A virtual assistant is usually a person who works from home as a freelancer. Virtual assistants can have a wide range of tasks depending on their expertise and the kind of clients they work for, but they mostly do work that is well-suited for the digital world. This can include:
- Making travel arrangements;
- Organizing events;
- Managing documents;
- Writing and editing;
- Email and calendar management;
- Marketing outreach;
- Other online administrative tasks.
It may take some time to get used to the virtual assistant lifestyle, but it does have its advantages. Virtual assistants usually work from home and set their own hours, making them an excellent choice for stay-at-home parents. And even though you are working for someone, as a virtual assistant, you are running your own business with multiple clients and all the flexibility that this arrangement brings.
Starting out as a virtual assistant also doesn’t require a lot of expertise or financial investment. There are many ways to market your skills and find work, as we’ll show you in this article.
Of course, like most jobs, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You’ll want to keep an eye out for scams. There are plenty of them in this industry. It’s best to stick to reputable platforms, especially when you’re just starting out and don’t know what to expect and how to spot red flags.
Learning from others who have already succeeded in building a full-time virtual assistant business is also a great way to accelerate your learning curve.
What Makes a Good Virtual Assistant?
Successful virtual assistants can communicate well in both written and verbal form and know how to conduct themselves in order to win the trust of their clients.
You must be self-motivated and able to meet deadlines. Clients will typically assign you tasks and trust that you will accomplish them on time. This could be a problem if you have trouble with initiative and meeting deadlines.
Time management and organizational skills are required, as is a natural inclination to take control of a situation and organize it in the client’s best interests.
It’s also beneficial to have prior experience with or knowledge of cloud-based communication technologies like video conferencing and file-sharing platforms.
Finally, those who hire virtual assistants hope to reduce the amount of stress and chaos in their lives. Don’t wait to be asked to perform certain activities. If you notice a client is having difficulty, offer to assist them with something you’re not currently doing. This allows you to gain experience, improve your skills, boost your income by increasing your workload, and your clients will be less likely to replace you because they will be more reliant on you.
How Do You Become a Virtual Assistant?
If you have no firsthand experience and are looking for beginner-friendly jobs, here are some suggestions on how to get started in the industry.
Have you ever scheduled appointments, made travel arrangements, managed someone’s calendar or email, or used social media to promote something? These are the kind of tasks you’ll be handling as a virtual assistant, so even if you lack experience, you probably have transferable skills that will help you out.
You already have some of the skills required without realizing their value. Self-study or online classes can help you improve your skills and earn certifications if you feel like you’re lacking in certain areas.
To become a virtual assistant, you can work for an employer directly, get jobs through an agency that provides virtual assistance services to other businesses or work as a freelancer on a contract basis.
If you want to establish your own business, you should start by deciding what services you will provide, perfecting your resume, and beginning to network.
Consider keeping an online portfolio of your work if you provide social media, web design, or content creation services. Once you’ve already had a few clients, try to put together some positive reviews that will help you get hired more easily.
Ways to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs
Ask Your Network
Given the broad range of tasks that virtual assistants handle, you may be able to find work through your network. There’s no telling who you might know who knows someone else who needs some help managing their schedule and social media accounts. Someone else might need help with content creation and marketing.
It never hurts to ask, and having a friend recommend you will serve as a vote of confidence and boost your chances of getting the job.
Work through a Virtual Assistance Platform
You don’t want to look for clients? Then you can join a virtual assistance platform. You’ll probably have to pay some commission and adhere to the going rate, but the advantage is that you don’t have to worry about advertising. It will all be handled for you.
In this case, all you have to do is apply directly to the platform. Some platforms are more difficult to get into at first, but as you gain more experience and improve your skills, you’ll get accepted into a larger number of them, making it easier to find work right away.
Use Freelance Platforms
There are numerous websites where freelancers can connect with potential employers or get work. Just keep in mind that these sites are international, so you’ll be competing with people who can afford to set much lower rates.
Some of the most popular platforms are Upwork, Fiverr, Guru.com, Freelancer.com, and PeoplePerHour.
Join a Virtual Assistant Network
Online, there are various virtual assistant networks and forums that connect virtual assistants with potential employers. These sites draw some of the best virtual assistants in the US and UK, and they’re an excellent place to learn what others in your field are doing to find work.
The most popular networks are:
- International Virtual Assistants Association;
- VA Networking;
- Virtual Assistant Forums;
- Administrative Consultants Association.
It may also be good to network with other like-minded virtual assistants, not just to bounce ideas off of them but also to see if they have any overflow work they could pass to you.