How to Become a Virtual Assistant

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. :)

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

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:

Desktop: Dell, HP, Toshiba, Mac
Laptop: Dell, HP, Toshiba, Mac

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

— An exercise ball or a comfortable desk chair
— A reliable printer
— An external hard drive
Anti-virus program

Mom Blog to Money Blog

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.

how to become a virtual assistant

Sell Yourself

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!

Tips/Hints:

— 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.

Resources

Work From Home Blog – Job Board/Leads
ProBlogger’s Job Board
Work at Home Revolution

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! :) If you are writing posts for other people, be sure to use amazing images! I get mine for just $1 each.


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Comments

  1. I have a question since of course I am all about selling myself-in legal, brain ways of course! Do you put the posts on your own blog or do you write stuff for say their blog and of course their Facebook, etc

    • SlapDashMom says:

      You write for their blog, FB, etc. :)

  2. Sharon says:

    Great suggestions and tips Sadie! I’ve always been one to think a little outside the box and love the idea of getting paid to do what I’m good at and enjoy.
    Sharon recently posted..Mom and Kids Night of Fun #SharetheSoft #CbiasMy Profile

  3. Some great tips and thankyou for sharing it all with us. It makes you think ……..
    sharon martin recently posted..Alone on the Ice gives Antarctic Explorer Sir Douglas Mawson his dueMy Profile

  4. Thanks Sadie, super great tips! Will definitely share. :)
    Rhonda – A Born Unique Mom recently posted..Need Motivation To Lose Weight?My Profile

  5. TAMMY CUEVAS says:

    Thanks for some great ideas and advice!
    TAMMY CUEVAS recently posted..TUNA CASSEROLEMy Profile

  6. Excellent round up of resources, Sadie!

  7. Priscilla DeLoera says:

    This is really awesome! All of a sudden I’m imagining all the possibilities when the hubby and I combine our skills!

  8. Lisa says:

    Thanks for including Work at Home Mom Revolution in your list of resources! I really appreciate it!
    Lisa recently posted..MegaAds Seeking Coupon, Shopping, Frugal Living WritersMy Profile

  9. Heather Pfingsten says:

    Is this something one is able to do part-time?

    • SlapDashMom says:

      Definitely! You set your own hours!

  10. Jaime says:

    Love the article! I would add that once you get yourself there, you need to remember that you are YOUR own company.

    After doing my second year of taxes as a VA, you really need to understand that world and what it entails. Generally, you are not an employee with said persons blog, rather your a contracted employee and YOU are responsible for not only your taxes, duh right, but all the other legal requirements like L&I (What happens when you get hurt on the job?)and retirement and Health programs (SS and 401ks, Hsa’s and such.

    This post would totally motivate me to go into this field, and I can attest you CAN make money out there, but I wouldn’t become a Real Estate Agent until I learn all the housing and lending laws -to protect my client, you should learn all the FTC and Internet Laws and Guildlines – to again, protect your clients.

    Props to You, Sadie, for growing your unique brand and hopefully you will be hiring some more VA’s soon!

  11. laura says:

    Do you hire VA’s? I would love to work with you.

    • SlapDashMom says:

      Laura, I do have a VA but she’s my best friend and gets paid pennies. :( lol I do the rest of the work myself. :)

  12. shannon says:

    Thank you for this post I have been looking for ways to make money from home while I go to school. This might be a good route for me.

  13. Tara says:

    Thank you so so much for all the inspiration! Sometimes I just need a kick in the rear end. And your blog is such a motivation!

  14. You have so much great info in this post. I love that you listed out books to read because it’s always helpful to educate yourself ahead of time, right?
    Robin (Masshole Mommy) recently posted..Festive Painted PumpkinsMy Profile

  15. Terry says:

    You have made some great points here. Thank goodness I no longer have to get out there and sell myself. Right now, I write my blog for fun and entertainment, plus.. I do reviews… but right now it is just for fun. I do have my own domain name though.
    Terry recently posted..flattenme Childrens Book Review ~ Owl Always Love You ~ Your Childs Name On Every PageMy Profile

  16. Carrie says:

    This is great information. Just what I am looking for. I am newly divorced, with 4 kids, 1 cheonically ill, and am going to school fulk time. I am looking for something I can do at home. Thanks for the information.

  17. Thank you for this peek into the VA world. I am putting myself out there, applying for freelance writing assignments and even volunteering content for more exposure. My dream is to my day job and write full time. I have owned my own small business in the past and I miss working myself. Do you suggest a personal website separate from a blog I already write? One that is just to myself as a VA and freelance writer?

  18. New Mommy says:

    Would you consider probloggers job board a trusted place to find jobs? Also, how does this work when it comes time to file taxes?

    • SlapDashMom says:

      Yes, I would. And for taxes, I use True Blue Tax LLC … located in AZ but does bloggers’ taxes from all over the US!

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