A virtual assistant career in Malaysia is quickly becoming popular — and with good reason.
Employees can now work from several places, including but not limited to their homes, cozy coffee shops, and charming coworking spaces.
Since 2016, the number of coworking space users in Malaysia has increased by 200% every year due to the growth of the gig economy and sprouting startups.
Modern employees want to be in control of their time and productivity. They want to report to work and still have a side hustle in the evenings or on weekends.
Still, there are those who find an office desk to be too limiting. They’d prefer to work, play and travel at the same time.
Technology enables global clients to hire virtual assistants in Malaysia. They’re willing to pay much more than the employees in their home country.
As a virtual assistant in Malaysia, you get to choose which industries and projects to work on and determine your work hours.
You can always learn on the job, so you don’t have to be an expert to start, and the internet is packed with online courses to help you improve.
You can earn money from multiple clients instead of depending on one source of income, and you expand your social circle as you network along the way.
So, what should you expect a virtual assistant to earn in Malaysia?
It all depends on the scope of work, industry, experience, and expertise.
There are different kinds of virtual assistants in each industry, and most people start with what they are good at and what they know.
Say, for example, you have five years’ experience in human resources and are looking to branch out of your 9-5. A natural path as a freelancer would be an HR virtual assistance.
You could help a business owner with recruitment processes, payroll, and other human-resource-related tasks.
Basing your virtual assistant business on tasks you enjoy, have experience in and excel at will set you apart from other virtual assistants.
Then you’ll have the confidence to charge more money.
How Much Can I Charge as a Virtual Assistant in Malaysia?
Indeed lists a Malaysian virtual assistant’s monthly salary to be RM2,317.
A beginner virtual assistant can charge as little as RM8 per hour while a specialist virtual assistant commands as much as RM206 per hour on Truelancer.
You can get paid on an hourly, monthly or by project basis. You can also negotiate a fixed amount with your client and agree on a different rate for additional tasks within the project.
Even when you’re starting out, it’s important not to set your rates too low. The money won’t be enough to account for all the effort and time you’ll put into the job.
You could end up demoralized, thinking that freelancing just doesn’t work.
On the other hand, setting too high a rate will intimidate prospects from hiring you.
Determine the lowest amount of money that you’re willing to work for by calculating the following:
- Business expenses such as the internet, coworking space, phone bills and electricity
- Living expenses
- Target monthly income
- How many hours per month you’ll commit to work
Your minimum rate will be:
Expenses + target monthly income/how many hours you’re willing to work per month
Don’t get disappointed by the little income at first. Focus on building a portfolio of regular clients, deliver amazing results and soon enough the experience will yield a higher rate.
In the beginning, the lure of more money may make you want to take on more projects than you should. Learn when to say no to more work.
You only have 24 hours in a day and a work-life balance is important for you to experience long-term job satisfaction and productivity.
Working as a virtual assistant means that you won’t enjoy the perks of an employee such as insurance and retirement benefits.
Put a retirement plan in place and save as much money as you can because freelance work is not always readily available, especially during the early stages.
Are you wondering how you can start attracting high paying clients? This virtual assistant salary guide may have some solid answers.
First, make sure you’re certified by taking up a relevant course.
Learning new skills will require commitment and time, so minimize distractions and set up milestones to measure your progress.
Second, create a resume that clearly outlines your experience and qualifications, and then list it on a credible job board.
Finally, reach out to your networks, let them know you’re ready to be hired and join a supportive group of Malaysian virtual assistants.
What Does a Virtual Assistant in Malaysia Do?
A virtual assistant takes up the time-consuming tasks that a business owner would rather not do.
Think event planning, social media management, client relations, writing and proofreading documents, bookkeeping and market research.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all job description for a virtual assistant. It depends on what the client needs to be done so they can focus on larger company goals.
A general virtual assistant may be expected to fulfill these responsibilities:
- Running personal errands, such as grocery shopping
- Flight booking and preparing travel itineraries
- Preparing Powerpoint presentations
- Scheduling meetings and managing the client’s inbox
- Data entry using database management software
- Chat support
- Managing inventory
A specialist virtual assistant is usually more experienced and knowledgeable in their role, which may involve:
- Web design and management
- Writing well-researched content for the client’s blog and social media channels
- Search engine optimization
- Interviewing job candidates and running background checks
- Payroll management
- Generating leads
- Audio and video production
A virtual assistant’s tools of the trade typically include a home office, a laptop with installed antivirus, comfortable office furniture, high-speed internet and a phone with voicemail.
Types of Virtual Assistants You’ll Find in Malaysia
These virtual assistants develop and execute marketing strategies for the client. They include content writers, graphic designers, web developers, web designers, app developers, SEO specialists, social media managers, PR professionals, and email marketing experts.
Human Resources VA
An HR virtual assistant helps business owners to hire and onboard employees, enforce HR policies, conduct performance appraisals and manage the staff database.
Customer Service VA
Customer service VAs engage with the client’s customers, answering their questions in real-time and escalating any issues to inhouse employees. They also upsell the client’s products and services, ensure customer satisfaction and manage CRMs.
Legal virtual assistants work for law firms where they transcribe court proceedings, manage databases and case files, and perform research and administrative tasks.
These are common virtual assistants, and they’re hired to ensure smooth business operations. They use their writing expertise to prepare presentations, research, and correspondence for the client. They also manage the client’s inbox and calendar and perform other tasks that free up their client’s time.
How Can I Become a Virtual Assistant in Malaysia?
You can either go all-in or gradually work on your business until you have a solid clientele.
Full-Time Virtual Assistant
Your virtual assistant business will be your only source of income. You’ll work when and how you want and negotiate payment with your clients.
Unlike a 9-5 job, you’ll keep all the money you make and have as many clients as you wish.
Part-Time Virtual Assistant
While this will result in a double income, your side hustle will suffer because you’ll spend your most productive hours at your day job.
This strategy may not be sustainable since it adversely affects your work-life balance. Only take this approach if you’re planning to go full-time in the near future
If your employer already knows that you plan to move on, ask them if they’d be willing to outsource their tasks to you when you set up your virtual assistant business.
Establish an online presence by updating your Linkedin profile and listing your services on job boards and freelance platforms in Malaysia.
Upwork, Favser.com and Truelancer can get you started as well as virtual assistant groups on Facebook.
The trick is to spread your net wide enough so you can increase your chances of getting hired as soon as possible.