Offering Assistance Virtually vs. Running a Virtual Business

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There is a difference between running a business and offering a service. Just as there is a difference between running a business and freelancing. Anyone can offer assistance virtually, but to run a business is an entirely different ballgame. Why is this important to note? Because as the virtual assistant industry becomes increasingly popular I see the phrase “running a virtual assistance business” used more and more, and sometimes it is not used appropriately. Let’s break it down:

Virtual Assistance

Anyone can offer virtual assistance – even a therapist who has an emergency hotline can be considered as offering virtual assistance since they are essentially offering assistance virtually or remotely.

Popular freelance services include freelance writing and graphic design. Many times people who offer services virtually use freelance communities such as Upwork orFreelancer to find jobs. Some freelancers find work through word of mouth or local networks.

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is someone who works directly with business owners and entrepreneurs and offers niche services such as content writing, social media marketing, digital marketing, and administrative services (just to name a few).

Some virtual assistants work as subcontractors, freelancers and some own their own virtual assistant business. Virtual assistants often work hard to build their network and clientele and often times start their own virtual assistant business. Most virtual assistants are paid members of professional virtual assistant organizations, such as the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants or the International Virtual Assistant Association.

Virtual Assistant Business

A virtual assistance business usually has a business name, which is sometimes the name of the virtual assistant, but other times it is a different name to allow for growth either through increased services, partnerships, contracting or subcontracting. They also have a business license, business insurance and, depending on income, may also have a registered tax number.

A virtual assistant who runs their own business offers virtual assistance on a part or full time basis and typically has a steady roster of clients, some of whom they work with on a consistent basis doing regular consistent work. For example, on a weekly basis I provide several clients with newsletter management services, ensuring their newsletters are written and sent to their e-mail marketing list at the same day and time every week.

A virtual assistant business can also mean there is more than one virtual assistant. For example, I have a few subcontractors I can rely on for various social media or content writing projects when needed, but other virtual assistant businesses have paid full or part time staff. Like all businesses, running a virtual assistant business means invoicing, project management and time management, networking, business planning and strategies and constant work to improve and grow. In comparison a freelancer, who may offer assistance virtually, typically works from project to project with various businesses or entrepreneurs, but often does not work for the same person or business on a steady basis.

Running a virtual assistance business is not just about offering assistance virtually – it is about consistently offering niche services on a professional level while constantly working to build a profitable business. It is also about working passionately at building a business you love while helping a core group of businesses and entrepreneurs grow and work at what they love.

So, are you running a virtual assistance business or are you offering assistance virtually?