A virtual assistant is a freelancer who provides online support by working remotely. He/She provides services to individuals or organizations, but they do not go physically into their client’s offices. A virtual assistant’s job is to work from home.
If you want to become a virtual assistant who earns money from home, you need to know the basics about how to become a virtual assistant and what skills you need.
…but before that, let’s start with…
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
In any business, there is a ton of work to do, but not all companies can hire a person for every task. Most startups do not have the money to hire full-time employees. So they often outsource some of their work to these “virtual” assistants.
There is a variety of work for a virtual assistant to do and there is no limit to this variety.
I have tried to categorize all the tasks a virtual assistance does into 7 categories.
Note: If you’re looking for this kind of work, you can get a small assignment from an employer and start earning passive income without leaving your job.
#1. General/Administrative Virtual Assistants
Administrative VAs are more like office secretaries. All you need is good time management skills and a good command over the regional accent of English (though not mandatory).
As a general assistant, you will handle:
- Emails of your boss and clients.
- Telephonic inquiries.
- Booking appointments/tickets.
- Client follow-up.
- Calendar management.
- Database and file management.
#2. Digital Marketing Virtual Assistants
A digital marketing VA handles the online marketing campaigns of the company. You have to be resourceful about the dos and don’ts of online marketing.
They are further categorized into three forms:
- Search Engine Optimization Assistants.
- Social Media Management Assistants.
- Content Marketing Assistants.
As a digital marketing virtual assistant, you will be required to do the following work:
- Analyze data to achieve ROI.
- Plan, schedule, and manage content.
- Make campaign strategies and analyze the success.
- Conduct competitive analysis.
#3. Programming Virtual Assistants
Here you will be hired as a developer assistant either for a website or mobile app. As a developer, you can work with a startup to optimize their online presence.
As a developer assistant, you will be required to do these jobs:
- Design website, app, or plugin layout.
- Maintenance and update.
- Debugging and troubleshooting.
- Uploading content.
- Ensuring that the website or app is search friendly.
#4. Design Virtual Assistants
A design assistant is required to make the company’s website user-friendly. You will be hired on the basis of your graphic design skills.
As a design assistant, you will be required to do these jobs:
- Designing of business website.
- Designing of the mobile app.
- Design flyers, business cards, and other promo materials.
- Product shots and product boxes.
- Infographic designing.
- Presentation design.
#5. Writing Virtual Assistants
As a writing assistant, you will be responsible for all types of content writing works. Sometimes a writing assistant also means “data entry clerk”. So make it clear during your interview with the client whether it is a data entry job or a writer’s job.
As a writing assistant, you will be required to do following jobs:
- Making content plans.
- Research about niche keywords.
- Writing content for the keywords.
- Editing and proofreading.
#6. Audio/Video Editing Virtual Assistants
An editing assistant is responsible for the awesomeness of audio and/or video. Be it the background music or the removal of any annoying sound, everything is done by an audio/video editor.
As an editing assistant, you will be:
- Removing the clutter.
- Adding sound to engage audiences.
- Adding CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).
- Giving sequences to the content.
- Making the content audible/visible to the audience.
#7. Financial Virtual Assistants
Earning money is the ultimate goal of any business. But some founders do not get time to look after their finances, so they hire a financial assistant to help them manage personal and company finances (though not necessarily together).
The financial assistant’s jobs are:
- Documenting all money matters.
- Auditing documents.
- Analyzing account information.
- Checking after financial discrepancies.
- Advising about financial management.
- Compiling asset and liability entries.
How qualified are you to become a virtual assistant?
There is no professional degree required to become a virtual assistant. However, you must be familiar with the type of job you are applying for and a basic knowledge about the niche.
For example, if you want to become a general VA, you need to know the basics of working on a computer. If you are applying for a content writer or an SEO assistant position, you must know the elementary rules of writing a good article which will rank on search engines.
There are three levels of hiring a virtual assistant:
In the basic hiring, you do not have to have strong knowledge about the niche. You should impress your employer during your interview by showing your passion for the company for which you are applying.
You must have a special skill like writing, coding in a programming language, SEO, or social media. You may not have many years of experience in the field but you should be able to handle the work independently with excellent results.
As an expert virtual assistant, you should have sound knowledge of your field and must have good experiences to showcase your expertise (along with some recommendations from your previous clients).
Specific qualifications may not be mandatory for becoming a virtual assistant, but there are a few qualities which are a prerequisite to be successful as a VA.
Qualities you need to have to be a virtual assistant
To become a successful virtual assistant, you must possess these qualities:
- Good communication skills: Remember you are working virtually. If you are not a good communicator, you will fail to make a connection with your client and your client will not be satisfied.
- Attitude to adopt: In most cases, you will not work with a client in your time zone, regional dialect, or culture. There may be some confusion. You must actively clarify those confusions and have an attitude to adopt to your client’s behavior.
- Passion: You must be a self-motivated individual. You should be passionate about completing your work on time. Your passion about the work will keep you tuned in with your working hours and will add value to your client.
- Honesty: Your client is dependent on you for the work he/she has assigned. You must be reliable for that work. You must tell him/her the truth as to why the work has not been done or if you are facing some problem. But always try to solve the problem on your own and complete your assigned tasks on schedule. Honesty is the key to success as a VA.
- Ability to say “no”: There are times when your client will try to overburden you with unplanned or extra work. You can try to do that for a while to make your client happy, but the better thing is to say “no”. Your communication about your work should be sound and clear. Your client must know about your work schedule and anything more than that should not be allowed.
How to choose your VA niche
It is a haunting question for starters, but the most common answer is to do what you enjoy doing.
To find your VA niche, you should just start working as any type of virtual assistant. At the start, the most important thing is not to have a niche, but a job.
Think about it like this: Search for a VA job in a field you already know how to work in. Now keep yourself open for a change and try different things. You cannot know what you enjoy to do if you haven’t done it before.
For example, you can start as a writing assistant and keep trying to design as a part-timer or freelancer. If you start spending more time in designing, you can switch to a design assistant anytime with your existing client (or a new client).
Where to find a VA job
A job portal works best to find a virtual assistant job. You can always look for a virtual assistant job on:
- Virtual Staff Finder
- Fancy Hands
You can also find a VA job on LinkedIn by searching in the jobs section.
But for grabbing a job opportunity on LinkedIn, your profile should clearly represent the qualifications required to be hired as a virtual assistant.
Earnings of a VA varies between $10 to $30 per hour. It can sometimes be even more. But when you start your career as a virtual assistant, your focus should be on gaining knowledge, expertise, and feedback to help you grow. Money comes with expertise.
You can read a few books specifically designed for how to become a virtual assistant like The Bootstrapped VA. Or you can take a certification course. But the most important thing is your confidence to handle a client’s problem and solve it for him/her.
Have you ever tried being a virtual assistant? Are you one now? Where do you find virtual assistant jobs? Let me know in the comments!