in mind maintaining a work/life balance will eliminate some stress. While you may not think it is important to have a seperate space for working, it is. Not only will help one be organized, it helps with focus and concentration. Imagine sitting at the kitchen table typing and also thinking about what's for dinner or when to change the wall color?  Huge distractions! In certain states, having a home office is also a tax advantage. Please consult your accountant and or the IRS for further information on state specific tax laws. 

Maintain the proper telecommunication equipment, hardware, and software for the job.

In the technological world software, hardware, phone and Internet connections are swiftly and constantly being updated and changed. Before you take on any assignment, be sure to have a reliable Internet connection, as you will be communicating "virtually" through technology. The last thing one wants to do is be on the telephone or working on an important project and experience a major equipment failure or lose connection to the World Wide Web. From personal experience, having an Internet connection through your local cable company is key. Dial-up is a thing of the past.  It is also crucial to stay up to date with the latest software versions and updates. You do not have to be a technological genius to do so. Technology topics are always trending on popular social media sites, contacting the computers manufacturer is also a small hint on how to stay abreast of what is new and useful. Consider investing in a smart phone, as well. They are very helpful on the go, as they allow you to do mostly anything from video conferencing to printing. Never take a job if you do not have the proper equipment, it is not fair to the client nor yourself. Finally, be sure to also have antivirus software on your PC. If you do not, you run the risk of spreading a virus. Quick note: .rtf file extensions have the smallest chance of containing a virus.

Be sure to maintain a schedule with a planner or calendar.

Fail to plan, plan to fail is the adage that comes to mind here.  How will you remember key deadlines without a calendar or planner?  You won't.  I cannot emphasize how important it is to maintain some sort of schedule. Most email providers include a daily calendar linked to email.  In fact, Google and Microsoft Outlook have both calendars, scheduling capacity, and to-do lists.  This comes in handy when outlining your day,
week, month or year. It avoids over scheduling and time conflicts. It also helps you remember the meetings, deadlines, and tasks, that  you may have forgotten. Smart phones also have scheduling capabilities.
Own your position or assignment.


Make yourself indispensable. Anyone can answer phones, take orders, or transcribe. Ask yourself, what makes your performance better then others? If you utilize your skills, knowledge, and assets, you will always be successful. Whether you are a customer service representative or sales consultant, give it your all. Be creative. When people enjoy what they do, it shows. For instance, if you are a content writer, take the assignment on as a professional for the product or service that you are marketing. Being passionate about your assignment enhances performance and minimizes stress.


Remain confident in your abilities and prepared; success will follow!

Best wishes! 


About the author:

Dana R. Arevalo, MBA is a featured lifestyle contributor for Yahoo! Voices. Extremely passionate about writing and blogging, Dana manages a fitness blog and is a contributing author for a second. Topics include, finance, business, fitness, beauty, anti-bullying, and POV. Professionally she has held both support and management positions in the healthcare environment.  You can visit her at:

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