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You know what it means to become a Virtual Assistant– you’ve probably worked as one for a few months. 

The question is: how do you earn a salary that demands respect, even from your mother? 

Mothers are notoriously hard to please…

Mark Twain's Mother

Ready for the challenge? In this article, you will learn how to:

  1. Develop topnotch VA qualities.
  2. Learn like a pro.
  3. Make a stellar impression.
  4. Command your rates.

Let’s begin!  

1. Develop Topnotch VA Qualities

There are many differences between an amateur and a professional virtual assistant, but only one gets paid top dollar.

There are basic qualities that every VA should possess, like resourcefulness, reliability, and the ability to deliver under pressure. 

In this article, we want to encourage you to go beyond the expected and nurture the qualities essential for a highly-sought-after professional VA.

Consider the following:

  1. Choose the path of constant development and high-level performance. Professional VAs are always thinking: “How can I hit a home run 9 times out of 10?” 
  2. Understand your circles of competence, as Warren Buffet says, and double down on those areas. What are you great at?
  3. Be a voracious learner and endlessly curious about the many facets of your industry.
  4. Accept constructive criticism as an opportunity for improvement, not a personal attack. 
  5. Be a deep, deliberate thinker. Plan and anticipate systems, outcomes, and consequences for your employers. 
  6. Be decisive and take responsibility for your actions
  7. Most importantly, show up. Every single day. 

2. Learn Like a Pro

Most virtual assistants are jacks-of-all-trades, and that’s great. They can work in sales, accounting, content management, customer service, and a number of other departments. 

If you want to be the cream of the crop, however, you’ve got to rise above the generalists. Become so good at what you do that the best clients come looking for you. 


A word of caution: with all the ‘knowledge’ scattered around the Internet, separating the wheat from the chaff is a necessary skill of the 21st Century.

Follow these steps:

  1. Decide which VA skills you want to conquer- what skills are clients willing to pay top dollar for?
  2. Commit to a structured learning schedule, complete with goals and milestones.
  3. Choose a credible and stimulating learning path for yourself, using mentors and teachers with proven track records. 
  4. Get certified; it looks really good on your resume and it’s the fastest way to prove your competence.

3. Make a Stellar Impression

This is a chance to put your marketing skills to good use. 

It’s not enough to be great at what you do. If nobody knows, likes, or trusts you, the outcome will be zilch. 

You have three major tools at your disposal: a resume, online profiles, and job boards. 


The first rule of marketing is to identify a clear target market

You don’t have to impress everyone- just the clients you want. What does your target market care about? Experience? Specialized training?

Put yourself in their shoes and pinpoint areas in your resume to beef up and areas that you could cut out.

What are your measurable skills? Can you speak any foreign languages? Are you an Excel wizard? Perhaps you’re very organized with a proven record of project management? Take stock and list accordingly. 

Use powerful, specific language in your descriptions. If you increased lead generation on a previous client’s website by 30%, claim it. Don’t be vague. 

Finally, ensure that your resume is both scannable and visually appealing. Your future client should be able to pick it up and get the gist of who you are as a VA within seconds. 

Learn more about writing a resume that sticks out and gets you that high-paying VA job. 

Online Profiles

Do you have a professional email address, LinkedIn, Skype, and other communication profiles?

Your online profiles serve as an indicator of culture and personality fit that employers and organizations look for. In the world of online networking, it’s the equivalent of your curb appeal or a perfect introduction.

Create an edge over your competition by doing the following:

  • Focus on all the great things about you: skills, accomplishments, certifications, etc. (but be careful not to oversell).
  • Use keywords relevant to your industry. 
  • Write headlines and opening summaries that speak directly to the needs of the target market.
  • Avoid tired, used cliches. Everyone skims those. 

Follow this rule: If you don’t want a potential employer to see it, don’t post it. Veer towards healthy, community-oriented posts like playing sports, traveling, books, family, etc. 

Job Boards

Professional resume and online profiles ready to go? Time to create more visibility and look for opportunities.

Online job boards are platforms where a large majority of job advertising happens. Employers advertise their vacant positions and job seekers submit their applications directly. 

Looking for a high-paying VA job? Start here.

4. Command Your Rates

So here’s the big question: what do you charge? Setting your rates and working conditions is critical. 

Let’s break it down: 

  1. What income do you want to earn as a VA? Putting a number on it makes it a goal. Consult this 2019 guide on a Virtual Assistant’s salary for a ballpark range.
  2. How much time are you willing to commit to VA work? In the beginning, you’ll have to put in a lot of time and hustle to get there. Think early mornings, late nights, and countless cups of coffee.

Let’s say you want to earn $8,000 a month for 160 billable hours: $8000/160 hours = $50 per hour. Do you see how this works?

If you want to work fewer hours, your value as a VA also needs to make the cut. A high paying VA is totally possible if the equation balances for your employer, too. 

Bonus Tip: If you’re uncomfortable about charging a high rate, start small and raise your rate by 10% with each new client. It will give your skills and rates a chance to grow together. 

Do you see how investing in yourself is a top priority? Join a thriving community of online trailblazers and work your way to the top. Start today! 

Photo by Freepik / CC BY


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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