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Virtual assistants are one of the most important figures that a business or entrepreneur can count on, in fact, they are becoming the right arms of entrepreneurs since thanks to them a business can save up to 78% on operating costs each year.
It is clear that it is a booming profession, but how to be part of this niche? It is a question that you may be asking yourself if you are interested in working in this area, but especially if you do not have a degree related to this profession.
However, you should bear in mind that it is not necessary to have a degree to become a professional virtual assistant. The important thing is that you acquire the necessary skills and abilities to develop this job, either through training or through professional experience.
The higher level of training you have, the easier it may be for you to specialize in a specific area, but in no case is it essential. Here you will learn where to start if you want to become a virtual assistant and have professional success.
What Does Being A Virtual Assistant Involve?
A virtual assistant is responsible for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses in the management of their businesses and does so from anywhere in the world.
The reality is that there are no specific tasks that a VA should be dedicated to since it depends on the needs of the client they serve, so there are endless tasks that a virtual assistant can do.
In general, these tasks can be:
- Administrative management
- Writing, revision, and proofreading of texts
- Database creation and management
- Billing and collection management
- Executive Assistance
- Event organization
- Travel management
- Email management
- Human resources support
- Graphic design and editing
- Legal services
- Customer Support
- Electronic commerce
- Support to commercial agents, speakers, real estate agents, and organizations
- Remote technical support
- Multimedia presentations
- Social media management
- Projects management
- Web management
- Data search
- Preparation of reports
Their daily job is relatively similar to that of a secretary in a company, but with some peculiarities that have to do with the differences between traditional jobs and online jobs.
Most often, virtual assistants work from home and are freelancers. Professionals who usually have virtual assistants are online business entrepreneurs, so they may also require their assistants to have basic knowledge of online marketing.
An entrepreneur can ask their virtual assistant to write articles for their blog, send newsletters, and posts on social networks.
Requirements Of A Virtual Assistant
Anyone who has academic training, knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired through their work experience and who wishes to start their own business offering professional services remotely to other businesses to help them in their management, can become a virtual assistant.
Sometimes the only barrier is language. Although there is a large market of customers who speak English, the more languages you know, the more the range of possibilities you will have.
Also, it is not essential to have a university degree, since there are many other teachings and courses that can enable you to develop this type of profession, but the higher your knowledge is, the more likely companies will want to work with you.
1. Training To Work As A Virtual Assistant
The first thing you need to work as a virtual assistant is training. Continuous training is essential for any job but you also have to take into account what level you start from.
One of the qualities that a virtual assistant should always show is productivity, mainly because your task is going to be to help businesses be more productive.
That is why it never hurts to take a course or learn how to handle productivity tools. They give very good results and not everyone knows them.
If you have already worked in a company as a personal assistant to a boss and you want to change to virtual assistance, then you do not need to start from scratch to do this job.
Of course, if you are not familiar with digital marketing, you should work on that aspect. You will be interested in delving into social media management, web writing, and copywriting.
If you do not have offline experience as a secretary but have related studies, you can also enter this activity without a problem.
2. Organizational And Other Related Skills
Many of the skills required to be a virtual assistant are the same as the skills required to be an administrative assistant or secretary.
For example, you should have superior organizational skills, a pleasant demeanor on the phone, and skills in using computers and computer systems.
As a VA, you will also need specific skills for freelance work. For example, you should be able to multitask, especially if you are juggling multiple clients. You must be able to focus on work, in your home environment.
You also need the right equipment in your home office. Some virtual assistant jobs require additional skills, including web design, event planning, accounting, and much more.
You can search for VA jobs that require your particular skills. Along with particular skills, employers often look for applicants with education and/or clerical experience in some administrative capacity.
Essential Qualities of the Virtual Assistant
This is one of the most important qualities as many clients expect reports on the progress of their tasks. They expect honesty from virtual assistants and also want to be able to entrust them with tasks and important information about their businesses.
Professionalism is a must in this industry, so if a customer calls you, you should call them back, if you receive an email, you must reply. It does not have to be immediately, but it at least has to be done the next day.
2. Good Communication Skills
From the first moment, you must inform the client how your work is going. After they become a client and also before starting each new task, you should establish how and when to update them.
If a customer has to constantly chase you for updates, then you are not doing your job correctly. While constantly contacting the client is also not advisable. It’s important to establish it from the beginning.
3. Time Management
Much is said that you should focus on only one thing and avoid multitasking. You will likely have to work with several clients simultaneously, so you must learn to organize your time well to be responsible for all. Being late on a task can hinder your clients’ workflow and that is something you should stay away from.
To avoid delays and complications, you can use planning and organization apps and tools like Google Calendar. Organize your workday according to the importance and urgency of the tasks.
Remember that many clients look to a VA because they cannot organize their work or remember their schedule, so you should not let them down on this.
4. Have Answers
You will often receive emails asking you about technical questions that could easily be found using Google.
You will be asked to do many things that you have never done before, and you just have to figure out how to do it. VAs are required to provide solutions and solve problems for clients.
If you do not have the initiative to fix a problem and figure out how to do something, then you should probably know that there are better VAs out there ready to take your place.
It is unrealistic to assume that you will know how to do everything, but you must know how to research to find the information yourself. As long as you are honest with your client about the extent of your skills, that will be fine.
Clients do not expect you to know everything, either. Tell them that you have never done that particular job before but that you are happy to find out how to do it (on your own time, of course) and get back to it.
You need to keep training. You can watch YouTube videos, do skill exchanges with other VAs, ask questions on VA forums, and generally get involved.
Try to stay on top of what is moving and changing, both in your industry and in the tech world – decide what things you want to learn more about and then do your research.
If a customer wants an alphabetized spreadsheet, then Google it and learn how to do it.
Means And Platforms You Can Use To Find Jobs
1. Present Your Services On A Web Page
Once you are determined to work as a virtual assistant and have acquired sufficient knowledge, you have to join the market and for that, what you must do is to have a website.
In it you must present yourself in the most attractive way possible, showing confidence so that those who find you see in you the person they need. You must make a good presentation of your services.
To do this you must detail what functions you are going to perform and the rates you handle.
Before presenting your services on your website, think about how much time you want to dedicate to this job; if it is full-time or if you are going to develop it part-time.
Creating a website is something that you can do yourself and if you want to learn how you should read about how to build a portfolio website.
2. Look For Clients Online
Once you know what you are going to offer and you have it on the web, you have to start looking for clients.
To do this, you must identify the businesses that may be interested in your services and contact them. You can search for clients on the web, on freelance platforms, and on social networks. However, doing this will also help you:
- Tell everyone you know that you are looking for this type of job, if they do not know what it is, it should be specified well in case it fits something someone is looking for.
- Attend networking events.
The internet is a great help to expand your business and reach potential clients. Here you will have to create a personal brand and promote it. The way to do it is through your own website and your social networks:
- Create content on your blog that is useful to readers.
- Once you have created it, share it on social media so you can reach more people.
The use of social networks is a dilemma because there are quite a few and it is impossible to be in all of them, at least you cannot at the level you would like. That is why you have no choice but to choose to interact on social networks that bring you better results. Facebook is usually a good social network because it has a general reach and you can meet all kinds of companies and entrepreneurs.
A good idea is to have a company page with your business as a virtual assistant. It is true that the organic reach of Facebook business pages is decreasing, but it never hurts to have one in case one day you think of doing an advertising campaign on Facebook Ads. Another social network where you should be is Linkedin. Linkedin is a specific social network for professionals, which is why it interests you. The interaction there can be the following:
- Share your blog posts.
- Interact with some professionals.
- Participate in groups.
- Follow professionals and companies that interest you.
3. Use Freelance Job Platforms
On the internet, you will find a large number of freelance platforms with hundreds of job offers that may interest you.
Each platform has a different way of working but in general, they have the same purpose, to connect clients with freelancers.
To get clients on these web pages you must create a profile, fill it out, apply for relevant jobs and grow your reputation within the platform. Overtime you will find that as you accumulate more experience and ratings, your good work will be more established in the platform which will increase the trust in working with you.
4. Actively Offer Your Services
Is there a website whose theme you love? Do you feel identified with everything they have? Is there a project you would like to collaborate on? Well, send them an email and offer your services.
Be careful, it is not about spamming anyone, but about making yourself known. You can write an email where you present yourself, tell them why you are interested in their project or in contacting them and what you can offer them.
This technique is better known as cold email and it is about sending emails where you present yourself, tell them what you offer and make yourself available in case they need something.
For this to be more effective it is recommended that you investigate very well who the client is and what needs they may have.
Greet them using their name can also give you extra points since it will show them that this email was written especially for them and that will make them notice your genuine interest.
As you already know, it is not necessary to have a degree to work as a virtual assistant but without a doubt, you must prepare yourself through courses so that you fully understand what your work is about and so that you can be of great help to your clients.
It is also important that you constantly keep learning and improving your knowledge since the industry changes day after day and you must keep updated.
Being a prepared freelancer will make you stand out from the rest since it is very likely that a client prefers a virtual assistant who has taken courses, to one who has not.
Clients also highly value professional experience, so when you are starting to work and have zero prior clients, academic preparation will help you to be taken into account.
Here are some courses you can take:
- Organize yourself as a remote worker or self-employed
- Improve Communication Processes Using Gmail
- How To Start a Virtual Assistant Business With Upwork TODAY
- Instagram Bio For Virtual Assistants
- Common Virtual Assistant Interview Questions (and Answers)
- Must-Have Tools for Virtual Assistants
6 Steps To Get Your VA Business Started
1. Choose A Name
You need to have a name to offer your services on the internet and if you plan to use your own name, it may not be a very good idea if you have a usual and common name and surname as most likely that name is already being used by someone else.
It is a matter of testing and seeing which option is better. The name is one of the most important steps if you want to work as a virtual assistant since this will affect your website, your social networks, your cards, and any other online and offline advertising that you want to do.
If you already have it, perfect, but if not, you can do brainstorming (which is writing down possible names that you can think of, combinations of them, or something related to your target and interests) and choose one.
Once chosen, check that the name is available to create a website and on social networks, before hiring anything.
2. Establish Your Price Ranges
It is good that you can talk with other virtual assistants who already have time in the industry to consult them on how to set your prices, but when you are starting out it is most likely that you should charge less than other professionals since you do not have the same experience as others and to stand out from the competition.
To define the price of your job, you should not only take into account what your work costs, but also the expense you make on equipment or software, and other elements related to your work that you consider necessary to include.
3. Set Your Strategy
You should know what you offer and how it differs from the rest. Think about the reason why your client would have to hire you and not someone else. Define your value proposition and base your strategy on it, what will be your language and work style and what will be your target.
Although many different people need the services of a virtual assistant, you probably have a greater affinity with a certain niche. Having a clear strategy will help you move forward and achieve goals.
As in any other job, if you are a VA, professional relationships and connections are essential to grow and connect with potential clients. Meeting other virtual assistants will help you stay abreast of industry news and also promote your work.
On the internet, you can find communities of virtual assistants on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook groups.
5. Keep Your CV And Linkedin Updated
Keep in mind that Linkedin is one of the most important professional networks and therefore you must have a presence there.
The companies that want to see what you have dedicated yourself to will go to that network to check it, so keep it updated and with good writing.
6. Increase Your Online Presence
Thanks to the internet it is that many interested clients will be able to contact you and that people in general will find out about the services you offer.
Increasing your online presence consists of being present in different social networks and managing them to generate a reach that makes you known, which will increase the chances that you will be hired.
Although it is positive to be present on several social networks, it is important that you pay attention to each one and that you do not neglect them.
If someone bumps into your profile but sees that you have a month of inactivity, they will think that you are very busy or that you no longer dedicate yourself to that and will look for another freelancer.
You Can Be A Professional Without Having A Degree
The best thing about dedicating yourself to virtual assistance is that you can grow professionally without the need for a university degree.
To achieve this you can take online courses that will help you to have a notion about this profession.
Like any other professional career, virtual assistance requires perseverance and effort, that every day you learn more about the subjects that concern you and that you increase your professional level.
Do not forget that increasing your online presence, having a website, and taking online courses will help you stand out in the virtual assistant market.