How to Become a Virtual Assistant?
Finding a regular job is not the only way to earn a significant amount of revenue. Today, there are plenty of freelancer jobs available online that are much more flexible. If you have the required set of skills, you can apply and start earning money right away. Often times, people choose a more flexible job because they have a hectic schedule and can’t manage their time so that it suits a nine-to-five job.
If you have other responsibilities, it’s always a good idea to become a virtual assistant. This will grant you the freedom to work whenever you want and in the comfort of your home. Another situation might be that you simply don’t want to spend money on expensive trainings or equipment that other jobs require.
Working from home as a virtual assistant only requires a laptop or PC, some self-learned skills and free time. Moreover, you can start with a small online job and then slowly turn it into a more serious, full-time job. You can actually start a lifelong career from the moment you apply as a virtual assistant; it doesn’t need to be a temporary solution.
What Defines a Virtual Assistant?
Businesses and individuals might need some services while they don’t want to hire anyone to work at their offices. In these cases, hiring someone that works from home online is a great option. It’s beneficial for both sides because the company doesn’t need to pay the fees for a regular worker while you can also cost-effectively work from home, having a flexible schedule.
If we simplify it, being a virtual assistant is basically trading a particular skill you have for money. You can learn a wide set of skills that are of high demand right now among a huge number of businesses. This is mainly because a lot of professionals out there have a lot of work to do and they need a helping hand.
As a virtual assistant, you can even work for multiple employers at once if you feel like you still have some spare time after finishing a task. These jobs also might be on and off jobs, meaning that you might only need to contribute every now and then.
The term “virtual assistant” goes back to 1990, when the Internet became accessible for everyone and it enabled users to send documents to each other. Since then, businesses realized that more and more tasks can be done from home, online and dozens of new freelancer jobs emerged.
What Virtual Assistants Do
The cool thing about being a virtual assistant is that you can do anything that a typical support staff does in a company. The only thing that differs is that you won’t be there physically to work with a team or make a coffee. As a virtual assistant, you will talk with your colleagues and employers mainly through Skype, Viber, or any similar application that allows group chats and webcam usage.
Working as a virtual assistant doesn’t mean that you can only work on documentations and administrative tasks. People start online businesses every day and they often hire web designers and marketing assistants for example. These are also considered as virtual assistants and there are a lot more skills you can learn.
Since there are so many different ways to approach marketing today, the overall marketing of a business can be divided into smaller tasks to increase its effectiveness. Businesses that do this usually hire numerous virtual assistants and each of them is specialized in a different part of marketing, like advertising, email marketing, discounts, campaigns and more.
Or you can be the virtual assistant that works on a wide range of tasks, all within a specific industry. For example, you can become a medical billing data entry clerk that works only for health centers and pharmacies.
Become a One-Man Business
As a virtual assistant, you will have the potential to become a one-man business. If you provide a high-quality service while respecting the deadline every time you get a job, you will have plenty of loyal clients and a consistently high income for sure.
Moreover, you will have the freedom to choose the task you are mostly interested in. Virtual assistants earn $25 per hour on average and you can earn much more if this is the kind of work you truly want to spend your time doing. Also, you will be able to set your own rates depending on the task you are about to accept since you are your own boss.
If you are a beginner virtual assistant, you can always create an account on a freelance website and browse through the jobs that are currently available. This is, of course, only recommended if you don’t have a better idea. Freelancer sites are basically microwork sites and they don’t pay well. However, it’s a good way to practice and kick off your career as a virtual assistant.
How to Start Off as a Virtual Assistant
The great thing about kicking off your own virtual assistant business is that it doesn’t require a big investment. The only investment you need is to buy a laptop or PC if you don’t already have one and Internet access. Nowadays, becoming a virtual assistant is one of the fastest ways you can start earning money while you don’t even need to leave the house.
There are tons of businesses on the Web that need virtual assistants. If you have the required set of skills to start your one-man business, it won’t take long to get your first job and get your career going. Next up, we are going to show you our 5-step guide that will help you become a successful virtual assistant.
The Difference between Employee and Independent Contractor
As an independent contractor, you need to establish an online presence and popularize yourself so that potential clients can find you more easily. You need to build up a client base and work on the tasks they give you at the same time. But if you are an employee, the company you work for constantly directs you to new clients so that you don’t need to spend time and effort on attracting them.
The best thing about being an independent contractor is that there is no one to tell you how much money you can get, what clients you can work with and what types of tasks you can work on. It’s all up to you and you can even create your own schedule when you mostly prefer to work. Also, as an independent contractor, you will get the full price for your work. If you work for a freelancer site or an employer, they will always take a percentage.
On the other hand, being the employee of a company also has its benefits. Before you start your work, the employer will require you to set the time period when you are available for work each day. These will be the only hours that require your focus and to take responsibility. Once you clock out, you are free to do anything else without worrying about business related stuff.
Another benefit of being an employee is that your employer will either find you clients one after another or provide you with a platform where the clients regularly hang out, searching for virtual assistants and you can contact them right away. Companies that hire virtual assistants usually provide lots of support in the form of community, helpful tools, and resources you can use to improve.
Set up Your Own Website
What comes with independency is the need to promote yourself somehow. One of the best ways to do this is to be available online through as many platforms and applications as possible. It is already good if you are present on the most popular social media platforms, since you can add plenty of information there about yourself.
What we recommend is to set up a website as well, since it only displays that you take your work seriously and potential clients will be more likely to choose you. I recommend using BlueHost, for hosting and WordPress for building your website. When people visit your website, you need to make a powerful first impression and welcome them with a catchy phrase. Then continue with explaining them your working process, achievements and the things you are good at.
This way, people can see exactly what they can get from you if they decide to hire you for the job. You can hardly get along as an individual contractor if you don’t have a website. For employed virtual assistants it’s also recommended because it can help them to eventually become self-employed.
Be Available on Social Media
Most online businesses and individuals put their social media contacts on their website in the form of buttons, so that you can easily reach them there. As a virtual assistant, you should always have your own Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram prepared so that potential clients can find you there.
It requires some time and effort to keep your profile updated on at least three social media platforms, but it definitely pays off. It’s important to focus on building relationships, because they are one of the key building blocks of every business.
Social media is invented to make it easier for people to form relationships and contact each other online, so it’s the best method for building up a significant client base without doubt. But rest assured that once you have a few loyal clients, they will suggest your services to others as well and then your career as a virtual assistant will be on a sure track.
As an independent contractor, it’s almost impossible to attract clients without social media and it’s absolutely recommended for employed virtual assistants as well.
Provide Helpful Information
Social media is also a great place to promote your services as a virtual assistant. However, you need to be careful not to post or comment too much because people might consider it spam and you can lose your credibility. Sending emails might also seem like a good idea, but if you send them to people that haven’t even heard about you before, then it won’t work for sure.
Everyone needs to reach out in order to build up a client base and ensure a significant income, but there are other ways to do that. For example, it’s a great idea to focus on providing useful content for free. Many successful websites send out newsletters every now and then that contain useful tips and case studies and people are happy to read them.
Another thing you can do is to start your own blog and post interesting articles so people can see that you are constantly learning and really care about your work. It not only displays that you are a skilled virtual assistant, but also helps attract more visitors to your website who appreciate the information.
Every independent contractor should implement this practice because there is a strong competition among virtual assistants out there.
Build up Your Client Base
You can start your own career as a virtual assistant with little to no investment, but it will take a while before your client base starts to grow. Until then, you will have a flexible schedule and some spare time that you can spend on creating content and building relationships in communities.
Some might think that starting off as a virtual assistant is a full-time job right away. This is also never the case. Just like any other business, it requires you to go step by step until you become the busy virtual assistant you really wanted to be. The point is to stay productive and enthusiastic in the process and you will eventually reach your goal.
It is a common business practice to find the places where you can talk with people about a particular problem you want to solve with your product or service. There is an abundance of communities on the Web where you can find your potential clients as a virtual assistant. By being present there and communicating with people, you can get recognized and it will lead you to a busy work schedule.
Employed virtual assistants and independent contractors both must get involved in these communities. Without forming new relationships, a business can hardly get further.
It Is Time to Get Started
The most difficult part of becoming a virtual assistant is the very first step. You can read countless articles about what virtual assistants do and how to succeed. But after a certain point, you will only learn more about it if you dive right in and get started. Start gaining experience as a virtual assistant and as you climb up the learning curve, you will realize that all the hustle pays off at the end.
Articles and guides might contain lots of information in a nutshell, but there is an even more effective way to learn more about the subject. Reading a book about working as a virtual assistant always gives a deeper insight and more tips you can make use of once you start. Hopefully, this article provided you with the information and encouragement you needed to start your career as a virtual assistant.