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The Origination of Virtual Assistants
by Tammy Gravis


Before the days of the internet, people who wanted to work together often had to be in the same place at the same time to make that work happen. Those who required assistants or secretaries, for example, generally had to employ them full or part-time and provide them with office space, a full salary, benefits, and everything else that goes along with such a commitment.


Once the internet was invented and took off, however, the need for workers to be physically in the same location as their employers was greatly diminished. Thanks to email, cell phones, and other technologies, it's possible to hire someone who lives on the other side of the world!


This is how virtual assisting was born. Individuals who had the right skill sets, usually those with past office experience, and who wanted to do their work online, instead of in an office, started offering their services.


At the beginning, many people worked partially from home and partially in-office (usually called partial telecommuting). However, as employers began to realize the benefits of having their workers work from home, the switch to fully online or virtual assisting slowly started to happen. Now, having or being a virtual assistant is actually quite common. Virtual assistants today work in a wide range of different positions and perform all kinds of different duties.


Many of today's virtual assistants work in transcription. Their employers record or write down lectures or speeches, medical reports, or some other type of important document. The virtual assistant then transcribes these reports, being sure to check for accuracy and to use appropriate language or jargon when necessary.


Other virtual assistants may work in an administrative capacity assisting a busy executive or CEO, performing a variety of tasks such as calendar management, word processing, email management and other duties to help with their busy schedules.


Then you have virtual assistants who specialize in event planning. They might research options relating to an event, such as restaurants or catering companies, and then arrange for a party, banquet, or other corporate event all from the comfort of their own homes.


Some virtual assistants are often hired on a temporary or one-time basis for general clerical tasks, like taking care of virtual communications or making calls to clients or customers.


Many virtual assistants work in the marketing sector, often as it related to the online world. Some might write and promote online content, such as articles or blogs. Others are involved in social media management, and still others protect businesses' online reputations by making sure positive information is found when a particular company is searched for. Many marketing virtual assistants work in all of these areas combined.


Some work in the customer service field taking orders over the phone and typing them in the computer system for the company.  While others perform telemarketing, appointment setting, calendar management and many other duties.


As you can see, there are a wide array of different ways in which virtual assistants can choose to work, something that wasn't the case in the past. When virtual assisting first got its start, most workers performed mostly clerical or administrative tasks, but now most virtual assistants perform these duties and other specialized tasks as well.


If you are interested in virtual assisting, research the field as it exists today and compare your own skills to the skills required for thriving in today's 'virtual' world. If you're willing to put in the effort using your current skills and have a home office set up, you can find success in virtual assisting!


About the author:

Tammy Gravis is a writer as well as a virtual assistant. She enjoys working online with businesses to help with any online task that may be required as well as social media tasks. She can be found at

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