So, you want to learn How to Become a Virtual Assistant? It’s a lot easier (and harder) than you may think. You’ll need some equipment, some mad skillz, and even some luck perhaps… but I’m going to help you get started! Be sure to check out my Make $$ Section while you’re here. :)
Equipment You Will Need
First, you’ll need a reliable computer. No, you cannot be a successful Virtual Assistant from your iPhone. While your SmartPhone may help you be a great Virtual Assistant, it won’t be good enough to do it all.
Choose a computer:
Next, you’ll need a reliable internet provider. In addition to internet at home, you’ll need a back-up plan. A few times this past winter, I was working for a client and my internet went out. Then, my electric went out! I grabbed my laptop and headed to McDonald’s. It wasn’t pleasant sitting at McDonald’s for three hours to finish my shift, but that’s what I did.
Another time, my internet wasn’t working, so I had to go to a cafe. I was home alone with the kids at the time, so I had to take them with me. I packed up some busy bags (Grace’s Kindle, Saff’s Innotab, and Nell’s Tablet – as well as some coloring books and crayons) and ventured to the cafe to finish my shift. Thank goodness for free wi-fi!
If you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume you already have both of the above, so I’m just going to hop right in to the rest. Each thing I discuss in this post is simply a recommendation. It’s not the gospel truth (oh the irony), nor is it a be all end all. It’s simply my opinion, based on my experience. Use this advice at your own risk.
You’ll need a dedicated email address, as well as a Paypal address so you can accept payments. Remember to include Paypal fees in your prices, or you will be losing money. Getting a PO Box and a business phone number (you can get one for free from Google) is also a good idea.
Other Recommended Equipment
Decide What Types of Services You Will Offer
Ask yourself these questions:
– What are you good at? What are you not so good at?
– What do you like to do?
– Are you an expert at anything?
– How much time and energy do you have to devote to your business?
– Is this just a job for you, or are you going to create a career out of it?
There are many questions you should ask yourself, but those are probably the top few I would suggest. Are you planning on being a freelancer? Finding work on oDesk or maybe ProBlogger’s Job Board? Or are you going to be your own boss and create a business while offering your services as a Virtual Assistant?
I personally took that route – I work for myself, my clients are mostly other bloggers (sometimes small businesses), and I offer things that I’m great at (like article writing). I steer clear of things I am not so good at (like staying organized!).
Books to Read
– Virtual Assistant Assistant: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with Virtual Assistants
– The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More!
– Quit Your Rotten Job…and Become a Home-Based Virtual Assistant Instead
– Become a Virtual Assistant – The Virtual Assistant Forums Guide to Success
– How to Start Your Own … Virtual Assistant Business
– The Commonsense Virtual Assistant: Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee
– Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA
– Make Money Online – 97 Real Companies That Pay You To Work In Your Pajamas
– Virtual Gal Friday’s Virtual Assistant Start Up Guide
– The 2-Second Commute: Join the Exploding Ranks of Freelance Virtual Assistants
– How to Become a Successful Virtual Assistant
What I Do As a Virtual Assistant
The question I get asked most frequently is “What do you do exactly?”. That answer varies from day to day, because I have several clients.
Client 1 is a deal blogger. I work about 20 hours a week for this client, and get paid a certain amount per hour. Each hour, I will post 4-5 deals to their blog and Facebook page. Hourly Virtual Assistant jobs are a little more difficult to find, but they are usually steady once you land them.
Client 2 is a food blogger. This client travels a lot, so sometimes she gets behind on her recipes. Once each week, I bake up a recipe, take photos, and post it to her blog. I get paid for the ingredients I use, as well as a certain amount per recipe I post. Since I offer vegetarian recipes, it’s a specialized market and lots of people will pay more for them. You could try Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly, or Low-Calorie Recipes if you’re going to offer this service.
Client 3 is a small business. This client doesn’t have time to worry about social media, so I run their Facebook and Pinterest profiles. I schedule 3 posts each day to their Facebook page, and I pin about 10 things a week to their Pinterest page. If you’re great at social media, this type of gig could be right up your alley.
Virtual Assistants do a variety of tasks, for a variety of clients. Don’t limit yourself by what I have experience with. If you have a background in law, or real estate, or even education… use it! There’s someone out there looking for a Virtual Assistant like you!
Some other tasks you may be asked to help with:
– Writing and answering emails.
– Managing blog or Facebook comments.
– Helping with email and scheduling.
– Data entry, light accounting/number crunching.
– Various administrative tasks, such as proofreading, editing, and more.
Finding the Perfect Client
So perfect probably isn’t the best word, but when searching for clients you need to know what you are looking for. Do you work better under pressure, or with plenty of time to meet deadlines? If you interact with potential clients in a group setting (such as on G+ or Facebook), you can see a little of their personalities… keep all of these pros/cons in mind while trying to find work. If you find a client you do not mesh with personality-wise, you may get discouraged and want to quit all together. Just realize that some clients will be like oil when you are water – and that’s okay! Go your separate ways if you must, but always leave on good terms.
Taking It To The Next Level
If you are ready to take it to the next level and be 100% professional, you need your own website. Please, for the love of all things internet, do not set up a free website (like on blogger.com) and expect to be seen as a professional. You have to invest a little money to make money.
While you can do your own design on picmonkey.com, you should keep it simple and know when to hire out tasks such as design, coding, etc.
If the word “coding” scares you, set up a simple website and go from there. I recommend WordPress (.org not .com). You have to have your own hosting and domain to have a WordPress site. A domain costs, at most, $10 a year. Hosting costs about $10 a month. While that may sound like a lot if you’re not sure you’re going to make money, you should have more confidence in yourself than that.
Say to yourself, “I will make money this year. This will be a successful business for me“.
Head over to the 1&1 website to purchase your domain. Sometimes they have sales for $0.99 domains. Go grab one. — I’ll wait here.
Then, head to Host Gator to purchase your hosting. I recommend Host Gator because that is who I’ve used for a year++ and have LOVED.
Another option for domains is GoDaddy. They have sales frequently, but I don’t personally care for their dashboard or customer service.
Another option for hosting is Stone Alley 4WP. Hosting packages start at about $5 a month. Becky owns Stone Alley 4WP, and has been my BFF for a long time. I totally recommend her services… she’s saved my butt more times than I can count.
Now that you’re set up, it’s time to sell your body! Orrr maybe your brain? :) No, I’m not saying you should sell your brain to science. I’m just saying, have faith in yourself! If you don’t, who will?
If you aren’t good at talking about yourself, have a friend write up a little paragraph or two outlining what types of services you offer, why you’re great at what you do, etc. You can change it here and there if necessary, but it will be a good start. Put a “sales” page, aka an “about” page up, and sell yourself!
– Be flexible! You won’t always find clients that work on your schedule – so be willing to flip your schedule around a bit.
– Don’t sell yourself short! Never work for commission only unless you know it will work out in your favor. Never work for less than $12 an hour. Period.
– Only take on one client at a time when you first start. While I have a dozen or so clients, I don’t work with all of them on a daily basis. Some are daily, some are weekly, and some are just once in a while.
– Do some market research to find out what you should/could offer, how high the demand is, etc.
Wrapping It Up
This post is super long – never write a post this long – but I hope you find it helpful on your search for how to become a Virtual Assistant. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will answer them in my next post! :)