Question from the mailbox:
I just discovered Virtual Assistants working from home. How do you research to find out if these companies online are in fact legal and true to what they say? How do you discover if they are who they say they are? For instance I wrote on Google, Review of and then company name. Instead I rec’d more websites on other kinds of virtual companies.
This question is specifically asking about virtual assistant companies. A virtual assistant is a person who works from home (in a contractual arrangement) doing various tasks or projects. These tasks or projects are of the type that can be done online. Completed tasks and projects (along with any communications) are delivered via email, fax, and phone. The jobs involved tend to be professional administrative, technical, or creative work. A virtual assistant company is a company that coordinates, manages, and pays the virtual assistants.
Due to the changes in economic landscapes worldwide, the virtual assistant industry is expanding very rapidly. As the question alludes to, there are quite a lot of them when you search for them on the web. So how do you tell if the virtual assistant company is a legitimate work-from-home arrangement?
The first thing to look at is the contact page. Does the contact page show an address and a phone number? Or is the contact page a simple web form that doesn’t say anything about the company? If there is a phone number, call it. Can you get through to anyone or it is just a voice mail box? If they have a address, look at the address in Google Maps in satellite view. Is it an actual business building or something else (like a private mailbox)?
Also check the company’s name in the Better Business Bureau’s Company search page. This won’t tell you all that much about the company. But if the company has gone to the effort necessary to get listed here, chances are it’s a legitimate company. Other major business listing sites are Dun & Bradstreet or Hoovers. Check those as well.
You can also try independent review sites like Merchant Circle and Yelp. Don’t necessarily trust a website that has been setup to do a review or a web based article that is a review. Often these are just sham reviews placed by the company itself.
Check to see if there are any complaints with their state attorney general. If the state they are in makes its business license data public, check to see if they’re licensed by the state.
Before you invest any time in a virtual assistant company, it’s best to spend some time researching them and making sure they will be a good fit for you.