Not that long ago, if you wanted to work from home you had to be a web developer, a graphic designer, or have an otherwise specific skill set that is in demand. Nowadays, there are many more opportunities for people who want to work remotely, and one of the popular options is becoming a virtual assistant.
If you’re wondering how to become a virtual assistant, this article will serve as a complete guide. Let’s dig in.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants, or VAs, offer administrative and technical services to employers. Virtual assistants work remotely and usually assist small businesses or business owners.
This type of work is on the rise because it offers many benefits for both the employer and the employee, as the virtual assistants can work from any location they choose and can set their own availability - the only requirements are a fast internet connection and a good computer.
On the other hand, employers who outsource VAs can save a lot of time and money, as they delegate administrative duties and pay less than they would for a full-time assistant. Virtual assistants take calls, organize the schedule, and basically do all the work a regular assistant does without being physically present at the office.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Virtual Assistant
Depending on the requirement of the business owner and the expected job-related skills, virtual assistants are asked to perform a wide array of services. Let’s go over some of the most common job requirements for virtual assistants.
Depending on what type of work a hiring company does, there could be different responsibilities involved in the VA position. Still, this job is mostly about admin work. If you plan on becoming a virtual assistant, expect to sort emails, make appointments and manage a work calendar.
Virtual assistants answer queries over the phone, email, and chat. They communicate with customers and handle all incoming client service issues. Customer satisfaction is essential for any business, so this is one of the most important responsibilities a virtual assistant can have.
Virtual assistants are often asked to sit in the meetings and take minutes or transcribe what was said. Sometimes VA will attend the meeting online or simply listen to the recording and write a report later.
Social Media Marketing
A virtual assistant’s job description can include maintaining the brand’s image on social media. Once again, it depends on what your company does but some virtual assistants are in charge of campaigns, ads, and all the tiny details that help the brand attract new customers and retain the existing ones.
If you want to become a VA and have previous writing experience, it could be a great asset. Some virtual assistants write blog posts in order to help the business provide the best possible content about its products or services.
Some employers hire virtual assistants to perform financial administration tasks such as bookkeeping, payments processing, payroll, and invoice creation.
Some virtual assistants are in charge of project management. They’ll hold meetings, keep track of ongoing projects and ensure deadlines are respected.
Many eCommerce businesses hire online assistants to take care of orders and shipments. In this case, an assistant’s position may involve customer service, exchanges, and returns. Additionally, some VAs help with website maintenance and managing inventory.
Virtual assistant positions usually don’t require specific education or work experience. That being said, VAs can have significantly varying job descriptions, depending on the person or a business they end up working for, as well as their background and interests.
It is a great role for someone at the beginning of their career but even versed employees are sure to make use of their abilities. Once you decide this is a career you want, you’ll surely be able to find a virtual assistant job that is a perfect fit for you.
Some of the critical skills needed for a VA are:
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Strong organizational skills
When you start working as a virtual assistant, you’ll realize that even though you’re working remotely, you’re still in constant communication with other people, which is why interpersonal skills are crucial for the job. Almost all virtual assistant courses stress the importance of interpersonal skills for this role.
Additionally, being good with numbers and bookkeeping are great assets for any VA because you will likely take care of some budgetary management as a part of your job. Finally, it might be obvious why strong organizational skills are a must for this role, as you’ll have tasks piled up every day, and one of the key responsibilities for you will be to organize the workload and finish all tasks in the most efficient way possible.
Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant
If you’re looking for a side hustle or want a full-time job as a virtual assistant, the good news is that you won’t have to go through various certifications and procedures in order to start. Also, if you decide you want a remote job, this could be a great opportunity.
To make the most out of your VA position, you’ll need to:
No need for prior work experience or education is definitely one of the perks of this job, but if you can spare time and money it could be beneficial to attend a good virtual assistant course. There are online VA courses you can attend for free or you can choose the more specific courses like typing or Microsoft Office.
Set Your Services and Pricing
Deciding on your pricing and services is a must before looking for a job. It’s also helpful if you can think of things that are not as easy for you to do and avoid these tasks as they can affect your performance and your client’s satisfaction. Additionally, it would be wise if you could specialize in a specific field since this can give you more chances to be hired, and you can charge more for the virtual assistant services you offer.
Finally, make sure to set your pricing and stick to it. Our tip is to talk to senior VAs and read online about the average VA hourly rates. Bear in mind that you’ll have to compete with other VAs overseas who might charge less than you, so you’ll have to adjust your fees in accordance with what’s on the market.
Getting the Equipment
This goes without saying. You’ll need a computer, smartphone, headset, and/or an extra laptop to complete all the daily tasks. Some jobs will require you to get extra equipment, such as printers or drawing tablets.
Start Marketing Your Work Online
If you are done completing your courses, you got your equipment, and you’ve established the services you’ll offer and at what price, it is time to get out there and make it available for everyone to see. It’s advised to make an online portfolio that can be viewed by potential clients and shared with people you know. You can do this on many available free-of-charge websites.
Make sure to share your work on LinkedIn, but also don’t forget that Facebook groups can be very helpful if you want to reach new clients. These groups are also a great way to network with fellow VAs who might share helpful tips on how to find virtual assistant jobs online.
Lastly, the old-fashioned way of getting the word around can do wonders. We recommend you tell everyone you know that you are now looking for opportunities as a virtual assistant. Your friends might know someone who’s looking for a virtual assistant.
Apply for Jobs
Taking a proactive choice by writing to the HR managers directly and offering your services, or contacting recruiters on Linkedin to see if they’re looking for virtual assistants for their organizations can’t hurt. Online platforms offering remote jobs are another great tool.
The Pros and Cons of Working as a VA
Even though the opportunities for virtual assistance are increasing, and there are many perks of working as a VA, there are some drawbacks to consider before embarking on this journey. Let’s see what are the pros and cons of the virtual assistant experience.
When it comes to the pros of being a virtual assistant, some of the most apparent ones are that you can choose your location and can have flexible working hours. Additionally, you’ll:
- Set your own prices
- Avoid the daily commute
- Choose the roles best suited for you
- Have opportunities for professional growth
Still, some of the advantages can easily shift into disadvantages. For instance, as enjoyable as remote work can be, it can prove to be really challenging for some of those used to socializing with coworkers or simply prefer working in an office. Other cons include:
- Communication online can be harder than in person
- Different time zones can be an issue
- Self-motivation can become a problem
How Much Can You Earn as a VA?
The average virtual assistant’s salary on one of the largest freelancing platforms in the United States goes up to $20 per hour. If you specialize in a particular field and gain more experience you might advance your career as a virtual assistant, meaning you can increase your hourly rate over time.
Overall, working as a virtual assistant has many advantages that can make it a dream job for many. Remote work and flexibility as well as the chance to develop new skills are reasons enough to choose this career path. Building a lucrative and fulfilling career in this field has never been easier.