How To Become A Successful Virtual Assistant
Hi, Boss....doesn't that sound good to hear? 😍
First off, CONGRATS!
I know you're thinking "I haven't done anything yet," but trust me you have. You have taken the first step to potentially changing your career, your life becoming a Virtual Assistant and your own boss. Becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to get started as a freelancer, develop your skills and gain a deeper understanding of online entrepreneurship as a whole - all while providing a valuable service to your clients and make money in the process. Not sure where to begin or what to offer? Keep reading and find out the steps you can take to start your own Virtual Assistant Business.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Getting straight to it, a virtual assistant is exactly what its name says it is: an assistant who offers their services online. It is someone who independently handles outsourced tasks for clients. When we think of an assistant, we usually think of a person handling the nitty-gritty everyday tasks of their employers. They’re the backbone of their bosses, making their lives easier by taking some of the load off their shoulders. That is precisely what a virtual assistant (VA) does. Now while assistants usually deal with administrative work, that’s not all they can assist with. VAs can have specialized as well as general skillsets, which is something we’ll explore more in the next sections. They can be hired on a contract or for a short period. They can be asked to handle a great many things or just one particular task, like bookkeeping. The point is, there’s no limit to the flexibility of a client-VA relationship and the nature of each is different. After all, that is what appeals to many people just starting in this industry: the freedom to customize their job to their convenience. Everything from their time and income to the nature of their work can be decided to a VA’s liking, and best of all, all from home! Because the assistant is online, you do not have to be physically present at the site of your client’s business. This means you can offer your services to someone in the next city, country, or even on a different continent. Now I will say this, don't let your past experiences define you. You may only have admin experience but that doesn't mean you can't become a Social Media Virtual Assistant. I am just trying to say; don't limit yourself and keep an open mind. If you feel more comfortable you can always start with what you know, but if you know that's not what is going to sustain your passion or enthusiasm long term, make sure you're clear on what you're striving for.
Virtual Assistance As A Business
Like other careers, virtual assistance requires a business model too. This requires deciding on a pricing structure and the kind of work you’ll be doing (will it include contract work? What kind of businesses will you work for? What services will you be offering?) among other things. However, while it is a good idea to have a clear idea of what you want to do and how you do it, don’t be disheartened if you don’t have this all decided. Many people change their minds as they work and get a better idea of the virtual assistance space. And you don’t have to stick to one thing. Your business model is organic, just like you. It will keep on being modified with time and different projects, and that’s completely fine! Virtual assistants are in demand more now than ever and you are able to take on several clients at once, and take on the workload that serves you and your business best. You don't have to always be an expert at everything; I believe the most important trait as a Virtual Assistant is being a self-starter. You need to be motivated, have a willingness to learn, be organized, and helpful.
Virtual Assistant Rates
I have good and bad news. The good news is that I have some practical guidelines and ideas that will make this process easier to figure out. The bad news is that there really is no perfect answer and solution and certainly no "one size fits all" solution. Setting your rates is a personal decision that needs to take into account a variety of factors. Every time you start a new project, begin working with a new client, or decide to offer a new service, the topic of rates will always come up. The reason that there isn't really an etched in stone price is that every project is different and every client is different.
An important marker of the viability of your business model is pricing. Therefore, it deserves careful thought and research. At the same time, you cannot overthink this. The problem with pricing is that you cannot undercharge and you cannot overcharge either. If you charge too little too often, you will not be able to grow or be happy. If you charge too much, you risk putting off clients. So how do you find the perfect balance? To be honest, there is no hard and fast rule. Pricing depends on the nature of the work (is it hourly? Fixed?) as well as your experience (how qualified are you for this particular job?). On top of that, VAs need to deal with the“overhead” expenses of running a business, such as marketing costs, since they are technically self-employed. A good rule-of-thumb is to charge
about 25% more than the price you’re thinking of charging. This ensures you’re leaving enough space for yourself to grow and quoting a suitable price. Most Virtual Assistants charge rates from $25-$75 per hour.
What Services Can You Offer As A Virtual Assistant
There is no shortage of services that you can offer as a virtual assistant. Where there is demand, a supply will be needed to fulfill it, and there is always a demand for services. This is where you as a virtual assistant come in. The tricky part here isn’t not being good at anything, but being good at too many things. Remember the choice overload we mentioned in the beginning? Well, this is the part where it becomes relevant. However, before we can decide which services you should offer, let’s see the kind of services you can offer. These are just 15 services to offer out of more than 100+ options.
Website management- includes everything from making sure the website is up-to-date and secure to optimizing the efficiency by making it more attractive and user-friendly.
Customer service- engaging with a business’ clients by answering their questions or giving them product advice. Customer service reps operate online anyway, so this is just seizing an already existing opportunity.
Email management- one of the most mundane yet necessary tasks ever. VAs can sort and label emails, reply to them as deemed fit, and even manage email lists.
Event organization- whether it is a virtual event like a webinar or podcast, or a traditional one like a product launch, VAs can keep up with the details to make sure everything is set and ready for clients.
Social media management- creating pages or profiles for a client’s business as well as managing and interacting with the relevant audience by sharing (and creating) content.
Blog maintenance- regularly updating and scheduling content, replying to comments, coming up with ideas for new blogs.
Digital marketing- executing and sometimes even coming up with a marketing strategy to convert online users into consumers.
Report and analytics- analyzing online traffic, business models, and strategies to compile reports about the market’s consumer trends, for example.
Running ads online- be it Facebook or Google, online campaigning is a part of almost all businesses and is usually delegated to VAs.
Data entry- an administrative task, this can include a broad range of things such as managing calendars or even transcription for certain businesses.
Technical support- usually reserved for VAs who are tech-savvy and provide technological assistance for clients or the clients of clients.
Editing- formatting text for a variety of media such as blog posts or ebooks.
Research- this one can include many things but to give you an idea, think of researching the competition and finding niches for your client to grow their business in.
Content creation- traditional content writing for websites or ghostwriting.
Monitoring and moderating interactive platforms- this can refer to Facebook groups or other online communities that manage a lot of content. It is a very real need for entrepreneurs- people with businesses based entirely online.
It’s important to remember one thing: businesses are made by administrative employees as much as they are by CEOs. Without people on the ground dotting i’s and crossing t’s, such as virtual assistants, businesses can’t succeed. Because of this, there’s unlimited potential for virtual assistants. You don’t have to worry about the profession becoming obsolete because the need for assistants isn’t going away any time soon, especially with the rise of big corporations and businesses. The internet put the virtual world at your fingertips, it’s now up to you to make the most of it. The career of your dreams may just be a few clicks away. There are literally so many services you can offer and just as many businesses/companies looking for your help and support. What are you waiting for?
If you never try; you never know!