How to Become a Virtual Assistant Even If You Are a Beginner

by Deepak

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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 comprised 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 the 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 side being a virtual assistant while working on your full-time job.

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 and the virtual assistant services you can offer.

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, the internet has made it possible to work from home using 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 that 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 virtual assistants services for the following remote jobs:

  • Email management
  • Answering calls
  • Data entry
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Technical support
  • Bookkeeping
  • Web developer
  • Search engine optimization
  • Market research
  • Social media management
  • Content writing, editing & proofreading
  • Graphic designing
  • Blog management
  • Transcription
  • 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 quality. The benefits of taking the help of a 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 a lot of employee benefits costs.
  • They don’t need to lease/rent a huge office space to keep extra employees.
  • Saving resources like electricity and internet costs.
  • Flexibility to increase or reduce manpower based on workflow.

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, it 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 assistants can be based in any country 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 analyze 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 the office, etc.

Even if you don’t have any previous work experience, analyze your education to see 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 the basic answers to questions related to your work.

2. Good communication skills – You should be good at answering calls, responding to 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 a word processor, excel, presentations, Photoshop, and email.

4. Data entry skills – Which includes your typing skills, creating a database, 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 the 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 the 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 the client which is beyond the scope of your service agreement.


How much a VA can earn?

Well, it depends upon which segment of the virtual assistant’s job you are working on. In the United States on 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 in the virtual assistant field which is a drag on your pricing. But there is always scope to command a premium over others by gaining experience, learning new skills and the quality of work you do.

For virtual assistants 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.

An 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 the internet.

Google Apps – Google apps offer 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 client.

Google Docs – Google docs has the same documents as Microsoft office for free and easy to share.

Google Calendar – Very helpful in keeping key dates of meetings, 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 very useful tool to communicate with the client and co-workers. You can text chat, face to face conversation, share screen, share documents and images.

Buffer – Buffer is a browser extension that allows you to share content on various social media platforms in 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 the full password.

Related Post: 22+ Virtual Assistant Services in great demand

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 a key component of data entry management. VA can do tasks like:

  • Maintaining records and databases
  • Bookkeeping
  • 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 support or phone calls
  • Processing orders
  • Inbound marketing calls
  • Problem-solving or 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 tasks from content creation to graphics and social sharing. There is plenty of opportunities for VA to work in blog management.

  • Research on a blog topic
  • 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 a virtual assistant are:

1. Fiverr – Fiverr is the largest marketplace to offer your virtual assistant services. You can offer any services like data entry, web development, proofreading, social media management, bookkeeping, etc. Here you can also see prices of other VA, it will help you to decide to price for your services.

2. OkayRelax LLC –  OkayRelax LLC is a US-based VA firm specializes in personal tasks like market research, email, customer support, travel planning followup, administrative and data entry works.

3. Task Bullet – Task bullet is a Philippines based VA firm that offers services like data entry, marketing, social media, web developers, and administrative works.

4. Hubstaff talent – A US-based staff monitoring firm specializes in marketing, content writing, web development, computer IT support, graphic design, and blog support services.

5. Ossisto – Ossisto provides virtual assistants in all English speaking countries such as the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. They specialize in bookkeeping, IT, digital marketing, graphic designing, and content writing.

6. Belay Solutions Belay solutions is a US-based virtual assistant company specializes in web services, content writing, and bookkeeping.

7. Fancy hands Fancy hands is a US-based VA company which specializes in the phone call and email management, scheduling, planning tasks.

8. Get Friday Get Friday is an India based VA firm specializes in customer support, sales, and marketing.

9. Boldly (Wordwide101) – Wordwide101 is a top-rated VA company for businesses offering customer service, project management, bookkeeping, writing, and editing services. It has changed its name to Boldly.

10. Time Etc Time etc offers virtual assistant services in data entry, social media management, content writing, and phone call management

There are lots of other virtual assistant companies that 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 is the fellow VA’s who are competing for the same task, as a result, the client has many options to get work done at a 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.

3. Loneliness

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 in 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 the majority of VA jobs, payments are made in the 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 are 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 a 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, but that extra effort to learn new skills.


Start Now!

Now it is the best time to start your VA journey. Don’t waste your precious time thinking about how to start your virtual assistant career. Take action now!

You can start your virtual assistant business in the next 30 days using your existing skills. For beginners who wants to be a virtual assistant, the best suggestion would be to learn everything from an industry expert.

I’m talking about Gina from Horkey Handbook. She has been helping people to start their virtual assistant career with her courses since 2014. I recommend joining her 30 days virtual assistant success course.

In this course, you’ll learn step by step process – how to start, legal aspects, skills, pricing, how to pitch a client, how to interview & get selected and setting your VA website through detailed video lessons, templates, and worksheets.


The Final Words

Working as a virtual assistant is one of the easiest ways to make money online while staying at home. Whether you are a stay at home mom, introvert person or a student who wants to work part-time to make some decent income, then consider a 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 to read my post on step by step process of becoming a virtual assistant.

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8 comments

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8 comments

Padee February 15, 2019 - 7:02 pm

Thanks for sharing! You thoroughly explained some of the basic questions that someone like would be curious about if we are new to the idea of a virtual assistant.

Reply
Sarah February 25, 2019 - 7:24 am

Thanks for visiting and your kind words.

Reply
24Task April 19, 2019 - 8:12 am

Your blog is really a well-explained piece of information about virtual assistant even beginner. Working with a virtual assistant can completely change the way that you – and your business – operate.
It can help you to save money, it can help you to save time – and best of all, it can help you to outsource specialized work to people who have a wealth of experience so that your business benefits.

Reply
Sarah April 26, 2019 - 6:10 am

Thank you for visiting the post. Indeed working as a virtual assistant is win-win for business and people.

Reply
Amelia Ribeiro August 14, 2019 - 11:56 am

Thank you for this post it was very insightful . You detailed all of my concerns on starting out with the business and cleared them, making it easy to follow this path.

Reply
John Signe September 4, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Great read! I found it so helpful and it gave me so many insights! Thanks for sharing this.

Reply
Deepak September 6, 2019 - 6:27 am

Thanks for your kind words….. cheers:)

Reply
May April Delantar April 24, 2020 - 1:40 pm

Thank you for sharing. This is a good read. I too am a beginner and since I don’t have the skills to work in these categories yet, I am starting to learn these skills by joining the online courses in fva consultancy.

It’s true the competition is tough in freelancing and I believe if I train more skills then hopefully someday I will make it big.

Reply

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