Top Ten Skills for Working Autonomously


We were once called secretaries, who just looked pretty, answered phones, wrote letters, and grabbed our bosses coffee. Now we have evolved to Virtual Assistants who have taken this industry into our own hands like our boss. We are no longer the pretty little things seeking a desk to sit, but are now creating our private offices wherever we want!

Women as Administrative Assistants are no longer what you would see in the series “Mad Men.” Instead, we use our laptop sitting on the beach or traveling to the ends of the earth while skyping and answering emails. Thanks to the growth of technology, women, and men can work where they want and when they want, especially if they already carry these ten sets of skills.

1. Organizational Skills

By far, the essential skill to have not only as a Virtual Assistant but also someone with their own business.

If I had a penny for every time I heard, “I just don’t have time to organize my Google Drive,” I would have a lot of pennies! They have better things to do; they have tons of files and contracts because they have a multitude of other daily tasks to complete along with communicating with their customers. Where a Virtual Assistant comes in handy, so if you already know how to navigate through Google Drive and Microsoft Office, you are already a piece of gold to someone in need of this service.

Do you like keeping an orderly desk space? Do you keep a schedule of your personal life? Do you love project management applications to keep you organized? Then you already possess the art of organization and can help others stay organized themselves.

When you open your Google Drive and see all your files put in alphabetical order, you will be thanked for saving them time.

2. Detail-Oriented

No longer do we need to remember if the boss takes one sugar or two or remembering what his top 5 restaurants are for him/her to wine and dine their clients.

Being detail-oriented in the virtual world is knowing your clients’ voice or the message that they are looking to you to help make known to their future customers. Knowing every detail of the products and services they sell or offer is vital so you can create content and marketing campaigns for others to find.

Do you always proofread your work over and over? Do you ask questions and do proper research on topics you are learning? Are you good at remembering people’s faces and minor first impression details about them? If you answered yes to all three, then you are a detail-oriented person! One step closer to already have the skill to be a virtual assistant.

3. Time Management

You have heard the saying “work smarter, not harder” before which relates to time management. Another main reason why being a virtual assistant is incredible is because we want to work hard but play harder and we want that for our clients, too!

Do you like creating deadlines? Do you write a daily or weekly list and check them off as the day goes on? Do you set goals for yourself and challenge yourself to meet those goals? If yes is your answer to all of these, then you have this skill and can use it to your advantage to help clients virtually.

4. Software & Tech Savvy Skills

Speedy typing skills, knowing how to change the ribbon on a typewriter, and making sure you had enough floppy disks to save data days are over!

The most powerful tool you have in your hand to becoming a virtual assistant is your smartphone. This little handheld computer is all you need to know how to operate; then it’s off to use this powerful tool to your advantage. Apps have become small management tools for almost any interest, especially for keeping one organized.

Have you been using Microsoft Office since you were a child? Do you love downloading new apps and testing them to see how they make your life more accessible and entertaining? Do you pick up software programs reasonably easily? Yes, you love the new bells and whistles of apps!

Having Microsoft Office in our lives for so long has put you on the map to eventually becoming a  virtual assistant. You don’t have to be “techy” but knowing how to maneuver throughout software programs your clients use is extremely helpful.

Don’t shut down and say you don’t know that system, play around, get familiar, and learn a new skill!

5. Empathy Skills

“Put yourself in someone’s shoes” is a saying that perfectly depicts what empathy is. If a client is interested in hiring you for your virtual assistant skills, make sure you show compassion to their cause.

Ask them why they are seeking practical help and ask what issues they have come across. Engaging in these questions will help you create stellar work for them but will also show your client that you care to know their situation and how to help them.

Are you curious about understanding other people’s point of views? Are you an authentic listener? Do you have an open mind and are sensitive to other’s emotions? If yes, then you certainly do not lack empathy. Having empathy is not a skill you can teach like many other skills mentioned. You can be attentive to your client by asking engaging questions!

6. Multitasking Skills

We propose a computer to complete multiple functions at a time which makes networks so valuable

to us. Like virtual assistants, you must also function as a computer for your client. We as

humans are better than machines because we can speak on the phone while typing an email. As long as your attention span is extensive, then multitasking will come effortlessly.

Are you good at avoiding distractions? Can you stand on one leg, pat your head and rub your tummy all at the same time? If you answered no to these, that’s okay because not a lot of us can!

A few tips to learn this skill are:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Make a to-do list
  3. Work on similar tasks
  4. Delegate tasks (if you have a team)
  5. Take a break between jobs

Tips like these are for everyone to follow even if they are already a master multitasker.

7. Adaptability Skills

No longer do we have to sit underneath poor lighting and make our eyes adapt. Virtual assistants can travel anywhere and relax amongst the sunlight, energize with natural vitamin D.

Not only can you adapt your body to the environment you decide to expose it to, but you must also acclimate yourself to your client and your own business. Having the ability to adapt helps companies to say relevant. Businesses, the internet, and software change faster than the weather these days, so having the skill to adjust is a necessity.

Do you love to learn? Do you observe changes in your environment without realizing you are? Do you hate when people procrastinate? If your answer is yes, then you are capable of fully adapting. This skill allows you to take on numerous clients with multiple backgrounds and down the road, you will be able to learn even more!

8. Communication Skills

Communication is vital as they say, and “they” are right. Everyone should know how to communicate appropriately, especially in this digital age! Working virtually, however, makes communication even more challenging because we must depend on phone service, excellent wifi, and great social media profiles.

Are you an active listener? Do you clarify the conversation by repeating information to make sure you heard something correctly? Do you like feedback on your work? Saying yes to all three assures, you are an open communicator for your client.

Sometimes you may not get the same courteous communication in return; if when you don’t, be very friendly. “Killing others with kindness” is a great phrase to remember when dealing with terrible communicators.

9. Customer Skills

Setting the tone of your office back in the Secretarial era for customers that would visit was extremely important. Making sure the waiting area to see your boss was clean, comfortable, and offering a homey feeling was vital. As Virtual Assistants, we are already in our homes working, so how do we provide that same feeling for our virtual customers?

Do you have a positive attitude? Are you an active listener? Do you show empathy but know how to depersonalize? Do you have all the proper tools for customers to contact you and quickly make appointments for your assistance? Yes, yes, yes! We have the freedom to work from home or wherever we call home at the time, which makes us super positive!

Having the proper contact info and virtual meeting tools for customers to gain access to you when they require help is a great way to make sure you are going above and beyond as VA!

10. Ability to Work Autonomously

That doesn’t mean “are you able to work remotely,” it means can you work without supervision, and do you display leadership skills? The ability to set goals based on the work assigned and the ability to communicate on how the project is coming along are essential skills to have. Your clients want to know if you can take responsibility for your task completion and whether you are flexible to make necessary changes.

More importantly, being able to solve problems on your own to complete the job is the most crucial skill a VA can possess. There are some remote positions where one will work within a team but knowing your ability to work independently is usually a client’s priority.

The ability to work autonomously is mentioned as the last skill because the first nine skills all lead to this one. If you possess all nine skills, then this last one will show effortlessly!

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