You should get a job that gives you flexibility in terms of location and time spent at work, but doesn’t require a lot of prior experience or training. A job as a virtual assistant (VA) could be ideal for you if you’re the person your friends turn to when they need assistance with planning, scheduling, or other administrative work.
The majority of virtual assistants work when and where they like, from the comfort of their own homes. If the thought of working as a virtual assistant appeals to you, here’s some information to help you get started in this exciting and lucrative field.
Virtual Assistant: What does it mean?
A virtual assistant (VA) is analogous to an administrative or executive assistant in many respects. Supporting managers, company owners, and entrepreneurs in their endeavors frees them up to concentrate on core business operations. One of the main functions of a VA is to:
- Managing a client’s calendar and organizing meetings and appointments
- Reviewing and responding to a client’s email correspondence
- Sending clients notifications of planned meetings and appointments
- Booking travel and arranging arrangements
- Scheduling appointments (including personal appointments, such as dentist or doctor visits)
- Data input and file management, sometimes utilizing Dropbox or Google Drive
- Sending bills on clients’ behalf
- Paying customers’ bills
- Ordering supplies and essentials for clients
- Maintaining and updating the social media profiles of clients
- Managing the email newsletters or blogs of clients
- Completing payroll for clients
- Transcribing documents
Although virtual assistants can work with customers in any business, many opt to focus on a specific sector, such as the legal, medical, or real estate sectors. For example, some virtual assistants (VAs) like to work with new business owners.
Skills Required for a Virtual Assistant
Not everyone would thrive in the role of a virtual assistant, even if it requires no formal training or education beyond high school. Virtual assistants typically have a set of strengths in one area and the ability to build on those strengths via experience and training. In order to succeed as a VA, you’ll need to acquire or hone a variety of abilities, including but not limited to the following.
- Management of One’s Time Working as a virtual assistant means managing not just your own time, but also that of your customers. Therefore, it is essential to set daily priorities in order to ensure that the most important chores are completed first. You should also be organized and capable of prioritizing your time so that you can meet all of your deadlines while working on many tasks simultaneously.
- Capacity for Order. As a virtual assistant just starting out, you’ll have to juggle a number of responsibilities at once or throughout the day as you work to expand your client base. You need the organizational skills to set up a system that ensures nothing gets overlooked. If clients engage you to handle their paperwork, messages, and calls, you had better be well-organized so that nothing gets misplaced or assigned to the wrong client’s file.
- Communication Abilities. Your experience as a VA will expose you to many different types of people. Even if you don’t click with everyone you meet or work with, it’s important to be able to communicate with them in a kind and competent manner. The ability to empathize with others is useful in building relationships with clients and interacting with the clients’ partners and consumers.
- Capable of Expressing Oneself. People that are able to communicate well also tend to be good communicators. Whether you’re attempting to arrange a meeting or make an order on your client’s behalf, you need to be able to articulately convey their demands to the individuals you speak with. Not just in your day-to-day duties as a VA, but also in gaining new clients, you’ll benefit greatly from developing your professional phone manner and email communication skills.
- IT Proficiency. Without modern communication methods, the position of virtual assistant would be impossible to fill. It helps to have some familiarity with the Internet and office applications. It would be a plus if you had experience with WordPress and other similar platforms. If you know how to code, you can help your clients with marketing and website tasks, which will make you an even more sought-after virtual assistant.
- Abilities to Lead. The majority of people seem to believe that an assistant doesn’t need any sort of managerial abilities. However, people-management skills come in handy when trying to arrange meetings with a very busy person or introduce a customer to a notoriously reclusive figure.
- Capabilities essential to starting and running a business. Virtual assistants, who often work from home, are usually called upon to exercise their inherent entrepreneurial spirit. That calls for some out-of-the-box thinking on how to attract new customers. It also entails continuing at it, even when progress appears sluggish or the workload is overwhelming (or not enough).
- Capabilities useful in business situations. As independent contractors, many VAs run their own companies. Knowing how to bill customers, establish reasonable prices, file taxes for a small business or find a competent certified public accountant are all essential skills for every entrepreneur.
What You’ll Need to Work as a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a successful virtual assistant is a very quick and easy process in comparison to other work-from-home ventures. You should learn about the duties of an administrative or executive assistant if you have never held such a position before. As a new VA, you’ll also require access to several fundamental pieces of gear and technology.
VA Education and Training Programs
In spite of the fact that formal education is not required to work as a VA, some specialized knowledge and abilities are necessary. You may need to be familiar with certain software or industry lingo depending on your intended field of work.
By enrolling in a training program, you may get insight into the virtual assistant industry, as well as the necessary skills and duties. One such program that helps people get the training they need to become VAs is the $10,000 VA program.
The business was founded by a successful virtual assistant who works independently out of her home. By creating this training, she hoped to help others replicate her success in launching a business and generating monthly revenue of $10,000. Although the course can’t promise you’ll generate that much money, it will show you how to:
- How to determine which services to provide
- How to persuade clients and secure employment
- How to establish rates and techniques for establishing rates (such as hourly or per-project)
- How to handle customers
- How to create a timetable and manage daily responsibilities
- How to improve efficiency or expand your business
Tools for a Virtual Assistant
It’s possible to find many of the resources essential to a successful virtual assistant profession on the internet. Freelancers may find a wealth of useful resources online; however, some services do need a fee.
Consider how often you expect to use the application and what features are most important to you when deciding between a free and a paid version. As you embark on your new profession as a virtual assistant, you may find the following materials helpful:
- Accounting Software You can prepare invoices using a spreadsheet tool like Excel, but using invoicing software makes it far simpler to keep track of what’s due and which clients (if any) are behind on payments. Software is required if you offer invoicing as a service to your clients. FreshBooks and QuickBooks are two small company accounting applications.
- Software for tracking time spent. While some virtual assistants choose to charge per project rather than by the hour, if you charge based on the amount of time you spend on a project, you must have a mechanism to log your time and maybe demonstrate to your customer that you were actively working. Hubstaff is a time-tracking application that collects screenshots and monitors your productivity. The application provides additional capabilities, such as the ability to issue invoices.
- Hosting and content management for websites. Whether or not you offer web design or website maintenance services to your clients, you must have a website to promote your business and enable people to locate you. Your website is the location where you display your services and qualifications. As you develop your client base, you may also incorporate customer testimonials and reviews. There are other hosting firms available, including BlueHost.
- File Hosting Services. As a VA, you are not responsible for handling or organizing your client’s paper files. However, you are occasionally asked to maintain their digital data. To do so efficiently, you must have access to a file-hosting tool, such as Dropbox, that allows you to upload and exchange data. You may construct an organizing system for your client’s files by categorizing each document into folders.
- Office Applications. Whether you need to compose messages, transcribe papers, produce presentations, or update spreadsheets, an office software package is required. Office 365 and Google Suite are two prominent cloud-based applications that can be accessed virtually anywhere.
- Tools for Calendar and Scheduling You will likely need to schedule meetings and appointments for your clients. A calendar application, such as Google Calendar, can assist you and your clients in maintaining consistency. When appointments are approaching, the application may send messages and reminders to your clients automatically. If you frequently schedule meetings with several individuals and need to locate times that work for everyone, products like Doodle and other polling software can assist you in determining the optimal meeting hours.
Virtual Assistant Salaries
The salary you receive as a VA is proportional to the time and effort you put into your profession. In 2019, the median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $39,850, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that number includes assistants who work in offices, on-site, and remotely.
PayScale reports that the average hourly wage for a virtual assistant (VA) is between $10.18 and $28.78. You may usually charge more than the going cost for virtual assistant work if you provide other, value-added services, such as website design or social media marketing.
It is generally more profitable to charge by the project than by the hour if you work swiftly and efficiently. As an illustration, you can ask for $100 to make changes to a client’s website.
The hourly rate of pay will be $50 if the job takes you two hours to complete. If, however, you charge an hourly rate of, say, $15 per hour, and finish the job in two hours, you will only earn $30.
A job as a virtual assistant may be a good fit if you are detail-oriented and would like some leeway in your daily routine.
You may stand out from the crowd and attract more customers by doing something unique, like providing a unique set of services or specializing in a specific field. You should be patient if people aren’t scheduling appointments with you immediately away. Maintain a positive outlook and persistently market yourself on social media, freelance work boards, and your own website.