What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a personal assistant who works remotely. VAs communicate with their clients by email, text, phone, and video chat and perform work that can be done via computer or phone. Common VA tasks include
- calling the salon, dentist, etc., making the appointment, and adding it to your calendar
- emailing your colleague to find out when they are are available for lunch, making a reservation at your favorite restaurant, emailing you both with directions, and adding the appointment to your calendar
- searching for a flight that meets your needs and price, booking it, emailing you the confirmation, and adding the travel info to your calendar
- finding three plumbers in your area with good reviews and calling them to get estimates for replacing your hot water heater
- finding the top 20 cited articles on [insert your topic here] published in the past 3 years.
- organizing your holiday card list into a searchable spreadsheet
- organizing your Dropbox files into folders by project
- preordering that new book on Amazon so it will arrive the day it is released
- ordering a birthday present for your nephew and personalizing the card with your message
I have a Ph.D. in writing studies from the University of Illinois and worked for eight years as an assistant professor. During my time in graduate school and as a professor, I have been director of the university writing center, taught writing and rhetoric courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, designed curriculum, and lead staff training workshops.
While I loved all aspects of my job as a professor, I realized I could not achieve the work/life balance I wanted and needed, so I resigned my position and took a full time job with an online virtual assistant company. Unfortunately despite the superior service they provided to clients, the company abruptly went out of business only months after I began work due to poor executive management (let me Google that for you). While my time working at the company was short, I did benefit from their well-designed, intensive training program and spent two months working as a VA alongside talented, experienced colleagues.
I am turning the company’s failure into a personal success by leveraging my academic and VA training into a service that can help academics and other knowledge workers be more productive and find the work-life balance I spent eight years searching for.
What Can You Do For Me As My Dedicated VA?
My academic background combined with my VA training has made me into a writer and researcher’s personal assistant superhero. In addition to my experience performing the common VA tasks listed above, I am an editing, proofreading, and research expert. Add my tech and design skills to that, and you have a VA wonder woman at your service.
Finally finish revising that article for submission, but have no time to proofread or format the references? No problem—I can take care of that.
Need to search for the most recent articles on a particular topic for your next research project? I can search the databases, create a bibliography with links and abstracts, download any full text articles available, and save everything to your Dropbox or Google Drive.
Have more interviews from that research project than you can transcribe? A video that needs captioning for a conference presentation or article? I can help with that too.
Been meaning to set up a blog or professional website? I’ve got you covered. I can research web hosting services, set up your account, register your domain, and even help design and code your site. Once everything is up and running, I can proofread and update your content as often as you like so your site is always current.
Professors, imagine sending me all your course materials (syllabi, handouts, slideshow text, quizzes) for formatting so you can spend more time preparing lessons and meeting with students. Or has your annual review got you down? Send me your materials and instructions, and I can format and organize them—because your time is best spent researching and teaching, not formatting your C.V.
Rates and Availability
My hourly rate is $30 with packages starting at eight hours a month or roughly two hours of assistance a week.
- 8 hours = $240
- 12 hours = $360
- 16 hours = $480
- 20 hours = $600
- additional custom packages available
As your VA I am available to take calls and answer email during standard 9-5 business hours, and most tasks can be completed the same day or for longer projects, within 48 hours.