How to Become a Virtual Assistant

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If you want to work from home and also make good money, then an excellent way of doing that is to become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are essentially home-based professionals who are skilled and provide their services to businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs. As a virtual assistant, you can offer your services online, right from the comfort of your home, without actually stepping out.


Being a virtual assistant is an excellent way by which you can earn money for the skills that you possess. And today, the scope of the services you can offer as a virtual assistant are endless and completely depend on your skills, training and experience.

The general misconception is that virtual assistants can only perform administrative tasks such as taking calls, typing, answering emails, etc. However, the job profile of a virtual assistant can go far beyond just administrative jobs and today, it is possible to do a wide range of activities remotely, thanks to the internet.


As a virtual assistant, you can get your work assigned to you and deliver it via various media such as telephone, email, fax, or any other manner in which the client requires the work to be done. And, having a virtual assistant is extremely beneficial for entrepreneurs, home-based, and small and medium businesses, as it allows them to get all their work done without the need for hiring and training an employee.


Things You Can Do As a Virtual Assistant

There are several services you can provide as a virtual assistant and the skills are not just restricted to administrative jobs. Some of the things you can do as a virtual assistant are:

  • Planning an event
  • Promotions using social media
  • Graphic design
  • Designing and developing websites
  • Editing
  • Desktop publishing
  • Coordinating and making travel plans
  • Managing customer service
  • Transcription
  • Creating databases
  • Data entry
  • Bookkeeping
  • Project management
  • Handling correspondence such as emails and letters
  • Writing press releases, articles, blogs, etc.
  • Doing research
  • Tutoring

And, the list goes on. Essentially, as a virtual assistant, you can practically offer any service, where you do not have to be physically present at the client’s office.


How Much Can You Earn as a Virtual Assistant?

How much money you make as a virtual assistant really depends on the kind of service you provide and your skill level. While jobs like data entry, transcribing audio data or typing documents may pay you a minimum rate per hour, if you have specialized skills such as business marketing, web designing, social media marketing, etc., you can easily make hundreds of dollars as a virtual assistant.


How to Find Clients

As a virtual assistant, you could either work for an established company, where the company matches you with the client according to the skill and job requirement or you can start your own virtual assistant business and work for yourself.

So, if you do plan to start off on your own as a virtual assistant, the main challenge is how to find your clients. You need to start by marketing your business as a virtual assistant. Some of the ways that you can get clients are:


Create Your Website

Today, the first step to establishing any business is having a website, whether you are selling a product or just advertising your services, a web presence is an absolute must. Having a website makes your business seem more professional and authentic. You can also use your website to highlight your skills and in what ways you can help the client’s business.


Starting a professional blog can be another way by which you can market your services as a virtual assistant. You can offer useful articles, information and advice on your blog. You could write and submit articles on other content sites that could help to promote your business or you could write articles related to the business or other general interest topics. You can make use of the bio-box to promote your virtual assistant business to the readers.


Use Email Marketing

You can make use of emails as a means of marketing your virtual assistant service and this essentially means getting referrals from the visitors to your website. You can also provide a link to your website, where potential customers can visit and get an idea of your services and expertise.

Exploit Social Media

You can use social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. to meet and interact with like-minded professionals. You can join social groups with business professionals who can make use of your virtual assistant skills and also connect with other virtual assistants.


Relationships are vital to getting clients and using social media is the best way you can find customers for your virtual assistant business. Once you are established, you can then depend on word of mouth to bring business.

Answer Advertisements

You can also look for virtual assistant jobs on freelance work websites and job boards.


Network with Other Virtual Assistants

Interact with other people who are working as virtual assistants, speak to them about their work, check out the websites of other virtual assistants, look at the services they offer to get an idea of what could work for you.


Work for a Virtual Assistant Company

If you feel that scouting and getting clients of your own is not your cup of tea, then you could work with an organization that helps to match virtual assistants with customers.

As with everything else, being a virtual assistant has its own pros and cons. We dissect the pros and cons for you below.


Pros of Being a Virtual Assistant

Being Your Own Boss

The best part of being self-employed is that you’re your own boss. And, you can be your own boss by being a virtual assistant, which gives you the ultimate freedom of setting your own schedule, choosing the kind of work you want to do, who you want to work with and your rate.


Working from Home

Another major perk of being a virtual assistant is that you can work from home. You can save the hassles of getting up in the morning, getting dressed for work, the traveling and the traffic. You also don’t have to deal with co-workers and your boss. And, the best part is that you can make money even if you work in your pajamas.

Choosing Your Benefits

Being the boss, you have the luxury of living and working the way you want. You can take leave or sick days whenever you want and the best part is that now, you can go on a vacation anytime you want without waiting for vacation time. You can also choose the way you work and the amount of time you wish to devote to work so that you have the perfect work-life balance.


Earning Unlimited Income

Being a virtual assistant allows you to take up multiple projects for different clients. And, with more jobs, you can earn more money. And, if you can manage a decent number of projects, then you can even expect to earn a higher income than if you were employed with a regular organization.


Cons of Being a Virtual Assistant

While working as a virtual assistant has several advantages, there are some drawbacks to it too such as:

Distractions at Home

Working from home can be a big distraction and when you have household crises like sick kids to take care of, household errands and chores to do, the breakdown of appliances, etc. taking care of work along with these emergencies can be quite taxing and can take a toll on you.


Lack of Company Benefits

While you work as a virtual assistant from home, you don’t have benefits that a full-time employee of an organization gets, such as paid insurance, paid leave, retirement benefits, etc. So, it is a good idea to think about how the absence of these benefits would affect you and your family before considering a job as a virtual assistant.


No Health Security

As a virtual assistant, if you’re working for a company that finds you work, then your employers are not required to give you a health insurance and thus you have to pay your own health insurances, which could take off a big chunk from your earnings.


No Work No Pay

If you go on a vacation or take leave because you are sick, being a virtual assistant means that you will not get paid if you do not work. So, you will have to plan your leaves well in advance and inform your employers so that you have a project ready when you get back.

A few years back, a virtual assistant was practically unheard of. However, today, if you have the requisite skills and can market them well, you can become a virtual assistant very easily and a successful one at that. However, it is a good idea to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of quitting your permanent job to become a virtual assistant before you actually do so.

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