There is a reason that virtual assistant jobs have climbed the popularity chart in recent times. Working from home at your own pace is a luxury not many have access to. Owing to technological advancements, the world has transformed into a well-connected, global village. In the age of 24*7 connectivity, businesses have embraced virtual employees like never before.
When you work remotely, you save precious hours on commute and can strike a better work-life balance compared to in-office employment. In fact, you’re also free from the many distractions at a workplace (think gossip and office politics) and can work uninterruptedly, devoting your complete focus to the task at hand. Becoming a full-time virtual assistant can thus open up a new world of untapped potential and lucrative opportunities for you.
When you initially start looking for virtual assistant jobs, you may find it tough to find steady opportunities and new clients, especially if you’re establishing a freelance practice. However, it is much easier to get a full-time and stable virtual assistant job with an established company.
Read on to find out how.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Before thinking about how to become a virtual assistant, you should know what exactly the job demands. A virtual assistant is an experienced professional who is usually a jack-of-all-trades. They possess specific skill sets and offer administrative and other specialized support from a remote location.
VAs are quite adaptive and versatile. From doing administrative work like scheduling appointments, making reservations, sorting out emails and handling day-to-day operations to specialized areas like social media management, they do it all. While many people traditionally look at VAs simply as executive assistants, they can be actually be relied on for almost any job.
As a virtual assistant, you will typically work for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, small business owners, multinational companies, or freelancers. When thinking of how to become a virtual assistant, know that there is never a cut-and-dry list for the services a VA offers. No matter your educational background, you’re almost always guaranteed to find a client looking for the specific skills you possess.
Here are a few examples.
1. If you have a sales background, you can find a client who is looking to delegate work like the creation of sales pages, performing outreach and generating leads.
2. If you are drawn towards writing content, you can find a business looking for someone to perform content research and write monthly blogs.
3. You can even find clients looking for more direct, recurring work like email management, data entry, scheduling meetings and other tasks that are usually handled by a personal assistant.
Usually, the busier your boss is, the more you might have to multi-task. You may have to juggle several roles in a day, depending on their schedule and your profile.
Skills and Requirements
Next come the specific qualifications and skills you need to possess. Lucky for you, unlike regular jobs, virtual assistance does not require a horde of expensive degrees and courses. Essentially, the top requirements are a laptop with an internet connection and good communication skills. You need to be fluent in English, be good at time management and prove to your client that you are reliable. Having a strong personality and self-confidence will help add to your profile. Being resourceful, readily available for calls, and adding value to a task in a way that a standard office administrator cannot, will take your value one notch up.
If you’re wondering how to become a virtual assistant if you're not tech savvy, it’s important to remember that everyone starts at the beginning. You don't need to a computer geek to be a virtual assistant. Learn important tools like SEO, data management through online courses to build your resume. Browse through a host of free tutorials and courses and choose the one you like best. Moreover, virtual assistant platforms like Wishup offer rigorous training on several skills before assigning a client to a VA. This means you only need bring some professional experience and a genuine willingness to learn to the table.
Research and staying on top of the latest technological trends will also do the trick. Proficiency with common email management and social media tools will add to your resume. Your growth as a VA is only as high as the amount of effort you put into it.
When you’re trying to build your career as a VA, there are a lot of things to be taken into consideration.
Independent vs Employee
When looking into the aspects of how to become a virtual assistant, it is important to decide whether you wish to work as an independent contractor or work for a firm as an employee. As an independent contractor, you would be self-employed and call the shots. The pricing and work hours would be set by you. But it also comes with the added responsibility of handling your own business. Finding clients can be difficult during initial stages let alone having a client network. Moreover, if you have to look after your family, the long hours may distort your work-life balance.
As an employee, you would be working for an established Virtual Assistant company that assigns clients and projects to you. This is a great option if you’re looking to commit only a certain number of hours in a day and clock out without having to tend to additional business-related duties. You will have clear boundaries and a steady income that might not always be possible when starting a business. However, your pay will be pre-determined and you will have to be answerable to your employer.
A third, albeit tricky option is starting your own VA company after gaining some first-hand experience at an established company. This can tough considering the clauses that are placed in their contracts, stopping you from poaching their clients.
The best route to establishing your career as a virtual assistant is to take up a full-time role with a virtual assistant platform.
Create an Online Presence
Whether you are starting off independently or as an employee, establishing a social media presence will always prove to be beneficial. Focus your efforts on platforms where you can usually find potential clients. Building a strong social media account can help build strong relationships. Tools like Buffer are great for creating fresh content. It has free built-in analytics, allowing you to measure the success and effectiveness of your posts
Apart from this, creating your own website is important. Your clients should be able to find you, see your work and recognise you as a reliable resource. It adds a sense of professionalism and highlights your skills and provides you with a platform and an opportunity to express yourself. Some basic steps that you can take into consideration are deciding on branding elements, creating an effective logo and showing you are committed to constant learning.
1. It can be useful to post your resume online when looking for a virtual assistant job. Test the waters by checking out a few job sites and post your resume. This will give you an idea of what’s out there and lots of employers can see your profile as well. Build a strong resume and see how many hits you get. Whether you wish to take up the job or no, the information can be useful and help in building a stronger presence.
2. Finding your first few clients can be tricky. To land clients without struggling, know who your ideal clients are direct your efforts towards targeting them. Begin building a steady relationship with potential clients and pitch new prospects daily.
3. The easiest way to find new clients is to join forces with a virtual assistant company.
4. Pitch to your clients until you have steady growth through referrals.
5. Offer a trial period in the initial stages. This will help the client develop trust as they don't know what to expect. A short trial period can be useful to both the client and yourself to figure out compatibility.
6. Once they’ve made a commitment to you, check with them regularly. Be consistent with your work and communicate well. Set a schedule for regular updates, video meetings and discussions to maintain a strong relationship, which is a key factor for client retention.
7. While a VA is a jack-of-all-trades and there is no set list of the tasks that you can handle, once you gave steady business, find a niche and specialize in it. This will help you look more professional, create trust and you can become the go-to person for that service.
8. Once you land a gig, be sure to create a designated workspace for yourself at home. Whether it's a small desk by your bed or separate office space, it will help you work uninterrupted and stay from distractions and unduly stress.
Things to Remember
While it is important to get your clients to trust you, it is just as important for you to be able to trust them. When paired with a good VA firm, you will rarely face an issue. Here are a few best practices when looking for a VA opportunity.
- Always be thorough with your research. Read up on the company or person whom you are going to offer your services. Ensure that the company has a training program in place so you are able to offer the highest quality of services.
- Know what to expect from a VA company. Reputed companies are thorough in their screening process. They may ask for your resume or take an online interview to ensure your integrity. If a company is lax in their due diligence, they may not be very trusted or reputed.
- Get in touch with fellow VAs when seeking a new job. They may direct you to rewarding opportunities in established companies.
Now that you know the important steps on how to become a virtual assistant, remember to always stay on the path of constant learning. Stay on top of the latest technologies, learn new tools and regularly build up your resume. This will show your clients that you have the hustle and they will put all their faith in you. Slowly and steadily, you can build a successful career for yourself as a VA.
Interesting in becoming a virtual assistant? Sign up at Wishup and embark on a rewarding career!
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