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There are more online businesses than ever and the number keeps growing. The beauty of having an online business is that you do not have to maintain a physical office.
But online business owners still have to take care of administrative tasks like answering calls, scheduling appointments, customer service, marketing and so on.
There are many businesses that need remote assistance to help them handle these tasks and this is where a virtual assistant comes in. With the growth of the gig economy, the number of companies that need virtual assistants is also growing.
If you want to understand what’s a virtual assistant, what virtual assistant tasks and responsibilities are in demand, what virtual assistant services you can offer, how to become a virtual assistant, apply for virtual assistant jobs or start a virtual assistant business, this article is for you.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant (or VA) is a virtual employee or a remote executive assistant who handles routine stuff for small business owners who may not have the time or skills to handle these tasks.
Business owners who don’t want to hire a full-time employee or who run a virtual organisation often have tasks they need to outsource to a virtual assistant.
You can get paid to be a virtual assistant by applying for virtual assistant jobs or by starting your own freelance virtual assistant business from home.
Your virtual assistant services rates or virtual assistant salary will depend on the kind of virtual assistant tasks you can handle and how specialized they are.
If you’re not sure how viable a VA career is or whether it’s right for you, read these Virtual Assistant success stories to inspire you.
What are some virtual assistant services I can offer?
So exactly what does a virtual assistant do? This list of virtual assistant tasks includes some of the typical services you can offer as a freelance virtual assistant.
- Live Virtual Receptionist
- Virtual secretary services
- Customer service virtual assistant
- Virtual personal assistant
- Virtual administrative assistant services
- Virtual legal assistant
- Virtual research assistant
- Virtual sales assistant
- Virtual scheduling assistant
- Data entry virtual assistant
- Real estate virtual assistant
- Social media virtual assistant
- Internet marketing virtual assistant
- Digital marketing assistant
- Pinterest marketing assistant
- SEO virtual assistant
- Web design virtual assistant
- IT virtual assistant
If you’re unsure what services you can offer that people actually need and will pay for, download this list of 150+ VA Services. It will help you learn what do virtual assistants do, bring some new ideas to mind and provide you with the inspiration you need to level-up your VA services.
Some clients might also want to employ you full-time as a dedicated virtual assistant or remote executive assistant for small business. The best part is that you can be a virtual assistant in India, USA or anywhere in the world.
How can I get a virtual assistant certification?
The best online course that offers virtual assistant certification is 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. It helps new and aspiring virtual assistants start and grow a VA business from scratch.
If you love Pinterest and are willing to learn new skills to become a VA, becoming a Pinterest Virtual Assistant is a good option because it’s a highly coveted niche in demand by bloggers and business owners alike.
The Become a Pinterest VA course will teach you how to spend a few hours per week earning a monthly income of $500-$1,000+ from home. This course is only open for registration a few days in a year, but you can start practising your skills with the free Pinterest VA Prep Book.
Checklist for Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
Here’s a checklist to help you learn how to become a virtual assistant and start offering online virtual assistant services.
Get your equipment ready
Before you can apply to be a virtual assistant, you’ll need to ensure that you have the proper work from home setup or virtual assistant companies will not even consider your application. Download my free Work-From-Home Checklist for a list of essentials you need to start working from home.
Besides a computer with a high-speed internet connection, you’ll need good quality headphones with an attached mike for video conferencing. You’ll most likely have to get on calls with clients to discuss their business, so you need to have all this equipment in place and working.
Virtual assistant firms, like CrewBloom, state that you MUST have the equipment and environment below in order to apply for a virtual assistant job with them:
- Laptop or PC (at least 4 GB RAM with a quad-core processor)
- Fast Internet Connection (minimum of 5 Mbps)
- Backup Internet Connection (minimum of 3 Mbps)
- USB Noise Cancelling Headset
- Web Cam
- Quiet Home-Office
Many laptops come embedded with a webcam, but you can buy a separate webcam for higher quality images. It’s a good idea to invest in quality equipment so you can ensure it doesn’t fail when you need it most.
You should also learn how to secure your sensitive data and devices so that hackers can’t steal your information when working from home.
Set up your home office
You can allocate space in the living room, but if the distractions are too much, you can clear one bedroom or extra room to use as your office.
When you’re working from home, designing an ergonomic home office is a must. Follow our home office ergonomics guide to buy ergonomic home office furniture.
Learn how to set up your home office to maximise productivity and wellness with our home office setup ideas and home office essentials list.
Remember to get up and walk around every 20 minutes or so to prevent health issues that result from too much sitting.
Apply for virtual assistant jobs
Your next step is to get some experience as a virtual assistant and apply for virtual assistant jobs in India or anywhere in the world.
Start by applying to top virtual assistant companies as they’re the best bet for work-from-home or part-time virtual assistant jobs for beginners.
One of the best virtual assistant agencies to work for is CrewBloom, as they offer several benefits for freelancers. Their virtual assistant job openings are 100% remote and performance-driven.
You’ll be well-compensated and, unlike other remote outsourcing platforms, they offer full-time virtual-assistant jobs with long-term roles to help you grow as a professional.
The best way to get hired as a freelance virtual assistant is to create an attractive profile. Get a professionally-written resume and list your skills carefully. Include referral links and contacts, so your profile appears more professional.
Also update your LinkedIn profile, headline and summary to state clearly what you have to offer your clients and the field you specialize in. Browse the most in-demand skills and see if you fit the profile.
Don’t try to fit into a specific virtual assistant job description. Instead, you might want to list niche skills which do not have high competition, for example, Oracle database maintenance, or Pinterest marketing.
Start a freelance virtual assistant business
Once you have some experience working with a virtual assistant agency, you can think about starting your own freelance virtual assistant business.
To get a strong business foundation, spend some time creating your virtual assistant business plan so you can get clear about your services, financials, and pricing strategy.
When you’re starting out, the competition in the virtual assistant market will be stiff and you may have to quote lower virtual assistant rates to attract customers. But setting your price too low comes across as suspect and gives the impression that you don’t know your job.
Take a look at what others are charging and instead of offering low virtual assistant fees, you can offer additional services or perks so that your bid comes across as more competitive without seeming less competent. You want to come across as an affordable virtual assistant, but not a cheap virtual assistant.
To eliminate the guesswork involved in launching and growing your successful virtual assistant business, check out this Virtual Assistant Guide. It will walk you step-by-step through the entire process, help you select your niche(s), and even find and pitch prospective clients looking for virtual assistant services in India and abroad.
Create a professional website
A website allows you to showcase and market your skills better. With the latest web development technology, it’s easy to make a website even you have don’t have any technical knowledge.
You can also start a blog to boost the search rankings of your website and capture reader emails so you can follow up with potential clients looking for VA services.
Make a video of yourself at work and post it to Facebook, YouTube and on your own blog. Install a live chat app on your website, so you can communicate directly with clients looking to hire a virtual assistant online.
Have a ‘Hire me’ page where you can make a pitch to potential clients. Provide testimonials from former clients to boost your credibility. Watch this Breaking Into VA Work Webinar to understand more about what it takes to break into this field.
Promote your virtual assistant business
The next step is to market and grow your virtual assistant business. Advertising can get clients faster. Start with Facebook advertising as it’s easy to set up Facebook ads and they don’t cost the Earth.
The good thing about Facebook is that it allows very precise targeting by interests, careers, geographic location, and so on.
You can also set up a Google Adwords campaign and publish articles or videos on your field of expertise, to attract clients trying to find a virtual assistant on search engines.
A virtual assistant business offers freedom and flexibility and is relatively easy and affordable to set up. If you want to be a virtual assistant, don’t wait for the opportune moment to get started.
This Virtual Assistant Guide helps new and aspiring virtual assistants start and grow a VA business from scratch. It will help you become a virtual assistant, using skills you already have (or by learning a few new ones).
You can start a virtual assistant business in India or from your home anywhere in the world today, so take advantage of this amazing opportunity to ditch the 9 to 5 job and work from home.
About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the publisher of Naaree.com and offers career coaching services for work-from-home moms. Sign up for the Career Planning Newsletter and get career tips and advice in your inbox.
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