Is anyone else’s to-do list starting to feel endless? We can relate — and luckily, you don’t have the time to do everything by yourself. A virtual assistant (VA) can help, but what tasks should you assign and which should you keep?

That’s what we’re going to discuss in this post. Use this article to put together your virtual assistant job description. We’ll also share some tips to help you find an outstanding assistant so you can get more done.

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Virtual assistant responsibilities template

Once you hire a virtual assistant, clearly define their responsibilities so that you and they know what to expect. Expect to adjust your rate if you ask for work outside of that scope.

Our free Virtual Assistant Responsibilities Template is a great place to start. Use this template to outline everything your VA will do.

Now, let’s get into the best tasks for VAs to handle. 

Virtual assistant tasks you should consider outsourcing

What can a virtual assistant do for you? People hire assistants to handle all kinds of functions. Even with the rise of AI, people still need virtual assistants to handle certain tasks. A human virtual assistant offers reassurance and trust that AI systems still struggle to match. Despite AI’s impressive advancements in task automation and support, it is unlikely to replace human virtual assistants fully.

AI use across industries

Source: Mckinsey

Administrative work is easy to outsource because it’s time-consuming, simple, and necessary. Some of the most common responsibilities of a virtual assistant are administrative tasks.

Virtual assistants can do more than routine tasks like answering messages and scheduling appointments. There are some general virtual assistant tasks that your mind will likely go right to, and this list will include those, but we’re also thinking outside of the box.  

Some VAs have specialized skills that allow them to take on more responsibilities. You can often find an assistant with experience in marketing, data analysis, or customer service. These specialists charge a little more, but their expertise is worth the expense. 

Here is a list of tasks you should consider delegating to a virtual assistant.

1. Managing emails

Emails are one of the biggest time wasters for most entrepreneurs. Imagine working hard on a particular task, getting into the zone, and suddenly, a new email notification pops up. Virtual assistants can easily provide administrative support by answering emails and responding quickly. You open the email to see what it’s about, and before you know it, you’ve lost your flow.

It takes you an average of 23 minutes to refocus and get back into the zone. Checking emails takes up an alarming amount of time in our work days.

99% of email users check their emails daily, with some people checking.

How many hours have you lost to email interruptions alone? The distraction is rarely worth your lost productivity. Having a virtual assistant manage your inbox can save you hours weekly and allow you to spend time on higher-priority tasks.

While giving someone else control over your email inbox might seem scary initially, there’s little risk. Email management is a common task for virtual assistants. You’re unlikely to face any issues if you’re dealing with a reputable company or contractor.

Your VA can handle most simple requests and delete spam messages. If anything is urgent, they’ll get your attention. Cleaning your email list is necessary to keep your inbox free from unwanted messages and spam.

Teach your assistant how to handle the most common emails you receive. For example, guidelines should be created on how to respond to frequently asked questions from clients.

It’s also wise to set a policy for promotional messages. The less often they have to ask you what to do, the more time you can spend on other things.

Don’t expect a virtual assistant to exactly copy your communication style from the start. Give them time to learn how you communicate. Give them feedback often so they know what they’re doing well and where to improve. Over time, you’ll wonder how you ever managed your inbox alone.

2. Answering phone calls

Phone calls, both personal and business-related, interrupt you in the same way emails do. Delegate these little disruptions to your virtual assistant so you can stay focused.

Americans just aren’t picking up the phone much anymore.

Pew Research Center research on cell phone usage

It’s better to have a real person answer your calls instead of letting them go to voicemail.

Your callers will appreciate that they talked to an actual human to leave their message, and your virtual assistant can answer most simple questions without bothering you. If there’s ever an urgent situation, they can reach you immediately.

Remember that forwarding your calls to your assistant during work hours means that you need to hire someone available during that time. International VAs may expect to work asynchronously. If you ask your assistant to handle telephone calls, verify that they’ll be available for the entire workday.

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3. Schedule management

Real estate agents, lawyers, and leaders in industries that offer professional services often need help with calendar management and meeting scheduling. Scheduling meetings and calendar management are some of the best tasks for a virtual assistant to take on.  

Virtual assistants for schedule management

A virtual assistant is an excellent solution.

They keep track of your focus time, organize appointments to be as efficient as possible, and remind you to prepare beforehand. If you take off-site meetings, your assistant will ensure you have plenty of time to get from place to place.

If you need to reschedule, your assistant can call everyone involved and organize a new time. They’ll ensure everyone gets the message and that the new time works for all parties.

Sometimes, meetings should be declined. Your VA can help you screen requests like “I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee and pick your brain” so that you only spend your limited time on the most important appointments.

4. Data entry

Data entry is one of the most tedious and repetitive types of work. Since anyone can do it, there’s no reason why you should waste your own time doing it.

There are plenty of virtual assistants who specialize in data entry. They’re quick and affordable.

A virtual assistant can help you collect, sort, and input all your data using the software of your choice. If you have many documents you’d like to digitize, a VA can also help with that. They’re good at taking all those tedious but necessary tasks off your plate.

5. Bookkeeping

Your virtual assistant may not be an accountant, but they can help with bookkeeping tasks. For example, they can reconcile transactions and maintain your financial records with software like Xero or Freshbooks.

Reminders from your VA help you remember to pay all your bills on time. They can create and send invoices and follow up on outstanding bills to ensure people pay you on time, too.

Since bookkeeping involves handling sensitive data, find a trustworthy VA with plenty of references. Some virtual assistants specialize in this kind of work. If necessary, ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

6. Research

Business owners do a lot of research to keep their business running smoothly. Whether you’re launching a new project, keeping up with industry news, or looking for articles like the one you’re reading now, research is both necessary and time-consuming.

A virtual assistant can help. For example, they can collect information about your prospects before a sales presentation. Some may be able to do competitor analyses and other in-depth research tasks.

Some research tasks are ongoing. Ask your assistant to collect any relevant news, watch for announcements about products or services you use, or monitor price fluctuations.

You still need to read all the relevant materials to learn, but you save a lot of time by having someone else filter out the unimportant information. Spend your time on the most pertinent topics and ignore the rest.

7. Client relationship management

A personal touch goes a long way. It’s great to send birthday cards, thank you notes, and other little gifts to your important partners and clients. However, keeping track of all those dates and people can be a real chore.

Best project management software with time tracking

Save time and creative energy by delegating most of the work.

Let your virtual assistant take care of the logistics. You set the budget. Your VA can choose an appropriate gift, write a personalized message, and ensure it arrives on time.

Your virtual assistant can also help you keep track of personal dates and events. Ask them to remind you about birthdays and anniversaries ahead of time.

8. Travel planning

If you’ve ever traveled anywhere, you know what a hassle it can be to find the best prices on airline tickets.

Instead of looking at airline websites daily to see if ticket prices have dropped, get a virtual assistant to do it for you. They can also help you find and book hotels.

That’s not all a good assistant can do. Your virtual assistant can plan most of the trip for you. They’ll book your flights, car rental, and hotels, make dinner reservations, and find event tickets.

You’ll never want to travel any other way again. Soon, you’ll want your assistant to plan your vacations, too.

9. Social media management

Do you spend a lot of time on social media? If you spend hours every week answering messages, responding to comments, or posting to build your digital presence, you can free up a lot of that time by delegating.

Decide whether to outsource your company’s social media handling, personal social media accounts, or both. Business owners often create a brand around their personality in addition to their company.

Your assistant can draft and schedule posts and engage with your followers. You can also have them act as a moderator and make sure the comments left on your social media pages aren’t inappropriate.

They’ll ensure all the information on your social media pages is current. If they specialize in social media, they may also help you maintain a consistent brand image across channels.

If you delegate social media to a virtual assistant, give them clear guidelines. They shouldn’t have to ask you about everything. These guidelines should include information on your brand’s voice and tone, your target audience, and the types of content you’d like posted on your pages.

Look for a VA specializing in this type of work, especially if they will post as you. Expect to pay a little more for this skill.

Suppose you want someone to run your social media strategy or marketing campaigns. In that case, looking for a social media marketer is better than delegating that to a virtual assistant.

10. Content writing

If you hate writing but still need to create content for your business, consider hiring a VA to handle all your content writing.

A virtual assistant can help create blog posts, newsletters, press releases, ebooks, and other written content. They can assist with editing, proofreading, and publishing content for your website.

If you don’t want to delegate the entire content writing process, you can ask your VA to do the research. They can find all the essential information you need to create the content yourself.

Another option is to get on a call with your VA to discuss a particular topic and then have them ghostwrite a piece based on your input.

Keep in mind that good quality content comes at a higher price. Most virtual assistants are not full-time writers. They can help fill the gaps, but if you want someone to handle lots of content for your business, hiring a specialist is wise.

11. Graphic design and video editing

While anyone can learn to do primary photo and video editing, only some have the time. Even simple edits can take hours. It takes even longer if you’re not experienced.

Your virtual assistant can help you with some of these creative tasks. Ask if they have any experience creating social media graphics or editing YouTube videos.

A virtual assistant can also help design flyers, brochures, and other printed materials for your business.

Only some virtual assistants have this skill. However, you can ask them to help you find a great freelancer to get these things done. Give them a budget and some essential criteria and ask them to manage that process.

12. Customer support

A virtual assistant can help with support overflow. While they might not be able to act as an extra support agent, they can take care of some of the tasks your support agents typically do.

For example, a VA can monitor your inbox for new emails from potential or existing customers and forward messages to the right place. They can also help by researching escalations, processing refunds, or following up with customers after resolving an issue. This can benefit your contact center operations, ensuring prompt service during peak periods.

Some virtual assistant agencies do offer virtual support. If you use an agency, ask if this is an option during your busy season.

13. Simple website maintenance

If you use a software-as-a-service platform for your business, you usually don’t need a developer on staff to keep your website up to date. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have some maintenance. Most platforms and plugins require regular updates to keep your site secure.

Virtual assistants are ideal for this. They monitor your site for updates and to keep you running smoothly.

Your assistant can also take care of backups, so you don’t have to worry about losing valuable data.

Ask them to periodically check your website for broken links and technical issues. If they find any, they can fix them if they’re simple or bring them to your attention.

14. Event planning and coordination

Using a virtual assistant for event planning is an innovative and efficient choice for individuals and businesses looking to streamline the process of organizing and executing successful events. 

Virtual assistants can handle various tasks, from researching venues and suppliers to managing guest lists and coordinating schedules. Event planners can focus on their creative vision and core tasks by delegating these responsibilities to a virtual assistant, knowing that the logistics are in capable hands. 

15. Inventory management

Leveraging a virtual assistant for inventory management offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for businesses aiming to maintain optimal stock levels and streamline their supply chain. 

Virtual assistants can track inventory, update stock levels, and manage supplier relationships, ensuring that products are readily available when needed without excess or shortages. 

This minimizes operational disruptions and potential revenue loss and frees up valuable time for business owners and staff to focus on strategic planning and customer service. With their ability to generate reports and forecast demand, virtual assistants can contribute to a more efficient and profitable inventory management process.

16. Lead generation and outreach

Employing a virtual assistant for lead generation and outreach is a strategic move for businesses seeking to expand their client base and boost sales. 

Marketers consider lead generation a top priority

Virtual assistants can conduct market research to identify potential leads, curate contact lists, and initiate email or social media outreach campaigns. Their communication and data management skills are invaluable for nurturing leads and qualifying prospects. 

By offloading these tasks to a virtual assistant, businesses can enhance their sales efforts while saving time and resources, ultimately driving growth and revenue through effective lead generation and personalized outreach.

17. Human resource tasks

Utilizing a virtual assistant for human resource tasks is a savvy choice for companies looking to streamline HR operations and improve efficiency. 

Virtual assistants can assist with various HR responsibilities, including employee onboarding, payroll processing, benefits administration, and routine inquiries. 

By delegating these tasks to a virtual assistant, HR teams can focus on more strategic initiatives, talent acquisition, and employee development. This reduces administrative burdens, contributes to cost savings, and enhances overall HR effectiveness, ensuring that team members are well-supported and HR processes run smoothly. 

18. Transcription services

Engaging a virtual assistant for transcription services is a practical solution for businesses and professionals needing accurate and timely written records of audio or video content. 

Virtual assistants can transcribe meetings, interviews, lectures, and more, saving valuable time and resources. 

Their expertise in converting spoken language into written text is precious for maintaining comprehensive documentation and aiding content creation. It makes it convenient and efficient to handle transcription needs without the hassle of manual typing or outsourcing to specialized agencies.

19. Quality assurance and testing

Employing a virtual assistant for quality assurance and testing is a cost-effective and flexible approach to ensuring the reliability and functionality of software, applications, or processes. 

Virtual assistants can conduct thorough testing, identify bugs, and document test cases to help developers and teams refine their products. With their ability to perform repetitive and systematic testing procedures, virtual assistants enhance efficiency and deliver a superior end product. 

This approach saves time and resources and contributes to a higher standard of quality control, ultimately leading to improved customer satisfaction and product performance.

20. Translation

Hiring a virtual assistant for translation is an intelligent choice for businesses and individuals looking to bridge language gaps and expand their reach in a globalized world. 

Virtual assistants with language proficiency can accurately translate documents, websites, or communication, ensuring the content resonates with international audiences. 

Their expertise in multilingual communication helps break down barriers and enables effective cross-cultural engagement, making it an efficient and cost-effective way to connect with a broader audience while maintaining linguistic accuracy and cultural sensitivity.


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How much does a virtual assistant cost?

Just like there’s a wide range of virtual assistant tasks, you might pay a wide range of prices for that work. Your virtual assistant may charge anywhere from $1 to more than $100 per hour. The average is around $15 per hour.

Virtual assistants that are located in areas like India and the Philippines charge less than US-based assistants because their cost of living is lower.

illustration of sending money to india hubstaff

Low-skilled work like data entry and basic administrative tasks costs less than more specialized tasks. However, a virtual assistant who can do graphic design, write content, and help manage your finances will cost more.

Compare rates by contacting multiple agencies or looking at virtual assistant listings on a freelance marketplace.

For more information on finding, hiring, and working with virtual assistants, check out our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants.

This post was originally published in July 2014. It was updated in May 2024.


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Category: Outsourcing