Would You Make a Good Virtual Assistant?
Could You Be a Virtual Assistant?
Are you great at getting stuff done? Are you friendly, patient, and efficient? Want to work from home? Then becoming a virtual assistant (VA) may be right for you.
If you’ve ever worked in an office as an administrative assistant, or in any kind of support role, then you know what it takes to provide support and to get things done efficiently. A VA’s role is no different—with the exception that you’ll be doing it entirely from home.
That’s not to say that all VA work is secretarial. The jobs are as varied as the bosses who need them. They can be a good fit for the side-hustler or someone who needs a full-time income. It’s all a matter of finding the right employer (or employers) for your skill set and availability. You can contract with a VA company or be a freelancer.
What Tools Do You Need?
You’ll need some obvious things, like a computer, high-speed internet, and a telephone, to stay connected with clients and complete tasks. Some clients may have additional requirements, as well. Some may ask that you have a landline phone, a fax machine, specialized software on your computer, or a specific skill related to the job. The required skill sets or software depends on the nature of the client’s business as well as their individual needs.
What Skills Do You Need?
Make a list of your skills and your ideal client so that you can cater your job applications to relevant clients.
For example, I am a graphic designer, digital marketer, and social media manager. If I were looking for VA work, I would seek out bloggers and small online businesses who need someone to create content and manage social media accounts, create and manage ad campaigns, and that sort of thing. I would not look for work with a client who needed letter typing or secretarial skills.
Keep in mind that it's also beneficial to let clients know if you have expertise that spans several areas. This will make you more employable and make your work life more interesting. It’s a matter of what you enjoy doing and how many hours per week you want to work.
Make a list of your skills and your ideal client. Cater your job applications to relevant clients.
Types of Virtual Assistant Work & Skills
Here are some types of VA work:
- Customer Service Support Assistant: Monitor online chats, respond to support emails and FAQs, or create reports from CRM (customer relationship management) software.
- Sales Support: Help create presentations, field any rerouted, after-hours inbound calls, or drive traffic to online storefronts.
- Finance Assistant: Accounting, receipt transcription, vendor relations, and invoicing.
- General Administrative Assistant: Schedule travel arrangements, respond to emails, take notes, or type up documents.
Additionally, you may have other skills that would be marketable to potential clients:
- Content writing or ghostwriting
- Newsletter design and creation
- Technical writer
- Editor or proofreader
- Affiliate management
- Social media manager
- Social media content creator
- Graphic design
- Social media ad creation and management
- Email management
- Website maintenance or WordPress updates
- Digital ad creator and manager
- SEO and keyword research
- Data entry services
- Database management
Ideal Personality Type for VA Work?
Obviously, many different types of people make successful VAs. Generally speaking, however, there are certain qualities that can make you particularly effective:
- Great communication skills
- Motivated self-starter
- Ability to work well independently
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Ability to multitask and prioritize
How Do You Find Work?
You have a couple of different pathways when it comes to looking for work. You could work for a company or you could be self-employed (i.e., a freelancer).
Work for a Company
Many new VAs opt to work for someone else before going out on their own. Some of the larger VA companies were actually started by a virtual assistant who amassed so many clients that they needed a VA of their own. They then hired more VAs in order to outsource their work. Here are some firms that are frequently hiring:
- 24/7 Virtual Assistant
- Assistant Match
- Fancy Hands
- Freelancer, People Per Hour
- Red Butler
- Time Etc.
- Virtual Assistant USA
- Virtual Office Temps
- Worldwide 101
Be Self-Employed (Freelancer)
Here are some websites (.com) where you can offer your services:
Networking and Support
Facebook groups can be a great place to network and find support. Don’t limit yourself to joining only groups for VAs and freelancers. You should also join groups for people in the business that you want to work for. Blogger groups and small business groups are ideal places for finding clients.
How Much Should You Charge?
The amount of money you can expect to earn can vary quite a bit and depend on a number of different factors, including your exact duties as well as which part of the country your client is based in.
Here are some general guidelines, based on my research.
- Administrative Professional: Proofreading, data entry, clerical work, research, Excel, etc. $12-$20+/hr.
- Marketing / Customer Service / Accounting Support / Copywriting / Budgets, Accounting / Social Media Manager: Marketing support, customer support, CRM software experience, email marketing, social media marketing, software, Microsoft, Adobe, Quickbooks, WordPress, etc. $20-$35+/hr.
- Business Consultant / Content Manager: Project manager, advanced IT/site management, web development, and server management. $38-$50+/hr.
Ask your potential client about their expectations, and let them know what you can provide.
Questions to Ask Potential Clients
- Have you had previous experience working with VAs? What type of services did they provide? What was your experience? Why are you no longer working with that person? If they have been through several VAs and voice a lot of negativity regarding their experiences, proceed with caution.
- What are your expectations? Are you expecting me to drop everything when a need arises? Within how much time would I be expected to complete projects? Find out what they are expecting from you and be honest when you let them know what you can provide.
- Discuss your payment practices. Do you accept payments only via PayPal? Is a retainer required? How often do you expect to be paid? When do you expect payment? Be clear on these issues.
I hope these tips will help you find success in your career as a virtual assistant. I would love to hear about your experiences.
Have you worked as a VA before? Do you know of other sites, tips, or resources that I didn’t mention? Please comment below.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.