So, you want to become a virtual assistant, but you’re not sure how to get started. You’ve come to the right place! The truth is, you don’t need experience or a lot of specialized skills to be a virtual assistant. Many people start from scratch and build successful careers as VAs.
Keep in mind; you will have to work hard if you want to succeed. However, you can start your own virtual assistant business with a little determination and the right combination of skills.
In this article, I’m going to take you through all the steps necessary to become a virtual assistant (VA), including how to find clients, and scale your business so you can eventually work from home or start a side job, whichever you prefer.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a self-employed person who offers services or assistance to business owners in exchange for an agreed upon fee. Since the work you do is done online, you can work from anywhere in the world.
The best part is that you don’t need a degree or certification. You just have to develop a skill and have enough experience to do it well for your clients. Many business owners hire virtual assistants so they can focus on growing their business.
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
Theoretically, a VA can do anything that a support staff does. However, virtual assistants duties are not limited to clerical work. Many VAs provide accounting, marketing, and other services.
Most VAs focus on a specific skill set. For example, a virtual administrative assistant only does clerical work. Other VAs perform a variety of duties but within a particular field or industry. For example, a real estate virtual assistant assists real estate investors in a variety of tasks.
Virtual Assistant Services You Could Offer.
You might be wondering what services you could offer your potential clients. Obviously, this will depend on things such as demand and your skill set, but here are some ideas for services that you could offer.
If you’re good at keeping tabs on bills and receipts, then you might consider offering assistance to small businesses with their bookkeeping. Many small businesses choose to outsource their bookkeeping with a virtual assistant who can take care of tasks such as invoices and billing.
Every business wants to keep their customers happy, but they don’t always have the time to devote to their customers. That’s why they often seek a virtual assistant to outsource their customer-related issues. If you’re detail-oriented and good with people, then consider becoming a customer service, virtual assistant.
You can easily offer to do Internet research for businesses. Researchers often look up information on corporate websites, gather relevant market data, and screen potential employees.
These services are usually pretty easy to do, and some of the best tasks for businesses to outsource. Virtual Assistant duties in this category could include anything from data entry and spreadsheet creation to calendar management and making travel arrangements.
If you can turn raw data into a PowerPoint presentation or summarize research findings into a Word document, then you can help entrepreneurs save time when preparing for meetings.
You can help people stop wasting time with their email; some virtual assistants filter important emails and respond on behalf of the client. Email management is easy to do remotely; you just need a little guidance from the client on how to pick out key emails.
Social Media Management
Social media management is a more specialized area for VAs. Tasks usually include posting, or scheduling posts, engaging with followers in the comments, and anything else you’re comfortable with. Premium services like managing a Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram account come with a premium price. Time to polish up your social media skills!
Don’t think you’re tech-savvy enough to manage websites — think again, you don’t have to know how to code or be super tech savvy. If you have experience with WordPress or a blog, you can offer website management services. You would do things like edit posts, reply to comments, monitor links, and general website maintenance.
Virtual assistant websites can be big or small, simple, or complex. Regardless, you could create your own site and display a portfolio of your work to clients as you become more experienced.
Video editing is a highly sought after service for business owners. Editing is a great service for a virtual assistant to offer in addition to current services or as a stand-alone service. More and more businesses are using video to market their services. Currently, editing video and written content are in demand.
If you want to become a virtual assistant, then consider offering this service to your clients. This list above covers a lot of the online tasks that a virtual assistant can provide, but there are many other things that a VA can do.
How To Become A Virtual Assistant
Here’s your step by step guide to get started as a virtual assistant.
Decide what kind of VA skills and services you will offer.
To get started as a Virtual Assistant, you need to determine what tasks or services you’ll offer. If you’re not sure what you want to do go through this list of virtual assistant services and choose the one that’s best for you. You can always add new services later.
Create a website and describe the services you provide and your experience.
When creating your website keep in mind that you’re creating this site for your clients, not you. Most importantly, it should be relevant to the virtual assistant services that you’re offering.
Here’s a free course to help you create your website. If you need more help with a website and getting started as a virtual assistant, you’ll find everything you need to start and grow your virtual assistant business here.
Find potential clients.
Create a list of possible markets that might need your virtual support services. For example, real estate professionals, bloggers, and entrepreneurs often hire virtual assistants. You can tailor your services to fit an industry, such as realtors or lawyers. Another option is to provide the same service across multiple industries, such as website management for bloggers and small business owners.
Determine what market you will serve – where is your ideal client? What struggles do they have and how can you help them? Finding potential clients can be difficult for any new business, but here are a few places where you’ll likely find success.
1. Freelancer websites for virtual assistant jobs.
Start your job search online with some well-known companies. Upwork and People Per Hour are freelancer websites that can help you gain experience and training. You can also find jobs online at Fancy Hands, Belay, and Time Etc. The pay is low, but once you gain experience and become more valuable to your clients, you can raise your rates.
2. Social Media
Spend some time in forums and Facebook groups and offer helpful advice for free. Don’t try to sell your services in the beginning; take time to build your credibility. Post on social media and let people know that you’re offering virtual assistant services. Networking is a great way to find new clients.
3. Send email pitches to your target market.
Reach out to blog or business owners and see if they need a virtual assistant. Send an email that is brief and friendly, and explains your area of expertise. Let them know that if they don’t need help right now, they can always contact you later. Be sure to include your web address and contact information in the emails that you send.
Make sure you sign up for a potential clients email list. A lot of times online business owners will send out email requests when they have positions to fill.
Decide how much to charge for your services.
You have a lot of potential to make money as a virtual assistant— and how much you make is entirely up to you. According to Indeed, the average salary for a VA is around $16hr, but depending on the services you offer, your rate could be a lot higher.
Not many remote jobs give you the opportunity to earn as much money as a VA. Here are some VA services that pay pretty well, along with an idea of potential rates for each service.
1. Proofreading Blog Posts
Online businesses need to bring visitors to their websites. One way to do this is by creating blog posts. As a VA you could proofread and edit the posts before they’re published.
Estimated virtual assistant salary: $15 to $25/hour
2. Website Management
Use WordPress to format blog posts, answer comments, install plugins, and more. WordPress is easy to learn.
Estimated virtual assistant salary: $20 to $40/hour
3. Create An Editorial Calendar
Create an editorial calendar of upcoming blog posts that a site will publish. Find topics and titles that help a website improve its search engine rankings.
Estimated virtual assistant salary: $30 to $50/hour
4. Social Media Manager
A survey by Vertical Response revealed that one in three small business owners want to spend less time managing social media. That’s where you come in. You will need to research and draft content, engage with followers, create monthly reports on metrics, and keep social media profiles up to date.
Estimated virtual assistant salary: $15 to $40/hour
5. Build Landing Pages
To get people to sign up for an email list, purchase a product, or register for a class, business owners need landing pages. You don’t need any special computer skills to create a landing page just an understanding of software such as Leadpages.
Estimated virtual assistant salary: $40 to $60/hour
When you’re setting your rates, keep in mind that you’re a freelancer and not an employee. You are going to have to pay self-employment taxes, and you won’t have any benefits. Also, you’ll need to take into account your office expenses, things like website hosting and wifi expenses.
Business owners also benefit from hiring a freelancer instead of an employee. Your client doesn’t have to pay to train someone, and they don’t have to pay benefits, saving them money in the long run.
Decide what business structure you will use.
There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to selecting a business structure. The answer doesn’t have to be complicated though, consult with your accountant or follow these steps for starting a business from home.
Complete a virtual assistant training class.
I know that starting a new business can feel overwhelming. But you’re not alone. If you need more guidance to get started as a VA, then consider getting some professional virtual assistant training. Gina Horkey is an expert in the VA business, and she teaches others how to become virtual assistants. In 2014 Gina started her own VA business, and within six months, she was making $4,000 per month.
Once she realized the demand for virtual assistants, she created a course to help others get started as VAs. Gina teaches you how to start your own business and find paying clients in her best-selling course 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. If you’re looking for a way to get your VA business started quickly, this is where you want to start.
Grow your virtual assistant business
Ask your clients to provide reviews that you can share on your website and social media. Having testimonials available helps build credibility with prospective clients and can go a long way in building your business.
Are you ready to become a virtual assistant?
The opportunities to make money online as a virtual assistant are endless, and you can work from home full time or part-time. You just have to be willing to put in the work to get your business running.
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