Are you looking for ways to work from home at flexible times with good earning potential? Then work as a Virtual Assistant (VA) is the perfect choice for you.
It is expected that by 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be comprising of virtual assistants.
Virtual assistant jobs are flexible, high paying, choice of your work, and opportunity to learn new skills to grow your career to next level.
You must be thinking, why so many people want to work from home?
Well, there are many reasons for work at home jobs. You might be a stay at home mom who is looking after her kids and home, and want to earn some extra money from side jobs but you can’t leave your home.
Or else you might be a college student or a teen looking for an extra source of income while studying full time in college.
It’s not just for a stay at home moms or college student. In fact, you can make some extra bucks on the
In short, anyone can become a VA who is hardworking and willing to earn more. In this post, I’ll explain everything about home based jobs and how to make money as a virtual assistant.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to businesses, entrepreneurs and brands from a remote location (i.e. from their home) on an hourly rate basis.
In this era of technology, internet has made it possible to work from home using the cloud based services and provide services like web services, content creation, social media management and data entry etc. to businesses without being at their physical offices.
What type of work virtual assistants do?
There is a wide range of tasks which a virtual assistant can do based on their expertise and skills. These tasks are very easy and part of normal business activities, so no rocket science is required to perform these tasks, anyone can do it. There is a huge demand for
- Email management
- Answering calls
- Data entry
- Scheduling meetings
- Technical support
- Web developer
- Search engine optimization
- Market research
- Social media management
- Content writing, editing & proofreading
- Graphic designing
- Blog management
- Event planning, travel booking, and webinars
Why businesses need virtual assistants?
A business is always looking for cost effective ways to do its routine tasks without compromising with the quality. The benefits of taking help of virtual assistant are:
1. Time saving
In business time is everything, if a small task like social media management and data entry can be handed over to a virtual assistant, then the business owner has more time to focus on his core business activities like new product development or customer acquisition.
2. Cost benefits
Hiring a remote assistant can result in a significant reduction in the cost of doing business because:
- they don’t need to hire full time employees. Saves lot on employee benefits costs.
- They don’t need to lease/rent huge office space to keep extra employees.
- Saving resources like electricity and internet costs.
- Flexibility to increase or reduce manpower based on work flow.
3. Expert skills
Virtual assistants bring their expert knowledge of their domain like web designing or search engine optimization. They bring more value at less cost to businesses than hiring and training a new employee.
4. Reduce the workload
By delegating some work to virtual assistants, reduces the workload of businesses. So the business owner can spend more time with family, focus on health to stay fit or follow his passion.
5. Flexible working time
Since virtual assistant can be based in any countries of different time zones, so there is 24×7 support to customers and it ensures the daily business tasks are completed without waiting for hours.
What skills are needed to become a virtual assistant?
Every business needs a different skill set to meet its work demand. So if you are a beginner and want to become a virtual assistant, first you need to analyse your natural skills, what you are good at?
Identify your areas of strength based on your previous work experience. For example, if you had previously worked as an accountant, web developer, email responder or attended calls in office etc.
Even if you don’t have any previous work experience, analyse your education to see in which subjects you are good at your high school or college. Apart from your natural skills based on your education and past works, you also need to learn new skills to keep pace with the industry demand in your work domain.
Some of the basic skills required for a virtual assistant are:
1. Basic knowledge – Your basic understanding of the industry or domain you are working with. For example, real estate, accounting, technical fields and ready to learn new things. Be resourceful and know all basic answers of questions related to your work.
2. Good communication skills – You should be good at answering calls, responding emails, taking follow up, interacting with clients, coordination, interpersonal skills. You should be easy to approach.
3. Basic computer knowledge – You should be familiar with software like word processor, excel, presentations, Photoshop and email.
4. Data entry skills – Which includes your typing skills, creating data base, bookkeeping, market research.
5. Organizing skills – To schedule meetings, event calendar, travel booking, planning, time management.
6. Social media skills – In this era of social media, you should be familiar with all social networking platforms, sharing content, tagging, liking, replying, group posting. Putting relevant hashtag and posting content at most engaging time.
7. Writing skills – If you have flair for writing, then good content writing skills, editing, proofreading, doing research on topics.
8. Reliability – Delivering the services on time within the set criteria, being persistent, ability work under pressure.
9. Work ethics – Maintain the moral standards, keeping confidentiality of clients documents. In short, be honest.
10. Value addition – Delivering more than the expectation of the client, multitasking, putting extra efforts to help
How much a VA can earn
Well, it depends upon which segment of virtual assistant’s job you are working on. In the United States on an average you can expect to earn $20 – $45 per hour, which is not bad considering the cost of living here.
Also, keep in mind there is an increasing competition inthe
For virtual assistant also there are three categories – beginners, experienced and expert. As a beginner it is very obvious you will be working at low rates, but as you rise above the learning curve to become experienced and eventually establish yourself as an expert to be paid more.
Important element to keep in mind while pricing your services:
- Cost of living in your city (minimum wages in your country).
- Electricity, phone and internet costs.
- Taxes and other expenses.
- The commission you pay to your VA companies.
- Fees charged by money transfer company/bank.
What tools you need to become a Virtual Assistant?
Dropbox – Dropbox is a simple file sharing tool, where you upload a document and share its link with your client or co-worker to get access over internet.
Google Apps – Google apps offers a whole host of tools, which is very helpful to virtual assistants.
Gmail – Gmail is a handy and easy to use email service to keep in touch with the
Google Docs – Google docs has same documents as Microsoft office for free and easy to share.
Google Calendar – Very helpful in keeping key dates of meeting, appointments, travel dates and task deadlines. you can share it with clients and co-workers.
Google Drive – To store and share documents
Skype – Skype is a
Buffer – Buffer is a browser extension which allow you to share content on various social media platforms at one place.
Canva & Picmonkey – For designing graphics for a blog or social media, Canva and Picmonkey is a free solution and easy to use tools.
Grammarly – Grammarly is a free chrome extension tool which helps to point out grammatical errors while typing online and also suggest corrections.
Lastpass – Lastpass is a password sharing tool, which allows you to safely share your passwords and credential with others in a masked form where they can use it but can’t see full password.
Virtual Assistant niches which are perfect for beginners:
1. Data entry
Whether a business is small or big, they all need data entry for the smooth functioning of their business. Accuracy and reliability is the key component of data entry management. VA can do tasks like:
- Maintaining records and databases
- Proper filing of documents
- Creating reports
- Maintaining event calendar
2. Customer support
Customers are the prime component for running any business. A business needs virtual assistants to attend the queries and problems of customers.
- Live chat supports or phone calls
- Processing orders
- Inbound marketing calls
Problem solvingor help desk
- Support on billing or order dispatch
3. Social media management
Social media plays a critical role in marketing these days, and social media management takes a lot of valuable time of an entrepreneur. Brands and businesses are always looking for VA to perform tasks like:
- Share posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms
- Creating pins in Pinterest and sharing in relevant group boards
- Scheduling posts on most engaging times
- Making social media graphics
4. Blog Management
A blogger has to perform a lot of task from content creation to graphics and social sharing. There is plenty of opportunities for VA to work in blog management.
- Research on
- Writing content
- Editing or proofreading
- Scheduling posts
- Creating graphics for articles
- Email & social media management
Where to find VA jobs /VA job companies?
After identifying your skills and the area of virtual assistant you want to work, now you need to select the VA company you want to work with. You need to register with some of the VA companies to start working.
Some of the most prominent names in the field of virtual assistant are:
1. Airtasker – A S
2. Belay Solutions – Belay solutions is a US-based virtual assistant company specializes in web services, content writing, and bookkeeping.
3. 24/7 virtual assistants – 24/7 virtual assistants is a US-based VA firm specializes in web research, email, customer support, administrative and data entry works.
4. Fancy hands – Fancy hands is a US-based VA company which specializes in Phone call and email management, scheduling, planning tasks.
5. Get Friday – Get Friday is an India based VA firm specializes in customer support, sales, and marketing.
6. Wordwide101 – Wordwide101 is a top rated VA company for businesses offering customer service, project management, bookkeeping, writing and editing services.
7. Time Etc – Time etc offers virtual assistant services in data entry, social media management, content writing,
8. Task Bullet – Task bullet is a Philippines based VA firm which offers services like data entry, marketing, social media, web developers and administrative works.
There are lots of other virtual assistant companies which you can choose based on your location, skills and payment rates.
Challenges for Virtual assistants
1. Competition among VAs
The biggest challenge for virtual assistants are the fellow VA’s who are competing for the same task as a result the client has many options to get work done on lower price. VA is an online job so people from all over the world are working as VA, if their cost of living is less they will offer their services at lower rates.
2. Training and getting used to
Next comes the training part of the job, here no one to teach you how to do the tasks. You have to learn yourself through hit and trial. You need to figure out what works best to satisfy your client. You may fail at some places but it is a learning curve to correct your mistakes. Though there are virtual assistant courses online to help you what to do.
Since VA jobs are work from home, you might feel working in a lonely environment. No one to talk with or no co-worker sitting next to you, it may affect your psychology. But you can overcome this feeling as you get more involved in the work and when the money starts flowing in it will give you the confidence to stick with the job.
4. Working on different time zones
As your client is based in any part of the world and you work as a VA according to your local time, there is always a difference in time zones. In this case, you need to adjust your routine or come out of your comfort zone to deliver services on time to the client.
5. Language problem
VA clients are from all over the world, there will be language barriers to reach out to the client and understanding their needs can be a challenge.
6. Payments and currency rate fluctuations
In majority of VA jobs, payments are made in US dollar. So if you are based in any country other than the United States there will be an exchange rate fluctuation in your income that you have to deal with.
7. How to market your skills
Marketing skills is another challenge in VA to Position yourself in the market to get more work. You need to set your website, make a portfolio to showcase your work, be more active on social media to demonstrate your skills and reach out to clients.
8. Pricing your services
As a beginner, you may be confused about how to price your services, but trust me as the time passes and you work on more projects you will have a clear understanding of what services are in demand and how to price them in a more profitable way.
So how to start with if you have no experience in VA?
You might be overwhelmed by the categories in virtual assistant job, there is so much to do. Where to start?
Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through the entire process you need to know to get started.
As I said earlier make a list of skills you already know based on your past work experience and what you have studied or learned. Select your niche or category where you want to work as VA. You should focus on those categories which are in high demand now to build a successful VA career. Just keep in mind even if you don’t have the skills to work in these categories, start learning these skills by joining some online courses or taking training from an expert. It’s not that hard, put that extra effort to learn new skills.
The Final Words
Working as a virtual assistant is one of the easiest way to make money online while staying at home. Whether you are a stay at home mom, introvert person or a student who want to work part time to make some decent income, then consider virtual assistant job as the best option.
VA offers lots of opportunities for beginners to choose the skills where you have strong hands to start your own virtual assistant business. If you are interested in working as a virtual assistant, make sure read my post on step by step process of becoming a virtual assistant.
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