If you want to know how to be a virtual assistant working from home, you have come to the right place.
For a few years now, online work has been revolutionizing the way you work, and being a virtual assistant is one of the easiest ways to start as a freelancer.
Although your family and friends probably have no idea this exists, those who embrace this growth of remote work stand to benefit the most in the long run (financially and emotionally speaking).
Not only do you benefit from working from home as a virtual assistant, but also companies, since it takes time off their shoulders and reduces fixed costs.
- Who Hires a Virtual Assistant and Why?
- So... What is a Virtual Assistant?
- But... Don't I Need the Experience To Be A Virtual Assistant?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Virtual Assistant
- Tasks Performed by a Virtual Assistant
- Types of Virtual Assistant and How to Get Started
- How Much Can I Earn As A Virtual Assistant If I'm Just Starting?
- Where Can I Find A Job As A Virtual Assistant?
The one who doesn’t know how to be a virtual assistant may think that you have to be an expert… but not at all.
I started knowing a little about WordPress and a little about social networks (and who doesn’t use them?).
The beauty of virtual assistance is that it’s such a broad subject, there’s a good chance you can mix what you know how to do today and start looking for clients tomorrow. (Oh really!)
Today we will deal with everything that has to do with how to be a virtual assistant, from types of virtual assistants, where to get jobs, what it takes to be a virtual assistant… and more.
Buckle up and let’s get started.
Who Hires a Virtual Assistant and Why?
If you want to learn how to be a virtual assistant, it makes sense to know who you’ll be working for and why they need you, right?
There are busy individuals (such as business owners), bloggers, startups, and micro, small, and medium-sized businesses that have a limited schedule, space, and budget.
But you need to do certain tasks.
Many of these tasks (a lot that we will see later) can be carried out from anywhere in the world with a computer and an Internet connection.
In order not to hire an assistant regularly and have to cover medical insurance, compensation, an office, etc., they look for a person on the web to carry out these tasks for them.
And that person can be you.
So… What is a Virtual Assistant?
Put simply, a virtual assistant is an individual who works remotely for another person or entity to perform tasks—both repetitive and varied—to save the organization a few hours (and a few dollars).
If you become a virtual assistant (if you are reading this, you have already taken the first step), the digital services that you will offer can be as simple as data entry to more complex tasks such as billing or hiring personnel.
But… Don’t I Need the Experience To Be A Virtual Assistant?
I’ve already mentioned it, believe me. The truth is, no. You don’t need the experience to be a virtual assistant.
Chances are you already have some of the necessary tools and skills to be one.
If you have worked with spreadsheets in Excel if you know how to navigate the web (you got here somehow)…
…if you consider that you can provide good customer service, if you know a little about finance and accounting, or if you are good at using a computer…you can start.
(The truth is that it is more about skills than having the knowledge or tools.)
To mention some of the skills that can favor you when leaping, here are some.
They are not in any particular order, but they give you an idea of what I mean.
- Be organized and know how to manage your time.
- Have a positive attitude and help others.
- Communicate effectively in writing and orally (If you know other languages—especially English—you can help yourself, but it is not required.)
- Have a friendly personality.
- Pay attention to the details.
- Be patient and professional.
- Always want to learn.
If you feel related to 3 or 4, you sure have what it takes.
And of course, these are just some of the qualities that can help you start your career as a virtual assistant.
Tangibly, you will surely need:
- A computer
- speed internet.
- And preferably, headphones with a microphone (in case your personal computer does not have them).
Other materials that can be of some use to you, but are not mandatory, are a desk, a telephone line, a smart cell phone, and office products such as agendas, boards, etc.
If you happen to have experience as an office assistant, you have a huge advantage.
But even if you’ve worked as a teacher, customer service representative, accountant, or whatever to do with finance, you can take many of these skills/aptitudes and immediately monetize yourself as a virtual assistant.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Virtual Assistant
Like everything in life, being a virtual assistant has its advantages and disadvantages.
Among the advantages we can mention:
- You don’t have to transport yourself to a place every day… avoiding traffic.
- It does not require a lot of investment (more than a course if you want to speed things up).
- It can be done both part-time and full-time.
- Generally, you select your hours.
- You can work for more than one entity at the same time (you don’t run the risk of your boss firing you and your income plummeting).
- It can take a few months to get your first client.
- You may have to start in a low rate range (~US$4-10/hr).
- Your tasks can become monotonous and boring.
- You will need a quiet work environment at home (which might be difficult for some).
I don’t know your point of view, but even if it takes work and energy, the truth is that in the end, it is worth it.
And although based on your cost of living or the city where you live, $US10/hr may be little, in most Hispanic countries it is a reasonable amount.
Tasks Performed by a Virtual Assistant
There are so many tasks that a virtual assistant can perform, that I had to subdivide them.
These are some of the tasks that you could eventually perform in this profit be scared by the length it won’t be all at once.)
Keep in mind that if there are any that you don’t like—like making and answering calls, for example—you can choose to be the type of virtual assistant that aligns with you.
(Virtual assistant types are below.)
- Write and transcribe documents or letters.
- Transceive (go to writing) audio or video.
- Provide customer service via chat or mail.
- Answer and make phone calls.
- Manage a remote team.
- Organize and document processes.
- Enter data and create spreadsheets.
- Manage and organize emails.
- Manage projects.
- Conduct customer surveys and analyze feedback.
- Translate documents or writings.
- Manage and schedule events, conferences, and meetings.
- Book trips, stays, and restaurants.
- Research on the web where to get the best flowers ( customers get creative sometimes).
- Have availability for group meetings from time to time.
- Schedule the different tasks.
- Hire other virtual assistants or other staff.
- Delegate activities and tasks to others.
- Keep websites up-to-date and smooth.
- Provide technical support to customers.
- Edit videos.
- Edit audio.
- Create landing pages and/or sales funnel.
- Collect and analyze data.
- Work with billing.
- Reconcile the income/expenses of the company or person.
- Manage staff pay.
- Make the necessary digital purchases.
Support with the Sales Process
- Support events and promotional campaigns.
- Collect emails from potential customers.
- Send emails and interact with potential customers.
- Call and chat with potential customers.
- Identify and contact interested companies or potential partners.
- Manage the content of blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels.
- Manage (publish and schedule) content on social media accounts.
- Support or manage advertising campaigns on social networks.
- Interact in communities or Facebook groups.
- Manage guest posts.
- Create business presentations.
- Maintain contact with affiliates and their companies.
- Write and/or edit articles.
- Design graphics (images, banners) for web content or advertising.
- Create and track email marketing campaigns.
As you can see, there are many possibilities.
But it will all depend on who you work for, and that’s what we’ll see now.
Types of Virtual Assistant and How to Get Started
To get started as a virtual assistant, a good idea to specialize and decide who you want to work for.
If you’ve been around here, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of specializing, especially when you don’t have experience.
If, for example, you know you enjoy writing, you might want to run a blog. Or if you like graphic design and marketing, it’s a good idea to start with social media.
The goal is for you to define what you would enjoy doing (as you will do better) and thus increase the chances that you will do your job well and not find it boring or irritating later.
The question would then be, what kind of virtual assistant can I be?
Let’s detail it:
Administrative Virtual Assistant
This is the type of virtual assistant that works for an entrepreneur with an offline business or someone else who has a tight schedule.
Of the tasks mentioned above, the majority will generally be related to personal assistance (such as travel or restaurant reservations), administrative tasks, and probably financial support on a personal level.
Virtual Assistant for a Physical Products Business (E-Commerce)
In this case, if you decide to work for a physical products business, you will most likely have to work with customer service and it can even help to know a little about writing and copywriting to support product descriptions and advertising campaigns.
Whether on platforms like Shopify or Amazon Seller Central, you’ll be working hand-in-hand with physical product sales (and every once in a while, complaints from a couple of customers).
Virtual Assistant for a Digital Products Business (Infoproductos, etc.)
If, on the other hand, you choose to work for a digital products business, you usually have to perform some of the technical tasks mentioned.
There are plenty of tools out there, but an email service provider like Mailchimp, Benchmark, or Aweber, plus software like Leadpages, are some of the tools you’ll hear mentioned.
You must become familiar with the construction of sales funnels, lead generation, and email marketing campaigns that are the basis of any online business of this type.
Virtual Assistant for a Content Marketer (Blogger / Podcaster / Youtuber)
This and the interior can eventually overlap.
Bloggers tend to sell online training or other digital products as they become known as an authority in their niche.
If you work for a blogger you will need to be proficient in WordPress (you can start a blog for free), article writing and editing, web research, and maybe having a basic understanding of web design or programming will help a little.
Virtual Assistant for Social Networks
As you can imagine, this type of virtual assistant will require more specialized knowledge in design and in the different tools used to automate processes in social networks, as well as participate in Facebook groups and interact with followers.
Tools like Fotor or Canva; Buffer, and Hootsuite, among others, will be your daily company.
Note: Some of these types of virtual assistant can be combined over time. But in general, you will be more oriented to one than the other depending on your client.
Isn’t A Virtual Assistant For Social Networks The Same As A Community Manager?
The difference between a virtual assistant who works with social networks and a community manager (or administrator of social networks) can be difficult to detect with the naked eye.
The community manager can be involved in the strategic part of the matter while the assistant usually only executes it.
(This is a simplified way of explaining it. Keep in mind that as a virtual assistant Therese a community manager if you specialize…
… many community managers started like this.)
How Much Can I Earn As A Virtual Assistant If I’m Just Starting?
A virtual assistant (ready repeated 5,000 times) can do so many things that his pay can vary depending on the tasks he performs and his responsibilities.
Additionally, the pay can be measured on either a monthly, task-based, or (most common) hourly basis.
To give you a reasonable amount, I’ll tell you about my first two jobs.
What I Started Earning…
My first job as a virtual assistant was through Facebook and it paid $400 per month.
I was working 3-4 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. (Which would be roughly $5-8/hr depending on how fast you worked.)
The second was through Upwork at a similar rate of $5/hr.
This is complete without having worked as a freelancer before.
As you progress and gain experience; Whether you decide to manage a team or specialize in social media or another profession…it’s possible to hit $20-40/hr in a couple of years (or less).
But what did you know at that time? I don’t need training?
To be honest: no.
By then I had tried, on my own, to create a blog (which failed miserably) and I had been watching a couple of YouTube videos on how to use WordPress and a couple of other tools for about 3 months.
That and a little courage was what it took.
If you don’t feel ready, believe me… I understand you. It is something on a personal level that must be overcome to dare to start applying for jobs until you get it.
The same thing happened to me.
If you want to gain a little more confidence, you have two options:
- You can do as I did, and learn in fits and starts: try different things like an account on the networks, and try to create a website and you will learn in the process.
- If you want to speed things up, you can learn from now the subject, and gives you a map to follow, so you not only have the knowledge but also the confidence (which is just as important).
There is no official requirement or formal education that teaches you how to be a virtual assistant, but remember that constant learning will keep you fresh and up-to-date.
There are hundreds of online courses and products that you can purchase and ensure that you continue to develop as a professional.
Where Can I Find A Job As A Virtual Assistant?
There are so many demands for this profession that honestly on any of the internet job pages, companies that accept internet workers, or platforms for freelancers there will be opportunities for a virtual assistant.
In addition, there are dedicated pages for running tasks and getting paid for each task.
Here are some places where you can start:
- Belay Solutions (USA)
- Fancy Hands
- people per hour
- Priority VA
- Time Etc
- Zirtual (USA)
I bet you didn’t imagine that this world of being a virtual assistant was so big.
You already have a better idea of how to be a virtual assistant and work from home, and little by little you can go test the waters part-time… who knows if you end up liking it and decide to make a living from this.
What I like the most about being a virtual assistant is that it doesn’t require a lot of knowledge and you will learn a little about everything.
It is (in my honest opinion) the best profession to start in the freelancing world since later you can specialize in what you enjoy the most… or even create your own digital business.
Do not sit idly by, dare to try it!