Having the right information on how to become a virtual assistant is key to becoming successful in this industry. Being a virtual assistant requires certain skills and qualities. For some it may be one of those easy jobs to get into, others may find it a little challenging especially if they are jumping from a different career type to this.
Some of us may find ourselves in a situation when we have to jump from one career to another. This scenario is actually common among working moms who are transitioning to becoming stay-at-home working moms.
While there are a lot of virtual jobs out there to choose from – including virtual assisting – it can still get a little overwhelming especially since there are some office jobs that are not available on a work from home basis. Thus, some are left with no other choice but to jump into a totally different field of industry.
One of the most common, needless to say, popular work from home jobs is virtual assisting. For people who are not familiar with it, a guide on how to become virtual assistant or in a more specific one, how to become a virtual assistant with no experience would really be very helpful.
A virtual assisting job is one of those online jobs out there that is very much ideal for first-time moms or new moms who opted to just stay at home and work from home to be able to take care of their child. You know, that’s the reality of parents especially moms in this generation, as much as we want to ask help from caregivers and family members, we are sometimes left with no other choice but leave our regular jobs and focus on our kids. That is why work from home is great. It gives us the opportunity to hit two birds with one stone, as they say. We get to take care of our children, at the same time, earn money to pay the bills.
Now, going back to virtual assisting, while it may seem like an easy job, it really does make a lot of difference when you take time to learn and understand the nature of the job first – particularly how to become a virtual assistant with no experience – before hitting the apply button.
Thus, sharing with you answers to some of the most common questions regarding this industry, which include:
- What is a virtual assistant?
- What do virtual assistants do?
- What skills does one need to have to be a virtual assistant?
- How to become a virtual assistant?
- How much does a virtual assistant make?
- Where to find virtual assistant jobs?
WHAT IS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
A virtual assistant is a self-employed individual who provides high-quality administrative, technical, or creative assistance to a business, company or individual client virtually – most often than not — from a home office.
While other people thought that virtual assisting is a little more than like what executive assistants do, well, in reality, a virtual assistant’s job is way more complicated than that! But don’t panic just yet, because we are sure you can do it with just a little perseverance and drive.
Depending on the client’s needs, some of the tasks that virtual assistants do are writing, graphic designing, scheduling meetings and appointments, managing emails (reading and responding included in some cases), managing the client’s social media platforms (or in some instanced build them up from scratch), data entry work, and bookkeeping to name a few. See, the tasks are indeed very diverse!
WHAT DO VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS DO?
This is probably one of the most asked questions when it comes to this industry. Earlier we already mentioned some of the most common tasks that virtual assistants do, but to be more specific and for you to have a better understanding of the job, here’s a list of the common tasks that virtual assistants do:
- Website design and maintenance
- Customer support
- Processing online orders and refunds
- Calendar management and travel arrangements
- Editing and proofreading
- Content research
- Keyword research
- Creating sales pages
- Managing product launches
- Performing outreach
- Lead generation
- Editing videos
- Project management
- Community management and moderation
Sounds daunting or interesting? Well, one thing is for sure though, you do not necessarily have to do everything (unless a company or a client will ask you to do all these exists, which we certainly doubt).
By the way, the list may be long still but these are just some other possible tasks you may be asked to do as a virtual assistant. When applying as a VA, always remember to check first what the client’s specific needs are, so you get to check if you are fitted for the job, and you can also gauge if you can handle the demands of your potential client.
WHAT SKILLS DOES ONE NEED TO HAVE TO BE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
Generally speaking, you have to be highly organized. In addition to that, you have to be task-oriented, patient, have a high degree of motivation (especially at times when the tasks seem to be very difficult), a high desire to learn, and of course, excellent communication skills. Again, the requirements or the skills needed depends on the needs of your clients. Thus, it is always best to check the skills required first before hitting the apply button.
HOW TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
Now, we get into this part – your most awaited part perhaps. How does one become a virtual assistant rather than how to become a virtual assistant with no experience?
Well, first and foremost, anyone can be a virtual assistant provided you have the skills that we have mentioned earlier. But of course, to be really specific with the process, there are a few steps that you may want to follow. Rest assured that these steps will also help you decide whether or not this job is for you.
Now, if you are kind of hesitant because you have no experience at all, well, as the saying goes, there’s always a first time. You know, at the end of the day, whether you have experience or none, as long as you have the right attitude, success is achievable.
With that said, here is the step-by-step guide on how to become virtual assistant:
– Decide your preferred business structure.
Whether you decide to work as a part-time or full-time virtual assistant, you have to have a clear business structure. It will act as your compass. It will lead you to the right clients, and the right tasks.
Deciding what your business-specific will be will really depend on you, but to help you out, here are a few criteria that you should take into consideration:
– The physical location of your business. Well, most virtual assistants work from home. There are others though who really takes virtual assisting as a serious business, thus, they really find a specific space intended for the business. But yeah, for a beginner, we highly suggest you stick to your home for now. Needless to say, if you are a stay-at-home mom, it gives you all the reason to work from home and not elsewhere, right?
– Types of clients you want to be working with. You can either work for a company, a budding business, or an individual. It really depends on which among these are you most comfortable with. Although we highly recommend working with an individual client first if it is your first time. This way you get to like master your skills first without the added pressure of working for a company or a business entity.
– Specific VA work that you will be doing. Among the tasks we mentioned earlier, which one do you feel most comfortable about? Which of those do you think you can delivery proficiently and excellently? Whatever your answer is, we recommend that you stick to that to avoid messing up. Focus on what you do best. By the way, the more specific your VA work is, the more experienced you become, the better – because that translates to bigger salary pay.
– Your personal situation. Of course, you have to think about your current situation. Like, if you are a mom, that means, you only have limited time available to do the job. So, that means, you either work as a part-timer, or you can go fulltime but you have to request a flexible work schedule.
These are just some of the things that you need to consider to help you decide the kind of business structure you want.
– Decide the services you will offer to potential clients.
As we earlier mentioned, it is important to make a decision on what specific virtual assistant service or services will you offer to your potential clients. Ideally, you offer anything and everything, but remember, the virtual assisting is very competitive you have to step up your game.
We highly recommend that you reflect and check within yourself what among the VA services are you highly proficient, and then stick to that. For instance, if you are good at bookkeeping, then offer bookkeeping services. If you are good at writing, then specialize in writing. And the options go on and on.
But of course, while you are offering specific or specialized VA services, you also have to be open to learning new things, and then eventually, once you mastered them, you can also offer them to your potential clients.
To put it simply, it’s like when offering food, do not offer something that is raw. Make sure to offer a well-cooked one. You know why? Simply because people will not like raw food! They will not appreciate raw food, and they will not pay high for something that is raw. When you offer them a food that is well-cooked, they are more than willing to pay the price even if it’s high.
So, before offering anything, make sure it’s well-cooked. Going back to VA work, before anything else, make sure that what you will be offering to potential clients is something that you are very knowledgeable about. The last thing you want to happen is to displease your client, right?
– Work on your pricing.
Of course, do not forget the most important thing – your price. Well, to be able to determine the right salary rate, you have to take some things into consideration like how long have you been into virtual assisting (the longer you have been in the industry, the higher you can charge), what specific skills do you offer, how much time do you need to work on your tasks, how excellent you are in doing the tasks, and so on and forth.
Setting your rate can either be on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. However, it is highly suggested that as a beginner, you start pricing at an hourly rate. So, to help you come up with the right price, you have to take the following into consideration:
– You are a subcontractor and not an employee. Take into consideration the taxes you have to pay. In the US for instance, you have to pay self-employment tax. Make sure to take that into account as you determine your pricing or salary rate. Taxes are paid on a regular basis, and failure to do so may cause problems. So, be a good citizen, at the same time, be good to yourself by ensuring it’s part of the equation when determining your salary rate as a freelancer.
– You are not entitled to any benefits that a regular employee gets. You work as a freelancer, which is automatically not entitled to benefits like sick leaves, paid vacations, health insurance, or retirement contributions. Thus, take into consideration the probability of getting sick because of stress and pressure from work, and other probable reasons. Make sure you have enough to cover medical bills in case of an emergency.
– Also, take into consideration your overhead expenses. When we talk about overhead expenses, we are pertaining to a lot of things, which include electricity, web hosting (if you have your own professional website), software subscriptions, computer maintenance, and other home office expenses. Make sure that you take all of these into consideration when coming up with your rate. As a freelancer, you have to ensure you are not giving anything away, otherwise, it would be hard to make both ends meet.
Given all these considerations, most professional virtual assistants suggest that once you have decided a specific rate that you think is fair enough for all your hard work, add an additional 25% to cover for your other expenses or the ones we mentioned above. That way, you are assured that you have enough funds to pay for your efforts, and for your other expenses.
– Build your online presence and/or launch your professional website.
This is one of the most important steps on how to become virtual assistant. It only makes sense that since you are a “virtual” assistant, it means, everything is done online – including the application process.
Well, we haven’t heard of a virtual assistant hired by applying personally at a company’s office.
Anyway, seriously, your life as a virtual assistant will be mostly online. So, it is just right that you build up your online presence, and eventually, set up your very own professional website. This will help make potential clients find you easier, and to check your qualifications.
To start off, set up a LinkedIn account. Most recruiters or clients these days would rather ask for your LinkedIn account rather than a copy of your resume. Well, it’s an easier tool to check an applicant’s details, skills and qualifications.
Once you are done with LinkedIn, you may proceed with building up your professional social media accounts, and if you have the means to set up your own website, then, do so. We highly recommend doing the latter especially if you are planning to eventually make serious business in virtual assisting. Meaning, putting up and hiring people to work for you – building a team of virtual assistants and catering to various clients. By the way, if you are worried about the price, don’t worry about that too much because you got a lot of cheap options these days. With just a few bucks, you can already create or build up your very own website.
– Start pitching and network to land into a potential client.
For beginners, you can start your virtual assisting journey by joining and setting up accounts on a different freelance job listing websites. There you will find various VA job opportunities. Apply according to your preference. It tells you, it is the best way to start off your VA career.
Eventually, when you have established your VA career, you can start a more serious approach in finding clients through pitching and networking.
In addition to all these, if you want to be a great virtual assistant, apart from being highly proficient and being excellent skills-wise, you have to stay honest, patient (which I already mentioned earlier), fair, and professional.
Know more about how to become a virtual assistant. Check this informational video from Abbey Ashley of The Virtual Savvy:
HOW MUCH DOES A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT MAKE?
As I have mentioned earlier, the virtual assisting industry has become one of the most sought after and most competitive industries over the years.
According to Glassdoor.com, an online site wherein you can check the salary range of different job posts, virtual assistants can make between $20,000 and $49,000 in a year. How much a VA makes depends on years of experience, specialization, and proficiency.
WHERE TO FIND VIRTUAL ASSISTANT JOBS?
Now that you already know what virtual assisting is, how to become virtual assistant or how to become a virtual assistant at home, and how much you can make as one, let us proceed to the real deal – where to find a VA job.
There are several freelance job listing websites that offer virtual assistant jobs from different companies. These job listing sites act as a middle man between you and potential clients. Most of these sites offer their services for free, while some may require a very minimal membership fee, which allows you to access more features of the site.
To give you an idea, some of these job listing sites to choose from are:
Upwork is said to be the “largest freelance marketplace” in the World Wide Web today. They have plenty (like thousands) of freelance gigs posted at any given time. While signing up on Upwork is free, the company charges 10% for every payment received.
Although this is not a paid post, we just want to say that we highly recommend using Upwork as they are probably one of the most legit and has the largest network of potential clients. Needless to say, Upwork is really popular, a lot of people use it. Thus, you can easily find a client in just a span of one month or even less.
Indeed is another well-known site being the “world’s biggest online job search engine”. It’s also one of the world’s most trusted job listing site. Signing up is also free.
Indeed has so much to offer when it comes to virtual assistant jobs. In fact, they offer several VA positions that get to be really overwhelming especially if you are a newbie in the freelance industry.
– Time Etc.
For those of you who have no virtual assisting experience but do have an administrative or clerical background, this is the best site for you. We also highly recommend this site to stay at home moms out there who want to make use of their spare time.
At Time Etc., you can apply and become a virtual assistant even if you only have as little as three hours of spare time in a week.
– Fancy Hands
Fancy Hands is another beginner-friendly platform. As a member of the site, you get to have access to Fancy Hands’ pool of clients’ tasks. However, the tasks here are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis, so, you better be quick.
At Fancy Hands, you get to be paid on a per-task basis amounting between $2 and $7. Each task takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Also, they pay their virtual assistants every two weeks through Dwolla. We highly recommend this for beginners who want to get a grasp on virtual assisting.
FINAL WORDS ON HOW TO BECOME VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
So, there you have it! We hope we were able to help you get informed about what virtual assisting is, how to become virtual assistant, how much you can earn from this kind of job, etc.