Nowadays, more people are into a more flexible schedule, work-from-home opportunities, jobs that offer work-life balance and save them the trouble of commute, and rigid schedules that force them to run around like crazy. If you’re one of those people, it’s worth checking how to become a virtual assistant.
Starting your virtual assistant job is not hard. It’s easier than you think. If you want to become a virtual assistant and find your first virtual assistant job, this article is for you.
Before we tell you how to become a virtual assistant, let’s talk about what it means to be a virtual assistant. We’ll go through how to find virtual assistant jobs and which businesses need to hire virtual assistants.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who provides many services to businesses without working full-time in the office. Instead, as the name implies, a virtual assistant works remotely from anywhere while supporting the business.
Services of Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants provide data entry, administrative support, and social media management, like managing social media pages and writing social media posts, calendars, social media marketing, email management, website management, and email marketing. A virtual assistant doesn’t have to provide all the services listed above.
Starting a VA business is about the skills of the virtual assistant, their own schedule, and what they choose to work on. A successful virtual assistant will look for potential clients who need virtual assistance that matches the skills they are good at.
Who Needs a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a valuable asset to small business owners who don’t have the resources or the budget to rent an office or hire a full-time assistant. It is for those who run their business mainly online without an office presence.
Not just small businesses that need virtual assistance, your virtual assistant business could thrive with individuals (writers), for example, who need someone to take care of certain duties they can’t take care of themselves, like managing their social media platforms.
There are many virtual assistant jobs that you can choose from, and it’s not just administrative tasks. While we are at it, let’s see how a virtual assistant differs from an executive or an administrative assistant.
Difference between a Virtual Assistant and a Full-time Assistant
An executive assistant is hired as a full-time employee and is normally hired for businesses that need an in-house assistant, maybe going to the bank, making copies, etc. Virtual assistants are those who work remotely. A business’s virtual assistant could be in the Bahamas, and the business will run smoothly.
Virtual assistance sounds like an amazing solution for many people who cherish flexibility and control over their schedules. Still, before we move on with how to become a virtual assistant, there is another important question you must ask, should you become a virtual assistant? Is it profitable? Can you make enough money as a virtual assistant? Let’s see how much you can expect to make from virtual assistant jobs.
How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make?
Many factors decide the average virtual assistant’s salary, like the type of services they provide and whether they are dedicated to virtual assisting or is it simply a side hustle. When it comes to money, no one size fits all. It depends on the services you provide.
A virtual assistant could earn from $15 per hour to $50 or more. Some people charge per package. For example, you could offer to write social media posts per month for a fixed amount of money. The third way is to ask for a flat fee. This way, you could decide on a fixed amount for all services provided to a client. When you decide to use this method, be careful, as some clients may ask you to do additional tasks not previously agreed upon.
How you charge is up to you. But you have to know what other assistants charge, your skills, and the type of services you provide. Someone who provides photo and video editing services will charge more than a virtual assistant who helps with administrative work.
Benefits of Becoming a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistance comes with many perks. It is no wonder that many people nowadays want to find virtual assistant jobs. Let’s list some of the advantages of working as a virtual assistant.
#1 Remote Jobs
Virtual assistants work from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re in Europe, Africa, or the Earth’s remotest corners doesn’t matter. A business owner that needs your VA services can live thousands and thousands of miles away. This means you have access to limitless opportunities you wouldn’t get otherwise. Your prospective clients are not limited to the area where you live anymore. The sky is the limit.
#2 Flexible Working Hours
Your virtual assistant job can start at 5 AM or start at noon. You get to decide. You’re no longer restricted to the 9-5 schedule. Also, you don’t have to work a set number of hours daily. You choose your potential clients based on your availability and preferences. This way, you get more time to spend with your children, walk your dog, or even sleep some extra hours.
#3 No Commute
As a virtual assistant, you save time and money wasted on commuting. Who would choose to spend an hour or more daily, plus money on gas and energy, to get to work if they can easily work from the comfort of home?
#4 Multiple Clients
As a full-time employee, you only have one employer with a set of tasks that more or less doesn’t change. But as a virtual assistant, you can have multiple clients, which means you improve your skills and develop new skills by working on several projects and diversifying your income sources, which is a must in today’s economy.
#5 You Set Your Rates
As a virtual assistant, you get to set your own rates. In the beginning, maybe, not so much, but as you become a more successful virtual assistant, you get to set your rates. Also, as your speed increases in completing tasks, you get to make more money as you finish tasks faster.
#6 Side Hustle
You don’t have to quit your day job to become a virtual assistant. It is the perfect side hustle for those who want to increase their income. Becoming a virtual assistant is something you can do whenever you have time to spare. It’s now easier than ever to start a successful VA business on the side hassle-free with few requirements (a computer and steady internet connection) and some basic skills.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant with No Experience?
Now that you’ve seen the many perks of becoming a virtual assistant, you must wonder how to get started. It’s not so hard. Let’s see the nine easy steps you can follow.
#1 Identify Market Requirements
It’s always a good idea to check job listings online to determine what VA services are needed. To have a successful virtual assistant job, you must know all the skills clients seek. It will make your life easier when you decide what services you’ll personally offer.
#2 Identify your Skills
After you know the needed virtual assistant skills in the market, you need to look at your own skills. What services can you as a virtual assistant provide? What are you good at? Do your skills match any of the skills much needed in the market? Will you focus on providing one service, or will you choose a couple of services to provide?
#3 Bussiness Legal Details
This is probably the hardest and the most annoying thing you need to take care of when you start your own business. You’ll have to decide whether to set your business as a sole proprietor or LLC. A sole proprietor is an easy and popular option, but it has some disadvantages, like no legal separation between personal and business assets and liability exposure. Another option is to set up an affordable LLC. Seek professional advice if you’re unsure which option is best for you, but ensure you get the legal details right.
#4 Research and Set Your Prices
Any successful business starts with great services plus an estimation of the prices for the services. After all, virtual assistants want to make good money out of their business. You can check what other assistants do and how much they charge for their services.
You’ll have to remember that you don’t work every day of the year as a freelance virtual assistant and don’t have a steady salary. So, make sure to price your services appropriately to pay your self-employment tax and cover all other expenses. If you set up a website, you’ll pay for website hosting. Also, ensure your rates cover office expenses (in case you rent an office) and any tools or software you subscribe to.
#5 Learn from Other VAs
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are other virtual assistants out there who can help you. You can listen to their podcasts, check their websites, follow their social media pages, and see what they have to say about the VA business. And if you want to ask questions, many virtual assistants would love to see you get started and provide all the information you need.
#6 Check Virtual Assistant Online Courses
You can skip this step if you like. It’s not required. Some people don’t like researching and think getting the info through a training course is better. If you’re one of those people, you can check several virtual assistant training courses online, and you’ll find useful material.
#7 Connect, Network, and Get the Word out
You know the services you’re going to provide, how much you’ll charge, and any other information about your VA business, it’s time to get the word out. You want as many people to learn about your services because you never know where your potential clients will come from.
First, publish on a professional network like LinkedIn and publish on your social media pages and ask your friends and family to share. Tell them about your services and hand out your business card (it’s a good idea to have one). You never know who might need the services that you offer. Building relationships is very important when it comes to VA business.
#8 Create your Website for your VA Business
If you want to be treated like a professional, you should act like a professional. A professional website is one of the best ways to give credibility and a professional look to your new business. Not all virtual assistants have a website. But it is the number one recommendation that many successful assistants swear by.
A website makes it easier for more clients to find you. Plus, you can list your services and prices. And if you are a content producer (whether a copywriter or graphic designer), you can add your portfolio. It’s your way of telling the world that you are a professional. What are you waiting for? It is time you set up your professional website, and it’s time you get your first client.
#9 Get your First Few Clients
Look for small business owners online who might need your services, and you can find virtual assistant jobs at freelancing platforms like Upwork and Indeed. These platforms take a service fee. Getting your first client is not hard if you know where to look. Also, participate in social media groups where you can promote your services and look for clients. Once you get your first client, you’ll get many clients. Just ensure your first clients share their positive reviews of your services. This way, many more clients will hire you.
What Qualifications Do I Need to be a Virtual Assistant?
Many ask what qualifications someone needs to become a virtual assistant. Fortunately, if you do a quick job search or search for what other business owners need, you’ll find that you need no qualifications for most virtual assistant jobs. You need to have good time management skills, basic computer skills, communication skills, commitment, dedication, and can be counted on.
You might also need marketing skills, accounting (if you are going to help with business finances), and photo and video editing for graphic design jobs. Once you decide on your services, you’ll know if you need to learn some new skills.
The better-paying jobs you go after, the more skilled you need to be. So, if you’re starting a new business as a virtual assistant, you need to ask yourself if your skills are enough for the services you want to provide or if you need to learn extra skills.
Is the Virtual Assistant Market Saturated?
As you’ll see throughout this article, the virtual assistant market can never be saturated for one simple reason. VA is a broad term that covers lots of services. Also, the market is evolving. Nowadays, VA is video editing, bookkeeping, copywriting, and assisting local businesses or small businesses with administrative work.
No one knows what virtual assistant tasks will be in the future. More and more job openings will ask for virtual assistants because it’s much more convenient to hire assistants remotely without worrying about the expenses of renting or running an office.
What Services Do Virtual Assistants Offer?
When you start your own virtual assistant business, you first consider what services to provide. Let’s see some of the popular virtual assistant services you could choose from.
#1 Administrative Support
Administrative support is one of the most popular virtual assistant services out there. A lot of virtual assistants perform administrative work. Administrative duties include but are not limited to data entry, making phone calls, handling travel arrangements, calendar management, booking appointments, and preparing presentations.
#2 Accounting, Finance, and Bookkeeping
If you are good with numbers and money, you could offer services related to accounting and finance. Services could include payroll, bookkeeping, creating invoices, processing payments, and tax planning. Many people need help managing finances, and if you could offer financial services, it would be easy for you to attract clients.
Business owners who run E-commerce stores often need help to run their stores. After all, running an E-commerce store is difficult. E-commerce websites need to have products listed and update the store frequently for new products and out-of-stock items. As a virtual assistant, you could perform the following tasks: product listing optimization, managing inventory, processing orders, and tracking orders and shipments.
#4 Content, Social Media, and Marketing
If not all companies, most companies need help with marketing, content creation, and social media. Therefore, many virtual assistants provide marketing services like managing and setting paid advertising campaigns and creating SEO-friendly pages. You could also be responsible for email marketing.
Content creation is one of the services virtual assistants could also provide, and it includes blogging, writing website pages, writing frequently asked questions pages, and proofreading and editing written content. Also, you could write content for email marketing. As for social media, one of the services offered is social media management.
As a virtual assistant, you could be responsible for social media accounts. You could be responsible for one account or many accounts. You could write social media posts, schedule them, or reply to comments.
#5 Customer Service
Providing customer support is one of the most popular virtual assistant services, and if you provide customer service, it’s not hard to find clients. Here are some tasks you could be performing as a customer service VA: managing and handling inquiries of customers and offering real-time support through live chat. You could answer their questions about the business or a missing order or help them with any problems they may have.
#6 Graphic Design
This is one of the virtual assistant services you could offer, but you need to be talented in photo and video editing. You must be skilled in photo editing and video editing tools like Canva, Photoshop, and many others. Most virtual assistants can provide administrative tasks or customer service, but you need the necessary skills and education to perform photo and video editing tasks for graphic design. As a graphic designer, you can create pictures for social media posts or make videos to promote some products. Tasks could also include editing product pictures to be included on the company website or the E-commerce store.
What Services Should You Offer?
The services listed above are for reference; you don’t have to stick with one service. You could be skilled in more than one thing. You could be performing administrative work along with accounting. Or specialize in simply one thing, and you could also provide many services. Remember, with virtual assisting, you are your boss, and it’s your own VA business, and you get to decide the services you offer. As long as you’re skilled, who cares?
Is Virtual Assistant Legit?
Yes. Virtual assistant jobs are legit, and a virtual assistant could earn good money working as a VA (from $15 per hour to $50 or more). However, some people charge per package.
Essential Tools Virtual Assistants Need
Many tools support people who work remotely, but you will need a reliable internet connection and a good computer. You’ll need many tools for VA or flexible jobs that depend on your services.
#1 Video Conference Tools
As a virtual assistant, you’ll need to meet regularly with clients thousands of miles away. For this reason, video conference tools are a must-have for virtual assistants. You could use Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet.
#2 Calendar and Scheduling
You might work with many clients simultaneously, so you need calendar management and scheduling tools to stay organized. Google Calendar is a handy and free tool that can help set reminders and add important to-do items.
#3 Photo and Video Editing
For graphic designers, photo and video editing tools are a must-have. You might need Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
#4 Microsoft Office
Many virtual assistants use Microsoft Office tools because they are quite useful. If you write and edit documents, you’ll need Microsoft Word. If you need to calculate expenses and handle amounts of data, you’ll need Microsoft Excel, and you can use PowerPoint for creating presentations.
#5 Financial Tools
As a virtual assistant, you need some tools to manage your finances, and FreshBooks is one of those tools where you can send out invoices and integrate finances with other software.
Managing Time as a Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant, you learn that time management is a must-have skill for ensuring success in the VA business. Managing time means having more clients, performing many tasks, and making more money.
Working as a virtual assistant means you are your boss, no matter how many clients you have. Although it’s great, completing your tasks requires more dedication and commitment. Remember, procrastination is your enemy. You could use several tools and techniques to help you.
Some virtual assistants recommend batching your tasks. Batching your tasks means you group similar tasks like writing social media posts simultaneously or writing all emails at the same time. The idea is to focus on only one task at a time.
Another method you could use is time-blocking. It means setting a time for a task and dedicating that time only to completing it. It’s like saying from 9-11, you will write that report, complete your social media posts, publish new content, or look for new ideas for a blog. You need to complete it only in the set time frame, no matter what task it is.
So what about the tools you could use to manage your time better and stay organized?
Todoist is a useful tool for time management. You can add your tasks, add recurring due dates for repetitive tasks, and add sections and subtasks for your tasks so you can be more organized.
Trello is another helpful tool for managing your time and arranging your tasks. Trello is different from the typical to-do lists as it is perfect for long-term planning, where you create projects and then include tasks in each project.
Toggl is one of the best time-tracking software out there. If you’re unsure how long projects take to complete, Toggl is for you. With it, you can easily track your time. Through Toggl, you can also create invoices and get reports telling you how you spent your time.
Now, it’s easier than ever to become a virtual assistant. You could provide many services and do your job from anywhere in the world. You don’t need to have many skills; if you ever need to learn more, you can learn online at your own pace.
Tools for virtual assistant jobs are available online, and if you’re committed and dedicated, you can manage your time and make a lot of money through the virtual assistant business.
How to become a virtual assistant is not hard if you put your heart into it. You can follow the easy steps mentioned above and take a look at your skills and the services you could provide, and you’re good to go.
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