If you are organized, elegant, and creative, becoming a virtual assistant can be a viable next step in your career.
As a virtual assistant, you can work from home, often set your own schedule, and focus on the clients that interest you. Additionally, Fact.com lists the average annual salary for a virtual assistant at around $40,000, but some have reported making $40 an hour (or $83,000 annually) or more.
Of course the amount you earn has a lot to do with the number of hours you work. Working full time will bring more.
This post will help you learn how to become a virtual assistant. In it, we cover:
What does a virtual assistant actually do?
A virtual assistant does much more than manage someone’s schedule and receive phone calls. In fact, there are many ways in which you can work as a virtual assistant across many skills and disciplines.
Virtual assistants are generally brought on to help a client achieve specific goals such as improving social media engagement, optimizing a website, or helping a piece of work become more efficient at managing their time.
These online secretaries work like any other remote worker, and have an agreed set of hours where they are logged in and report to a manager at a manager level or higher.
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What kinds of skills do virtual assistants need?
There are eight skills that tend to be in highest demand when it comes to working as a virtual assistant. It is unlikely that a single virtual assistant will have them and it may be better to specialize, becoming an expert in several such as writing and proofreading or creating and managing social media content.
Although it may seem that everyone has experience writing in this day and age, those with exceptionally high words per minute—aiming for 50+ words per minute to be considered above average—offer a special skill set. badly needed.
Writing is the foundation of many of the other skills listed below such as drafting emails, editing blogs, and providing customer support.
If you are looking to improve your typing abilities, there are many free online resources to help you do so such as Typing.com, LearnTyping.org, and Typing.Academy.
Just a few hours a week of practice can yield results that make you a more marketable and desirable applicant when it comes to virtual assistant jobs.
Many companies these days have blogs or some other type of interactive digital publication. These types of posts enhance the presence of an SEO company and are a way for interested customers to learn more about the brand and its mission. Helping to get this content in good shape makes the virtual assistant invaluable.
Many organizations have employees who are able to write initial blog drafts, but they may not have the time to see the blog through the entire editing and publishing process. This is where a trained virtual assistant comes in.
Having a solid understanding of grammar, sound, and the mechanics of writing can make you $15-25 an hour. If you are drafting the blog yourself, be sure to order more.
3. Format Pages in WordPress
WordPress is a content management platform used by any number of industries. WordPress supports the back end of many websites and blogs, and here organizations need someone to manage the coordination and creation of the actual website pages that the audience will visit.
Being able to list yourself as a WordPress savvy on your resume will undoubtedly attract more than a few eyes and possibly get you somewhere between $20-40 an hour from a potential client.
But if you’re reading this and haven’t worked in WordPress before, fear not. Udemy and WordPress 101 offer courses to help you get up to speed.
4. Managing the editorial calendar
All great virtual assistants have excellent time management and this is an important part of the job.
Although you may be responsible for scheduling someone’s daily meetings and engagements, a huge part of being a successful virtual assistant is being able to manage your editorial calendar as well.
The editorial calendar is a plan and schedule for all the blog posts and website updates that the site will publish. Maintaining a chronological plan as well as ideas to help boost your brand’s SEO rankings is a skill not everyone can offer, and it can earn you $30-50 an hour.
5. Social media management
One of the duties of the virtual assistant may be to post on social media on behalf of the brand. This can include creating social media content, scheduling social media posts on different platforms, and managing posts. You may be the one who will respond to customer feedback.
Trusting your knowledge of the most popular social media platforms including LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Facebook is an indispensable skill. Businesses will continue to rely on their online presence to attract clients and customers and keep up with new and hot platforms will add to your cache.
Sites like Hootsuite and Buffer have excellent resources if this is an area you need to improve. And it’s worth doing because this ability can get you anywhere from $15-40 an hour.
6. Create landing pages
If that fear strikes your heart right away – don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert programmer to realize this possibility.
Landing pages are website websites that contain a specific call to action or topic. For example, a website page that encourages users to provide their contact information in exchange for a free demo will be considered a landing page.
Many landing pages are built on platforms like WordPress and are easy to edit with some help from handy tools like Unbounce and Leadpages.
Being familiar with this field is one of the best skills you can offer as a virtual assistant as you can charge between $30-60 per hour for this ability.
7. Email Strategy
Based on the number of emails you receive per day from organizations, it shouldn’t surprise you that email format and strategy is an important part of any business communications plan.
Email strategy refers to who, when, and why you send email. Email formatting refers to the actual layout and creation of the look and feel of an email.
It’s easy to follow through on your email strategy after a few conversations with those in the organization. You’ll need to understand the target customers and goals of any email (such as signing up for something, buying something, etc.) before scheduling a note.
The email format is also a dream to learn. Many brands use platforms like MailChimp, Infusionsoft, or GetResponse, and they all have excellent pre-loaded templates that make sending emails stress-free and help you bring in $25-40 per hour.
You can ask for more money if you can, and you are hired, to provide email content as well.
8. Customer Support
Every industry needs to make sure it has happy clients and customers. But it can be hard to get the right mood and the right skills to keep everyone’s content.
As a virtual assistant, you may be asked to act as a point of contact for the support line. Some examples of customer support include responding to inquiries via email or chat and answering questions that may come via blog or social media comments.
If you can keep your cool and provide detail-oriented responses to customers, you can make $15-30 per hour with this ability.
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Where do I find virtual assistant jobs?
Virtual assistant jobs are like any other jobs – often requiring a job application and an interview to secure a client.
Freelance virtual assistants can also be short-term jobs, just a few months, or more, like a year or even without an expiration date. You can choose jobs to apply for based on your interest, the length of their contract, and of course how much they pay.
It is important to be wary of bidding sites such as Elance and oDesk. On these sites, organizations post about the type of work they need to do and freelancers submit their rates for the job.
The danger is that in order to win a job, you often have to offer a price lower than the market, which only undermines your capabilities and value – there are better paying jobs out there, rest assured.
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7 websites to find a virtual assistant job
Focus on legitimate business opportunities that respect virtual assistants and freelancers as well as leverage your professional network. We have rounded those seven.
While TaskRabbit was in the past a local provider of personal contract work, it has expanded to include virtual roles including online secretarial. You must be over 21 to use TaskRabbit and live in one of the cities listed in the TaskRabbit guide.
Craigslist might come to mind as a place to try to sell used goods and rent places to live, but it also has a vibrant job market section as well, which includes many virtual assistant jobs.
While you need to be careful when looking at Craigslist jobs because there is no security against scams, it can be a lucrative place to connect with those outside your local area for contract work.
VANetworking.com was founded by a Virtual Assistant (VA) for other virtual assistants. The site features VA services such as online secretarial jobs, freelance work opportunities, and virtual assistant training to become a successful small business owner.
Although WAHM stands for Work At Home Moms, WAHM.com shares remote work opportunities for anyone, regardless of their gender identity or whether or not they are a childcare provider.
PeoplePerHour is one of the best sites for freelancers, virtual assistants and remote workers. You can create a profile, set your price, share your skill set, and wait for clients to come to you. Or you can search for jobs and submit a proposal.
The smallest site on this list, Zirtual used to be “invitation only” for both clients and helpers, but as of January, they’ve opened their virtual doors to the public.
Zirtual acts as an agency for auxiliary brokers, assigning them to clients. They pay at least $10 an hour for part-time work; However, they only accept applications from residents of the United States.
7. Indeed.com, ZipperCrouter, etc.
With the need for virtual assistants growing due to the growing popularity of remote work, standard job sites like Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter now have entire sections where you can filter through virtual assistant or online secretary jobs across the country.
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How can I get my virtual assistant to work?
Now you know what a virtual assistant is, what skills are needed for success, and where to find remote work. The final step is to launch the virtual assistant business and secure your first few customers.
The best way to do this is to simply start applying for jobs. Take the time to organize your resume in a way that is geared toward the work of the virtual assistant and leverage your professional network, such as LinkedIn, to make personal connections with potential clients.
Only accept as many clients as you can handle. It’s best to start with a manageable number of clients, like one or two, and then grow from there. Always be upfront and honest with potential customers about bandwidth and rates.
Colorado-based writer Kristen Jenny focuses on lifestyle, wellness, and money-making topics. She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.