If you’re interested in looking for a job that you can run from the comfort of your own home or a way in which you can bring in an alternate stream of revenue, becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA)might be the one for you! Here’s an outline of how to get started as a Virtual Assistant:
What is a Virtual Assistant?
First off, I should probably define exactly what a Virtual Assistant (VA) is. It’s a profession that has become quite popular in the last few years, not least because the demand for such a service has increased significantly. This is manly down to the fact that business owners have really started analyse where they spend their own time and are actively looking for solutions to cut their manual or low value tasks.
Assistants have taken up this mantle for decades, however, because a VA has such little upkeep, working remotely, business owners are finding such services at a much lower cost. Plus with the rise of the web and the interconnected platforms we tend to use, VAs can now perform nearly all of the tasks that had previously been reserved for Executive Assistants (EAs), including:
- Social media management
- Email management
- Contact management
- Customer support
- Market research
- Editing and copywriting
- Booking travel and accomodation
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant?
The first step when it comes to becoming a virtual assistant is to take tally of your skills and capabilities. It important to know whether you have the base skills to successfully perform the role as well as any special skills that might make you more valuable. I’d suggest the following at a minimum:
- Word processing skills
- Communication skills
- Writing skills
- Computer skills
- Time management
Here’s a much more exhaustive list of the attributes and skills needed to make money online through becoming a Virtual Assistant.
How to find Virtual Assistant Jobs Online?
Much like with any business, there are multiple ways to skin a cat when it comes to finding VA jobs. You can of course run it like you would any online business by creating a website and performing the various online marketing from SEO to Adwords and Social Media Advertising. However before investing significant amount of time, effort and money on this, I’d suggest you try out one of the freelancer platforms. This will enable you to ensure that becoming a VA is something that you ant to do long term (i.e. whether you actually enjoy it or not) before a significant investment.
What Platforms Can I Use To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?
The best places to find Virtual Assistant Jobs online are through marketplace platforms, where users post contractor job requirements. The best examples for finding VA jobs are:
How to Create a Winning VA Profile
Once you are all signed up with one of the above, you will need to create yourself a profile for your platform of choice. This is critical if you want the right type of client to accept your proposal so that you can start making money. Platforms like the above allow multiple service providers to bid on one job so you need to stand out from the crowd. There will be a range people from different countries, some of which will low ball your rate. Don’t get into a bidding war. Instead justify your higher price by showing your quality. I suggest that your profile should include:
- A personalised but professional picture — show your potential clients who they are hiring.
- Your native language and location — if you are English speaking as a first language then you will have an advantage when pitching to English clients. If you’re local that’s a bonus.
- Your top skills — you will need the basics (as above) but if you have any unique skills like knowledge of Wordpress or Photoshop for example, put them at the top.
- Past experience — if you have been a marketing manager or Executive Assistant in a past life, tell your potential clients about it.
- Testimonials — whether this is for current clients or from a past job, get your testimonials up there.
How to Grow your VA Business?
Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) you will outgrow contractor platforms like the above and at that point it’s time to look towards creating a much more professional persona for you and your business. This means creating a business, either a company or a Sole Trader and getting yourself online by:
Make sure you get testimonials, reviews and recommendations on the platforms so that you can show your quality as you would have done through the online platforms.
When it comes time to actually design your website, you will want to make sure that you place a special emphasis on what you have to offer as a Virtual Assistant. In addition to the skills that you bring to the table like high-quality email correspondence or scheduling, you will want to focus on what kind of presence you can bring to a team. Let your future clients know that you have a positive attitude and are capable of working with a variety of different customers. Focus on helping them to understand the value that you bring beyond technical skills.
After your online presence has been created, it’s time to start marketing. I suggest you explore the below to find out what works best for you:
- Social Media Posting
- Social Media Advertising
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Adwords and other SEM
If you have a steady revenue stream, I recommend outsourcing this to a specialist provider.
As you grow you will start to hire staff, use online tools and even build your own platform. What’s most important to remember is that this could have all be done from your own home by working remotely. This is the new age of online and lifestyle businesses!