A virtual assistant (VA) is a contractor who works remotely and assists another individual with personal tasks, hence the name. You are generally self-employed and can perform a variety of tasks whether they be helping with organization, preparing documents, transcription, social networking, hiring and more. This can be a dream job for anyone who needs to work at home and enjoys working for a variety of clients. If searching for a VA is your challenge, learn how to find, hire, and manage your team of VAs here. However, if you’re looking to become one, knowing the ins and outs of the hiring process won’t hurt.
Benefits of Hiring Virtual Assistants
As our becomes more globally connected, many businesses and entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants to help them with a variety of tasks. The convenience is obvious because the employer can hire anyone from anywhere and the virtual assistant can also work from anywhere and work for anyone they prefer. It also benefits the employer economically as they can outsource their service needs on an hourly or daily basis. For example, if you were to hire a full-time personal or administrative assistant in the U.S., it could cost you anywhere from $35,000 to $55,000 annually, and this not including benefits. So, you might be wondering how virtual assistants make any money at all? Continue reading.
Making a Profit
If you want to become a full-time virtual assistant, you will probably have to work for several clients at once. This gives you options and flexibility. You might have a client that needs only 10 hours a week, of your time, another that needs five, another that needs 15 and so on. You could set your own schedule to work either in the mornings, the afternoons, the evenings or all of the above. You could also designate one day to each client, if that works out for both you and your client.
Have the Skills Others Need
The reason why people hire virtual assistants is normally because they are overwhelmed with work or need someone who can provide specialized assistance. There might be a variety of tasks that you can assist with, such as:
- Transcribing videos or phone calls.
- Responding to emails.
- Plan travel.
- Organize calendars.
- Set up spreadsheets.
- Take care of time-consuming tasks.
- Upload blogs.
- Compile presentations.
- Help with hiring.
- Order supplies.
- Manage social media.
- Web design.
- Graphic design.
- Legal research.
This is only a partial sampling of the wide variety of jobs you might be asked to do. The key is to do things you are comfortable with, meet the deadlines and do them well.
In addition, you have to determine what types of skills you have to offer. Marketing, graphic design, web design and ghost writing or copy writing are the most popular requests. If you can do one or more of those things, you should not have any issues finding good clients. Also, the industries that hire the highest number of virtual assistants include:
- Financial Services.
- Real Estate.
If you do lack skills, you can easily take some online classes to help fill any gaps in your education. Showing clients that you have the initiative to improve your knowledge set is also beneficial in your work search.
Hone Your Environment
As a virtual assistant, you will need the right space and equipment to complete your jobs effectively. Things you will need include a work space, filing system, a computer with Microsoft Office, Internet, VoIP programs such as Skype, and a dedicated cell phone.
Understand Successful Character Traits
As a virtual assistant, your organizational skills have to be meticulous. Moreover, you need to have to ability to think on your feet and stay flexible. Job guidelines can change at any time and new jobs can also come at all hours of the day. You should also enjoy multi-tasking and keeping your clients happy. Since your work is virtual, you might sometimes have to work extra hard to prove you can get the job done successfully and on time.
Market Your Skills
Create a portfolio that conveys some of your best work. It is easier to find new clients if you have experience and a resume to show. Use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to present your background in addition to helping you find and connect with potential clients.
Search for Work
You can perform most of your job search online. Sites such as Elance and LinkedIn have hundreds of job postings looking for virtual assistants. You should determine a competitive hourly rate beforehand. You do not want to sell yourself short and work for much less than you are worth, because then you might quickly find the job frustrating and burn out. On the other hand, you have to remain competitive with your pricing because you are competing with a global work force. This is especially true if you are based out of a country with a higher cost of living and you are competing with workers who have much lower costs of living, and therefore do not need to charge as much in order to pay their bills.
Apply for as many jobs as you think you can perform effectively. Have a proposal tailored to each client. This will take time, at first. However, once the work starts pouring in, you will find it gets easier each time. Do not get discouraged if it takes a while for clients to respond. Some of them post jobs that they won’t need until weeks or a month out. Make sure you have the ability to wait a month or more for new clients. Moreover, once you have a steady client list, you still have to consistently look for work. The reason is because not all jobs last forever, so you will need to balance your current work with a stream of new jobs, as well.
Once you learn how to become a virtual assistant, you may never look back. Knowing that you can work for yourself and make enough to support yourself, from home, is a freedom many people crave. Of course, you might find you work harder than you would working for someone else. However, you also feel more motivated because you are the first to see the fruits of your labor.