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Virtual assisting has become a rapidly growing trend among many who choose to work from home. While many are attracted to the flexibility working from home can offer, most are still in the dark regarding the responsibilities of a virtual assistant and what it may or may not entail. A huge misconception is that a virtual assistant is only a typist or someone who just administers data entry for their clients. Though typing is one fraction of the responsibility relating to virtual assisting, there are many more tasks associated.What is a Virtual Assistant?A virtual assistant is someone who works from their home doing administrative tasks for companies and independent clients. These tasks can include a range of skills such as planning events, setting up meetings and setting appointments, making and answering client sales calls, writing and mailing letters or memos, organizing client schedules, creating or managing databases, transcribing, creating spreadsheets, desktop publishing, doing research, making travel arrangements, paying bills, and many more. The more experience and skill you have in a certain arena, the better. Is This a Job?There are companies that hire virtual assistants and they are placed with the company. Normally however, virtual assistants are independent contractors and set up their services as a business owner providing a service to the client. Virtual assistants market themselves by setting up a professional website, obtain clients through freelance websites and internet marketing, and even establish more credibility by getting certified. Do I have to get certified?Certification is not necessary to becoming successful at virtual assisting. It would certainly help your chances of gaining clients early in the field; especially if you lack experience. However, if you would like to specialize in a certain field of virtual assisting such as for law or medical, then getting certified would definitely be a plus. The important thing is to plug into groups, associations, and professionals already successful at virtual assisting. There you can learn tips, get the best advice on getting started, and the support you need to follow through when times get rough. How much should I charge?There is not a standard rate across the board when starting out. It’s best to research what the average rate is in the industry, assess your skills and experience and go from there. You want to remember though that you are acting as a business. You pay your own insurance, taxes, and other miscellaneous costs associated with owning a business. You buy your own printer paper, ink, pens, office supplies as well as pay for phone bills, internet bills, and more. You want to be fair but you should also be smart. You provide a legitimate service that serves a need to your clients in a professional accurate manner and you deserve the rate you expect. So adjust your rates wisely. Starting out on any path to success has its pitfalls. Start out by learning the mistakes early and how you can avoid them. Seek out a mentor to help you with your goals and assist you with learning the ropes. Who knows, 10 years from now someone may reach out for your advice out to begin their virtual assisting career. And that’s when you know you’ve made it.