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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Virtual Assistant?
Why use a Virtual Assistant instead of a temp?
What are the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant?
How do you work with a Virtual Assistant?
Who can benefit from using a Virtual Assistant?
What services does a Virtual Assistant offer?
How much do Virtual Assistants charge?
Do I need a Virtual Assistant if I have employees?
Tell me more about The Occasional Assistant
How can I be assured of confidentiality?

What is a Virtual Assistant?
The Occasional Assistant is a Virtual Assistant company. A Virtual Assistant (VA) is just like a Personal Assistant, except that a VA handles your business remotely via telephone, fax, email or post and from their own office. VAs have the skills of a Corporate Personal Assistant together with experience in a range of specialist fields: event management, website design, proofreading, research etc. Virtual Assistants are the perfect solution for the busy entrepreneur, small business owner, telecommuter or student.

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Why use a Virtual Assistant instead of a temp?
When you hire a Virtual Assistant, you only pay for the time and services you require. Whereas, with a temp, not only do you have to pay the agency, but you also have to pay for the temp regardless of whether or not they are fully occupied.

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Unlike temporary employees, Virtual Assistants take the time to learn your business and form a working partnership. VAs have a vested interest in your company's success: when you succeed, so does your VA.  Also, every time you hire a temp, you will almost certainly get a different person. The time and money spent training this new person can be saved by hiring a VA. As VAs are highly skilled and experienced, you can use them for all your office needs.
Furthermore, when you hire a Virtual Assistant, you don't need to worry about extra space, furniture, equipment, overtime, superannuation, coffee breaks, sick leave, holidays, bonuses, training or insurance cover as you would for temporary staff.

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What are the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant?
There are numerous benefits for a client working with a VA:

  • No extra office space or equipment needed
  • Save on advertising, interviewing and hiring of new staff
  • Save on training and development of staff
  • Access to a highly skilled professional
  • Save time and money
  • No employment requirements such as holiday pay, sick pay, workers compensation, insurance, lunch and coffee breaks, overtime, uniforms, superannuation, training, benefits, payroll issues or office space
  • Exploit time differences - i.e. if you are based in the US, an Australian-based VA can work on your projects while you sleep
  • VAs can be available outside of normal office hours, for urgent and last minute jobs
  • Only pay for the time spent on your specific project. You don't have to pay for a full day of work if your project only requires two hours
  • Working relationship is tailored to fit your needs
  • You don't need to be in your office all the time, or near your phone
  • You don't need to learn new software or programs - leave that to your VA

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How do you work with a Virtual Assistant?
Communicating with Virtual Assistants is easy. Work is exchanged via email, fax, phone, mail and courier. If you have an event you would arranged, simply email, fax or phone through the specifications and your VA will do the rest. Do you have a tape that needs transcribed? Just send it via mail or courier and your VA will email or fax the document to you. Virtual Assistants are highly skilled and experienced professionals and can hit the ground running on your projects.

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Who can benefit from using a Virtual Assistant?
Almost anyone can benefit from using a VA - the list is endless:

  • A large company - for any overflow work or when staff members take holidays or call in sick
  • A medium-sized company - for occasional projects that require immediate and experienced attention, and if they don't have equipment or space available to bring in a temp
  • A small company - for occasional assistance rather than bringing in a temp, which is more expensive. Small business owners can also use VAs for their marketing, data entry, administration, presentation preparation and general office support
  • Real Estate Agents - to organise mail outs, 'new home' baskets, website development & management, business cards and contact database management
  • A busy individual or entrepreneur - for help planning an event, launch or business meeting
  • Travelling business people - as a point of contact while away
  • Families - assistance with event planning such as weddings or birthday parties
  • Students - help with typing and proofreading assignments
  • Sporting clubs and associations - to design and publish a club website or produce club flyers
  • Anyone who wants a more balanced life with more time for the things that are important to them

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What services does a Virtual Assistant offer?
Virtual Assistants offer a wide variety of services. VAs can handle overflow and seasonal projects, or take on additional office duties on a regular basis. Some of the tasks a VA can help you with are:

  • Secretarial support
  • Event and meeting planning
  • Web design and maintenance
  • Transcription
  • Database development
  • Presentation preparation
  • Travel arrangements
  • Proofreading
  • Mail merges

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How much do Virtual Assistants charge?
VAs usually charge on an hourly basis for services that range from A$25 to $75. Prices vary according to the type of project and the skills and technology required to complete it. Discounts are usually offered for long-term contracts and retainer services. When you compare the costs of using a VA with a full time Executive Secretary, Office Manager or Administrative Assistant, it is a much more cost effective business solution.

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Do I need a Virtual Assistant if I have employees?
Absolutely. Virtual Assistants provide support if your employees are overworked, on holiday or sick leave.

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Tell me more about The Occasional Assistant
The Occasional Assistant is operated by Judith McGinnes - a professional and dedicated individual with over 10 years' experience in various corporate organisations, including ANZ and KPMG.

The team at The Occasional Assistant has skills in all aspects of administration, marketing, communication and general management, in conjunction with sound technical and computer knowledge. Intelligent, enthusiastic and motivated, they are dedicated to achieving excellence for their clients in Australia and overseas. The Occasional Assistant is a member of various local and international Virtual Assistant organisations.

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How can I be assured of confidentiality?
The Occasional Assistant understands that confidentiality is very important for clients. As such, we are happy to sign any confidentiality agreement you may require.

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Australia: +61 412 399 098 | Singapore: +65 8159 7248 | Email: judith@toa.net.au