Do you often dream of working independently in the comforts of your own home?
Are you looking for earning opportunities that will allow you to spend more time with your loved ones?
Do you plan on starting your own business but don’t know how or where to start?
If you’re itching to quit your 9-5 job to see what else is out there, then working as a virtual assistant might just be right up your alley.
Although the virtual assistant industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, many people are still clueless about what a virtual assistant does.
Many people have this misconception that VAs are basically executive assistants who work online. While some tasks are associated with administrative work, the job description of a virtual assistant is actually more diverse.
Basically. a virtual assistant assists his or her client with different tasks to grow their business.
Let’s say the client is a real estate agent.
His or her virtual assistant’s tasks would include following up on leads, updating listings on their website, and making appointments.
If the client was a business owner, then the assistant’s job would include setting up and maintaining a CRM and sending out emails to suppliers.
So you see, no two virtual assistants are exactly alike. The tasks depend on their client’s specific needs.
What’s great about working as a VA is that you’re in control over the services that you want to offer your clients. You can choose to offer any of the following services depending on your personal interests and skills.
Virtual Assistant Services:
- Lead generation – collecting leads from online and offline sources and storing them into a database
- CRM management – creating and updating records using a CRM system
- Data entry – enters and updates data into a database.
- Online research – completes research work for a company using the Internet as the main source of information. Can range from academic research to business-related research.
- Customer support – responding to calls and emails from customers. Processing orders and refunds for online transactions.
- Social media management – creating a content strategy for different social media platforms. Scheduling and posting relevant images, updates, stories, videos on the official company accounts. Managing paid ads on social media platforms.
- Content creation – producing original branded content for a company’s social media accounts and website.
- Blog and website management – posting blog articles, updating product descriptions, and answering comments for the company’s website.
- Webinar and podcasts management – setting up and recording webinars and podcasts for the company.
- SEO – researching relevant keywords and optimizing content to rank on search engine results pages. Keeping track of website rankings while adhering to SEO best practices.
- Graphic design – Creating graphics for the company. Designing and formatting logos, infographics, banners, images for social media, blog, and website.
- Transcription – converting live or recorded speech into an electronic text document.
- Online and offline marketing – creating and executing online and offline marketing strategies for a company. Coordinating with local publications for PR. Reaching out to influencers for partnerships. Organizing events to promote the company’s products or services.
- Editing and proofreading – editing and proofreading official company documents.
- Ebook publishing – writing and formatting ebooks for different platforms. Managing the company’s Kindle account.
- Bookkeeping – keeping track of a company’s business transactions. Arranging payments. Preparing invoices and sending them out. Processing payroll for employees of a company.
- Business communications’ management – answering emails and detoxing inbox. Writing and formatting newsletters. Setting up email accounts and organizing incoming mail with labels, folders, and filters.
- Administrative work – writing and formatting reports and presentations. Supporting the company with whatever tasks they need help with.
- Event coordination – finding and booking avenue. Coordinating and confirming with suppliers. Getting guest RSVPs. Handling permits and providing on-site support on the day of the event.
- Lifestyle management – picking up dry cleaning. Buying movie or theater tickets. Booking flights, hotels, and events. Making restaurant reservations. Setting up appointments.
Whatever your specific skill set is, it’s just a matter of finding clients who are willing to pay for whatever it is that you’re good at. As you see, the potential is pretty much limitless.
There’s so much you can do as a virtual assistant. You just need to decide on the industry that would you want to focus on.
Ready to get started? Then let’s begin with these 5 simple steps to becoming a virtual assistant.
5 Steps to Becoming a Freelance Virtual Assistant (aka your own boss)
1. Decide on a business structure
There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to starting your own business. This is why it’s important that you decide on a business structure that will be a good fit for you. Whether it’s catering to a specific niche or focusing on a certain location, it’s up to you to decide how you will run your business.
Are you thinking of running a sole-proprietorship business? Or do you think you’ll do better going into a partnership with someone? Are you going to rent an office or work from home? What’s your personal schedule like? Since setting up your own business will definitely have its own share of risks, answering these questions will help you make the right choice the first time around.
2. Create a service menu
Next, you also need to be specific on the services that you will offer your clients. You’re free to choose your service offerings so it’s just a matter of making things manageable for you. You can start by listing down your skills set and focusing on work that you’re particularly good at and can do right away. Once you’ve picked 2-3 services, you can start building your service menu from there.
Try not to limit your service menu with just answering emails and organizing meetings. Feel free to grow and adapt your service menu as you deem fit.
3. Finalize your pricing scheme
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. When it comes to pricing your services, you don’t want to go too low or too high while you’re still gaining your momentum. Since most VAs charge by the hour, figure out the amount that is worth YOUR time. After all, you’re not paying yourself as an employee. You have to take it from the point of view of a business owner.
Ask around and learn about other VA’s pricing structures. Just like your service menu, expect your pricing structure to change over time. You might start off with hourly billing, but once you get a regular roster of clients, asking for a retainer might be more appropriate for your business.
4. Establish your professional online presence
Because you’ll be working mostly online, it makes a lot of sense to work on your professional online presence. Start building your website and developing your social media accounts. The combination of both will make it easier for you to reach out to potential clients.
Even if you have limited knowledge on building a website from scratch, you can already do wonders with WordPress and a custom theme. Just remember to ask a professional graphic designer for help on branding elements like a logo, color scheme, and a set of fonts that you can use for your website and social media accounts.
5. Start building relationships
Lastly, start networking and building relationships. Know your target market and make them an offer that they can’t refuse. Don’t be afraid of cold pitching through LinkedIn or Facebook or wherever your ideal prospect usually hangs out. Send out pitches every single day until you get your first client. Then prove yourself worthy by making yourself irreplaceable.
One way that you can get your foot in the door is to offer a trial period with potential clients. This is an effective way, with minimal risk, to test the waters and gauge how well you can work together.
As a virtual assistant, your goal is to support your clients with whatever it is that they need to grow their businesses. While the journey can be rewarding, it can also be challenging since you’re also in the process of building your own business. If you want to thrive in this career, make it your mission to provide your clients with as much value as possible. Hopefully, this time next year, you’ll be glad that you started on this exciting adventure as a VA.