Virtual assistant jobs are in demand mostly due to the flexibility this job offers. A virtual assistant can work from home for a client who is sitting in another corner of the world.
You can be holidaying on beaches and still doing your job, this is what attracts many people to this job.
You don’t need stupendous talent to become a virtual assistant, though a few soft skills can help you get started in this business.
The global shift towards remote work has not only opened up new opportunities but has also highlighted the significant role virtual assistants play in this new work environment. Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking to transition into remote work or someone seeking flexible job opportunities, understanding the landscape of virtual assistance is more crucial than ever.
In this article, I will explain how to become a virtual assistant without experience, what kind of jobs you can take, and where to find them.
So whether you are looking for a freelance opportunity or want to switch careers, read on for all the information you need.
What is the Meaning of a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is an online personal assistant. Virtual assistants are skilled, professional administrators who provide quality administrative, creative, technical, and social assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
People that employ virtual assistants can benefit from them in many ways.
They provide greater flexibility, lower fixed costs, and the ability to scale up and down as needed.
Simply stated, you’ll be expected to handle office and administrative-type activities from afar as a virtual assistant.
If you have the required qualities, you can start your own virtual assistant business or freelance as a virtual assistant.
Qualities Desirable for a virtual assistant
To qualify as a virtual assistant, one must have good communication skills (both written and verbal).
You should be able to do your job without handholding.
Your organizational skill should be top-notch to get the work done.
A virtual assistant must be comfortable working with clients in different time zones and locations.
You will do well as a virtual assistant if you are quick to respond and do the assigned jobs on time and respect client feedback.
Many online places can help you understand this business, such as the International Virtual Assistants Association.
What Tasks Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Different clients can ask for different types of work. However, there are a few common tasks that most virtual assistants will be asked to do.
These general tasks can include:
- Answering phone calls and emails
- Scheduling appointments and meetings
- Booking travel arrangements
- Managing social media accounts
- Creating and sending out email newsletters
- Proofreading and editing documents
- Data entry
As you can see, the duties of a virtual assistant are varied and can be tailored to the needs of the client.
Try to find out what things you are good at and start to niche down initially when you don’t have experience.
In a few areas, you can work as a specialized virtual assistant. For example:
If you have experience working in an office environment and understand the basics of bookkeeping, this might be a good area for you to specialize in.
As a virtual assistant in finance and accounting, your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
- Helping in Accounts maintenance
- Reconciling bank statements
- Creating financial reports
- Processing expense reports
To work in this area, you should have experience with bookkeeping and accounting software such as QuickBooks or Wave Accounting.
You must have a keen eye for mistakes.
Virtual assistants in customer service provide support to customers via phone, email, or live chat.
If you have experience working in customer service, this could be a good area for you to specialize in as a virtual assistant.
Your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
- Answering customer questions
- Handling customer complaints
- Processing refunds and returns
To work in this area, you should have excellent customer service skills and be able to handle difficult situations.
You should also have experience with help desk software such as Zendesk or Freshdesk.
If you love to write and are familiar with WordPress, you can specialize in this field.
As a virtual assistant in blogging, your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
Writing blog posts
- Proofreading or editing blog articles
- Adding images to posts
- Scheduling blog posts
To work in this area, you should be a good writer and have experience with the WordPress platform.
You should also be familiar with SEO and be able to do basic on-page optimization. This will increase your demand and rates.
If you’re organized and have experience managing projects, this could be a good specialization area.
As a virtual assistant in project management, your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
- Creating project plans
- Assigning tasks to team members
- Tracking project milestones
- Sending out progress reports
To work in this area, you should have experience with project management software such as Asana or Trello.
You should be comfortable handling multiple projects at the same time.
If you have experience working with e-commerce platforms, this could be your cup of tea.
As a virtual assistant in e-commerce, your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
- Adding products to an online store
- Creating product descriptions
- Processing orders
- Answering customer questions
To work in this area, you should have experience with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
You should also be familiar with basic HTML and CSS.
If you know all the major social media platforms on the back of your hand and know how to use them for business, you can earn money by becoming a virtual assistant in the social media space.
Many of your responsibilities will be:
- Make social media posts
- Social media posts scheduling
- Interacting with followers
Your experience and the number of followers you already have will help you get this job easily.
Your skills with basic image editing tools such as Canva will also come in handy.
You can become a data entry virtual assistant if you have experience working with data.
As a virtual assistant in data entry, your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
- Entering data into spreadsheets
- Cleaning up data
- Doing market research
To work in this area, you should be detail-oriented and have experience with Excel or Google Sheets.
Basic data analysis can also be expected from you.
If you have experience sending out email newsletters or managing email campaigns, this could be your specialization.
As a virtual assistant in email marketing, your responsibilities would include tasks such as:
- Creating email newsletters
- Scheduling email campaigns
- Analyzing email campaign results
- Adding subscribers to an email list
To work in this area, you should have experience with email marketing software such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Like these few examples above, if you know some field very well and that you think would be valuable to businesses, you can specialize in that area.
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Make?
Virtual assistants can make anywhere from $15 to $60 per hour, and it largely depends on your experience levels.
With experience, your rates will increase.
Many virtual assistants also offer package deals that include a certain number of hours per month for a set price. This option is great for people who need regular assistance.
How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant?
Now that we have covered what virtual assistant is and what they do let’s move on to how you can get started in this field.
1. Choose a Niche
First, you have to decide on a niche. There are plenty of options detailed above. Shortlist a few of them based on your interest and expertise.
Think about the types of businesses or clients you’re interested in working with.
For example, if you have experience in social media, you should provide virtual assistance to companies or individuals looking for social media handlers to grow their social media game.
Once you’ve finalized a few of them, take some time to research the needs of businesses in those areas.
You will get a better idea about the services you’ll need to offer and the demand for these services.
You can choose what you want to work on with a bit of research.
Think about your skills and experience and choose an area that you think you would be good at.
- Conduct Market Research: Use tools like Google Trends and social media analytics to identify demand in various niches.
- Attend Webinars and Workshops: Engage in industry-specific training to better understand niche markets.
- Create a List of Services: Based on your niche, list the services you can offer that cater to the specific needs of that market.
2. Set Up Your Business
Then it’s time to set up your virtual assistant business. You can create a website and method for how you will receive payments.
Choose a domain name for your website (something like www.yournamevirtualassistant.com).
Create a simple-looking website on the WordPress platform using available themes. You can follow this guide to get started with your new website.
You need to advertise your services, rates, and your contact information on your website. Your website should be easy to navigate. Be sure to include any previous client reviews and testimonials if you have any.
You may register a company to start your virtual assistant business, like a proprietorship, but it is not essential in the starting.
- Utilize SEO Strategies: Optimize your website content with relevant keywords to improve visibility in search engines.
- Engage in Social Media Marketing: Create profiles on platforms relevant to your target market to showcase your services.
- Offer a Free Consultation: Attract potential clients by offering a free consultation to discuss their needs and how you can assist.
3. Find Clients
Once you have everything set up, the next step is to find clients. There are many ways to find clients, including online job boards and social media.
One is to search online job boards such as Upwork or Fiverr. Here, you can create a profile and search for VA jobs that fit your skills and availability.
Another option is to join a VA network such as Zirtual or Worldwide101. These networks connect VAs with businesses that need their services.
Finally, you could also market yourself directly to businesses that may need VA support.
For example, you could send out cold emails or run social media campaigns targeting businesses in your chosen niche.
Building up a strong client base takes time and perseverance.
Start by taking on a few small projects to get some experience under your belt, and then gradually start marketing yourself to bigger businesses.
- Leverage LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to connect with potential clients by sharing industry insights and engaging with their content.
- Participate in Online Communities: Join forums and groups related to your niche to offer advice and promote your services subtly.
- Use Email Marketing: Create an email list to send out newsletters with updates, offers, and useful information to keep potential clients engaged.
Read also: How to start a YouTube channel with success!
4. Decide Your Rates
The next step after getting clients is to decide on your rates before finalizing the deals.
Virtual assistants generally charge by the hour, but some also offer package deals that include a certain number of hours per month for a set price.
When setting your rates, make sure to take into account your experience and skill set. Keep these things in mind while deciding.
Determine your costs
To decide your rates, you need to know the costs of running your business.
Every dollar you spend on this business, like website hosting, marketing, outsourcing, and software subscriptions, will come under this cost.
If you are spending money on running ads for customer acquisition or getting leads, then you also need to factor in that cost.
Your costs can not be more than your earnings. Calculate all these costs and then include the time you need to dedicate to the job and then decide the rate.
Consider your experience
For setting up your rate, it’s important to consider your experience level.
If you don’t have much experience, you may need to start out with lower rates than experienced ones.
You first need to gain experience by working low-paying jobs unless you have good connections.
With more experience, you can start to charge more.
Know your worth
It’s also important to know your worth and not undervalue yourself. If you charge too little, clients may not take you seriously, and you will not be able to earn profits.
On the other hand, if you charge too much, you may price yourself out of the market.
- Analyze Competitor Pricing: Research what others in your niche are charging to help set competitive rates.
- Offer Introductory Rates: Attract initial clients with a discounted rate, with the understanding that rates will normalize after a proven track record.
- Implement Value-Based Pricing: Consider charging based on the value and results you deliver, especially for projects with clear ROI.
5. Start Working
After getting the clients and work, get to the work fast. Complete the tasks under time limits and do a tremendous job at it which can earn your repeat customers.
Make sure to communicate with your clients regularly and deliver high-quality work.
Successful people understand how to make clients happy. Here are a few tips:
Listen to their needs
It’s important to listen carefully to what your clients say they need help with. By understanding their specific goals, you’ll be able to provide better assistance.
Clients will appreciate it if you respond quickly to their requests. Whether they need help with a task or just want reassurance that you’re on the job, timely communication is key.
Being an organization is key to the success of any VA. This means being able to keep track of multiple client deadlines and tasks.
Staying organized will help you keep your clients happy and avoid any stressful last-minute scrambling.
- Use Project Management Tools: Tools like Asana or Trello can help manage tasks efficiently and keep clients updated on progress.
- Implement Regular Check-Ins: Schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings with clients to review work and adjust priorities as needed.
- Ask for Testimonials: After successful completion of a project, ask clients for testimonials to build your credibility.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful virtual assistant who keeps clients happy.
Where to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?
Here is the list of places where you can look for virtual assistant jobs:
Fiverr is a famous online marketplace where freelancers offer services. You can offer your virtual assistant services on this platform and set your own price, starting at $5.
The great thing about Fiverr is that it’s a great way to get started without any previous experience.
No need for a resume to start applying for jobs, but having a good profile of previous work definitely helps.
Though there are a lot of other virtual assistants on this platform and more competition. This means that you might need to lower your rates to be able to attract clients.
Upwork is another popular freelancing website. There are all sorts of jobs on this platform, including virtual assistant jobs.
To apply for a job on Upwork, make a profile and take some tests to show your skills. After making a solid profile, you can start applying for jobs.
There are a lot of high-paying jobs available, but you need to deal with tough competition also.
Flexjobs specializes in online jobs for freelancers. You can find different kinds of virtual assistant jobs on this platform.
After signing up, you need to make a profile and fill in a short questionnaire.
If they approve your profile, you are ready to apply for different jobs you can find on the platform.
To use the platform for finding new jobs like virtual assistant jobs, you need to pay a subscription fee.
Virtual Assistant Networks
For finding a virtual assistant job, there are several specialized platforms that help to connect freelancers with businesses.
These networks are an easier way to find virtual assistant jobs than looking for them by yourself. They take a fee or commission but they are worth it.
Some of the most popular virtual assistant networks include:
Zirtual is a popular virtual assistant company that was founded in 2011. The company connects businesses with VAs.
To work at Zirtual network, you need at least one year of experience as a VA.
It’s a good virtual assistant company and was founded in 2010. The company hires US-based virtual assistants.
Fancy Hands VAs work part-time and can set their own hours. To work at Fancy Hands, you don’t need any experience as a VA.
Time Etc was founded in 2009. The company is always looking to hire virtual assistants.
Boldly is a virtual assistant company that was founded in 2016. You need some experience to work on Boldly as a VA.
To get started with one of these networks, you will usually need to fill out an application and take a skills test. After being accepted, you can start applying for jobs.
How to maximize earnings on these platforms:
- Optimize Your Profiles: Make sure your profiles on job platforms highlight your niche expertise and successful projects.
- Network at Virtual Events: Attend virtual conferences and networking events related to your niche to meet potential clients.
- Offer a Referral Program: Encourage satisfied clients to refer new clients by offering a discount or bonus for each successful referral.
Pros and Cons of Becoming a Virtual Assistant
- You can work from home
- You can set your own hours
- No experience is necessary for some jobs
- You can find high-paying jobs
- There is competition with other freelancers
- There is a subscription fee to access some job boards
- Some jobs might require you to have experience as a VA
- Initial jobs might be low paying
- Hard to find clients for beginners
More Tips For Virtual Assistant Jobs
Skill Development and Training
To excel as a virtual assistant, continuous skill development and training are key.
A wealth of online resources is available to help you sharpen your abilities or acquire new ones.
Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer courses tailored to improve time management, enhance communication skills, and master specific software tools essential for virtual assistants.
Investing time in these courses not only broadens your skill set but also makes your service offering more attractive to potential clients.
Create a Strong Online Presence
Having a strong online presence is indispensable for virtual assistants.
A professional LinkedIn profile, a well-designed portfolio website, or active participation in professional networks can significantly boost your visibility.
These platforms allow potential clients to easily find and vet your services, thus increasing your chances of getting hired. As a beginner, your online presence is often your first impression, so make it count.
Networking and Community Engagement
Engaging with a community of peers can be incredibly beneficial for virtual assistants.
Joining online forums, groups, or associations related to virtual assistance work can offer valuable insights, job opportunities, and a platform for sharing experiences.
Virtual Assistant Forums and the VA Handbook are great places to start. Networking not only helps in finding work but also in staying updated with industry trends and best practices.
Advanced Tools and Technologies
Staying abreast of advanced tools and technologies can give you a competitive edge as a virtual assistant. Familiarize yourself with project management software like Trello, communication tools such as Slack, and social media management platforms like Hootsuite.
Knowledge of these tools can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency, making you a more valuable asset to your clients.
Specialization and Certification
Like we said earlier specializing in high-demand areas such as digital marketing, technical support, or legal and medical transcription can lead to higher earnings and more stable job opportunities.
Earning certifications in these specialized fields can further increase your marketability. Specialization allows you to target specific niches, making your services more sought after.
Legal and Tax Considerations
Understanding the legal and tax implications of working as a virtual assistant is crucial, especially if you’re considering making it a full-time career.
Familiarize yourself with self-employment taxes, business licenses, and the basics of contracts. Consulting with a tax or legal professional can ensure you’re operating within the law and can save you from potential headaches down the line.
Client Management and Retention Strategies
Effective client management and retention are vital for sustaining a successful virtual assistant business.
Clear communication, setting realistic expectations, and consistently overdelivering high-quality work are foundational.
Regularly asking for feedback and being open to revisions can help maintain positive client relationships. Happy clients are not only repeat clients but also a great source of referrals.
Becoming a Virtual Assistant Without Experience is Possible
As the virtual workforce continues to evolve, the opportunities for virtual assistants are bound to expand. The future of virtual assistance is bright, and with the right approach, you can carve out a successful career in this dynamic and rewarding profession.
Freelancing websites and virtual assistant networks offer a variety of virtual assistant jobs.
Experience is not a must to apply for some virtual assistant jobs, but it certainly helps you get higher rates for your efforts.
Start now your journey to become a virtual assistant if you love the freedom that comes with it.
What are the requirements to become a virtual assistant?
There are no specific requirements to become a virtual assistant. However, some jobs might require you to have experience as a VA or specific computer skills.
What are some popular virtual assistant networks?
There are a few popular virtual assistant networks, including Zirtual, Fancy Hands, and Time Etc. These networks connect businesses with VAs. To work with these networks, you might need to have experience as a VA or pass a skills test.
How can I find high-paying virtual assistant jobs?
You can find high-paying virtual assistant jobs on freelancing websites and virtual assistant networks. You can also find companies that are hiring VAs. To find these companies, you can do a Google search or look for job postings on social media sites like LinkedIn.
Can anyone be a virtual assistant?
Yes, anyone with some experience in any field can become a VA. As we saw in this article there are many niches you can work in.
If you know something that can help a business or individual, then yes, you can become a virtual assistant.
Are virtual assistants in high demand?
Yes, at this time point work from home culture has exploded and so is the need for VAs. If you have some service to offer as a VA, there are clients looking for you.
Is virtual assistant a stressful job?
It mostly depends on the job you have taken up. If you have a few clients with a manageable workload then it is not a stressful job.
If you have multiple clients with a load of work then yes it will be a stressful job.
How many hours a week do virtual assistants work?
It totally depends on you. You can take as less or as much work as you want. If you work for a single client regularly, you can expect to work anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week.
How many clients can a virtual assistant have?
Virtual assistants work as private contractors or freelancers, so they are free to take as many clients as they can manage. But before taking multiple clients, be sure to serve their needs well.
Sumeet is a Certified Financial Education Instructor℠ (CFEI®) and founder of MoneyFromSideHustle. He is an experienced side hustler who replaced his full-time income with side hustles. His work has been quoted on major finance websites like CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, GOBankingRates, MSN, Nasdaq, AOL, and more. He has helped thousands of people find side hustles and is here to help you find your extra source of income. More about him.