Working from home is something that I’ve been dreaming a lot about, and I’m sure even you enjoy the work from home culture.
Luckily, now more than ever, companies are encouraging their employees to work from home and are also providing incentives to keep them motivated to work hard.
Today we’ll be looking at the job of a virtual assistant, how they work and how you can join the force and make money. Why should you try to be a virtual assistant?
The job profile is flexible, easy, fun and yes it’s highly lucrative! Provided you follow the guidelines and process I share in this post…
If you don’t know what a virtual assistant is and what he does and how you can get started with it, sit back and have some patience. I’ll answer all your questions. Let’s get started!
What is a Virtual Assistant and What do they do?
In lay man’s terms, a virtual assistant is that person who helps a company to do the things they can’t or find difficult to do.
As the name suggests, virtual assistants are contacted virtually and they also work virtually, so your VA can be in California while you’re sipping cold coffee from Starbucks in Australia.
VA’s provide administrative services to clients to make their life easier. Anything which takes time and is hectic is outsourced to such Virtual Assistants at a cost suitable to both parties.
You can be your clients personal assistant that handles everything the client needs like making travel arrangements, scheduling appointments, calling new businesses and pitching them, handling social media, writing articles, managing finances and the list goes on and on.
How much do Virtual Assistants make?
The amount you’ll make as a virtual assistant will vary from region to region and also from the type of work you do, for for example – a person doing social media may make more than the one working in customer service.
Other factors like your experience and the hours you work for each day also decide how much you make as a VA.
You can charge a client whatever you feel like, the pricing is up to you, if the client likes your profile along with your pricing, he will contact you.
So make sure your profile speaks to the client and price it well. An average price I’ve seen across various platforms is $20 and I suggest if you’re a beginner in the Virtual Assistant World, start at $20 and scale it up as you learn and gain more experience.
You can always increase your prices as you progress.
Be competitive with the pricing but know your key values. If your skills are better than the competition don’t hesitate to increase your prices.
Once you have a good experience, you can charge anywhere from $50 to $500 per hour or more depending on the value and experience you bring to the table.
I know I’ve said $20 but if you feel other beginners like you are pricing less than $20, you can do that to get competitive.
Again it’s about testing your price to see which price point works best for you and your clients. Offer additional services/incentives/freebies at the same price if the client feels your prices are too high.
You can make the client believe your pricing is accurate only if you believe your pricing is accurate.
How to become a virtual assistant in 3 Simple Steps
1. Decide what service you’re going to provide
Just because data entry is No 1 on the list doesn’t mean you need to jump right into it. Any one of these 8 sectors is good and lucrative. Sectors not included in this list can also be used.
What you feel comfortable doing as a Virtual Assistant, that’s what you should offer.
If you know about social media more than you know about bookkeeping, guess what – choose social media.
Don’t try doing all of them, when a business owner looks at profiles on the website, they like to see people who specialize in one or two things, not all 7 things they need.
If you say you specialize in 7 different things, chances are you don’t specialize in even 1 and you’re trying to make a quick buck, employers know that!
Choose one or two skills and make sure you’re the best person in the competition.
2. Focus on pricing it just right
I know you’re greedy, we all are, aren’t we! On the other hand, if you’re undercharging because everyone else is then you’re again in a bad spot.
Pricing is tricky, if you charge less you may get more clients and if you charge more, you may get less.
Your price should consider how much cost you’re bearing for the project.
There are three ways to charge a client, choose one that you feel your client will be comfortable with, after all, he’s the one paying and he should be fine paying you hourly basis or in a lump sum.
- Hourly fees (most common)
- Project-based fees
- Retainer fees (monthly fees)
3. Start Networking and Pitching
Now that your basics are clear, it’s time to focus on networking. Like I said before, networking is your complete business, in your early days, no one knew you and the best way to find your place in the market is by networking with business owners and every other person you meet offline or online.
Public business events or gatherings are other places where you’ll find your crowd. Go online and check for meetups, be there make sure you introduce yourself and be in touch with them.
Out of the 30, you contact at least 2 people who would love to do business with you. Facebook groups also help a lot if you want to focus on online networking.
Try both ideas for great results. That’s how you create a presence.
6 Must-Have Skills To be a virtual assistant
People believe that being a virtual assistant is easy, cause it does not require any professional degree like an MBA but that’s far from the truth.
If you have a professional degree, don’t expect to excel in this field from the get-go.
The great thing is that anyone can learn these skills and improve their VA skills. So here are 6 Must have skills to be a virtual assistant.
1. Data Entry Processing Skills
This is the most common task every virtual assistant does yet the most overlooked task.
You know that data entry will be part of your job, work hard towards improving your data processing skills.
Writing 100 words per minute doesn’t mean you’re awesome if the data is only 70% accurate.
Businesses rely on the information you provide, and if your intel is inaccurate, you might as well leave the job and work on this skill before your client leaves you.
2. Communication (Oral + Written)
Doesn’t matter what work you do as a virtual assistant, you’re going to have some level of oral and written communication involved.
If you’re in customer service, that’s all you’ll be doing, communicating with your team and customer’s is everything.
Your task can include creating presentations, sending emails, talking to customers and so on.
English is necessary but not mandatory as your work may include communicating in german or other languages depending on your job profile.
But most of the time it’s English. Brush up on your English skills, learn new phrases, words. Make sure you don’t make any grammatical errors.
Using YouTube and newspapers will help you brush up on your English. You can also take crash courses to polish your language.
How to speak politely, calm down during a situation and convince the person are the 3 main communication skills you need to master.
3. Motivation and Discipline
When you work as a VA, you don’t need to go to work, so laziness can surely kick in. This motivation and Discipline are the most crucial skills a virtual assistant should have.
Without it, you’ll only ever be a short time VA, clients will break deals with you eventually. If you want a long term job with a company, the discipline has to be intact.
From getting out of bed in the morning to getting ready to do the work, even if you don’t have to go to the workplace, you have to start on time.
Your kid makes noise or you’ve got a non-work task, your client gets angry as work is not being done.
Some of these tasks can be avoided like giving your child to daycare or ensuring an elderly person is there to take care of your child while you work.
Delay your non-work task if it’s not too urgent. Ensure that when you work, you work and everything else is kept at a two feet distance. If it’s urgent work, do it, your employer should understand.
4. Computer Skills
Everything you do as a VA is virtual, that means through a laptop/computer. So you need to know all basic computer skills like excel sheets, how to draft emails on Gmail/outlook, How to read, use google to find questions and answers.
Advance computer skills may also be needed depending on the company you work for, usually, they need advanced excel skills like formulas but this may defer from company to company.
Also knowing the client’s website in and out is important.
5. Quick & Effective decision making
Decision making is a skill necessary in every job profile and it’s no less important being a virtual assistant.
You have to make important decisions all day, from solving the customer’s problem to solving your client’s problem.
When your client is not available, it’s up to you to take a call quickly. For that, you need to know your clients business inside out.
When the customer asks for something you don’t know, quickly dig up information on Google, read it, see if it makes sense and provide the answer to the customer.
The journey of a virtual assistant is never over. Constantly learning is key to becoming a great VA.
If you plan on working for a blogger, skills like writing accurately with speed, social media management, creating graphics should help.
4 Tips To Boost Your Chances as a Virtual Assistant
1. Don’t miss the deadline
If you say you’ll do it in 10 days, you better do it in 10 days. There is nothing more irritating to a client than to not get the work done on the date specified.
If 10 days was a stretch for you, you should’ve asked for 15 days in the beginning.
Don’t call your client on the 9th day telling him that you need additional 4 days to complete the work, it’s a mood off!
Instead, give your client a heads up at the beginning of the project or after a few days of work, not a few days before the submission.
When you and your client discuss the time frame you need to get the job done, always add two or three additional days to that.
Let’s say you think Job X will take 13 days to finish, tell your client, it will take 15 days. So even if you mess up, you have two more days to get back on track and give the project.
2. It’s all about networking
How will your client know who you are if he can’t find you online? The entire virtual assistant business works on one thing – Networking.
You need to be there when clients look at a website to hire, you need to be available when your relative refers you to her friend, for that people need to know what work you do as a virtual assistant.
If they don’t know, guess what – They don’t know! So before you get all excited about making your first few dollars, why don’t you let everyone know what you do, a gist should work fine.
Once you get a few jobs, people know you and find you valuable, that’s when they recommend you to their colleagues and your business grows.
Meet people at the gym, grocery store, shopping malls or office, don’t scare them, talk with a sweet voice, it will work just fine.
3. Manage your time
Ask any virtual assistant what their biggest problem is and they’ll tell you it’s Time Management.
In the early days, you may have a lot of time to spare but as your work keeps increasing, managing your time becomes extremely difficult.
Lack of sleep, working all day can get very exhausting, if you properly manage your time and still find it difficult to rest, it’s time to reduce your workload and increase your hourly rates.
Few clients may leave you but you make more plus you get some rest! Here’s an article by Kate Kurzawska on effective time management skills, check it out.
4. Get a Sales Pitch ready
What are you in the business again? Virtual Assistant is it? Wrong, you’re in the business of sales.
Your real business is selling, if you don’t know how to sell, no one will ask you to complete their project.
You sell first, then your skill is utilised. Rather than muttering out random words, have a nice simple and to the point sales pitch which you use to sell anyone who tries to contact you or looks at your profile.
The No #1 way to be better at selling is being more confident. Increase your confidence and most of your hard work will be reduced.
What do Clients Look for In A Virtual Assistant
Your Clients are usually going to be businessmen, they love their business very much and thus they look for someone they can trust their business with.
If you come out as trustworthy and humble, they would love to work with you.
Another thing is the price, they know when you’re overcharging them, no one likes to be taken advantage of so don’t offer an expensive price, that will just blow away your chance at getting a deal.
Helping your client solve other problems, going outside of your work path to guide him goes a long way.
Let’s say your work is managing Facebook and Instagram. Your client needs help with email marketing, so instead of being mean, you guide him and explain to him how it works.
Help your client and he will help you.
Top 8 High Paying High Demand Services You Can Offer
Like I said before, a virtual assistant helps fill the gap in the company, so if the company needs to work on their social media, they hire a virtual assistant to do that, if they need a content writer, they hire a virtual assistant who writes like a blogger.
The most common use of a virtual assistant is customer service. Helping out a customer, i.e solving his problem is vital to the business, this a virtual assistant helps in achieving optimum results.
Following are the Top 8 High Paying High Demand Services To Offer as a Virtual Assistant
1. Data Entry
This is probably the easiest service to offer if you don’t have some professional skills like social media management or WordPress management or coding background.
Here you’ve got to copy-paste data and provide new data-driven solutions to solve company problems.
Most new VA’s start with Data Entry administrative services and then move on to other core activities which I’ll be mentioning in this top10 list.
Some tasks include:
- Using Excel formulas
- Making data spreadsheet from customer information
- Drafting and Sending emails
- Transcription services (convert an audio file into written format)
- Creating reports from data available
Data entry requires fewer skills but is still very important to every business and without systematic data, a business cannot grow as expected.
The only thing to keep in mind is accuracy, the information you provide must be accurate as decisions are going to be made from the data provided.
Be careful while managing data, many new VA mix data easily creating huge problems for businesses later.
2. Customer Service
If you have a query and the company didn’t solve it in an hour or less, they may just lose a customer.
Today customer service is so important that every company, be it big or small, has enormous people in the customer service team.
When a customer spends money to buy something from a business, naturally it expects the business to care and help the customer in the fastest way possible.
Hosting companies like GoDaddy, Bluehost, Siteground have huge customer services teams to help customers.
Within a few minutes of you asking a query, you will receive a response and in some time your query will be resolved.
Businesses fear that a bad customer will not only leave their product but will opt for their rival’s product. If an unhappy GoDaddy customer decides to leave, he will shift to Siteground or other hosting platforms.
Why is Amazon the No 1 e-commerce store today? One reason is because of their amazingly fast customer service both for sellers and buyers.
3. Social Media Management
We are digital, old age marketing doesn’t do so well and isn’t cost-effective nowadays.
Roughly 60% of the world population use the internet today, thus every company needs to have a social media presence online.
The primary social media handles are:
There are few other platforms too but they aren’t as good as the one’s above. If you feel the company does better on those platforms, feel free to use them.
Most companies outsource social media management because it’s easy to handle one social media account but 3 or 5 social media accounts are difficult to manage especially if your main business isn’t running solely on social media.
Virtual assistants like you can take advantage of this and provide quality unique content and boost their social media traffic.
Social media is tricky, so if you’ve never used it or are new to this, you can experiment how it works on your social handles before you take up a project.
It’s a highly lucrative market and earnings can be anything, especially if you know what you’re doing and the results are phenomenal.
Your work as a social media manager will include
- Creating and uploading graphics design
- Writing content
- Creating pins for Pinterest
- Connecting with people on social media to grow
- Trying out the latest trends and techniques
- Creating contests, quiz, etc
4. Website Management
Enter this service only if you have some background. Website Management isn’t as tough as such but there are a few things that you will understand only after the experience.
If your client has websites made of WordPress or others like WordPress, you can try out the website’s free plan to get hands-on experience, then handle your client’s website.
- Editing posts
- Replying to comments
- Correcting broken links
- Updating plugins and checking existing plugins
- Creating Landing pages
- Creating data-driven reports
- Making websites SEO friendly
Business owners prefer giving these tasks to someone else as it takes up too much time. That’s your cue, show the business that you are capable of solving their problem by offering your expert services.
5. Email Marketing
Now this one is somewhat similar to social media marketing but still way different than that.
If you don’t know how email marketing works, I suggest you keep your hand off it.
This isn’t a skill that you can easily learn, the logic is simple – you need to create a funnel that takes a reader and converts him to a customer and a lifelong customer. That’s the goal of email marketing.
The products promoted maybe yours or someone else’s but converting a reader into a customer is the entire email marketing model.
How to do that is tricky and most people fail at doing this right. The work of an email marketing person includes:
- Writing & Drafting emails
- Scheduling emails
- Follow up emails
- Creating funnels
- Designing templates
- Creative designs (if necessary)
6. Content creators
I’m a content creator, I write blogs so if you write blog articles, you too can become a content creator. There are over 600 million websites on the internet.
The easiest way for them to run on Google is by writing articles. Now writing an in-depth high-quality article takes time and effort.
So they outsource it to people like you. If you have the skill to write a good piece of content, you can make a living out of it.
Mind you, it’s not just about typing a bunch of words, it’s about understanding how Google wants you to write and follow accordingly.
Things like SEO, the format of writing, punctuation, internal linking, editing old posts are key essentials that help a website rank.
Learn these skills and become a content writer. A good content writer can also be a good sales representative. So you can learn two highly profitable skills at once.
7. Graphic Designer
Graphic designers are those that bring colour to our life. They bring content to life by creating visual forms of something written or in our minds.
If you can think of it, a good graphic designer can design it. They create visuals that inspire or captivate or inform a customer.
These are the people who work on ads you see on the television, on social media. They create it and we consume the content they show us.
A great graphic designer can express multiple emotions through one image. That should be your goal.
This skill is highly valuable in the digital era. I suggest you learn the basics if you want to do this for a living.
If you’re good with numbers and accounting was a fascinating subject for you, you’ll do well in this space.
Every legal company on earth needs someone to do their accounts.
A lot of business owners neglect it till the last minute and hurry up in the end. This is interesting if you like accounts and maths.
There’s a good deal of money you can make here and there laa lot of demand for bookkeeping.
Where to Hunt for Virtual Assistant Jobs?
The two best places to hunt for Virtual Assistant jobs are freelancing platforms and social media platforms.
Here’s an article on the Top 10 Freelancing Platforms to use if you want to be a Virtual Assistant.
These websites have thousands of clients already available, all you have to do is make a profile, that’s it!
Here you’ve got to message people individually and make a conversation.
Most of the time, you may not get a reply or end up not making a sale but sometimes you do.
I prefer the first option more, but you can try doing both as both have their pros and cons.
Focus on Facebook groups more than direct messaging on Instagram. I’ve seen that it gives better results.
This is a golden opportunity, most businesses are online but there are a few that have to take the leap of faith and start their online journey.
You can help them to get there from scratch. Here they may pay you a good amount of money to handle it all. Don’t be greedy but provide amazing work.
Make Money As A Virtual Assistant – My Thoughts
If you want to work from home, be your boss and have some flexibility in your timing, there’s nothing better than being a Virtual Assistant.
Plus you can make a living out of it, some make much more than they ever made through their jobs.
The difficulty is acquiring the first few clients, once that’s done, it’s easier to get clients, workload increases, you can prefer calling in some help if you wish.
As a Virtual Assistant, you always have to adapt to new things and improve constantly.
In time, you’ll learn a handful of skills that makes you more valuable to a company, then raise your prices
If you think you can’t adapt to change, maybe this isn’t for you. Think about it before you jump into being a VA. It’s not a job for everyone.
Even if it’s not a job for you, you can try and see where it takes you!
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