Virtual assistants are all over the internet right now. During the pandemic, more people upskilled, left their jobs and became virtual assistants. This industry is growing by leaps and bounds. However, not everyone knows what a virtual assistant is, what they do, and how they are vital in supporting small businesses.
Most people think that virtual assistants are just executive or personal assistants. But they are definitely more than that! Virtual assistants possess a wider range of skills, including the more traditional remove administrative assistant tasks.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
As the name suggests, virtual assistants work remotely. They offer remote administrative, technical, and sometimes social media management services to business owners.
Becoming a virtual assistant has been a dream for several people, especially during the pandemic, because it offers flexibility and better work-life balance. A virtual assistant job can be either full-time or part-time, and they can be paid a fixed fee per week or per hour.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
A virtual assistant's responsibilities include the following:
- answering and making phone calls
- managing and responding to emails
- coordinating schedules and calendars
- making travel arrangements
- organizing files
- preparing statements and letters
- transcribing documents
- managing social media
- responding to customers
- billing and accounting services
- hiring talent
- and more
A virtual assistant's task depends on the business or how many tasks the business owner is unloading to their virtual assistant.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant?
If you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant as a full-time career or as a side job, there are a few steps to help get you started:
1. Know your skills.
The first step in how to become a virtual assistant is to determine what skills you can offer. Build a resume highlighting your administrative skills and what you can bring to the table. Your resume should also clearly show your future employers that you're qualified for the position you're looking for, even if you have minimal experience.
Here are the most common skills you'll need to become a virtual assistant:
- Computer proficiency. To perform tasks, virtual assistants use a wide range of computer software like Trello or Asana for task/project management, Zendesk to manage client communication and chat, Apollo and Snov for lead generation, etc. As a virtual assistant, you should know how to navigate the internet and use it for research or use cloud-based software for file sharing, password management, and communication. Proficiency in documents and spreadsheets is also essential.
- Verbal and written communication. Professional-level communication is necessary for all virtual assistants because you will manage your employer's emails or respond to their company's customers.
- Editorial skills. When you work as a virtual assistant, all your work must be free of typographical and grammar errors. You should be comfortable doing research and typing documents.
- Organization and time management. Since virtual assistants are hired to help oversee calendars, schedules, appointments, and other tasks, you should have killer organization and time management skills. You have to know how to manage your tasks within your time and adapt to or create organizational systems. Some virtual assistants also handle multiple clients, making these skills more important.
- Typing skills. Being a virtual assistant means you will be working on your computer and typing a lot of stuff. If you type faster, you can finish your tasks in a shorter time. On average, you should be typing at least 50 words per minute.
2. Decide the services that you want to offer.
If you have a list of the skills you can offer, you can target specific clients based on what you can do efficiently and willingly. As previously mentioned, tasks and responsibilities may vary depending on your client's industry. For example, if you work for a real estate company, you can expect to make outgoing calls, manage meetings, set appointments, and source leads.
3. Determine how you want to be paid.
Besides identifying your skills and the services you want to offer, it's crucial to understand how and how much you want to be paid. You can charge hourly rates, or you can charge per task completed. Some employees pay weekly or monthly.
When thinking about your pay structure, think of a figure that will make it worth your time. As a virtual assistant, you should move your mindset from being an employee. Virtual assistants are independent contractors--technically, business owners and sub-contractors for other businesses.
You have to know that you don't get holiday leaves, no sick days, or paid vacation. You have to factor all these in because you will also be paying your health insurance or retirement package.
Stop thinking about the average virtual assistant salary--because there is none. Your skill, experience, and your potential client's budget, industry, and tasks will determine your rate.
As a freelance virtual assistant, you should know your worth. Try to negotiate if your employer's payment structure doesn't suit your needs.
4. Obtain the necessary equipment.
Before becoming a virtual assistant, you need all the right equipment. Some virtual assistants use their phones and laptop for work, while those who do outreach calls require noise-canceling headphones with a microphone. In general, you'll need the following:
- A working desktop or laptop
- Fast and reliable internet connection
- Noise-canceling headphones and microphone
- A printer that can copy and scan documents
- An additional monitor is optional but helpful
5. Search for virtual assistant jobs.
Kick off your virtual assistant career by getting clients. You can apply to different agencies or list yourself on different hiring platforms. Here are a few examples:
- People per Hour
- Hubstaff Talent
When beginning your virtual assistant journey, you might need to accept lower rates than expected. You can increase your rates gradually as you get more experience.
6. Build a portfolio.
When one of your projects ends, ask for feedback from your client and start building your portfolio. Your portfolio should include your skills, job history, and clients' testimonials.
Your portfolio should be your online resume. When you start building your portfolio, you will likely gain more clients.
7. Market yourself as a virtual assistant.
Your success as a virtual assistant depends highly on how you market yourself. You can join freelancer groups and update your professional profile on LinkedIn. The goal here is to make yourself more visible online.
You can also start emailing your friends or businesses within your community to offer your virtual assistant services.
8. Consider skills specialization.
As you move up to the virtual assistant ladder, increase your retention by focusing on a niche market. You can develop a specific skill and market yourself as an expert in that particular industry. For instance, you can market yourself as a customer support specialist or an email marketing expert.
Build Your Virtual Assistant Portfolio with Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly
Becoming a virtual assistant can be expensive, especially if you consider buying new equipment. That's where Strikingly comes in.
We offer free personal website templates to anyone who wants to be a virtual assistant. You can edit the templates for free. And here are a few tips to help you create an awesome virtual assistants portfolio:
- Use a great headshot. If clients see your picture, they know they're dealing with an actual human, which creates a certain level of trust.
- Use the Booking section so your clients can easily schedule a call or interview with you.
Image taken from Strikingly
- Add a Pricing table to list your services and the prices for each. You can add your per-hour rate depending on the tasks that your clients will require.
- Use the Feature List section to showcase your skills. This particular section lets you add an image and text. Add great imagery to your website to make it more appealing.
Image taken from Strikingly
- Add a Contact Form section. This section encourages your potential employers to reach out for an interview or ask questions.
- Go for a yearly plan and purchase a domain to brand your website's URL. You can get a free domain for one year if you sign up for any of our yearly plans and up. Imagine your own virtual assistants' portfolio with the address melodyvirtualassistant.com.
- Once you have a domain, get a branded email address--it makes you look more professional when you're communicating with your clients. A branded email address should look like email@example.com.
Image taken from Strikingly
Becoming a virtual assistant offers great perks, including the much coveted work-life balance and great pay. You might find it challenging to find your first virtual assistant job, but you should not be discouraged.
According to Truelist, 50% of people worldwide work remotely for 2.5 days per week, and virtual assistants reduce operating costs by 78%. These two stats alone should give you a more positive outlook toward becoming a virtual assistant.
The market is not saturated. Since the pandemic is slowly fading, more businesses are opening up. Given that hiring virtual assistants saves business costs, hiring virtual assistants will be something that will persist in the future.
Start building your portfolio today with us, and be ready for your future as a virtual assistant.