Many Hats, Just One Head

Young Entrepreneur Paints Detailed Portrait of Today's Virtual Assistant

(Home Business magazine, August 2004)

By Sandy Larson

According to Vonetta Booker-Brown, virtual assistants must wear many different hats, including that of a secretary, IT person, and PR representative…just to name a few. Providing such valuable services, from word processing and general administrative support to desktop publishing, virtual assistants have become high in demand among businesses that prefer to outsource job tasks over hiring extra help.

As owner of Right Hand Concepts (, a virtual assistance firm in Stamford, Connecticut, Vonetta knows that her livelihood depends on her being extremely versatile. One minute she might be screening a phone call; while updating a web page or performing market research in the next.

Vonetta, who accrued over eight years of experience as an administrative assistant, writer, editor, web designer and graphic artist prior to starting her home-based business, knows it's also important to be organized, disciplined, and a self-starter. She says these traits are critical "since you don't have anyone but yourself to tell you when to start and finish that project."

Determination and perseverance are other important characteristics that virtual assistants require to succeed, says Vonetta. She explains, "You have to approach tons of prospective clients that may not have heard of virtual assistance--and even though it's a great concept, you'll still get lots of hesitation or resistance from people who are used to the familiar, i.e., having someone in the office full-time."

Vonetta also stresses the importance of being imaginative. She adds, "You have to be creative, in terms of coming up with different ways to accomplish a client project, troubleshooting a problem, or marketing yourself."

"Last but not least, one has to be comfortable with working by oneself without becoming isolated," asserts Vonetta. "Although working from home sounds great, it's not for everyone--many people find that they do need to have others around them during the day." In Vonetta's case, this has never been a problem, because she makes a point to frequently get together with friends and pick up the phone.

For Vonetta and many others, being a virtual assistant is a great way to utilize one's talents and creative energy. Vonetta says, "With my personality, skills, resources and interests, the virtual assistant occupation seems tailor-made--as though it had been created especially for me."

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