A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant
No matter if you’re not happy with your present job or you’re a mother who needs remote work so you can spend more time with your children while making money at the same time, this is a great decision that you’ve decided to be a virtual assistant.
But how do you sell and distinguish yourself as a great potential in the eyes of your prospects in this highly competitive marketplace?
We are here to walk you through the road to becoming a successful virtual assistant. After all, a good beginning makes a good ending.
Why Become a Virtual Assistant
Before we walk you through the steps to becoming a successful VA, let’s have a quick glance at why so many people from all corners of the world are considering this profession as a career today.
As a virtual assistant, you can:
- Become your own boss
- Work from different places
- Work late nights or early hours or any time that suits you
- Skip work when you are sick
- Choose who you work with
- Work without caring about formal dress code
- Really enjoy the work you’re passionate about
- Accommodate a low start-up cost
- Keep in high demand in the digital world
- Choose what service to offer
- Become an expert in your field
- Have the potential to earn a significant amount of money
- Control your workload
- Avoid the need for commuting and save precious time
- Travel and explore the world
- Lower your taxable income
How to Become a Virtual Assistant: 6 Steps
1: Identify your skills and business structure
2: Find technological requirements and set up your office
3: Create your pricing strategy
4: Build a business website
5: Market yourself online
6: Apply for jobs and evaluate your work
Step 1: Identify your skills and business structure
Potential employers find you qualified for their VA jobs when your resume highlights your administrative abilities. You should have computer proficiency, editorial, organizational and communication skills, and excellency at time management.
List down your skill set and check what types of businesses want them. This will help you determine your target clients.
You also need to consider your personal and financial situations for the business structure. Set your work hours and workloads to a limit if you need to balance between parenting or other important personal responsibilities.
A good trick is to find out which time zones are comfortable for you so you can create a schedule as per your convenience.
Step 2: Set up your home office
Clear up the room where you want to do the home office setup.
Find an ergonomic chair and good-quality computer desk to stay comfortable during long work hours. Look for ideas that help with maximizing productivity and your wellness.
Take a break every 20 minutes to get up and walk around to prevent serious health issues that may happen after sitting down for long hours.
Identify what types of technological solutions are required for your job and arrange them for a good start. For instance, a phone is okay to make and receive calls but an omnichannel contact solution is necessary for today’s connected landscape.
Such a solution enables you to keep in touch with the customers of your clients across video, email, voice calls, SMS, and other social messaging apps. You also want a CRM to manage those people.
Step 3: Create your pricing strategy
Spend some time creating the perfect VA business plan. This helps you get a clearer picture of prices, services, and pricing strategy.
The VA market is very competitive today, so you may have to lower your rate first to get the attention of your clients. But don’t keep the price too low or you will give the impression that you are not skilled enough.
Have a look at the rates of similar service providers to get some idea. Offer extra services instead of lowering your price so your clients find your offerings more competitive.
A few things to acknowledge when you work on your rate:
- You are a subcontractor who has to pay taxes both for the employer and employee sides
- Your price should cover overhead costs, such as software subscriptions, office supplies, and expenses
- You aren’t entitled to employee benefits such as paid vacation, sick leave, health insurance, or retirement contributions
Step 4: Build a business website
The best way to sell yourself online is to create a business website.
The website works like your virtual CV that showcases your portfolio and skills to the potential clients and plays a vital role in establishing your career.
Keep your website informative so your prospects will know exactly what you offer and what makes your VA services different from others.
Step 5: Market yourself online
Use professional profiles and social media platforms to market your skills. Focus on building new networks and relationships once you start getting VA jobs.
Highlight your VA business on one or two such platforms with a new profile or by repurposing an existing one. LinkedIn is a great medium to find and connect with your VA clients while it allows you to set up a service page.
Keep things simple for social media and only use those platforms where your clients are available. Stay in the same groups and communities where your prospective clients visit a lot.
Different social media channels are great to build relationships but never jump into a new group to promote yourself or you will make a negative impression.
Step 6: Apply for jobs and evaluate your work
Send in your updated resume once you find your desired jobs. Use the job description to set up and write your resume so it matches with what the hiring manager needs.
Create your resume with relevant keywords in the job description and make sure you are a good fit for the required skills and experience.
Apply for the job with confidence and learn from the feedback that the recruiters provide. Check to see what’s not working with your strategy and find ways to fix the issue. There may be a better strategy that you can follow to save hours of work.
Tools Required to Be a Virtual Assistant
- Computer and other personal devices
- Desktop or laptop
- A separate contact number for professional use only
- Internet connection
- Wireless internet
- Hardwired internet
- Satellite internet
- Ergonomic workspace
- Time-tracking apps
- Microsoft Teams
- Video conference
- Google Meet
- Zoho Meeting
- Social media management
- Post Planner
- Sprout Social
- Smarter Queue
- Operation documentation
- Process Street
- Sweet Process
- Schedules and appointments
- Google Calendar
- Password management
- Zoho Vault
12. Virtual assistant program
- Google Assistant
13. Bookkeeping and accounting
- Zoho Books
14. File sharing and document management
- Google Drive
- Zoho Docs
15. Project management
- Hubstaff Tasks
16. Tax systems
- Keeper Tax
17. Graphic design
- Deposit Photos
18. Business cards
19. Credit cards for business
How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make?
The average pay for a VA in the US is $67,115/year as of April 2022, which is equivalent to $32.27/hour or $5,593/month. Your annual income may revolve around $15,000 at the lowest and top out at around $130,500.
You can expect to earn $15/hour as an entry-level VA. A great advantage is that you’ll have the opportunity to set the rate higher when you want to.
The average pay range for a VA highly varies, so you can earn higher based on your skills and years of experience.
Quick Tips for Success as a Virtual Assistant
- Always be ready to handle new challenges
- Keep your attention to detail
- Develop skills in particular tasks
- Identify urgent and important tasks
- Align your priorities with the task in hand
- Know your abilities
- Be a master of time management
- Be approachable to questions
- Pick up client calls and reply on time
- Have plans for all probable situations
- Understand your clients and earn their faith
- Be rational about deadlines
- Keep a backup computer and internet connection
- Document everything you process
- Be patient and kind to everyone
- Delegate the routine tasks if possible
- Establish a 90-day work plan
- Track your progress
- Be confident and honest with your work
1. How do clients track the time VAs spent on their projects?
Ans: Computer-based time tracking applications help clients track every minute spent on their tasks and pay accordingly.
2. Is the client information safe with VA service?
Ans: SSL encryption can keep client data safe so that VAs can’t access any personal data.
3. Can clients from the outside of the US get help from VAs?
Ans: VAs work with many clients around the world, so the geographical location isn’t a challenge for their jobs.