If you think that being a virtual assistant means you will be a secretary, well, you are both right and wrong, but it doesn’t mean secretary in the old-fashioned kind of way; we mean assistant like an executive assistant.
First of all, the pay is totally different, and the duties are like east and west. A virtual assistant works from home, and they have the potential of becoming a lucrative job that doesn’t require any certifications or advanced degrees.
However, you will have to take on jobs that can showcase the skills you have and get out of your comfort zone to offer your clients more than what a normal secretary would do.
So, whether you are looking for a side hustle or you want to become a full-time virtual assistant, this guide will help you to get started.
What Exactly Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
- 1 What Exactly Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
- 2 Some of the Duties You Are Likely to Perform as a VA:
- 3 How to Become a Virtual Assistant if You Do Not Have Any Experience?
Virtual assistants are home-based self-employed individuals who offer technical and administrative services to businesses. Their work is done online, and as such, they can be located anywhere in the world.
Most business owners love to outsource their work to virtual assistants to find time to focus on their core business activities and grow their companies. Virtual assistants provide them with a cost-effective solution to repetitive and routine daily tasks, which leaves them free to concentrate on other large-scale jobs.
As mentioned earlier, you really do not need to have a degree or certification to work successfully as a VA. You can take time to look at the client’s requirements and hone in one that clearly requires your skillset.
On the question of what virtual assistants do, this is one that can never be exhausted. There are more than 50 tasks for virtual assistants, and the list keeps growing. As a VA, you should always be ready and willing to do whatever your client requires of you, and if you do not know how to do it, you must learn it.
Some of the Duties You Are Likely to Perform as a VA:
1. Customer Care
Many businesses will recruit virtual assistants for customer support. Customer care has a wide range of tasks, and they range from answering simple calls to product design and other processing tasks. Clients will provide you with all the tools required to serve them properly.
Not everyone, however, has a customer service personality. As much as these jobs are in demand, they will only hire people who can be polite and kind to their customers to ensure work continuity.
2. Management of the Company’s Email System
Another task for virtual assistants is to manage the client’s email system, including receiving, responding to, and initiating emails to customers.
This is one of the most important jobs because most companies communicate with their clients through emails, including orders, disputes, payments, etc.
You will be dealing with congested inboxes, disgruntled customers, new customers, payments, reminders, etc. As such, you are required to be familiar with the company’s operations so you can respond to their customers in the best way possible.
3. Social Media Management
Almost all companies are particularly keen on their social media. This is one of the fastest modes of communication and interaction with their clients, and therefore, it must be managed in the best way possible.
As a virtual assistant, you shall be required to manage their social media pages, including posting on the platforms, responding to like requests and any queries from the users.
This is one of the most important tools because social media has become the most vibrant marketing strategy today. Many clients use this platform to find new clients and advertise their products and services to increase their sales.
You must be extremely keen on this particular task to ensure that you help your clients realize their social media strategies.
4. Admin Tasks
Yes. You will also be required to cover admin tasks. Generally, this means you can do almost all things that an admin assistant does, including creating schedules to be followed, ordering supplies, making arrangements for the senior staff to travel, etc.
Some clients may hire you to do their data entry jobs, among other big admin projects. The key here is to roll with whatever task you are given because, truthfully speaking, they are not difficult jobs, and anyone can do them successfully.
All of them can be done remotely, and this is why companies love to outsource VA tasks.
5. Creative Tasks
If you are creative, then you can truly shine as a virtual assistant. Most VA’s are usually called upon to utilize their unique qualities in the job. You may be required to develop strategic plans for the company, give them ideas on how to improve their products, and even receive an assignment for hiring other creative staff.
You must always be willing to showcase your creativity to impress your client.
Now, the tasks that a virtual assistant usually does are too many to count. In fact, the list is endless and may include the following jobs:
- Processing online orders and refunds
- Website design
- WordPress maintenance
- Graphic design and layout
- Calendar management and travel arrangements
- Content creation for blogs and ghostwriting
- Editing and proofreading
- Content research
- Keyword research
- Email management
- Data entry
- Creating sales pages
- Managing product launches
- Performing outreach
- Lead generation
- Editing videos
- Social media management
- Project management
- Community management and moderation
How to Become a Virtual Assistant if You Do Not Have Any Experience?
1. Identify What You Are Good At
This is a good point to start. Find out what you are really good at, and then start looking for work from that spot. Provide your clients with your skillset, and then watch as the jobs come rolling in.
If you have experience with any office software, find jobs in line with that because, in the beginning, you are trying to get your name out there so clients can know that you are ready to work with them. Showcase what you are good at and allow them to appreciate your skills.
If you spend plenty of time on social media, you could provide them with social media management. This is one of the tasks required of virtual assistants and one that is in great demand.
Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone as well, and to try on something different. Nowadays, there is nothing impossible, since the internet makes it easy to learn and understand any new skills you may be interested in.
You could also enroll in a few courses and learn a new skill set that you can showcase in your next job, such as bookkeeping, spreadsheets, etc.
2. Training from an Expert
Once you realize your niche and what you are good at, it’s time to find someone who has been there before to guide you and train you to become the best you can be.
Being a virtual assistant does not mean that you do things casually, but you must take extra care when working to ensure that you do a fantastic job. If this is your goal, then enroll in a Virtual Assistant’s course so you can learn the tricks of the job and work for your clients in the best way possible.
Find videos on YouTube that train on this, find books that talk about virtual assistants, and look for the most established assistants in the business, follow them, and guide you on how you can best do the job.
3. Research, Research, and More Research
This will come in handy when you receive a client’s request that you feel you are not skilled in. Never decline a task just because you have never done it before. Everything can be done, and all skills can be learned.
This should be your motto because now we have various platforms such as Google, Quora, YouTube, and other areas to learn how to do something. It is virtually impossible to fail.
There are also plenty of VA focused websites where you can find new skills to help you with your current job.
4. Evaluate Your Finances
It is important to point out that virtual assisting jobs do not automatically pick up immediately. It will take you some time before you can even land your first client, and it will also take time for you to excel in the business.
So, take a step back and evaluate whether or not you can afford to become a freelancer. Does your current financial situation allow you to do this?
In the first couple of months as you are establishing your business, you are likely to make peanuts, which means that it will not be enough to cater to your expenses and take care of your family. Hence, you need to do serious financial budgeting and make some decisions.
Most people opt to continue with their full-time jobs as they learn the trade tools, and when they can match or surpass what they are making currently with their virtual assistant job, they can quit their current jobs to concentrate fully on their home-based job.
This is a significant point that must be taken into consideration. It is, however, easier for stay-at-home moms who are already at home. This means that they can devote all of their time to learning new jobs and succeed.
5. Finding Your First Job
So, now that you have gone through your finances and discovered that you could indeed undertake this new job, and you have already found your niche and taken some training, it is time to hit the road and find a job that you can do.
There are very many platforms that offer virtual assistant jobs, such as Upwork. Upwork has a wide variety of jobs they advertise, and this is where you can find your first client.
You will be required to be good at writing proposals to land your first client, but they make it easy for you by offering jobs that newbies can do. What you have to do is apply to as many jobs as possible, and you could even mention that you are new and just looking for someone who can take a chance on you.
This is why we talked about finances because you are likely to make very little money at first when you are new.
However, do not stick here for too long. Once you find some clients who can trust you with their business, you must go out there and start looking for clients yourself. This means that you get clients whom you shall be communicating with directly.
Upwork will charge you 20% for every penny you make, so it’s not very interesting to share all that with the company.
6. VA Firms
There are actually VA firms that have been set up to hire virtual assistants. You can work for them. These are large companies that will hire you to provide services for their clients. These are different from Upwork because Upwork doesn’t concentrate on virtual assistant jobs only, and they will not hire you to work for them; rather, they will allow you to find your own client.
VA firms will hire you to work for their clients, which is a delightful deal because you do not have to find clients for yourself or apply to jobs by yourself.
What they do is employ you on a full-time or part-time basis and give you a steady flow of work for you to do for them.
7. Reaching Out to Clients by Yourself
Now, most people will tell you that working for Upwork or other VA firms is good, but a great person will tell you that the best thing you can do for yourself is to find personal clients.
These clients will hire you outside of any platform, which means that you shall not share your earnings with anyone, and they trust you enough to go to you directly.
This is what is normally known in the freelance circle as “cold pitching” of course, it’s not easy, but it has the best results in the long-run.
This is a simple review of how to get you started as a virtual assistant. The points listed above will not only guide you from the start until you get your first client, but they will also help you keep and maintain this client for a long time.
The key to being a great virtual assistant to learn the job well and always be willing to do any tasks that the client sends your way. Remember that all tasks can be learned, and they can be done. Nothing is impossible, which is a great way for a virtual assistant to think.