How To Become A Virtual Assistant

If you are looking for ideas on how to work from home, you should consider offering Virtual Assistant services. Being a Virtual Assistant (VA) can be a possible career or a side gig. Whether you are looking for a new job or even just a side hustle, this may be something for you to try. Before moving forward with the “how to become a virtual assistant” aspect, make sure you read this first.

What exactly does a virtual assistant do?

Virtual Assistant tasks can vary greatly and it breaks down to doing tasks that the entrepreneur or small business owner doesn’t like or doesn’t have time to do. 

It also depends on the niche. A Virtual Assistant can be hired for a busy CEO and can work on various administrative support such as email management, research, data collection, scheduling appointments or travel work. There are tons of jobs that a VA can work on such as social media management, data entry, e-commerce management, real estate sales and listings research, ad posting, cold calling, formatting and editing blog posts, etc. These are some of the tasks that business owners just don’t have the time or desire to keep up with. Basically, a Virtual Assistant is being paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business but doesn’t need to be done by them.

Who can be the clients?

Online business owners primarily with digital marketing agencies, realtors, and consultants are great niches to work with as they also work “virtually.” As the “remote work is becoming the future of work,” as they say, there are companies that encourage their employees to work from home. Like the global tech giant Dell which started remote work for its employees in 2016 and reported saving about $12 million US per year in real estate costs. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a Virtual Assistant?

The main advantage is being able to work from home. Plus it’s getting paid to learn, which is the very best way there is! The work schedule, however, depends on the contract with the client and can be discussed. The main disadvantage is VAs are not employed directly by the company and are not entitled to benefits, vacation or sick time and must pay their own employment taxes. 

What skills are needed and do I need to attend a school or earn certificates?

Employers may or may not require credentials from school but it always helps if you have certifications. An example would be if you are applying as a Social Media Manager, a Social Media Certification is a valuable asset you can have. It is also expected that VAs are highly proficient with computer applications and a variety of software like CRM. Check out the resources that I use. 

Work ethic also plays a big role. Since all work is done remotely, a VA should be independent, self-disciplined, organized and manages time effectively. Other qualities a VA should possess are attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.

What are the services a Virtual Assistant can offer?

  • Virtual Administrative Support (ex. email management and organizing files)
  • Data Entry & Collection
  • Social Media Management (ex. posting on Facebook)
  • Copywriting (ex. blog posts)
  • Editing (ex. copy, video, or audio)
  • Customer Service or Support (ex. answering emails or tickets)
  • Scheduling (ex. calendar management and appointment setter)
  • Transcription/Typing
  • Website Maintenance (ex. IT support)
  • Graphics & Design
  • Bookkeeping
  • Website Development
  • Research
  • Project Management
  • Community Building (ex. commenting on blogs or forums)
  • Event Planner
  • Data Presentations & Reporting (creating slideshows)
  • Sales (ex. following up with leads or prioritizing leads)
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Paid Ad Management (ex. AdWords)

So, as you can see, the duties and responsibilities are quite varied. Obviously, not all virtual assistants will offer the same set of services.

It is important to ask yourself:

  1. Which services am I qualified to perform?
  2. Which services do I want to offer?

The answer to each question may be different. For example, you may have experience working in an office, you can offer virtual administrative support or if you have a long and successful background in sales and marketing that makes you more than qualified to assist someone with that aspect of their business.

Where can I find Virtual Assistant work?

There are a lot of ways to find Virtual Assistant jobs. 

  1. Networking on and off your screen. The more you know people, the more you get connected to. A simple Tweet or Facebook posting will let your network know you are serious about helping them with their virtual tasks.
  2. Work from Virtual Assistant companies like Zirtual.com, Remote Co.
  3. Search VA jobs in LinkedIn, Indeed, Craigslist, ZipRecruiter
  4. List yourself on freelance sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Guru
  5. Subscribe to PennyHoarder, Rat Race Rebellion and get WFH leads
  6. Join VA Networking and groups on Facebook and LinkedIn

How much can a virtual assistant expect to make? 

Virtual assistants can make from $10-15 an hour to upwards of $100 an hour or even higher depending on your expertise. But most assistants fall in the $15 to $30 range. 

It’s all about knowing your strengths and how you can put them into practice in someone else’s business to help them grow and earn a positive ROI (return on investment).

What makes hiring a VA effective and efficient for business owners? Let’s say a business owner can bill out their time at $100/hr and they pay a VA $25/hr to take some tasks off their plate. If the VA saves the business owner 10 hours per week that they can then, in turn, bill out at the higher rate, that’s $3,000 per month more in their pocket (or time back with their family). It’s a WIN-WIN.

Are there expenses involve in becoming a Virtual Assistant? 

A website where you can display your portfolio is highly recommended and will cost you more or less $100 annually for a domain, hosting, and site security. Consider additional expenses if you plan to take certifications or VA courses. There are many freelance sites that are FREE out there which you can join. As long as you have a computer and access to a strong internet connection, you’re pretty well set. That’s part of the beauty of online work.

Some Key Takeaways:

If there is a service you really want to offer but aren’t qualified for, proceed with caution and consider taking a class or reading books to gain the necessary education. 

You should also consider doing some free or discounted work in order to gain valuable experience and build a portfolio. 

Be upfront with clients about your lack of experience and offer other services that you are qualified to do.

“When you love something that you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!”

And there you have it! I hope this answers all your queries if you plan to become a Virtual Assistant. Good luck on your freelance journey and cheers to your success!

PS: If you’re interested in becoming a VA but don’t know where to start, head on to VANetworking.com and get access to free VA resources and over 400 training webinars geared towards training Virtual Assistants. The VAinsider membership includes everything you’ll ever need to make your VA business ROCK and start making money right away! Click here to find out more

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About the Author

Jezza is the owner of SMBJ Virtual Solutions dedicated to helping businesses grow through outsourcing services and business support such as administration, research, data entry collection, social media management, and bookkeeping.

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