Ever got up on a Monday morning and thought to yourself, ‘Oh! Not again! Here comes another week of hustle-bustle and no rest!’ All that goes on in your head is how you are going to pull yourself up from the comfort of your bed and get yourself to travel for an hour or so to get into your cubicle just in time. The usual Monday morning blues, right? If only you could work sitting on your bed with a cup of coffee instead of having to commute for long hours every day. If only there were no more slogging from nine to five every day.
The solution? A virtual assistant (VA) job.
Especially if you’re looking to resume your career after a sabbatical but want to work from home, a virtual assistant job is a good fit. Moreover, if you hold corporate experience, it won’t be long before you land a virtual assistant job.
All you need is a computer, high-speed internet connection, and telephone connection for you to work in the field of your expertise with a lot more flexibility and convenience than a regular job.
What is a Virtual Assistant Job?
A virtual assistant is a person who offers their services to a company from afar or ‘virtually’. The type of service you provide covers a wide range of job prospects - it can be simple transcription tasks to complex digital marketing campaigns. Busy professionals, bloggers, business owners, entrepreneurs are usually the ones in search of virtual assistants.
Why Should You Get a Virtual Assistant Job?
The concept of flexible working hours is now truly realized with the advent of virtual jobs. In the present era where digital nomads are slowly becoming mainstream, more people are resorting to remote jobs. If you’re looking for the reliability of a full-time job with a regular source of income but also want to spend the day pursuing other interests and looking after your family, lose no time in looking for a virtual assistant job. As a virtual assistant, you have the luxury of working from your home, a nearby café, or just about any place in the world. Choose your desired working hours and make money by working as a virtual assistant.
So how does one get a virtual assistant job? Where do you start if you want to become a full-time VA? Read on to find out.
Identify your Skillset
You may be an engineering graduate, possess expertise in social media management or want to work as a technical writer. Whichever your area of proficiency may be, rest assured you will find the right business looking for the exact services you are willing to offer.
You can even take up multiple projects from different companies, each of which requires a different set of skills. Say, one day you are helping the manager of a company with his emails and meetings and the next day you are working with a travel agency and deciding on a client’s itinerary. Sounds fun, right? Starting from the entry-level jobs for absolute beginners to skilled jobs in website designing or app development, the opportunities are many.
To get started, you have to identify and choose the skillset you want to put to use. Here are some common areas virtual assistants work in.
1. Website or Blog Management
Virtual assistants often manage a company’s website and blog. They look after blog posting schedule and work on Content Managing Systems such as Wordpress. From creating to curating content for the posts, regularly updating the blog, choosing images for posts, managing affiliate links, replying to comments on posts and emails to promoting the content on social media platforms, the tasks performed by a virtual assistant can be varied.
2. Social Media Management
Social media is a powerful weapon. For business owners, entrepreneurs, brands, influencers, and bloggers, an online presence can drastically alter their revenue. As a social media virtual assistant, you will be working with them to grow a loyal online audience. Some tasks include hunting for post-worthy pictures, editing them and posting them with SEO-friendly captions, scheduling posts, interacting with followers, responding to queries, and analyzing statistics on reach.
3. Email Management
As a virtual email assistant, you will be assisting business owners in organizing the inbox, replying to customer inquiries, follow-ups, and conducting email marketing campaigns. However, you won’t be able to start off as an email marketing VA without prior knowledge on autoresponders, email lists, and template designing software like ConvertKit.
4. Online Research
Patience and an eye for detail is all that online research needs. Anyone with a sharp eye for data and the right sources can easily perform research as a VA. You will need to keep a track record and analyze the data from the competitors’ market, and work on consumer data and look for trends in it. Once done with your research, you’d also need to present your findings in an easily digestible format to your client.
5. E-commerce Assistance
As a VA working with an e-commerce business, you’d be assisting your client in taking and organizing orders, returns, promotions, and general customer queries. If you’ve got some experience in the retail industry, you can put your skills to use as a virtual assistant and manage your client’s business competently.
Copywriting is one of the most searched jobs on the internet today. As a greater portion of the general public resorts to the internet for viable information on a myriad of topics, businesses and bloggers are conquering the online market by sharing content on a regular basis. Content creation not only demands impeccable writing skills but also requires an acquaintance with digital marketing techniques like SEO practices to drive traffic. It takes time to research on the topics, collect relevant images and edit them, and upload the articles on the website. Nonetheless, the work is rewarding.
7. Data Entry
This is where you start off as a virtual assistant if you do not have any specialized skills or prior experience. Companies like Axion Data, Clickworker, SpeakWrite, etc. post work-from-home data entry jobs from time to time.
8. Customer Support
Healthy customer relation and interaction is the foundation of a successful business. As a virtual customer support assistant, you’d be answering customer queries, collecting feedback, answering calls, and managing. Business owners usually are too involved in other trade aspects to look after the concerns of the customers. So, they would delegate these tasks to prompt virtual assistants to get the job done perfectly and on time.
Some other common tasks performed by VAs include:
- General administration
- Calendar management
- Preparing reports
- Video/photo editing
- Travel planning
Once you’ve identified your area of interest, it’s time to move to the next step.
Other Skills You Must Possess
As easy as it may sound, becoming a virtual assistant requires caliber and the right personality. Apart from impressive writing and speaking skills, you also need to master a few other traits:
- Time management: Meeting deadlines is of utmost importance. If your client wants something at 2 p.m., you have to finish the task by the time. Since you’ll likely be performing multiple tasks in a day, it’s imperative you know how to manage your time
- Organizational skills: To be able to plan and prioritize your projects is an important part of being a virtual assistant
- Computer literacy: Acquaint yourself with the basic troubleshooting issues as you would be mostly working on your computer as a remote assistant. Look out for malfunctions that might interrupt your work or potentially breach your client’s confidential data
- Availability: As a VA, you should make yourself approachable by your employer so that you may address issues that need immediate attention. In other words, be responsive to your client’s requirements
- Willingness to learn: Always be up for learning new skills and competencies. This will take your career to heights like nothing else
- Interpersonal skills: Because you’ll be communicating with your client on a daily basis, it’s important you have solid interpersonal skills for smooth interaction
Independent Contractor or Full-Time VA?
Once you have developed the requisite skills to land a virtual assistant job, you need to decide the structure of your work. If you desire to establish your own VA business and remain self-employed, you are an independent contractor. However, it is much easier to work with an established company that offers VA services.
Pros and Cons of an Independent Contractor:
- You are your own boss. Starting from clients to payments, you get to choose it all
- Since no employer is involved here, all the money from the client is channeled to your account
- Running a business successfully means wearing multiple hats at the same time. This might get difficult for people who would rather prefer an easy-going work life
- Finding the initial clients is always the hardest and working independently makes it no easier
Pros and Cons of Full-time Work:
- You need not be worried about the whole business running in the background. All you have to focus on is the work assigned to you and get it done on time
- Since you will be working under an employer, they are responsible for bringing clients to your doorstep. No hassle of going on client hunts and spending money on marketing
- You get some form of support and job security from the company you are working for
- You do not, however, get to decide your pay. Essentially, your employer does that for you
- You are no longer your own boss as you are now answerable to your employer and have to abide by the company’s guidelines
Individual Contractor or Employee: What’s Best for you?
Now that you are aware of the ins and outs of working as an individual contractor and employee, plump for one of these based on your personal requirements.
- If you are an entrepreneur at heart, love to connect, can work long hours, and would rather have your own business than work under someone, start your business
- If you want someone else to get clients for you and not having complete control doesn’t bother you, take up full-time work. You also get to shift jobs here more easily
Look for VA Jobs Online
Freelance marketplaces are the easiest way to find virtual assistant jobs. You will find multiple job postings on freelance boards or online virtual assistant websites such as Wishup that work to connect businesses with virtual assistants. While this may get very competitive, considering that there are thousands of other job seekers eyeing the same post as yours, the process is hassle-free and perfect for beginners.
You upload your portfolio on the site and apply for part-time or full-time job listings that suit your interest. If you get shortlisted, you might be interviewed over a Skype call or given some task as per the employer’s wish. Once you get selected, congratulations! You have just landed your first VA gig.
Build a Social Media Audience
Social media exposure equals bonus points for your business. It is the leading way of marketing your business to capture a new audience. Once you put your business out there in the world, it gets easier to land projects with clients from varied backgrounds. And more than often you would find yourself getting clients through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. However, you need not keep tossing between multiple social media accounts. Keep it simple and stick to only those platforms where you are most likely to find prospective clients.
The best way to learn the tricks of the trade is to network with the people who have already established themselves in the industry. Here's how you can do so:
- First, recognize the field where you may get your ideal employers as per your skills and interests
- The next step after identification is to look for businesses that be might be offering outsourcing services and are profitable as well
- Develop a strong online presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get noticed by prospective clients. Do this by liking and sharing their posts regularly
- Since you won’t see referrals pouring in when you have just started out, pitch your services to new companies daily. Let them know that you are interested in working with them and that you possess the relevant skills for it
- If you are a newbie in the field, do not expect your client to trust your services all at once. Give them a trial period and if both the parties are satisfied, you can continue to work with the payment as settled by both
If you have one or two favorite blogs in your niche where you regularly interact with the blogger in the comment section, you can take a step ahead and email them asking about requirements of any sort of assistance now or even in the near future. You never know who needs a blogging VA. You might just get lucky and end up working under the guidance of your favorite blogger!
When you build meaningful connections with clients it helps you to perk up your reputation as a trusted virtual assistant. Scaling the ladders of a successful career as a VA will only be made easier if your potential clients already know that you are reliable.
Using Facebook Groups to Get a Virtual Assistant Job
What if websites and job boards aren’t for you? Worry not, Facebook groups can be your best friend when it comes to finding virtual assistant jobs. In a more localized environment, not only do they help you to communicate with fellow VAs but also serve as a place for:
- Getting updates about the current online trends such as ‘What SEO practices are the most successful bloggers using today?’
- Technical support in case you are stuck in a problem while working on a particular software as a VA
- Gaining legitimate referral sources by interacting with colleagues and expanding your VA business
- Understanding your field better and improving your existing knowledge about your work
Some of the most favored Facebook Groups are Cocktails and Contract, Member Vault, Ontraport User Community, and The Screw the Nine to Five Community.
The best thing about working as a Virtual Assistant is that you can work from anywhere in the world. You may be holidaying on the beaches of Goa or in the valleys of Kashmir and still be earning as long as you are carrying your laptop with an internet connection.
But how much you earn is completely dependent on your efforts. You work for more hours, you get higher pay. As you gain more experience and acquire client referrals, you can start negotiating for a higher premium for every hour you work. You need to hustle, be dedicated and proactive in your work. Creating a portfolio will be of no good if you do not do your job well to build positive client relationships and get more referrals in the future.
All in all, the job of a virtual assistant is a very lucrative one. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up at Wishup and start working as a virtual assistant in no time!
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