Resourcefulness and Research Skills: Navigating Tools in Virtual Assistance

Resourcefulness and Research Skills: Navigating Tools in Virtual Assistance

Resourcefulness is defined as the “ability to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations.” It is associated with creativity, imagination, and self-sufficiency.  It is about figuring out how things work given what you have – your resources; because these are no good without you making things happen. However, it is in situations wherein you find yourself with scarce resources that you must be able to look within yourself to see what resources you have innately.

This very definition is in the essence of being a virtual assistant. A VA is the client’s partner in making things happen for them to be easier and to run smoothly. As such, the VA must be able to manage all resources within her reach to ensure these. The resources she uses are varied in nature and can range from concrete objects including calendars and gadgets; or virtual things like software applications. They can also be intangible concepts such as time and support. Resources can also very well include the VA herself and all of her skills, abilities and knowledge. It is then a challenge to be able to manage these resources or lack thereof to make the most of them and make them work the best possible way to achieve an output beyond expectations.

Resourcefulness can be manifested in different ways. A few are specified here:   

1)      Being prepared. Part of preparation is being aware of your resources, how they work and in what areas they can be used.  It also entails managing your resources to be always on standby; ready to take into action when the need arises. This is exactly the case for a resourceful VA who must always be prepared to take action, for whatever task she may be given. Hence, a VA would do well to make guides for previous tasks that can be used as reference for future tasks.

2)      Assessing the task. To  be able make use of resources to solve problems or meet goals, one must first take stock of the situation to be able to act accordingly. In the case of a VA, she must first understand the task and figure out the required output, what is required of her and what she needs to accomplish it. Once she figures these out, she must bring the necessary resources out or look for them when these are not on hand.

3)      Being persistent. Persistence is a means of making the most of a situation by simply not giving up which is neither an option to a committed virtual assistant.  She must persevere to get her tasks done; to solve problems even if it means trying a number of times because it is only through trying that a problem gets solved and a task done. Not being able to accomplish one’s goal on the first try is not failure but a learning experience. Resourcefulness is also moving consciously in the direction of the goals that must be achieved and seeing things through until the end.

Resourcefulness can be a virtue that opens the door to greater accomplishments. However, because you do not necessarily know everything no matter how good you are, part of being resourceful is looking for resources that one does not have and this is where research comes in.

Simply put, research is getting information about a subject with the purpose of giving direction to a problem or task. Research for a VA can be a task in itself or a means to an end. One of the many tasks of a VA is to look for a variety of things as determined by the client like suppliers, products, applications, keywords and social media content. Or research can be a task the VA undertakes to accomplish some unfamiliar task or lacks information for. This is when the VA’s research skills are tested.

She must search for necessary information to be able to do her tasks. Research could mean scavenging the Internet for how-to’s; reviews, user guides and the like or asking subject matter experts like fellow VAs who have been in the field longer or have done similar tasks in the past.  However, the VA must take it upon herself to do everything in her capacity to learn and gather useful information and use whatever tools are on hand to do so as not everyone may be available to help her all the time. She might be working on a different time zone where everyone else is asleep or busy doing their own tasks. This is what resourcefulness is about.

The importance of resourcefulness in general and research in particular is further emphasized in the case of a new virtual assistant, as these are the very things that will make the newbie learn the foundations for a task; expand her knowledge of VA work; gain new ideas t; and learn tips for improvement. The fact that the Internet makes it so much easier and faster would no doubt make a resourceful VA with an open mind learn in no time.

To be resourceful is cleverly bringing all your resources forward or mining them in their absence, choosing the most appropriate or using all of them if applicable. It means being proactive because you do not just wait for things to happen but make them happen yourself and results can be dramatic.

They say people who get things done and succeed are resourceful people because they work hard for it. They do not simply accept what they are dealt with but strive to make the most of their resources. For this alone, resourcefulness is a skill to develop and an asset especially in the world of virtual assistance where resources abound just a click away if you know how to find them with proper research. The challenge though is to sift through these resources and make the information you gathered work for you.


 Written by Kathrine E.- The Help