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Learn how to turn your passion for organization into a home-based business 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.
And it’s completely possible to make a full-time income within a month or two of starting.
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Table of contents
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 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 don’t have time to dedicate to creating content, sharing, and engaging 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
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.
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 online communication expert. 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 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.
Ready to get started to work as a virtual assistant? Download this free virtual assistant checklist to set up your virtual assistant business in no time.
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 virtual assistant jobs.
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.
Find clients yourself
But I honestly believe that the best way to find good clients and be paid what you are worth is to identify potential clients yourself.
Many companies don’t want to pay a third-party website to find VAs. They prefer to look for VAs directly or ask for recommendations in Facebook groups. If, for example, you want to work as a VA for food bloggers, simply join some Facebook groups and wait for someone to ask if they know any good VA.
Be mindful of scammers and always check the group rules.
Or simply email some entrepreneurs or small companies you admire to ask if they are looking for remote help. You could offer them a free trial of your services to get them hooked!
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 (hint: this is exactly what Abbey did – let’s check her story).
A real-life story from VA business owner Abbey
How Abbey built a successful virtual assistant business and started to make a full-time income in one month.
Abbey from The Virtual Savvy, a mom of two lovely kids, is an awesome example of how you can set up a VA business in very little time!
A few years ago, right after having her first child, she was looking for a way to escape a job she felt trapped into. Within a month of working as a virtual assistant, she was able to replace her salary and never looked back.
I asked Abbey to share how she created an awesome lifestyle business that has allowed her to do what she loves!
1. How did you decide to start a VA business?
Well, it’s an interesting story! My husband and I were both newly married and newly pregnant (as well as completely broke). I can’t tell you how much I hated that feeling of living paycheck to paycheck! On top of that, I was so tired of having to work a job I hated when all I wanted to do was to be able to stay at home with my kids.
I had tried a bunch of different jobs that just didn’t work for me. I tried being a nanny. I sold jeans on eBay. I even started a business where I would make freezer meals for people. The short version is I gained ZERO traction with any of these ideas! Not to mention I was toting my daughter along to all of these events so it just was not working.
Then a friend of mine recommended virtual assistance, and that’s when everything began to change for me. I remember going home that very night and looking up on Google everything I could about becoming a VA. At the time there weren’t any courses really to walk you through starting a VA business from scratch, so I had to figure it all out on my own.
I really loved it though. I also realized that I was already qualified to do it because I was already emailing about kids’ appointments and getting them to where they needed to be and calendar management. I was doing administrative work but I hadn’t even realized it!
Once I got my first client there was this courage that came into me, and this sense of…I can actually make money from home with the skills I already have.
That validation was all that I needed to keep doing it!
2. How long did it take you to make a full-time income since becoming a VA?
I was booked out with clients after just one month! It was pretty phenomenal actually.
3. How did you find your first client?
My first client was from a live networking event! I had literally JUST started calling myself a VA – went to an event and got TWO clients after following up on some of the connections I made there.
One was a massage therapist and the other was an insurance agent!
4. What skills do you need to become a virtual assistant?
Honestly, if you have a computer, reliable internet, and a little bit of what we call “figure-it-out-ness” – that’s really what it takes to start.
If you’re the kind of person who is easily self-taught, you can Google things and you catch on quickly…virtual assistance is a good fit for you! You definitely don’t have to start knowing everything right away.
4. What is the average salary for a virtual assistant?
It ranges depending on the kind of service you offer and your experience. In general, I would say a healthy range is $25-$50 per hour.
To break that down a little further for you:
- $25 – $40 per hour: General admin tasks, design, or marketing skills like data entry, social media posting, simple graphics, basic calendar management, etc.
- $30 – $50 per hour or more: If you have advanced skills and know-how to create graphics, making WordPress edits, writing optimized content, or course creation.
- $50 per hour or more: Specialized skills like web design, SEO, advanced social media strategy, or email marketing.
Also, as you sharpen your skills you can definitely raise your prices. And here’s the thing – as a VA you are not an employee, you are a business owner. So you set your own rates!
5. What’s the best thing about being a VA?
The number one thing I love about being a VA is the freedom and flexibility for sure!
I mean, what’s better than being able to work from absolutely ANYWHERE and make my own hours? Since I’m a mom, flexibility is really key for me.
Also, the fact that there is unlimited income potential is amazing!
6. What is your number one piece of advice for someone who wants to learn how to become a virtual assistant?
This is another question I get asked a lot and my answer is usually the same, haha. My best advice is just start.
It can be tough to find the support and encouragement you need at times to start your own business, but you have to take that first step.
I know firsthand how challenging it is to be a working mom and have financial hardship. I really get that because when I first started, we had NO money. BUT, I also know that if I can do it so can anyone else! I’m not a “special case” by any means.
You have to just do the best you can with what you have – even if that means starting small.
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, Abbey has created a totally free training that will help you to get started.
Check out Abbeys’s free training here.
Is becoming a virtual assistant for you?
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.
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!
Download this free virtual assistant checklist and get started today!