Virtual assistants are in high demand online. Internet marketers, webmasters, and entrepreneurs have plenty on their plates, and they can’t get around to doing all of the tasks on their schedule without some help. Fortunately, talented VAs provide a solution to the overextended workload.
Working as a VA is a rewarding experience, and the position pays well in most cases. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 4-million Americans working as administrative assistants in the United States.
Many of these assistants work from home without the need to commute to an office every day. When you work online, you can set up your office from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.
Most virtual assistants operate as freelancers, not W-2 employees, giving them plenty of freedom when choosing their clients. If you decide to take on the lifestyle of a virtual assistant, you can expect to work hard from Monday to Friday and get weekends off.
There are plenty of advantages to working as a VA, and it offers you a level of freedom that you can’t get working behind a desk in an office as a permanent employee.
The Duties and Tasks of a Virtual Assistant
- 1 The Duties and Tasks of a Virtual Assistant
- 2 The Benefits of Starting a Job as a Virtual Assistant
- 3 How Much Do Virtual Assistant Earn?
- 4 Presenting Your Skillset as a Virtual Assistant
- 5 The Best Methods for Finding Virtual Assistant Jobs
- 6 Wrapping Up – Persistence is Key
As a virtual assistant, you have the opportunity to work as an administrative assistant, personal assistant, executive assistant, or in other positions that require your skills of organization, administration, and coordination.
VAs need to adapt to the needs of their clients, and every client has different requirements and expectations for their assistant. Before you sign on for the job, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the tasks that the client requires of you.
Some of the tasks required of VAs include the following;
- Scheduling calls, meetings, and calendars
- Making travel arrangements and arranging bookings for accommodation, car rental, and insurance
- Accounting and billing activities, such as invoicing and managing the outcomes of sales funnels
- Organizing and filing documents
- Answering calls and directing them to the right company department
- Acting as a “gatekeeper” on calls and emails
- Creating and maintaining records
- Taking notes, dictation, and making memos or agendas
- Maintaining social media profiles for clients
- Researching new partners, companies, or persons of interest to your boss
- Transcription and editing
- Event planning and orchestration
These are everyday tasks required of VAs, but every situation is unique, and your boss might have different requests and demands they need you to follow.
Before you take the position, make sure your prospective boss sends you a job description. Review the document and make sure that you have competency in all the areas mentioned. If you feel out of your depth, don’t take the job.
As a virtual assistant, you’ll need excellent verbal and written communication skills and plenty of patience. You’ll also need skills in working in the cloud and typing as well.
The Benefits of Starting a Job as a Virtual Assistant
If you have experience working as an assistant in an office setting, then you might find working as a VA a good fit, especially if you don’t enjoy your commute to work. However, working online at home means that you won’t have anyone to talk with, and you can expect your boss to provide you with as little communication as possible – they have other things to take care of on their priority list.
So, if you’re a social person and like being around people in the office, think twice about signing on as a VA. You’ll have plenty of work to do, so don’t expect to have time to go out to lunch with friends simply because you’re working from home.
The life of a VA can be lonely, but if you enjoy the peace-and-quiet of having no-one around to watch over your shoulder and irritate you with distracting chit-chat, then the life of a VA is for you. It might take some getting used to in the first few months, but after you settle into the position, you’ll love the freedom of working from home.
Every job is different, with different obligations and commitments. It’s the ideal situation for anyone that needs to stay home. If you’re pregnant or have young kids, working as a VA allows you to keep an eye on your children, and gives you plenty of quality time with them as they’re growing up.
You’re technically working for a boss, and you’ll have all the commitments of a full-time employee. However, you won’t get an employment contract, as that’s the benefit for employers, and they could fire you at any time if they think you’re underperforming.
You’ll have to deal with life as a 1099 contractor, and there’s very little job security, and no boss will ever offer you a pension or other benefits that personal assistants receive as a W-2 employee. However, you shouldn’t have to worry about finding work if your bosses company goes under, or they decide to break your arrangement.
There are thousands of VA jobs available on platforms like Upwork and Freelancer. Most prospective employers have no idea of your skills, and most of them won’t even require you to issue references. The proof is in the pudding, and they’ll likely offer you a trial period to measure your performance. If you meet their requirements, then you can expect to get the gig.
If you do find a position with an employer and perform better then they expect, then the chances are that your new boss will keep you around for as long as they have work for you – good help is hard to find in this industry.
How Much Do Virtual Assistant Earn?
Are you wondering how much virtual assistants earn? If you’re starting as a VA and treading unknown waters, then you can expect entry-level pay grades to be between $10 to $15 per hour. If you have plenty of experience and credible references, then you can charge more for your time.
The company you work for also plays a significant role in your pay packet. If you have experience and land a job at a profitable company, then you could receive up to $100 per hour, or maybe even more.
However, the majority of VA jobs pay between $15 to $30 per hour, so use that as your baseline for your expectations when negotiating rates with your new employer.
Presenting Your Skillset as a Virtual Assistant
We already covered the skills you need to make it as a virtual assistant online. However, you can have the best skillset on the planet, but if you can’t present it in the right manner, no-one will hire you.
Writing out a traditional CV or resume of your skills is what everyone else is doing, and you’re lumping yourself in with all the other candidates for the jobs available online. You need to catch someone’s attention. To do that, you have to think outside of the box when presenting your skillset.
So, how do you stand out from the pack in a busy employment environment where everyone’s doing the same thing to catch the attention of prospective employers?
First, you need to work on your cover letter and CV. Instead of presenting a typical resume with your education information and employment details, write a cover letter that catches attention. By writing a unique cover letter, you set yourself apart from the millions of other applicants.
Your cover letter should include a quote from a successful person that describes your character and commitment. Write a few lines under the citation of why your employer would want to hire you. The more enticing your cover letter, the more chance you have of making the shortlist of candidates.
The second and most effective way of getting a job as a VA is to go out and hunt for clients. Many people make the mistake of uploading their profile to a site like Fiverr and then waiting for the business to come to them.
Instead of this approach, try seeking out your employer. Make a list of the top 10 companies with offerings, and then email them requesting an interview, you’ll find it surprising at the number of positive responses you get.
Employers want to know they’re hiring a go-getter, and by taking the initiative to contact them first, you make yourself stand out as a possible candidate that can make things happen.
The Best Methods for Finding Virtual Assistant Jobs
When it comes to entering the job market and finding yourself a position as a VA, there are numerous ways to get work. Let’s unpack the best platforms and methods for finding you your first gig.
Reach Out to Your Network
Your power base is your current network of contacts in both your professional and personal life. Some experts say that we are only seven people removed from knowing everyone on the planet.
This statement means that your existing network is your most valuable asset when hunting for a job – we like the saying, “your network is your net-worth.”
Start by reaching out to all of the contacts in your email address book and your cellphone. You never know, your best friend could meet someone tomorrow that asks them if they know any qualified assistants.
However, don’t send out a spam email or text message to all of your contacts. People will realize that you’re trolling for business, and most people don’t have the time or patience to deal with these sorts of requests.
Create a unique email for each of your contacts. It doesn’t have to be pages in length; all you need are a few lines to pique people’s attention and put you at the forefront of their minds.
Join a Virtual Assistant Company
If you are the kind of person that gets an anxiety attack thinking about looking for work yourself, it’s not a problem.
There are plenty of VA company’s looking for competent assistance for their clients. Zirtual.com is an excellent example of a company looking for VAs that fit their client’s requirements.
Create a Listing on Freelance Sites
Freelancing sites also offer you an excellent opportunity to search for VA jobs. However, while there are hundreds, if not thousands, of positions available, there is also plenty of competition. On these sites, you’ll need to find a job posting that suits your skillset and apply for the job on the platform.
Each job opening will likely have dozens of candidates applying, so its probably not the best option. With so much competition, it eventually comes down to a price war, and the candidate offering the lowest rates to the employer usually wins the contract.
If you don’t want to work for $5 an hour, then these platforms might not be the best option for finding work.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a valuable resource connecting you to thousands of professionals all over the planet. Open an account and complete your profile – it’s a handy tool to have, and you can bet your prospective boss will research your profile when deciding on hiring you.
LinkedIn is now the preferred platform for recruitment agents, and if you have an excellent and informative profile, you might even find that agents head-hunt you for job openings on their books.
Wrapping Up – Persistence is Key
Many aspiring VAs find that the first one or two jobs they take are not what they expect. Don’t panic if your first job is a nightmare. Every gig you choose is a learning experience, and you’ll gain valuable insight into the industry and the types of gigs available.
Avoid making the mistake of being desperate when accepting a position as a VA. Many people settle for too little when signing on with a company or employer. Don’t shortchange your skillset, or it will breed resentment in your that ends up blowing up in your face a few months down the line.
The longer you persist, the more chance you have of finding the perfect job to fit your skillset and your lifestyle. Don’t give up on your quest to make it as a virtual assistant, you never know – the next job you apply for could be your dream position.