Learn how to start working as a virtual assistant in 5 easy steps! Make money working from home while you stay home with your kids.
If you’ve scoured the internet looking for online jobs, it’s very likely you’ve spotted some chatter about being a virtual assistant. In my post today, I’m going to break down exactly what virtual assistants do, and the basic steps you can take to become one.
This is no cookie-cutter article here–I’m going to walk you through the basics step by step. So grab your cup of coffee and notebook and let us begin!
What is a virtual assistant?
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A virtual assistant–or “VA”– is someone who provides remote, services to businesses or entrepreneurs. Don’t let the word “assistant” throw you off though—while some VA’s can take on general admin tasks, the scope of work can go far beyond that.
Here are just a few services that some VA’s are currently offering:
- Social media management
- Graphic design
- Facebook Ad management
- Email marketing
- Web design
- Webinar set up
- SEO optimization
- Video editing
You don’t really need a specialized skill like marketing or design to jump-start your VA career, but having one or two can really set you apart from the competition. If you don’t have these skills yet, you can get started by offering general administrative services like:
- Data entry
- Answering emails
- Customer support
- Calendar management
- Scheduling appointments
- Booking travel
- Audio transcription
Whether you are offering a specialized skill or general admin services, the key to being a successful VA is offering the best service possible to your clients.
Don’t get too caught up in what exactly it is you’re doing or feel like you don’t have a lot to offer. You can offer nearly any service, as long as you produce good quality work!
Should I start a virtual assistant business?
There are two paths you can take as a new VA–you can work as a freelancer, or you can start a virtual assistant business.
You should start a VA biz if:
- You plan to do this long-term
- You want to take on multiple clients
- You have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to be your own boss
- You would like to take on many clients and hire subcontractors to work with you
You shouldn’t start a VA biz if:
- You’re testing the waters as a VA
- You only want to do this temporarily
- You only want to take on 1-2 clients and work with them long-term
- You don’t want to start your own company
In this post, I’ll mainly be covering how to get work as a VA. If you’re interested in starting your own service based business and would like to know more about that, please let me know in the comments!
5 Steps To Landing Your First Client
Step #1 Decide what services you can offer and who you will offer them to
Before you start looking for VA jobs, you’ll want to take some time and make a list of skills and services you can offer.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What skills am I naturally good at?
- What services can I offer that use those skills?
- What qualifications do I have from past jobs?
- How can I use those qualifications to serve my clients?
You will also want to think about what types of clients you would want to work with. For example, do you want to work with female business owners? Or do you want to offer services to a specific industry like healthcare, beauty, or finance?
Think about what you have an interest in as well as your past experience to determine the types of clients you can best serve. Once you decide what you’re going to offer and who your ideal client is, this will become your niche.
For my business, I offer several different services including content writing and social media management, however I cater specifically to mompreneurs. My niche is very specific and it works well for me because I have experience in it.
Step #2 Set your rate
Now comes the question–how much should I charge as a virtual assistant? The answer to this will really depend.
Going rates for VA work are broad. Some virtual assistants make as little as $15 per hour, while others up to $65 per hour or more.
What you make depends on your experience and the scope of work you’re going to do. The more you have to offer your clients, the more you can charge.
If you’re just starting out, $20-$25 per hour is a good starting range. Just make sure that whatever it is you’re offering clients, you’re able to deliver! If you have prior work experience that qualifies you for a higher rate, then you should adjust accordingly.
For more info about setting your rates, you can check out this video below where virtual assistant vet Abbey Ashley breaks down her best tips on setting your rates.
Step #3 Create an irresistible portfolio or resume
Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to create a resume or portfolio to show potential clients. Whichever you choose, remember this is how you’re going to sell yourself! You’ll want to include any relevant projects, work history, and skills that you have.
If you use a resume, you may need to provide additional documents like writing samples, showing the type of work you’ve done. The benefit of using a portfolio is you can put it all in one place.
Step #4 Get validation
A great way to earn credibility with potential clients is to have testimonials from people you’ve worked with before. You know—those little boxes you see on people’s sites with a photo and name next to a raving review.
If you can score 1-3 (genuine) testimonials it will get you off to a great start. If you’re not able to, no big deal! As you acquire clients you can start collecting them.
Step #5 Find clients
After you’ve decided on your services, set a rate, put a resume or portfolio together, and hopefully scoured a few reviews…you are now ready for your first client!
One way to find clients is in your contact list—reach out to individuals or businesses you know and see if they’re looking to outsource any remote services.
You can also look on job boards like UpWork.com. This will require you to create a profile, but there are tons of new jobs listed daily. The great thing about UpWork is that you can easily avoid scams by keeping your communication on their platform (as well as using good common sense).
I have personally found clients using UpWork, but I had to apply, apply, and apply some more. Even if you’re experienced in your field, being new to their platform puts you at a disadvantage because it will show how many hours you’ve worked using their job board. You’ll also need to make yourself stand out from the competition because others are submitting proposals to the same job as you.
My last recommendation for finding clients is Facebook. Facebook groups have been one of my favorite ways to network and there are groups specifically created for posting and finding VA jobs.
Now do note, this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive guide as there’s a lot to learn (too much to fit in one blog post). This will however give you the guidance you need to get started. If you’d like to learn more, check out my blog post on how to get clients as a new VA.
I also recommend checking out this VA Checklist & Starter Kit by Abbey Ashley. My post lays out the steps you can take to start offering virtual services, however, in Abbey’s guide, she walks you through setting up an actual online service-based business!
If you’re looking to set up a profitable online business I highly recommend checking it out.
Now that you’ve walked through my basic guide to starting out as a virtual assistant, what questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!