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Strapped with limited time and unforgiving budgets, modern entrepreneurs can't afford to spend precious resources recruiting, training and retaining a full-time staff. In turn, many look toward off-site personnel for assistance on key operational and administrative tasks. To meet this rising demand, a number of companies offer remote assistants or offsite receptionists that help with simple, everyday duties. While beneficial to certain organizations, these services have muddied the water by confusing some people's understanding of a true virtual assistant.
Like any other profession, virtual assistance has a rich history that spans decades. Its birth can be traced back to temporary secretarial services, which began in the 1950s. While virtual assistance evolved from secretarial services, the concepts are distinct from one another, with the former an intentional brand of ongoing support and the latter focusing on occasional piecemeal project work.
The term “virtual assistant” was coined in 1996…