What is a virtual secretary?
A virtual secretary is not a computer or robot programmed to perform secretarial duties! A virtual secretary or assistant is an independently contracted business owner. They are not employees of a company in the traditional sense. They work out of their own offices, manage the work from their clients and how it is carried out, set their own rates and pay their own self-employment taxes.
Many virtual secretary candidates have extensive experience in their field (legal, executive, etc.) and are looking for an opportunity for extra income. Other reasons professional secretaries are becoming virtual secretaries include the opportunity to work from home, work for various employers and to be able to spend more time with their families.
One of the best benefits a virtual secretary can provide is to reduce your work burden.
They are able to take on special projects or unexpected projects that
you may not have the staff or equipment for. They are usually ready at
a moment’s notice and can help you grow your clientele and business
without having to go over budget for administrative support. They also
charge much less than a staffing agency.
The financial benefits of a virtual secretary
Virtual secretaries help relieve executives of extra work without
raising their overhead expenses of extra office equipment and office
Virtual secretaries are cost effective because you only pay them when
they work. The typical virtual secretary will be paid per hour or a
flat fee for special projects. Since they are independent contractors
they pay their own taxes. Check with your accountant for tax laws and
rules that may apply in the jurisdiction of your business.
How to recruit a virtual secretary
When a busy executives post an ad for a virtual secretary, they may be overwhelmed
by the response they receive. If available, the human resources
department can be of great assistance. Otherwise, using the following
tips can help. It’s best to organize the search for a virtual secretary
by writing a clear job posting. Being specific about the requirements
and duties will help narrow down the pool of qualified candidates.
Additionally, strong candidates will most likely to apply for a virtual
position if the ad is well written and sounds legitimate. A quick
search for sites will produce many available places to post an ad for a
virtual secretary. A good job posting will detail:
- Job requirements
- Job duties
- Range of salary
Once you have narrowed down a good group of candidates you may conduct
a quick phone interview or email dialogue. Always check references.
This is especially important because you want to make sure the virtual
secretary candidate you chose has a solid work history of being able to
work unsupervised for long periods of time and that they have good
follow up communication skills.
Depending on your workload it may be a good idea to hire a virtual
secretary through a business organization. A virtual secretary
organization is more likely to be able to find a backup to continue the
service to you even if your primary contact is on leave or engaged in
something else. Some good sources are guru.com and elance.com. There
are a lot of other online directories for this service. A search on the
Internet using keywords “virtual secretary” is all you need to find a
Communication with your virtual secretary
Because an employer will rely on technology to stay in touch with a
virtual secretary, it is essential that a virtual secretary have a home
office with a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, phone and
printer. Other helpful equipment includes a fax, scanner and mobile
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