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LEARN HOW TO TURN YOUR PASSION FOR ORGANIZATION INTO A HOME-BASED BUSINESS, WORKING AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Sometimes we reach a point in our life when we want to find a balance between having a job, earning money, and enjoy our life.
If you are looking to work for yourself and build your own freedom, learning how to become a virtual assistant (also known as VA) might be ideal for you!
Becoming a virtual assistant can finally give you that flexibility to create the perfect balanced lifestyle you are longing for.
As a virtual assistant, you get to choose who you work for and what tasks you take on. You’ll be able to manage your own schedule and work from anywhere.
This could be the comfort of your own home or a beach in Thailand!
You just have to believe in yourself, know your strengths, learn the basics, and you will be able to set up your VA business in no time!
Of course, like all jobs, it’s hard work, especially at the beginning.
You’ll have a lot to learn, you’ll need to be determined and don’t give up at the first hurdle, but the freedom that will come with being in charge of your own life is going to be incredible.
What exactly is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a person that can give support to other businesses from a remote location. Thanks to high-speed internet, document sharing, and cheap conference calling systems, virtual assistants are in high demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to bring on full-time staff in a specific location.
Having someone help their business remotely gives them more flexibility, less fixed costs, and the ability to scale up and down, depending on the business needs.
To put it simply, as a virtual assistant, you will be asked to do office and administrative-type tasks from a remote location.
What does a virtual office assistant do every day?
A virtual assistant is really just anyone that can help with tasks from a remote location. This means you will offer clients services on a day to day basis, as a contractor or as a self-employed. This could include, but it’s not limited to email management, content creation, bookkeeping, graphic design, social media, and more!
Every VA offers different services. Just think about what you are good at and make sure you personalize your offer based on your skills.
The best thing you can do, especially when you are starting out, is to specialize in a niche and offer your service to a type of business.
By becoming an expert in your niche, you will also get paid more per job in the long run.
What services does a virtual assistant provide?
There are plenty of services you can offer:
1. Social Media
Many business owners know that they need a social media presence, but most of them don’t have time to dedicate to create content, share, and engage with their audience.
If you love the idea of managing Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, this niche could be for you.
Social media moves really fast, and every week there are new platforms to master and to learn.
Social media virtual assistants are in high demand, and if you have any of these skills, this area might be perfect for you:
- You understand how to create headlines worth sharing and are familiar with copywriting and marketing.
- You have an eye for design and can pin, tweet, and select beautiful images for Instagram.
- You love being up to date with everything that’s trending.
- You can engage with a brand’s audience and know how to keep the conversation going with people.
If you always wanted to start your own blog, becoming a blogger’s VA is a great way to fast-track your blogging success, while earning some extra money on the side.
You’ll learn how more successful bloggers run their blogs while helping them with more administrative tasks.
Some of the tasks you will do as a blogger’s VA are:
- Write, edit, and proofread blog posts
- Moderate blog comments
- Create graphics for blog posts or social media like Pinterest
- Improve SEO
- Remove broken links, add affiliate links
- Manage readers’ emails
- Schedule social media
Running an e-commerce store can be tough, especially for small and mid-size businesses.
Business owners have an endless list of tasks to manage every day.
This is where a virtual assistant comes in to help.
Some of the things you could help with are:
- Manage customer service
- Track orders, including order entry, shipment, and invoicing.
- Deal with returns/exchanges
- Manage inventory
- Help with marketing
- Website maintenance
4. General Admin
Ok, general admin isn’t really a highly specialized niche, but if you have previous experience in an office job, this is the perfect place to start as a virtual assistant. It’s probably not the most lucrative, but administrative support is crucial to most businesses, and it’s a straightforward way to market yourself to small business owners that need help.
There are many tasks that you can do as a general admin VA, including:
- Managing calendars and schedule
- Managing emails
- Booking appointments
- Making travel arrangements
- File management
- Data entry
- Setting up spreadsheet
Pretty much every task that a general office assistant on-site would do, except for bringing the coffee!
5. Content Production
If you love creating, curating, and editing videos or beautiful images, you could start a VA business as a content production creator.
Creating content is very time-consuming. Most businesses do not have time to dedicate to this and will look to outsource these tasks.
You can offer your services to help with:
- Writing blog posts
- Research content ideas
- Create graphics
- Source photos
- Take product pictures
- Edit pictures
- Create videos
If you have any previous finance and bookkeeping experience, this could be quite a lucrative virtual assistant niche for you to look into.
You could offer services like:
- Invoice creation
- Payments processing
These are just some examples. There are many more services that you can offer!
If you want to know more about what you could offer, here you can find a list of over 50 services that a virtual assistant can offer to a client.
How to become a virtual assistant in 5 steps
Once you have decided which niche you want to work on, you will need to set up your virtual assistant business.
Some great reasons to start a VA business are:
- It’s quick to set up and affordable, especially if you already have the skills and equipment to do the work. All you need is a laptop or computer and a fast internet connection.
- You don’t need specific licenses or college degrees to get started.
- You can create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
But before you get started, you also need to be mindful of the cons of starting a new business as a virtual assistant:
- Unless you already know someone that needs a VA, finding your first clients can be challenging.
- You have to stay on top of current technology and trends in the services and industries you offer.
- You will have to compete with overseas VA that can offer much cheaper rates. To offset this, you’ll need to offer a higher level of service and ideally niche down in something more specialized that could require specific technical skills.
Here are the 5 steps to follow to start a home-based virtual assistant business:
1. Focus on your offer
By now, you know you can offer hundreds of services as a VA. You can do everything from writing, emailing, calendar management, bookkeeping, marketing, social media, and more. Focus on the skills you have, and enjoy doing. There is no reason to spread yourself too thin, especially at the beginning, when you have a lot to learn!
2. Set up your business the right way
When you are starting out, you need to decide how you will run your business. You can set it up as a sole proprietor. This is a fast and easy way and doesn’t require any special set-up. The only issue is that if anything happens to your business, you will put your personal asset at risk.
The other option is to set up an affordable LLC. This will protect your personal assets, like your home, if you ever get sued.
Before you start your business, you should seek professional advice to set up your business the right way.
3. Create a website and social media presence
If you want to work remotely, you will have to sell yourself as an expert in online communication. The best way to do this is to create a website that shows your skills and what services you offer. Think about it as your “virtual” CV.
Your website will showcase what you can do to your potential clients, and it will play an important role in establishing your business.
Social media is also an important part of your business, but you don’t have to be everywhere: learn where your potential clients hang out and master one or two social media platforms. Are they on Facebook? On Instagram? Become an expert and follow them to show them you understand their brand.
4. Find friends in your niche
Working from home can, from time to time, become a lonely job. You will always need a support group, someone that understands you and can help you by giving you advice or simply share a rant with from time to time.
Look for Facebook groups and blogs that are in your niche.
Find a group of people that share your goals and work alongside them to build a successful business,
5. Make your clients happy & ask for feedback
Making your clients happy is the biggest asset to your business. Once you find your first client, do everything you can to deliver top service.
A happy client might recommend you to other business owners they know, and you just need a handful of clients to make a full-time income as a virtual assistant!
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Ask your clients if there is anything you can improve on, and take anything they say on board. Use every positive note as testimonials, and ask your best clients if you can use them as referrals.
This will help you enormously to get more clients.
How to find virtual assistant jobs
Finding a virtual assistant job isn’t difficult. Whether you are looking for a full-time job or a freelance position, plenty of companies offer jobs as a virtual assistant.
I’ve put together some of the best ones for you!
FlexJobs is an online job board that lists work from home opportunities flexibly, including remote, freelance, and part-time roles. It’s the perfect website to use if you want to start a remote career. They have a section in which they list all virtual assistant jobs here.
All job opportunities are carefully screened and checked for scams before they are approved, which means all jobs listed here are legit opportunities to make money.
What’s the catch? It’s not free! You need to pay a $14.95 monthly fee to be able to apply to job listings. The great thing is that there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can pay the fee and ask for a refund if you don’t want to renew your subscription. No questions asked.
Fiverr lets you create an online profile, and you can apply for jobs posted there: it’s a great online portal to get experience when you are just starting, but you won’t find many high-paying gigs there.
If you put in some time to create a great profile, you will get a few beginner jobs. This will help you build experience to apply for much better-paying jobs on other platforms.
Very similar to Fiverr, Upwork is one of the biggest freelance websites in the world. This means there is always someone bidding less for every job, which might result in you charging way a much lower rate than you deserve.
It’s a great user-friendly platform that can help you launch your virtual assistant career, especially if you have no experience and are just starting your VA career.
Other great websites to find virtual assistant jobs
Most of these companies will advertise virtual assistant jobs for beginners, and checking job offers on these websites is a good place to start if you have little experience.
But the best way to find good clients and be paid what you are worth is to identify potential clients yourself, network with other VAs that might hear about potential jobs coming up, and reach out to your personal connections to check if anyone is looking for help.
A real-life story from VA business owner Gina
How Gina built a successful virtual assistant business from scratch in less than six months…while working full-time and being a mama.
Gina from Horkey Hand Book, a millennial mama to two precocious kiddos from Minnesota, is an awesome example of how you can set up a VA business!
A few years ago, she was working full-time in personal finance but was looking for a change. Within 6 months of working as a virtual assistant, she made $4,000 a month part-time while still having a job, and after 8 months, she finally handed her notice and never looked back!
I asked Gina to share how she created an awesome lifestyle business that has allowed her to do what she loves!
1. Why did you decide to start a business on the side while working full-time?
I was the sole breadwinner as my husband had quit his job the year before to become a SAHD to our newborn and 1 1/2 year old.
Fast forward a year, and I wanted to do something different after about a decade in the financial services industry – I couldn’t up and quit and leave us penniless, so I started by side hustling in my “spare time” and socked the money I earned away.
Within 6 months, I made $4,000 per month as a virtual assistant and freelance writer and decided to put in my notice. I’ve been working online full-time since then and am still the sole income earner for our household.
2. How long did it take you to quit your full-time job since becoming a VA?
I started looking into this wonderful world of online business and VA work on April 15th, 2014. My last day of employment was around Christmas time of that same year!
Technically I started my business in May 2014, which means I had put in my notice within 8 months of starting!
3. What skills do you need to become a virtual assistant?
What I hear from clients over and over is that they’re looking for someone that’s:
- A self-starter
- And reliable
So while they’re looking for people that can provide specific services, they’re mainly looking for people with the above skills. As long as you’re trainable, you’ve got a shot!
It’s also crucial that you can plan and strategize. After all, you will have to find clients, prioritize tasks that will generate revenues, and organize your day in the most efficient way to get as much as possible done in as little time as you can.
You also need to have a computer (desktop or laptop; it doesn’t matter) and reliable internet. Don’t worry about having any fancy programs or applications – most clients will give you access to their cloud-based tools and software programs that you need to complete your work for them.
4. What is the average salary for a virtual assistant?
The average North American virtual assistant earns between $35-50 per hour from the little research that exists.
This is going to depend on your experience, skill-set, and areas of expertise.
The more specialized your services and the more experience you have, the more you can charge.
I’ve seen people in our community charge as little as $15 per hour, and others earn more than $100 per hour (including myself). Ultimately it comes down to being really good at what you do and finding clients that value what you’re offering them.
How quickly you start earning honestly depends on how quickly (and frequently) you start putting yourself out there for hire.
In my opinion, contracting and working virtually is the way of the future.
People (clients and virtual assistants alike) crave increased flexibility. And what better way to obtain it than to build a business and/or team virtually?
Clients (typically small business owners, entrepreneurs, etc.) aren’t always looking to manage people or take on full-time help. Instead, they’d like to contract out for specific services they need help with. It makes it a win/win for both parties!
This allows you to charge per job and not per hour, giving you a much higher profit.
5. What’s the best thing about being a VA?
Do I have to list just one? 😉
Here are my top 3:
- I control my schedule and can work when and from wherever I want.
- I’ve met and worked with the most interesting people – one of my clients just included me on a team trip to Prague last month!
- I’ve learned SO many new skills – if I ever wanted to go back to Corporate America (I don’t!), I could probably get hired by virtually any marketing department based on my current experience.
6. What is your number one piece of advice for someone who wants to learn how to become a virtual assistant?
Don’t think about what the worst-case scenario could be – instead, think about what’s the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME that can come from trying something new?
Why not YOU, why not NOW?
Becoming a virtual assistant can really change your life!
How can you get started as a virtual assistant?
If you are serious about becoming a virtual assistant, you are motivated, disciplined, and have a desire to be self-employed, Gina offers plenty of resources on her website to get you started. You can check them out by clicking here.
Many students end up getting hired by their first client before they finish the course.
Some students aim to bring in a few hundred extra dollars each month, while others want to replace a six-figure salary.
For example, Brea took the course in May 2017 and, by July, had her virtual assistant business up and running, and she now earns over $4,000 working from home as a social media manager.
You can read more success stories here!
Are you ready to become a virtual assistant?
Invest in your future today! Don’t listen to people that tell you that you can’t have it all:
- A happy life
- A business that gives you money but also…
- Time for yourself to do what you want
You just need to believe in yourself and start working for you!
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