Remote work, teleworking, working from home: These terms all describe the work model of a virtual assistant that allows you to carry out paid tasks remotely. Our VPAs are freelancers and work 100% remotely. They work on office management, marketing, front desk, sales and design tasks, depending on their skills and experience.
Aber wie genau sieht der Alltag einer/s VPA bei uns aus? Welche Aufgaben können VPAs bearbeiten? Und was sollte man mitbringen, um VPA zu werden?
We had a chat with Michael, who is one of our VPAs. Michael lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina
and has been working with my-vpa since 2017. Read what he says about it here:
Hi Michael, how did you come across my-vpa to begin with?
Basically by chance. By doing a search online. I found an article on a website which talked about remote working – what opportunities it offers, where you can do remote work and what you should know about this work model.
That’s how I came upon my-vpa. I submitted my application and got an interview with a VPA supervisor pretty quickly. There was a specific community management project being worked on that matched my profile really well. That’s how I started working with my-vpa, and I’ve been doing this for several years now.
You mentioned that your first project was a good fit for your profile. What kind of education and experience do you have?
I studied media management and worked at various PR agencies for a few years. I’ve always been involved in PR, online PR and marketing – basically everything to do with media.
What does a typical day look like for you as a VPA?
I’m working on a long-term community management project with my-vpa for a well-known German news portal. The task is to basically look after the community and the forums, make sure people are following the netiquette, and facilitate civilised discussion between users on the basis of the established moderation rules.
For this project, a shift schedule is created one month in advance, and I can say when I’ll be available to work on it. Since the forum runs 24 hours a day, i.e., day and night, this also includes night shifts. I do night shifts a fair bit as the time difference makes this easy. It’s only evening in Argentina when it’s night time in Germany. But sometimes I also take on day shifts. With the shift schedule, I have a relatively structured and predictable daily routine with my-vpa.
Tasks from other customers also come in now and then that match my skills and profile. They often come from smaller companies or self-employed people who need online support. For example, it could be writing blogs for a customer’s website, or maybe the customer wants to start an email newsletter but doesn’t know how and needs help with its content and the technical side of things.
The general advantage of working with my-vpa is that you get to organise your own work. That can be a challenge as well, because you have to have a lot of self-discipline. But a huge advantage is that you can decide when and how much you’re going to work up until the deadline which you agreed on with the customer. Personally, I find that really beneficial, as it lets me balance my work life and my home life.
How long have you been living in Argentina and why did you move there?
I moved to Argentina with my partner then at the beginning of 2011, and now it’s already been almost ten years. It’s partly because I run a family business here and have settled here.
So, you work in another sector alongside your work at my-vpa?
Yes, my family has a restaurant in Buenos Aires, which the whole family runs together. Obviously, this has nothing to do with the online world. It’s completely offline and local. However, the coronavirus has also shaken everything up in Argentina, especially in the catering industry. So, at the moment it’s good to have your fingers in several pies.
What kind of technical equipment would you say VPAs need?
Really not that much. Mainly what you need in general to work remotely. Obviously, you need a working laptop and a sufficiently fast and stable internet connection. It also depends on what areas you work in. For example, if you do a lot of client care over the phone, then it’d be sensible to have a headset.
What you definitely need is somewhere comfortable to work. I think that means different things for different people. I generally work from home. I can get peace and quiet at home. I can close the door and concentrate. I think there are some people who can work from a beach bar and are suited to working like that. But that probably depends on how much concentration the tasks you’re working on require. For example, when I’m writing a blog for a customer, I have to give it all my attention.
You’ve been working with my-vpa since 2017, particularly in community management. Is this a project that you enjoy a lot? Are there any other projects you’ve particularly enjoyed working on during your time with my-vpa?
Community management suits me really well for many reasons: it’s current, so you always get the latest news. You also learn a lot about people and their behaviour online. I particularly like promoting the culture of debate on the forum.
What’s especially exciting about my work for my-vpa is the variety of the tasks. There are a lot of different tasks. When you write blog posts like I do, you come into contact with new and sometimes specialist subject areas. For example, I’ve written blog posts about voice training. But I’ve also taken on quality control and customer support tasks for an online portal where you can order personalised greeting cards. In another project, I helped with the preparations for a large online festival. So, the activities are very diverse.
Do you think that there will be more remote work in the future?
Yes, I think so. Many people who have had this option during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to work from home. But the question still remains at this point: How will this develop in the future when COVID is over? Will everyone then go back to the office, or will there be a mix? I do believe that there will be more working from home opportunities and more remote work. Internet connectivity and other technologies have been around for a long time.
The most important benefit is that you can choose where you’re located. If I decided to move to another country right now, I could simply take my work with me. This is a great advantage for people who don’t want to be tied down to one location.
Is there anything which you could never do without in your working environment?
My morning coffee – that’s something I can’t do without, whether working remotely or not. If you’ve got a long day ahead and you need something to keep you going, there’s an alternative here in Argentina called “mate”, which is a national drink. This has nothing to do with that Club-Mate drink.
It’s an infusion made from a herb that grows in northern Argentina. It is picked, chopped up and put into a vessel to drink from with a straw, so you can infuse it again and again. Mate really wakes you up, so it has a similar effect to coffee.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Michael! We’re pleased that you enjoy your work at my-vpa and wish you all the best for the future and also for your family’s business. And thank you for the insights into your life in Buenos Aires. Stay healthy and see you soon!
Sound good? Have a quick look at our requirements below
Excellent English skills
An affinity for computers, the internet and social media
Proficient in MS Office
Independent and reliable
Customer-focused and approachable
You enjoy direct communication with clients
As a VPA, you will perform tasks for your customers in these 6 areas.
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Please find my application below:
– XING/LinkedIn profile: Link if available
– CV: Attachment if availabe
– Currently residing in: City + country
– Number of available hours per week: Number
– Available during German office hours: yes/no
I would be excited to receive an invitation to a Skype interview