What do you Need to do and What Skills do you Need to Have to Become a Virtual Assistant?
What is a Virtual Assistant (Also Known as a VA)?
A virtual assistant is someone who takes care of admin tasks virtually instead of a personal assistant or executive assistant in the office, everything is done online. Some tasks a VA might do are emails, book travel, manage social media, handle appointments, research for blog posts or presentations, personal tasks such as buying gifts online, blog commenting, bookkeeping and more. Anything that can be done virtually can be outsourced to a VA.
Not all VA’s do everything. There are general VA’s, others who specialise in social media or email etc. Do not expect one person to be able to do everything and fill the roles of multiple people if hiring a VA and if you are looking at having your own virtual assistance business, know your strengths and offer services accordingly.
How do you get Started as a Virtual Assistant?
You have the choice of going with an agency, doing it yourself or getting employed directly. As so many occupations have switched to being online, the demand for virtual assistants has gone up. People need someone to manage their email, social media, transcribing, appointments and more.
To start with an agency, research ones who hire from your area, check LinkedIn, Seek and other job sites. The same goes for it you want to be directly employed as a virtual assistant rather than having your own business.
If you want to do it as your own business, check out how to start a business for under $100.
Many virtual assistants start by promoting their services in groups and on sites such as Freelancer and Upwork. In my opinion, the best option is to set up your own website (go with Siteground for hosting, install WordPress with one click, pick a theme and some plugins then off you go!) and have your services including per hour plus packages on there. Read how to set up a blog to know how to set up your site step by step.
Next, set up your social media accounts, schedule it to have content shared regularly then promote your services in groups, let friends and family know and do it on your own rather than through sites such as Upwork.
What Should a Virtual Assistant Charge?
Rates depend on experience, skills and the type of work you are doing. Australian VA’s typically charge $20 to $100pr hr, with $20pr hr being very basic tasks and those new to being a virtual assistant whereas VA’s who charge at the higher end of the scale are often executive level doing more involved tasks and have corporate Executive Assistant experience. The average rate I see is $40 to $50 per hour, less for packages of 10 or more hours bought at once.
Alternatively some VA’s create packages of specific services. For example a set amount of social media posts or content creation. If doing social media, I’d recommend this approach.
Tips for Being a Virtual Assistant
While it might sound like an easy way to make money on the side, you need to be careful. Be consistent, reliable, set clear boundaries and treat it as a proper business not a hobby. Follow these tips to be sure your business is a success.
Do not Undervalue Your Services or Skills
While many things can be outsourced overseas for less than in Australia, some businesses want to deal with Australian VA’s only. Work out a pricing structure you are comfortable with which allows you to work the hours you can, outsource if needed and run the business at a profit.
Depending on your experience, how much you charge might vary. With significant in office admin experience you can and should charge more. If you are good at what you do, there is no reason you can’t charge accordingly.
Your services are needed and in demand. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look, attracting the right clients and being reliable.
Always Have a Contract Stating When Payment is due
I request payment upfront for any work I do as a freelance writer and marketing consultant and pay my VA’s upfront. Clearly stipulate timing, what work will be completed and what happens if either of you cancel the contract. Get a professional template done.
You want a contract to protect you both. Too often I hard of business owners not getting paid or having issues. Request payment upfront before doing any work so you aren’t spending time chasing invoices later.
Have a Business Plan Including a Solid Marketing Plan
Include goals and projections, how you will manage growth, how you will outsource, how you will market your services and have an exit strategy – meaning, work out if you want to sell the business at some point or have it running so you aren’t the one doing all the work.
Are you a virtual assistant? What do you do and what tips would you add?
You might also want to check out The Ultimate Guide to Make and Save Money at Home.