How to Become a Virtual Assistant

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Do you want a flexible job that pays well, lets you work at home, and uses skills you already have? Then here’s how to become a virtual assistant.

With the popularity of remote working people are looking to strike a work-life balance. And virtual assistant or VA is one area that is gaining popularity.

Simply put, a virtual assistant is like a receptionist or personal assistant, except they don’t work in your office. They can encompass a range of duties working as subcontracted staff.  The virtual assistant might work from a remote location- say form the comfort of their home office. There are jobs practically in any career field imaginable. Just about anyone can do the job of a virtual assistant provided they have strong communication and organizational skills.

For small business owners VAs are a great source for managing the day-to-day operation of a company. Whether you hire your VA for a few hours per day or fulltime, there are many options out there. Virtual Assistants get paid either on an hourly rate or fixed fees per week or month. This means small businesses can get the service they need without going overbudget.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Advantages of Being a Virtual Assistant

Depending on the particular experience and skill sets the VA has, it will open up opportunities so they can start offering their services. Virtual assistants can work for multiple clients simultaneously thus increasing their income.

The major lure of being a virtual assistant is it provides the flexibility to create a new lifestyle. Driven by digital technology communications VAs are providing their clients with valuable support from their homes. They may be based in the US or abroad and are able to help when and where they are needed.

Virtual assistants also work without the distractions of an office environment. And this allows them to focus and dedicate their time to getting their tasks accomplished.

The Benefit for Businesses

Businesses too are reaping the benefits as they do not have to pay for extra costs such as healthcare. Additionally, businesses save money by not having to provide the working space, training, equipment and related costs. Because VAs are self-employed, expenses such as taxes and insurance are covered by the virtual assistant. This in return means businesses see lower labor costs and can scale up their workforce depending on their needs.

The key to the success of a business is to have successful team members backing you –a virtual assistant can be there for you when you need them. What is more, companies only hire VAs only when they need work done for them. If they don’t need them, they aren’t on the clock so you don’t have to pay for them.

Availability is also growing the segment because there are so many VAs out there. You can easily find someone who specializes in a particular industry you need quickly and easily.

How to Start Your Virtual Assistant Business?

If you have a skill to offer, exploring a VA business can simply be an outlet to showcase your talent online. It is important to note a virtual business offers different services.

The pool of virtual assistants in your particular line of business might be highly competitive, as such you should make sure that you are an ideal candidate. Knowing how to become a virtual assistant can help you succeed. The key to becoming a successful VA is to build your niche and offer your services to the right business.

There are websites that offer beginner courses for becoming a virtual assistant. If you are an expert you can improve your knowledge base by learning new skill sets. Since you are the brand, the goal is to make yourself as employable as possible. And the more skills you have, the more companies will search you out. A high degree of motivation, good communication skills and a desire to learn are equally, important here.

Identify Your Strengths

By taking stock of your strengths and learning the basics you will be able to set up your VA business.  Key to your success is to first identify what your business structure is.  You should be able to answer what type of clients you will be working with? How best can you fulfill your commitments in light of your family commitments and other liabilities? And of course, what are the different businesses structures available in your area.

What then follows is deciding what kind of service you will be offering? Making a decision on your services can be a sticking point for many new VAs. There’s no rule book anywhere that says you have to stick with a specific service offering once you start. The nature of VA work is one that is evolving. your clients’ specific needs can impact the repertoire of services that you offer. That said, make sure there is a logical sequence to the services you deliver.

Your VA services can start with checking email, returning phone calls and managing your client’s calendar. It could then evolve into offering more services depending on your niche. But always remember to be loyal to your primary service offering. Remember businesses are looking for specialists not jack of all trades for solutions.

If you are an expert, you can improve your knowledge base by learning new skill sets. Since you are the brand, the goal is to make yourself as employable as possible. And the more skills you have, the more companies will search you out.

When it comes to earning potential, a virtual assistant working as a freelancer can earn $4,000 a month. How quickly you start earning depends on how quickly you start putting yourself out there for hire.

How Much Should I Charge?

Deciding your price structure can also be a challenge? Let’s face it everybody wants to know ‘what’s the right amount to charge and how much is enough?’.  The process is part art, part science.  Setting your rates is a personal decision that needs to take into account a wide variety of factors.

When you’re setting your rates, figure out what would make it worth your time. You might want to initially start by charging an hourly rate. As a sub-contractor you are required to pay your taxes. You will have to make sure your wages afford you some decent health insurance. Plus, don’t forget running costs such as stationary, office expenses, and broadband to name a few.

What is often recommended is that you need to add a minimum of 25% to your rates to cover taxes and other expenses. So, if you are thinking of charging $30 an hour, then multiply $30 by 1.25 and quote around $37.5.

As a VA, your ultimate goal is to help other people grow their businesses by adding value to their businesses. It can be a very rewarding process to help other people grow their business. And you always want to provide as much value as possible. Making your clients happy is the biggest asset to your business.

In that same token, don’t forget you are also building your own business. You need to learn to set your own priorities and run your business in a way that works for you. Because if you don’t take care of yourself and your business, then growth and satisfaction are usually the first two things to suffer.

The good news is finding a VA job isn’t that difficult, because of the many platforms catering to freelancers and remote workers. FlexJobs and Upwork are two of the sites you can use to get yourself established.

You can start building your resume while getting some invaluable experience in the industry.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "How to Become a Virtual Assistant" was first published on Small Business Trends



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