At school students are taught to pick out the central theme of a paragraph or story and then figure out the most important parts of what they have read. As a researcher, that is what you will be asked to do for others who do not have the time or the skill to find it themselves. Compiling information that is useful to others is an important part of your business.
The Market The Internet provides access to a enormous amount of information. Experts in different fields post their knowledge in articles and blog posts. Governments, agencies and professional organizations have digitized their databases and directories for use on the Internet by anyone who requires the information.
It is easy for the average person or business owner to get lost in the sea of information. Who uses that information? Businesses use the Internet to compile statistics and to learn about their competition. Writers, authors, journalists and television professionals use information from the Internet for their work. Most of these busy professionals just don't have the time to do their own research.
Conducting research can be a lengthy process. On the Internet, it begins with knowing how search engines work and the best way to find exactly what you are looking for from them. Most people use Yahoo!, Google or MSN but there are plenty of other search engines that the average person has never heard of. An Internet researcher is familiar with all of them and uses the one that will yield the greatest harvest of useful information.
Virtual assistants who want to niche into Internet research could provide some or all of these services to their clients:
• Compiling current statistical data
• Knowledge of all relevant databases and search engines
• Use proven methods for information gathering (relevant use of keywords)
• Spreadsheet and Word document expertise for presenting information in useful manner
• General and specific knowledge of client subject matter
Writers may ask for research on specific subjects like snake venom or 18th century London for their next novel. A business client may want statistics on auto maker revenue in the last ten years. Each is a different subject, but methods of researching are similar.
As a Virtual Assistant Internet researcher you may find that you have a niche subject in mind for your business. Maybe statistical information gathering and analysis are your forte. You could build a client base around just that for small and large corporate-type businesses. It is not easy to perform research and your clients will want the best.