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Are you sick and tired of your current career?

Have you thought about joining the business owners club, starting your very own virtual assistants business? Imagine finding clients and putting up an assistant job because you’re on demand.

The right kind of business makes a difference. A virtual assistant job could be the right fit for you.

In the wake of increased online activity,  you might as well make money from spending a lot of time browsing your favorite website.

Huge companies want to meet their clients’ needs in the best way.  But they don’t always have the time. So they need your customer service expertise. Keep their existing clients engaged when they’re out looking for potential clients.

Not only that but they also need a backlog of company-specific tasks done along with sometimes managing their website.

So business owners are looking for virtual assistants like you so their business stays afloat. They need to know they can trust you to handle what feels like grunt work. But get this, payment per hour means your retirement plan is closer than you think.

Do you want a work from home job? Be your own boss? Control your time and health? Becoming a virtual assistant is a sure-fire way that you can meet this goal.

Would you like to make money and afford your dream vacation (the one that’s been sitting on your bucket list forever)? Working from home is the best way to become a globetrotting freelancer.

You work from anywhere in the world. Something many people only dream of – that’s an upgrade!

No more delay. Virtual assistants jobs are the way to go. Don’t know where to start? Stick with us and we’ll teach you everything about becoming a va.

We’ll give you the tools and courage you need to become a successful virtual assistant. And at last, live your dream life.

But before we get into the va business, you need a few basics under your belt.

Who Is a Virtual Assistant?

young woman busy working on her laptop

Before you learn how to become a virtual assistant, you need an understanding of who a virtual assistant is.

Quite simply, a virtual assistant is someone who helps an online business manage their everyday tasks.

Think of it as a personal assistant or secretary, only that this time tasks are done online and not offline.

This virtual profession can be part-time or full-time work. 

Demand for Virtual Assistants Is Sky High

Perhaps you’re wondering if there’s a demand for virtual assistant services?

The answer is – YES.

Reality is company owners are getting busier by the day. They don’t have much time nor energy to do everything they want or need done. So becoming a va is the best thing you can do.

Don’t just take it from us. Jack Kalish, an international recruiter has much to say on this:

“Innovation organizations would now be able to help undertakings use the information to tailor-make crusades for clients. Gone will be the days when information was in storehouses and the clients were treated as a major aspect of the entire business. Today, the clients can be made to feel extraordinary in spite of the fact that they will – very quietly – still remain some portion of an entire as enterprises will concentrate on new customized crusades to expand top lines and main concerns. Such crusades will be activated by VPAs, AI-fueled programming, which connects into the CRM the BFSI and retail situations, and Hospital Information Systems. VPAs are being steered in a few ventures.”

These virtual assistants help retailers strengthen loyalty with customized crusades. They also help store chiefs make proposals to customers at the path.

Some of the industries in need of virtual assistants according to Jack are:

  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Healthcare
  • Banks

There has never been a greater time to become a virtual assistant. Expertise in any one of these types of business could position you amongst other potential clients. Which could eventually snowball into a lucrative va business for you.

You may be wondering what services you can offer. You’d be surprised at how much becoming a virtual assistant is engaging.

Keep reading and discover the full range of virtual assistant services. By the time you’re done, you’ll want to work in assistant jobs for a change.

(It’s relatively easy work. So, don’t get scared).

What Are The Different Types of Virtual Assistant Specialization?

Chances are you may have asked yourself this question. Therefore, we’ll break the virtual assistant tasks into categories so that it is easier for you to follow.

So check this out:

eCommerce Virtual Assistant

As an eCommerce virtual assistant, you’ll ease the burden off eCommerce business owners and help them outgrow their competitors.

You’ll be offering services like:

With all these demanding skills, what is the best way to make sure you become a competent eCommerce virtual assistant for clients?

Small Revolution School offers eCommerce virtual assistant training and many other online courses. Once you start working in virtual assistant jobs, potential clients will be seeking out your va business in droves.

Let’s consider other roles.

Virtual Administrative Assistant

As a virtual administrative assistant, you’ll mainly handle administrative tasks. For example, you may have to manage contact lists, handle billing, accounting, basic HR tasks, among others.

Here’s a list of the core tasks:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Travel arrangement
  • Schedule management
  • Customer management
  • Manage emails and telephone calls
  • Keep up with the latest industry trends
  • Manage a contact list in CRM
  • Manage calendar and set up meetings
  • Format and manage documents

Social Media Virtual Assistant

As a social media virtual assistant, you’ll mainly handle social media marketing tasks for clients.

And they include:

Real Estate Virtual Assistant

real estate

You’ll complete various real estate tasks including paperwork preparation, filing, responding to emails, scheduling meetings, and much more.

Keep reading for the tasks outline:

  • Manage calendar
  • Set up meetings
  • Manage database
  • Make & run email campaigns
  • Respond to email inquiries
  • Follow up with prospective renters & buyers
  • Compile morning reports with information received
  • Perform property research and prepare property reports
  • Write blogs & articles for content marketing on the company website
  • Run social media campaigns for the real estate website
  • Real estate data scraping using various classifieds software on websites including Craigslist, Backpage, Oodle, & eBay
  • Post adverts on websites such as Craigslist, Zillow, RentLinx, among others.
  • Send introductory messages to potential renters plus appropriate listings based on their requirements
  • Do phone and email follow-ups with parties involved in the closing process such as the home inspector and the home appraiser

Virtual Research Assistant

man writing

If you’re already way ahead in your Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge, then this is the right job for you.

As a virtual research assistant, you get exposed to various fields that you need to quickly get informed on. Over time, you can develop a niche and earn more for your expertise.

Your work will include services like:

  • Compile research data
  • Promote competitive intelligence
  • Search for guest blogging opportunities
  • Search for important business-specific statistics
  • Identify growth opportunities for your business
  • Compare prices to determine the right vendor
  • Present the researched data simple, clear & concise format
  • Search for credible sites for accurate information based on your needs

Data Entry Virtual Assistant

As the role suggests, you’ll be doing data entry tasks. You’ll be required to accurately input data.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the tasks:

  • Review data for accuracy
  • Prepare, compile, and sort the data for entry
  • Keep a track record of your activities and tasks
  • Generate reports and enter data into the CRM system
  • Perform data management – update data and delete unnecessary files

Virtual Bookkeeping Assistant

woman using a calculator

Any business small or big needs bookkeeping – it’s the backbone of a business. And that’s where you come in. 

If you want to work as a virtual assistant in this field you need to know software like Xero, NetSuite, QuickBooks, etc.

Your daily work may include services like:

  • Payroll processing
  • Inventory management
  • Manage revenue expenditure
  • Excel bookkeeping
  • Bank and credit card reconciliation
  • Budgeting and year-end bookkeeping
  • Project cash flow and account reconciliation
  • QuickBooks and Sage 50 accounts management
  • Follow through record keeping and bookkeeping procedures

Virtual Marketing Assistant

You’ll help the business owner to streamline his marketing efforts. This can be achieved through tactics like email marketing, Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, etc

Let’s dig a little deeper on the tasks:

  • Social media marketing
  • Conduct keyword research
  • Create and run AdWord campaigns
  • Promote blog post on the company website
  • Develop fresh innovative content for all social media channels
  • Research and identify new business leads in your domain
  • Manage and set up mail merges using YesWare for Gmail

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant?

As a virtual assistant, there are some qualities that may make or break your va business. Although they may be interpersonal skills, they determine whether you turn into a virtual assistant who experiences longevity.

Here’s the list of those desirable qualities:

  • Good communication both verbally and in written form
  • Resourceful (for lack of a better word, don’t be thick)
  • Manage expectations and instill confidence
  • work independently without supervision
  • Be resilient/thick-skinned. This is not for the faint-hearted.
  • Be versatile and flexible enough to adapt to any changes
  • Be understanding / empathetic / tolerant / patient
  • Make sure you’re reliable, dependable, and consistent
  • Add real value to your client’s business
  • Manage your time wisely
  • Be confident
  • Be organized
  • Be trustworthy/honest
  • Be professional
  • Be accessible
  • Be approachable
  • Be a problem solver
  • Be self-motivated
  • Be proactive

Many people can’t help but take these qualities for granted. Implement them is a great way to set yourself apart from the rest.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

person meeting

There’s no secret to attain your dream as a successful virtual assistant.

Just get started!

Keep things as simple as you possibly can.

But most importantly, take action. Remember, the end goal is to advertise and pitch your services as soon as possible.

Your top priority is to acquire clients and generate maximum revenue for your va business. Payment per hour is definitely a good way to go.

So, what are the simple steps you need to take your services to the next level?

Step 1: Select Your Business Formation

There’s no one size fits all advice on choosing your business formation. Your criteria may look like:

  • Your own risk tolerance
  • The physical location of your business
  • The type of clients you’ll be doing business with
  • The virtual assistant role you’ll be undertaking
  • The business setups available within your location
  • Your personal situation such as spouse, family, children, and liabilities

Also, decide if you’re going to operate as a sole proprietor or a limited liability company.

Paying taxes is an aspect you’ll also need to consider from the onset in this line of work.

Step 2: Determine Services You’ll Offer Your Clientele

The truth is: there’s more to being a virtual assistant than just checking emails, managing a client’s calendar, and attending to phone calls.

Therefore, it’s crucial that you decide on the type of services you’re capable of offering. (We’ve covered an extensive list of virtual assistant roles in this post)

In case you’re unsure of where to get started, first try out the tasks that interest you. And keep trying until you find what works for you.

Don’t just stop there. Get new skills to increase the value of your work in a pool of other virtual assistants.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Re-read the list of virtual assistant roles mentioned in this post
  • Seriously think about the virtual assistant duties you can relieve your clients from
  • Select about three ideas that you are comfortable to work on.

And then….

Get started already! That’s all that really matters.

After you land a client, you’ll have to decide on the payment method. Do you opt for payment per hour or a retainer fee?

Step 3: Establish Your Pricing Format

Think about these for a moment:

  • How much money can a virtual assistant get in an hour?
  • What’s the right amount of payment to charge for the services you choose to offer?
  • How much is sufficient? (not too little and not too much)

The answer mostly varies.

It all boils down to your role, the skills you possess, and your work experience.

Therefore, can you easily determine your rate and the pay worth your time and effort?

There’s much to be said about this…

If you decide on an hourly rate, you’re trading your time for money. And that means you have to consider several important aspects including:

  • You’re a subcontractor. Therefore, you need to factor in the tax regulations. For example, in the US, you’ll have to pay self-employment tax which means double tax payments as employee and employer.
  • You won’t be entitled to benefits (exceptions are rare). That means you aren’t entitled to sick days, health insurance, paid vacation, or retirement benefits.
  • There’ll be overhead costs to be paid. Think of website hosting, incurred office expenses, software subscriptions, electricity, and more.

In view of the above facts, you can’t even begin to compare your virtual assistant rate with your regular day job rate.

Do this:

Take whatever wage you think is appropriate for your take-home pay and mark it up by at least 25%.

A majority of employers will figure out that you need to meet those expenses. And if they ask for a breakdown of the expenses, then be sure to provide one.

Remember, the business owners also enjoy some perks when contracting a freelance virtual assistant in place of an employee doing either part-time or full-time work.

For instance, they don’t incur costs associated with taking in and training new employees. They also don’t incur many other costs and added obligations that come with hiring a new employee.

In a nutshell, try to quote a slightly higher figure than what pops in your head at first. You know the value of the services you offer. Always remember your worth.

Don’t be tempted to charge low figures to get work. In the long-term, you won’t be happy. Neither will your employer.

We highly recommend that you get more insights from our latest VA Salary Guide.

Step 4: Create a Helpful Online Presence

To become a successful online worker, while providing virtual services, you need to establish an online presence.

The two basics you need are a website and social media presence. A combination of these two will make it insanely easy for you to promote your services to suitable clients.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. Start simple.

A basic website explaining a bit about yourself and the services you offer will enhance your business growth.

We recommend you use WordPress plus a custom theme for your website.

For your social media channel, be where your clients are. It saves you the hustle of juggling multiple social media platforms.

Also, consider setting up accounts on social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Make good use of these social media platforms to foster long-term relationships. Don’t get tempted to jump into self-promotion. Instead, help then let the relationships grow organically.

Step 5: Pitch and Network for New Clients

Your client base will grow exponentially. The growth process depends on four ingredients:

  • Experience
  • Exposure
  • Confidence
  • Time

With these four ingredients, then your growth process gets easier. But you need to consistently and actively work towards building your business.

So, how do you find your first few clients?

Here’s a simple procedure you can follow to help you find virtual assistant employers.

Find the Perfect Clients

Have a target market in mind for your work.

Firstly, figure out what kind of businesses and markets interest you. Then, ask yourself where you can find them.

That’s how you single out perfect prospects. And it doesn’t have to be a specific large-scale industry. It may simply be a college professor in need of some help according to Helen Watson, the manager of a travel business:

“I don’t think there is a specific Industry. Even if you don’t have a business you may need help from a virtual assistant. I have a friend and she’s a professor. She hired two virtual assistants for help with some research and checking examination papers or reflection papers.”

Here are some attributes to help you determine an attractive and ideal client:

  1. Are they running profitable businesses?
  2. Do their businesses need help?
  3. Have they hired VAs there before?

Gradually Grow Relationships With Prospective Clients.

Cold pitching is a great way to land clients fast. But even better, you can build strong relationships and consequently land your best clients. But it takes time.

There are many ways to cultivate a strong relationship like:

  • Seek their feedback to help you better your services.
  • Keep them a top priority by responding promptly.
  • Have casual conversations instead of sales pitches.
  • Be genuine, they can smell a fake.
  • Be patient, strong relationships are not built overnight.
  • Maintain the relationship even after. Keep in touch.
  • Find things you have in common and develop a bond around them.
  • Pay attention to what they have to say and ask questions instead of talking the whole time.
  • Add value in the form of a solution, a fresh perspective, share things that may interest them, etc.

Pitch New Prospects Daily

The truth is you’ve just launched your business. Therefore, nobody knows much about what you do!

So if you want work, you better look for it.

Start pitching consistently until you get a constant flow of referrals.

And since you are starting out, you need to pitch on a daily basis. Let it be the first thing you do every day.

Always be marketing.

Read on for some of the ways to market your wares as a virtual assistant

  • Make your own Virtual Assistant Facebook Page that links to your personal website.
  • Attend local business meetings and events. Tell people about the services you offer.
  • Join different Linkedin groups and Virtual Assistant Facebook Groups. Mainly to meet other virtual assistants and trade information.
  • Print a Media Kit. Drop it into local businesses.
  • Request reviews from former happy customers.

Offer a Trial Period

Offer a short paid trial period to a potential client to help you test the waters before committing long-term.

Use this time when there isn’t much at stake to assess your compatibility.

You’ll better determine if you can work well together. And pick out risks like delayed payments and miscommunication.

Truthfully, your client doesn’t know what to expect. And fair enough, neither do you.

A paid trial is the best solution for managing these anxieties.

Check In Early and Consistently

When it comes to online work, communication is crucial. Therefore set a regular schedule and check in on your clients and ensure that their needs are being met.

There are so many communication tools like Loom that you can use to your advantage.

While at it, take note of the varying time zones and determine the best time to communicate.

Position Yourself as Irreplaceable

You got an ideal client. And you want to position yourself an irreplaceable virtual assistant. So they keep you for the long-term.

What’s the magic formula?

The answer is simple: Provide stellar services as much as possible. Become an invaluable part of their business.

The answer may vary with each client. But here’s an example:

If you’re working with a solopreneur like a YouTuber, they’re most likely juggling multiple tasks. They work long hours, have little personal time and make even less time for family.

Find a way: take some of the time-consuming tasks off their plate, identify and suggest solutions for production bottlenecks, and help them regain more of their weekend time, you’ll be valuable. (Unlike someone who is merely exchanging a few hours of time for money).

How Do I Become a Virtual Assistant with No Experience?

So you have a laptop, a good internet connection and an endless supply of coffee. Well, so does everyone else watching Netflix.

There are reputable schools like Small Revolution where you can learn how to become a virtual assistant. But establishing a remote career in the assistant virtual space isn’t rocket science.

There are the minimum requirements you need for seamless work throughout the day.

Therefore, consider the following for your office arsenal:

  • Good typing
  • Reliable computer
  • Relevant Insurance
  • Excellent English grammar skills
  • Good administration skills
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Cloud storage; Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
  • An email address that you check regularly
  • Colour printer (depends on your work)
  • Word processing program; Microsoft Word, G-Suite, etc
  • Spreadsheet program; Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, etc
  • Ability to use multiple computer programs
  • Business Cards with your contact details; email address, phone number, Skype, and social media handles

Benefits of Virtual Assistant Work

In case you’re worried about a shortage of work, Tim Ferriss is here to put your mind at ease. In his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, he vouches for the benefits of outsourcing work to virtual assistants. He believes, 

“Becoming a member of the new rich is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.”

This 2020 report by Intuit, the next decade spells success for people working online:

  • The number of contingent employees will increase worldwide. In the US alone, contingent workers will exceed 40 percent of the workforce by 2020.
  • Traditional full-time, full-benefit jobs will be harder to find
  • Small businesses will develop their own collaborative networks of contingent workers, minimizing fixed labor costs and expanding available talent pool.
  • Self-employment, personal and micro-business numbers will increase.
  • Government will misclassify workers, creating a major issue for businesses of all sizes, especially in the first half of the decade.

Source: Intuit 2020 Report

Facts about Virtual Assistance

So get ahead of the pack. Take advantage of the many benefits that come with virtual assistant jobs.

Productivity

It turns out that you don’t need to be at your desk working all day long.

In one study respondents answered the question, “If you had to state a figure, how long do you think you spend productively working during work hours on a daily basis?”

Many respondents revealed that they believed they’re only productive for 2 hours 53 minutes in a day.

Imagine that! This is music to freelancers’ ears. 

As a remote worker, it’s easy to feel like you’re not producing as much output as an office worker.

But this research disproves the age-old notion that staring at your screen eight hours a day makes you the hardest worker in the room. 

Knock out your daily tasks just as easily within those for almost three hours and produce some of your best work.

And this effect often goes beyond what virtual assistants do; working in pajamas seems to bring out the very best in remote workers in general. 

This could easily be attributed to the sense of comfort and peace they feel when tackling their tasks. With no one looking over their shoulder, they get to be their own boss.

A Stanford University study followed 500 employees of Ctrip, a Chinese travel agency. The participants were divided into two groups with one maintaining their routine office work while the other took the work party home.

Nine months of this study provided some valuable insights into worker attrition. 35% of the office lot resigned in comparison to 17% lost from the remote workgroup. 

Any business owner who understands the costs of hiring and onboarding new employees can immediately see the benefits of hiring VAs online.

In the same study, researchers also measured the productivity and efficiency of the two groups. They achieved this by primarily looking at the number of minutes worked per shift and the number of calls completed per minute. 

Not surprisingly, the remote employees took fewer sick days and fewer breaks. This led to an impressive 13% increase in their productivity compared to their office-bound colleagues.

In the end, Ctrip made remote work a voluntary option for all 16,000 of their employees. It makes sense that a little more than half of them went for the offer. To their employer’s delight, the total boost in productivity shot up to 22%!

As the Harvard Business Review notes when quoting Nicholas Bloom, that means “that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them.”

Imagine how many companies are looking to get rid of an extra workday. Your expertise is the solution they’ve been looking for.

Better Physical and Mental Health

Despite ongoing efforts by most companies and the government to provide more conducive work environments, this report by Intuit paints a grim picture for the future of health.

The Intuit study also reveals that over the next decade:

  • U.S healthcare spending will increase from about 16% of GDP to nearly 20 percent by 2020
  • The market for treatment of “wealth” diseases, such as obesity and Type 2 Diabetes and will grow as countries around the globe develop more affluence.
  • Medicare and other national healthcare programs will stress government as populations increase and expectations for effective treatments rise.

Source: Intuit 2020 Report

These insights are attributed to health-intensive populations and a growing focus on consumer wellness.

Take charge of your well-being way before you are conflated with another statistic. Turn toward virtual assistant ideals with a flexible work schedule that allows you to work anywhere you feel most comfortable.

This table reveals that employees who work in an office suffer more workplace stress than those who work from the comfort of their homes

Office Style
% who feel anxious/stressed because of work
Cubicle style
37%
Open plan
32%
Private office
31%
Work from home
17%

Source: Canada Life

And while there’s a need for human contact, it’s easier to schedule work dates with other remote workers in shared workspaces or a change of scenery in a coffee shop.

Is It Easy to Be a Virtual Assistant?

In this day and age? Becoming a virtual assistant has never been easier! And this article proves it.

We’ve given you all the 411 here so now it’s your turn to put into action.

Start by looking for credible websites that offer virtual assistant jobs and submit your glowing applications.

Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work and compiled a comprehensive list of these websites.

Best of all, get certified training at Small Revolution School. Attain a professional-level education on the go.

Photo courtesy of uihere

Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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